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The Baseball Show: What went wrong?

Aug 23, 2013, 12:39 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

As of today the Nationals sit 9.5 games out of the final NL Wild Card spot and, despite a recent three-game winning streak, there may not be enough time left for them to make a playoff push. With that in mind, Mark and the crew discussed what went wrong with the Nats this season and what they need to do this offseason to get back on track in last night’s episode of The Baseball Show.

Mark’s answer to the latter question is complicated, as it will interesting what the Nats do this winter. Do they need to make sweeping changes or are they as good as we think they are on paper? We know certain positions will have to be addressed, such as Dan Haren’s spot in the rotation and a backup catcher. Should the Nats shake things up more than that?

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  1. Holden Baroque - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    The David DeJesus countdown is in its final minutes …

  2. Holden Baroque - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Is it me, or is Ripken looking more like Michael Chiklis?

  3. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    The Rays have claimed De Jesus, according to Ken Rosenthal, and others. No other details, as yet.

  4. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Sorry, the Tampa Bay Times, not Rosenthal, is saying the Nats and Rays are near to resolving the matter.

  5. Teddy Rochlis - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    and dejesus is gone

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    The original of this comment was posted, then removed, from the previous thread. It is generally responsive to the "What Went Wrong" theme of this post. This may be a long comment. I'm not negative; I'm grumpy. I'm grumpy because this team has far too much talent to play this badly and I am convinced that most of it has to do with what's between their ears. I think Johnson is one of the best managers in the history of the game but a number of players have taken advantage of him, badly, and would have driven LaRussa, Cox, Leyland and any number of others into retirement. I like LaRoche; he did great things last year, and is still doing good things; he might be hurt; there's a good chance he'll be better next year. Rendon has a lot of promise; he's better on defense than people are giving him credit for; I'm disappointed he hasn't yet adjusted to the adjustments opposing teams have made. Espinosa appears to be a lost cause; I don't know who he's listening to but whoever it is needs to shut up. Desmond is a great SS but is still an undisciplined hitter and that hurts the Nats, at some point, virtually every game. Zimmerman's performance is trending toward senescence. He appears to be the worst — other than Espinosa — of the "Please, Mother, I'd rather do it myself" crowd. That's the most charitable face I can put on it. I was skeptical about Ramos, largely because I thought his physical condition was affecting his performance. I now see him as a good catcher and threatening hitter who probably can't be counted on to play 130 games. Werth has amazed me the past few months; I hope — without expecting it — that he can keep it up. I have no doubt that he's giving it everything he's got. Span can play CF; Bernadina couldn't; Harper was valiant but not likely anytime to be able to cover the ground Span can. At the bat, it's probably just a bad year, changing leagues. But next year is a "show me" year. Harper needs to shrink his persona, pay attention to the strike zone, stop worrying about the umpire. A little maturity would probably raise his BA 25 points. I've pounded on some of the pitchers already today. I should be a bit kinder to Soriano. A few weeks ago I was incensed by his body language. Someone (Ramos?) seems to have gotten his attention and he's acted much more accountable — but he seems to be declining and, as someone else said, he's not "flexible" in the BP. Enuf for now.

  7. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Yep, DeJesus on his way to Tampa. We barely knew ya!

  8. rogieshan - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    I guess, statistically speaking, DeJesus is the worst player to ever wear the Nats uniform.

  9. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    The Baseball Show: What went wrong?Well, first of all, not enough people watch CSN. And it was on too late at night. And…oh, wait. You were asking what went wrong with the team. Never mind.

  10. Steady Eddie - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Well, that DeJesus thing was a bizarre little interlude. Assuming the press reports I saw were true that the "PTBNL" going to the Cubs could actually be cash, I would hope at least that Rizzo got the Rays to pay that. Along with his plane ticket to Tampa.Otherwise whatever the Nats' out-of-pocket was paid for a popout, a groundout, and a strikeout. At least we didn't have to pay much to get him into our dugout from the other side of Wrigley Field.

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    rogie, I guess statistically speaking, yes. We can't even do a real good walk down memory lane on him. Can't wait for the details as Marc Topkin confirmed the Rays have a move they have to make now.The Nats will also be adding 2 players to the active roster. Certainly 1 pitcher plus Solano but one never knows any more.

  12. Candide - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said… Espinosa appears to be a lost cause; I don't know who he's listening to but whoever it is needs to shut up.Maybe the problem is he's not listening to anyone.Or he's only listening to himself.Or the bad habits that turned him into a dud are deeply embedded that it'll take a long time to get them out.Or he's just simply not a major league hitter.

  13. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    What Ripken is doing now is known in Washington as floating a trial balloon. He wants to manage, but he doesn't want to do it the Ryne Sandberg way by going to the minors first. He prefers the Joe Girardi/Don Mattingly way of starting in the bigs either directly as a manager or as the bench coach heir apparent. Pay attention to how Rizzo responds to this. If there's no chance he'd interview Cal, he'll shoot this trial balloon down post haste, either directly or implicitly. But if Rizzo is silent or coy when this subject comes up, that means he'll interview Cal if Cal wants to be interviewed. And if Cal is interviewed, publicly and officially, there's no way he doesn't get the job.

  14. Steady Eddie - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Or he's just simply not a major league hitter.I don't think it's that. From the end of June to the time he hurt his shoulder in early September last season, Danny raised his BA a good 30 points, in the heart of the pennant push when teams were gunning for us. Recall multiple clutch hits in key games.No, I think it's what Theo said in that overall very good comment. Whether Danny's "between the ears" issue is stubbornness at his plate approach or in refusing to get his shoulder fixed, who knows. He can deliver if he gets his body and head working FOR him. But that IF could be the difference between a solid MLB career and where he is now.

  15. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    When Joe Girardi was hired as manager by the Marlins, his first move was to emulate the Yankees and ban facial hair. If Cal Ripken is hired as manager by Mike Rizzo, his first move will be to ban head hair.

  16. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Theo, thanks to you, I l expanded my vocabulary today. Anyway, great post, and I agree with most of what you said. I'm not sure how to take Ryan Zimmerman, nor what my take on him is regarding whether his decline this year is really just a result of his shoulder/head issues or whether it really is a guy that's not aging very well. I still think that he goes in to next year as the starting 3rd baseman.As to Ramos, we can only hope that he's not really injury prone but has just been unlucky. Remember Rendon was called injury prone by scouts and other GMs before he was drafted. Oh, yeah, then he got hurt almost right away. But he now seems strong, at least so far.I sometimes think that Soriano just comes across looking lackadaisical, but in reality he cares just as much as anybody else on the team. I do think that it is entirely possible that he is dealing with a senescence his own self. But not only has his speed declined, but the great movement that he had on virtually every pitch has almost become a fading memory. Maybe he needs to take some instruction from Dan Haren. [Senescence- great word!]

  17. Candide - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said…If Cal Ripken is hired as manager by Mike Rizzo, his first move will be to ban head hair.Dugout brawl with Werth in 3…2…1…

  18. Steady Eddie - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Feel, I know you're being tongue-in-cheek or somewhere, but with Cal, that's genetic destiny at work, not a style choice. Somehow I don't exactly see any manager imposing any hair limits on JDub, especially as his work ethic matches anything a tough manager might want to impose. That's actually a significant consideration for the choice of any potential incoming manager, is being able to have his management style at least allow room for Werth. He and Bryce are the guts of the team right now, along with Desi. Would that Werth could find a way to convey more of his consistent focus to those two, though. As Theo's comment accurately suggests the need.

  19. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    All this talk of "head issues" with Ryan Zimmerman is a ton of crap. He's coming off surgery that was apparently more extensive than was originally revealed. He's progressing, but slower than most people expected. Also, he got married last offseason, which probably didn't help his focus. Indeed, seven current or former Nats had weddings last winter – Michael Morse, Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Corey Brown – and every single one of them has ended up having a season that was at least partially disappointing. Coincidence? I think not.The point being that most if not all these guys will probably bounce back big time next year, after a more normal offseason.

  20. Secret wasian man - Aug 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Cal managing the Nats would be a dream come true. Imagine you have a mean, nasty horrible boss who hates you and you are sleeping with his wife.

  21. Scott Margenau - Aug 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Desmond hits hi 270s with power. He does fine at the plate. He,ll get better too.

  22. Unknown - Aug 23, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Love Cal, but don't want him as manager. This franchise needs to move beyond ex O's and forge its own identity in the area. A new tv contract is essential in that regard as well. I wish the O's well and their fans, but it's time for DC to move on from the bad old days when the only option for MLB was in a different city with a different culture.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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