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What would Nats have to give up for an elite starter?

Nov 13, 2013, 6:00 AM EST

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It’s no secret Mike Rizzo would like to acquire another starting pitcher this winter, and it’s clear the Nationals general manager is willing (if not eager) to explore the trade market for such a pitcher.

And there are two legitimately elite starters out there right now who could be dealt: David Price and Max Scherzer. Either would add yet another big-time arm to a Nationals rotation that already includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez. And if you don’t think Rizzo is intrigued by that possibility … well, you haven’t been paying enough attention to the guy since he ascended to the GM position 4 1/2 years ago.

There is, of course, just one minor sticking point to this whole endeavor: The massive return the Rays will be seeking in a trade for Price and the Tigers will want in exchange for Scherzer. We’re not talking about a couple of promising prospects. We’re talking about at least three top young players for either pitcher.

What does that mean in the Nationals’ case? Well, any trade proposal for Price or Scherzer is almost certain to begin with Anthony Rendon, the organization’s top-rated prospect entering 2013 who acquitted himself well during his rookie season.

And then is probably guaranteed to also include Lucas Giolito, the organization’s top-rated prospect entering 2014 who has come back from Tommy John surgery as strong as ever.

And then will most likely include another prospect or two from the upper reaches of the Nationals’ depth chart. Guys like A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin and Robbie Ray.

That’s a steep price to pay, no question about it, and one that very well could scare Rizzo from consummating such a deal.

It’s easy to look back two winters ago at the Nationals’ trade for Gonzalez and applaud Rizzo for a bold move that to date has paid off. Gonzalez was a Cy Young Award finalist in 2012 and again ranked in the top 10 in hits and strikeouts per nine innings this season. What became of the four players who went from Washington to Oakland? Tommy Milone has been a solid, though not spectacular, member of the A’s rotation. Derek Norris has a .698 OPS in 158 big-league games. Brad Peacock was traded to Houston, where he posted a 5.18 ERA this year. And Cole returned to the Nationals’ organization through last winter’s Michael Morse three-team trade.

Hey, it worked two years ago with Gio. Why can’t it work again now with Price or Scherzer?

Well, it’s not nearly that simple. Both Price and Scherzer are more accomplished at this point than Gonzalez was at the time of his trade. And both Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman and Detroit president Dave Dombrowski are in advantageous negotiating positions, knowing they can play interested clubs off each other in hopes of driving up the price.

Truth be told, these potential trades bear less resemblance to the Gonzalez deal and more resemblance to Zack Greinke’s trade from Kansas City to Milwaukee three winters ago. You may remember Rizzo was close to striking a deal with the Royals, only to watch as Greinke vetoed it because he wanted to pitch for a team closer to contention.

What would the Nationals have had to give up to get Greinke? Brace yourself, because it’s a harrowing thought. Though the exact players were never agreed upon, the package would have included at least three players from this list: Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa, Drew Storen.

Would the Nationals have been better off with Greinke or the rest of those guys? Seems like a ludicrous question at this point.

Keep that in mind as this winter’s Hot Stove League heats up. Yes, Price or Scherzer would make a fantastic addition to the Nationals’ rotation. But at what cost?

Sometimes the best deals are the ones that aren’t made.

  1. trochlis318 - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Here is the deal, any package that includes Rendon, and/or Giolito, imo is not worth it for a pitcher. As much as a great 4th starter would add to the 2014 nats, it is not worth giving up these two potential #1 picks.My proposal a few days ago, was Shelby Miller, for Span, Espinosa, and Cole. This trade gives us a young cost controlled Starter, with upside, for an above average Center fielder in span, a project SS in espi, and a potential 3 in Cole. Doesn’t break the future, or give up the farm, and still gives us that starter we were looking for. This could also be applied for the shark, although at a lesser price becuase miller is worth more. As i have said numerous times to numerous people the stupidest thing for the nats to do would be to trade Rendon. Others might not understand this but a middle infielder that can hit .300 with 20 HR per year is a gem that needs to be held onto. For all of you doubting this, Rendon had more potential than Desi and could reach a Cano potential (6 WAR) and trading him and others for Price or Scherzer would be an absolute travesty. Even straight up still a horrible deal. Pitchers come and go, and breakdown, and build back up. The franchise players are the middle infielders.

    • trochlis318 - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:37 AM

      also with my shelby miller proposal, i understand that it leaves a gap at CF, that another blogger brought up, personally i can see the nats going after a FA on 2 year deal, and shifting Bryce back to center for a year or two until either burns or Goodwin can play center. And for the top of the lineup i can see the nats putting werth at the top or someone wiht a really high obp. A lineup of maybe Werth, Rendon, Harper, Zimmerman, Desmond, Ramos/FA, FA/Ramos/LaRoche, LaRoche/FA, Pitcher.

  2. sjm308 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Trochlis – I also love playing faux GM and while I appreciate your deal, I just don’t think the real GM is going to give up on Span after just one year. I also read that the Cards are dangling Miller and at least one more of their young pitchers out there to the Rockies for Troy Tulawitski (sp?). I think its a no brainer for them to take one of the top SS in the majors over your 3 guys.

    As much fun as it is trying to upgrade our roster, I just have a gut feeling that Rizzo will not make changes at either first base or CF. I guess we just have to hope that LaRoche will do what he has done before which is play for that next contract and show improvement from what was a miserable year. I honestly don’t think he will reach his career averages but I do think he has to post better numbers then last year. I also am hoping that the new manager will not be as patient as Davey was and will make a move if LaRoche does stumble. The problem their is who would he go to? Obviously Moore is going to be around but I am not sure a below ave. LaRoche or Moore is enough but that is what I think we will have at first.

    So, if Rizzo is not making moves at any starting position players, that leaves starting pitching, the bench and bullpen and I think that is where we will see things change. I agree with previous posters that Rendon and Giolito should not be moved so that tells me he will probably go after a FA that does not cost us a draft pick. My choice is a gamble on J. Johnson. Yes, he is coming off an injury but it won’t be the first time Rizzo has made that gamble. He has stated he wants just a one year deal which is perfect for us. If healthy, he is a one-time #1 starter and would be a great #4 or 5.

    • trochlis318 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      I just made the span comment based on the fact that Nats were “listening” on him, which probably means nothing, but i thought up the trade option. And even though the cards are willing to give up a huge package for Tulo, the rockies are extremely relectuant to trade him at least from what i have hear. What i do know, is that Rizzo likes to go after guys he likes, and really won’t take no for an answer. So expect us to be involved with any former draft picks of rizzo, and others. I don’t know what will happen but we will see.

  3. Hiram Hover - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    No deal.

    • sjm308 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:40 AM

      Agree, they sign free agents while continuing to grow our young prospects

  4. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    Rizzo could get Porcello for a lot less and Matt Garza for $$ only. And sorry, Espinosa has tanked his trade value so until he proves he can hit and is healthy, he will be at Syracuse. The Cardinals all ready have Espinosa on their roster, his name is Pete Kozma.

    the big issue is will Det be healthy to resume the #4 spot and will Rizzo go with a combo of Roark/T Jordan as his #5. Once he understands were Det is, then that makes the decision easier.

    Plus off season priority should be to lock up Desi and JZ. and maybe buy out Ramos’ arb years.

    • trochlis318 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      Honestly as much as we all love JZ i think if we have not signed him to an extention its time for us to look to moving him. I personally feel that it is extremely risky having a player of his caliber not signed to an extension so close to FA if he is still an up coming FA i think it is time to move him, we could net a a deal better than the Garza deal if a team was desperate enough. It would be a shame to lose JZ for a measly first round pick. If we extend him great, if not, i wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the trading block Rizzo is a long term guy and long term it makes more sense to trade him than to keep him an extra 3 months. I only mention JZ becuase to me it seems far more likely that Desi signs an extention compared to JZ

      • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        Why is it risky to have a player of his caliber not signed to an extension so close to FA? The Nats aren’t building for the future, the two years they have JZim under team control are prime “go-for-it” years. They’re not going to deal him for prospects. They don’t. care. about. the. money. Because any arbitration award is just for one season, and has no impact on their ability to lock up other players in extensions.

        The only way they deal a pitcher of JZim’s ability would be for an equivalent player at a position of need; a player that can help the Nats win NOW.

    • Hiram Hover - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      Agree about Det being a question mark, and I think he remains one thru Spring Training (at least).

      So the Nats need to acquire another starting pitcher this off-season. But he doesn’t need to be an “elite” pitcher, to use Mark’s term, and the Nats shouldn’t pay for one–there are other more plausible mid to back of the rotation guys out there.

      As for JZ–I’m sure they’d like to extend him–whether they can or not, I don’t know. Either way, I don’t see the Nats doing what trochlis suggests: trading him this off-season would only create (another) hole in the rotation.

  5. sjm308 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Way too early to think of getting rid of any of our big three starters. While the window will certainly close at some time, you have to think we have two more years of being considered one of the teams capable of making the playoffs. It didn’t happen this past year but having SS, Gio and JZ puts us in a pretty damn good place to start.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      I am with you that window is small but not so small that rizzo may decide to trade JZ this off-season. fans would riot.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    I would hate to seriously mortgage the future. Price may not get this team to the World Series by himself as you don’t get enough WAR over Detwiler but Giancarlo Stanton who plays every day could as you shift Werth to 1st as LaRoche was the 1 singular negative last year and that includes Haren.

    By the way, the Phillies are going after Morse. Not sure how serious they are but he’s on their RH list. Rizzo should try to block that move or at least move the price up.

    I was hoping Rizzo was going to improve his every day lineup.

    • Doc - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      Ghost, given what Rizzo was considering trading for Cranky Greinke, I’m hoping that he’s learned his lesson.

      Giolilto, A.J. Cole, and ARen for Scherzer or Price, is gooooooooooooofy.

      ARen and a pitching prospect for Stanton makes more sense, at least for the Nats. i continue to think that ARen is a real hitting talent, and he ain’t too bad in the field either. Interesting to watch his WARs over the next few years, but ARen may outWAR Statnton.

      Granted, I accept the Commandment from St. Earl The Pearl that it’s mostly about pitching. But giving up good prospects for a veteran pitcher is a bad bet.

      I also think that Rizzo and his scouts seem to have a better grip on pitching than they do hitting. Who understands hitting the best in the Nats FO. I’ll give you a hint: His first name is Davey. LOL

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        Good thoughts Doc. This team is so fortunate Greinke vetoed the deal.

        Stanton could be a great deadline deal if LaRoche isn’t playing well. Read the quote I posted below on ALR. Rizzo makes it clear on LaRoche.

        I still buy Werth a 1st basemans glove regardless. 😉

  7. habs3 - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Rizzo scares me. I really do not know why he obsesses with his starting pitching. he has a number of pitchers in the minors ready to try out with the parent. St Louis has no problem giving its young pitchers a chance. Rizzo should focus on the team weaknesses which is the bench, bullpen, back -up catcher, and a consistent bat in the line-up.

    Price’s numbers from what I have read are on the decline. Plus he is a potential free agent and signing him would hurt their payroll. Scherzer had one good year. Also do not get fooled by a W/L record. I would not give up Giolito, Rendon and any of those other players that MZ mentioned based on some guys W/L record for one year. Rizzo needs to be reminded how the Colon trade hurt the Expos and how Grienke would have gutted the team.

    I repeat Rizzo scares me. Too bad we could not have a GM like the Reds or St Louis have.

    • Hiram Hover - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      I think what you really mean is, the speculation about Rizzo scares you.

      He hasn’t said boo, so far as I know, about wanting any of these deals for a top-flight starter, and there’s virtually zero chance he makes one of them. Making some kind of more sensible deal for a back of the rotation guy makes sense, and he probably will do something.

      Rizzo has his flaws, but slobbering after hot free agents and trade targets hasn’t generally been one of them.

      • sjm308 - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Rizzo does not do business in the media. Every big deal he has made came as pretty much a surprise. Not sure why habs3 is scared or upset with Rizzo. The fact that he does obsess with starting pitching is pretty much seen by the number of solid young pitchers we have at every level in the minors. Giotito is getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone that knows prospects. We had two guys pitch well in Sept. that were not even projected to be at the major league level when the season started. So my question is, what scares you about Rizzo. What has he said to scare you? Just because other writers speculate, doesn’t make it true. I think some of those guys write enough “stuff” about every team and if one of their statements comes true they can crow about it. The rest of the garbage that they speculate on just gets lost in space because they will write more “stuff” the next day.

        Ghost – you keep writing about moving someone to first base not named LaRoche. I still think Rizzo will be stubborn here and give Adam every chance to improve from his dismal year. I also doubt that Williams, as a new manager, will be clamoring for a change either. I do hope that both Williams and Rizzo will not sit by if LaRoche exhibits the same poor skills of last year. I just think its going to be business as usual to start the year at first base.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        The projection services have LaRoche improving moderately on offense but regression says his defense will worsen and when anyone speaks of LaRoche’s defense its not picking bad throws, it’s his declining range and reflexes on reactive plays.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        The Greinke deal from which Rizzo was rescued on the edge of the cliff is enough to scare anybody. The Nats’ pitching depth is better now than it was then but you have to be afraid that, if the guy has a bloodlust for butterscotch ripple ice cream sooner or later he’s gonna get butterscotch ripple ice cream, at any price. What saves the Nats will be that Tampa will demand four (or five) of the top-10 prospects, not just three, and Detroit realizes they need Scherzer to keep up w/ the Red Sox and Yankees even if it means wrecking the budget to feed Verlander, Scherzer, Fielder and Cabrera, no matter what they could get for Scherzer in a trade. Plus, the Nats don’t have the parts the Tigers need — they are fixed at 3B and SS, okay for the time being at 2B; Span is not an upgrade in CF and the Nats have prospects but no ML ready pitchers to deal.

      • Hiram Hover - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        sjm and ghost – agree on all of the above.

        I think ALR gets his chance. If his production bounces back somewhat, good–he stays where he is. If he doesn’t bounce back but the team is still winning, that buys him some more time too. I think only if he doesn’t bounce back and the team is losing will we see more of T-Mo in a platoon, or someone else at 1B altogether.

      • Hiram Hover - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Theo –

        I’m happy the Greinke deal didn’t happen, but let’s be honest – the Nats were in a totally different place then. SS had blown out his elbow, JZimm was coming back from TJ and had given at most glimmers of what he is now, which means the durable “aces” of the rotation were John Lannan and Livo.

        Plus, since Greinke nixed the deal, we don’t know how close it was to getting done or what the terms would have actually been–given what KC ended up getting from Milwaukee, I doubt the terms would have been as bad as some fear.

        If we really want a guide to Rizzo’s deal making, why are we fretting about a deal he didn’t make, anyway? Better to look at the deal he did make, a year later, for Gio–it required some real sacrifices, but I don’t hear a lot of complaints.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Rizzo was just asked about LaRoche “Adam LaRoche is out 1st baseman. I think he’s going to bounce back to have one of his career norm years. That’s the guy we signed and hopefully that’s the guy we get this year”.

    • sjm308 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      Wow, looks like Rizzo read my post. Ha,ha – of course it was the easy guess on what he would do but I do hope they don’t stay with him too long if he continues to regress. This and Espinoza were two of Davey’s worst errors in judgement. I don’t understand the defensive metrics that Ghost uses but I have to believe they are accurate. I had many chances to observe Ryan Zimmerman’s lack of range, but I just didn’t see that with LaRoche. Again, I am not saying those metrics are wrong, I just didn’t notice him not being able to go right or left. I did continue to be amazed at how many poor throws he was able to save. My bottom line though is that he needs to hit this year. Even if he is moved to 7th or 8th in the lineup behind Desmond and Ramos, we still need 25 homeruns and a decent number of RBI’s from him for us to be successful. (my opinion, which of course has no weight at all).

    • Doc - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Ghost, I think our guy Rizzo is whistling in the dark about ALR.

      Sure we all hope that he “bounces back”. But if he doesn’t, it’s time for Williams to get creative about ALR’s status with this club. Otherwise he’s gone to the AL as bench talent by the end of July.

      At ALR’s age, stats don’t predict improvement—unless your name is David Ortiz.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        David Ortiz found the Fountain of Youth. Unless LaRoche finds it I think we will see a 10% improvement on power and hopefully a big improvement to that .230’s BA. I also hope someone can give him more days off.

      • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        Whistling in the dark? What do you expect him to say? “LaRoche sucks, we have to do better than THAT?” Because that would fire up his player? Because his teammates would be inspired by the GM trashing a popular member of the clubhouse? Because saying something like that would increase LaRoche’s trade value?

        What? We’re all ears, Doc

  9. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    IIRC, myth surrounding Greinke deal (that we offered JZ, Desmond, etc) has been rejected before so why do we keep referencing to something that was nowhere near true.

    • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      Because it’s part of the narrative. Don’t mess with the narrative.

  10. sjm308 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Why do we even worry about something that did not happen and was years back?

    • Hiram Hover - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      Not to be unkind to our host, but I think he is just chumming the waters on a slow day.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    I trade for Max only if he is willing to not sign an extension this off-season (we can make a conditional deal with Tigers if necessary). This way I can make sure that trade pieces going away to Detroit are not significant and revolve around a major league reliever and a mid-level prospect (that’s what I value one year from Max). Next off-season, we can try to sign Max after making QO. If he signs good, otherwise time to pick up an extra pick and money in draft.

    If they want more than that, try your luck elsewhere Dave.

    I wouldn’t try to pursue Price because price is gonna be high. There is no way we can afford to trade Rendon. Trading Rendon means we are in market for a starting 2B and choices are awful except Cano (who is on wrong side of 30, asking for $200 MM contract). I don’t even want us to go there.

    As GoSM mentioned, I would be more interested in emptying our farm system for Stanton than a starting pitcher.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Thank you Faraz. It’s all about balance. Nats lost too many 1 run games due to poor run support. A big bat in the #4 or #5 is what Matt Williams needs. ALR had an OPS of .735 last year. He is projected to be at .775. I think he could get there but at 1st base you want a .825 or higher as it is your premium offensive position. There were 13 1st baseman in 2013 with OPS of .830 or higher. Adam LaRoche was 29th in MLB in OPS.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        I think ALR will recover some, but not to 2012 levels. Will that enough for our offense to get back in line? I don’t know, it relies heavily on other factors like Harper taking next step, RZ producing from opening day not September 1st, Werth being in the lineup as much as possible, etc. Stanton has injury issues of his own but he produces when he is in the lineup.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    this is a bit random but I was just thinking about soriano signing.

    In light of Storen’s breakdown last season, was signing Soriano a good move? 88% SVP may not be a great and does not portray the fact that most nights he was playing with fire, but at the end he got the job done.

    • jd - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      You know my view on this. I think the Soriano signing was a gross over reaction to the game 5 loss and I think it had a lot to do with Storen’s struggles last year. I will be curious to see Williams bullpen management style next year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        I predicted early on that Rizzo would do it. I loved that Rizzo went to strengthen the pen but it was the wrong move and a ridiculous overpay and he lost a draft pick over it which was even worse. If you were willing to lose a pick, he could’ve signed Lohse which would’ve had more impact.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        draft pick loss hurt me more than the money, which was a significant overpay.

        what I am trying to argue that at the end, the move worked more than some of us are willing to admit.

  13. jd - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    A couple of things:

    1) As Price gets closer to free agency his value will decline. Most pundits feel that this off season he has maximum value and the Rays will very likely be motivated to move him.

    2) I think the package Mark suggests is too rich for Price and if that’s what it will take Rizzo should walk away. Rendon should not be moved unless as Ghost says we can get a Stanton in return.

    3) The Marlins are very unlikely to trade Stanton in their division.

    4) I would do Giolito, Cole and Goodwin for Price provided he can be extended. This is a 28 year old left handed pitcher a year removed from winning a Cy Young. These type of pitchers don’t grow on trees and as good as Giolito can be (and it’s still a projection) he’s still roughly 3 years away,

    5) Scherzer is scarier because he doesn’t have the previous history Price has.

    6) Samardja is better than his ERA suggests but he’s not worth multiple young prospects IMO. I would do Samardja for Cole 1 for 1.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      1) agree
      2) agree
      3) somewhat disagree; they traded uggla, willingham, etc within the division but I can see them changing direction because Stanton is a different beast.
      4) disagree; as soon as couple of years, we might need another home grown starting pitcher if one of the 3 were to leave.
      5) disagree; since max has not done it longer, that may keep his price down.
      6) no, thank you. he is more a risk than max.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      I agree with everything (except #3) you say and would do #4 with the proviso of a built in extension. I don’t like filling a need and creating a new need. Can’t trade Price.

      I still believe the greatest need is a quality 4th outfielder for the bench.

      Rizzo said to Kilgore that he would consider Solis to the pen.

      • Doc - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Ghost, now you’ re talkin’! Solis to the pen, not a bad idea.

        Robbie Ray should be in that mix too! Bet he’s ready to test ML waters next year. Thinking that Krol should improve. The pen looks better already. Still would like the Nats to come up with a swing and miss guy at the end of the pen.

        Still think, like you, that Nats biggest need is off the bench and 1st base. ALR was a perpetual hole in the lineup last year, with one good month.

        Also, our guy Goodwin is having a better time in the AFL than last year. Kid should be ready to bop by the end of next year, or maybe even earlier.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Morse provides insurance for the outfield and 1st base and Rizzo can trade Hairston if he’s as good as so many say he is.

      • natsjackinfl - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        I say Robbie Ray is going to be the pleasant suprise of 2014. He’s much further along in his develpoement than Solis, Purke or Cole.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        NatsJack, I love your predictions on the talent. You were spot on with Taylor Jordan and I believe he is the real deal. Sinker pitchers with a repertoire of breakers are super valuable. He just needs to fine tune and if he adds that cutter against the lefties I believe he could have #1 stuff.

  14. langleyclub - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    So, lets say the Nats trade Rendon, Giolito and Cole to Tampa for Price. Price is arbitration eligible for the next 3 years. He is going to get between $50 and $60 million (minimum) through arbitration or via new contract over the next 3 years. So, with Rendon making next to nothing over that time, the trade results in a $50 million+ payroll hit over the next 3 years. In addition, the Nats lose Giolito and Cole, who would make MLB minimum over that span. Productive players that make minimal amounts are gold because they give their team roster flexibility. This trade would also make less likely that the Nats keep both Jordan Zimmerman and Strasburg as both are arbitration eligible and are in line for $10 million+ contracts which will increase in 2015 and 2016. Would be shocked if the Nats would want to pay Strasburg, JZ, Gio and Price $60 million+ in 2015 and 2016.

    In addition to the economic issues, the trade also creates a hole at second base. Without Rendon and going all in for the World Series by dealing for Price, no chance that the Nats head in 2014 relying on Danny Espinosa and Lombo as their regular 2nd baseman. So, the Nats would then need to commit about $10 million for an Omar Infante type in 2014. The economics just make no sense. Plus the deal would cripple the Nats chances in future years as Rendon and Giolito may be building blocks of future championship seasons.

    Hope that the Nats do not give up their best young talent for a starting pitcher, when starting pitching was not the reason the Nats fell short in 2013.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    If you are picking up David Price to help you win in the postseason, he’s the wrong guy. He has a 5.06 ERA and a 1-4 record. He got crushed this year by Boston and wasn’t good 2 years ago against Texas or the year before that against Texas. His postseason starters ERA is even higher if you back out his great relief pitching back in the 2008 postseason.

    I really like him as a regular season pitcher but you also have to be concerned that he missed starts for the 1st time this year due to injury.

    My read on him is that he will help get you to the playoffs as he is his best in August and September but just hasn’t been an Ace in postseason.

    • Doc - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Another guy to keep watch on for the pen, is Mirowski. Good K pitcher with minimal BBs.

      Also Ghost, Morse may be the best bench strength out there. He hits Lefties as well as he hits Righties.

      Man what a home coming that would be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jd - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM


      I think the sample size is way too small to draw wide range conclusions. To me Price is a proven great pitcher and if you can get him without hemorrhaging too much you do it. I am pretty sure that the Yankees are hoping he gets to free agency because they want him and they don’t have the pieces to get him and the Rays wont trade him to them. The team with the most obvious trade pieces is Texas who can put together a package around Profar.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        jd, I love that Price is a money pitcher down the stretch with great numbers in August and September but unfortunately postseason data is usually small sample sizes. In Price’s case he has a few postseasons to analyze and its mostly bad and was awful this year. He’s also had a very good defense around him.

  16. letswin3 - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Hoping that LaRoche regains his offense is little more than whistling in the dark. Did you watch him at the plate all of last year….I’m talkin about the entire season, except for when he got his personal batting coach, Chipper Jones, to help him out for about a 2 week turnaround? He was not what a first baseman needs to bring to the table…..his “range” and “reaction times” are not what’s gonna get us back to the big dance…what’s needed is more hitting, leading to more runs scored, and a 237 hitter in the middle of the lineup just ain’t gonna cut it. I understand that there’s like $12-$13 million committed to him for ’14, but how can the Nats commit that bat to an otherwise promising lineup, regardless of the paycheck size. If they are really going to award first base to him to start the season, I hope that Mr. Williams will not wait until 50-60 games have gone by to make a change…that’s a Davey/Espinosa nightmare kinda thing. I am more comfortable with Moore over there (regardless of his defensive liabilities) only because his bat produces when he plays regularly. And I still haven’t given up on the Werth to first multiple benefits bonanza.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Thanks for supporting what I’ve said for about 7 months now. His defense due to age regression most likely is on the permanent decline and IF he gets to a .775 OPS he will be serviceable but unfortunately in the bottom 1/3 of 1st baseman and nowhere close to what this offense needs.

      • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        After they sent Espinosa down it was Laroche as the weak link in the field plus the bench who had to fill in for Harper.

        Its a big risk moving foward on Laroche. Rizzo seems to be more concerned with wishing on a star for Laroche to bounce back while also covering his butt on taking Laroche back.

      • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        Before you put ALR out to pasture, you have to actually have a replacement that is better. Mike Napoli is a possibility, but will have a lot of suitors so will cost a lot of money. And a first round draft pick. Oh, and also comes with avascular necrosis in both hips, which makes him a ticking time bomb.

        The rest of the free agent list really offers not much hope of improvement. And yes, that includes Michael Morse. Morse is a giant question mark given the season he had in 2013.

  17. philipd763 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I would not trade Rendon, he has too much potential. Scherzer is a free agent in 2015 so he would be just a one year rental and Price would be a two year rental.

  18. philipd763 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Other teams are putting the Nats at a disadvantage because they have lucrative TV money while the Nats are stuck with being at the mercy of Angelos and their lousy arrangement with MASN. As far as I know, Selig has never settled the dispute between the Nats and Angelos. The longer this dispute remains unsettled, the more disadvantaged the Nats franchise becomes.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Angelos strategy is to cry poor. Bloomberg valuated his team at over $1 billion and top 10 in the MLB. Now they are whining they have to trade Matt Weiters because they can’t afford to resign him in 2 years.

      What a crock of s***.

      • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Thats why they are the Whore-e-holes. Its all about money with that troll!

  19. Jefg - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Mid tier
    History proved with Colon deal in 2002
    What if baby nats had Lee, Grady and Phillips to build on then ??

  20. kirbs3256 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I do not want to lose Rendon…he will be so so good. He already shows flashes. I’m good with a second tier pitcher like Matt Garza or Scott Kazmier on a 2-3 yr deal while Giolito is growing. We need to think about locking up Dezi and JZimm now…and Harper – Strasburg in the next couple. We can’t give $100 mil to another outsider…..this being said, if you sign Cano that goes out the window. and I guess if you gain Cano, Rendon is trade able.

    We all have to remember, Rizzos plan has and always was to compete for the title in 2014. The last 2+ years came early….I truly believe we will get SOMEONE who is tied to a qualifying offer. We need that one more bat….I think it’s Cho or Elsberry. But if granderson is healthy, his pop behind Harper would be scary.

    The question becomes 2015. NO WAY do we pick up the ALR options, I don’t see .270/30/100 again like 12. We will have a hole at 1st. Will Zim move? Werth? Can TMo do it? The 2015 FA market is thin. Cuddyer and billy butler are about it at 1b.

    • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      Those are some big dominos to fall to work out to trade Rendon and pick up Cano. Its highly doubtful plus the chemistry of this team is good. I’m not so sure about Cano or the Brinks trucks you would have to line up for him.

      I say spend the money on the bench and if you can get Morse as a 4th outfielder, do it! #BeastMode

  21. tcostant - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    According to the NY Post, Rizzo is not a top 10 GM:

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      Seems right to me. Whether it was Rizzo’s fault or the players, it was many poor signings and poor performances led by the poor Haren signing followed by other questionable moves like LaRoche, Soriano and Hairston and DeJesus.

      About $40 million spent on Free Agents and.$118 million payroll to end the season was not good for go best record to out of the playoffs.

      • David Proctor - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        DeJesus wasn’t questionable at all, it was smart. He gave up literally nothing to the Cubs and flipped DeJesus to the Rays for a prospect.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Since technically you can’t collude to take a player for another team it was a risky move. It worked out but was the risk worth the reward?

      • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        If you’re going to smack Rizzo for reasonable moves that don’t work, it seems only fair to give him credit for risky moves that do.

    • Sonny G 10 - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      Too small a “body of work” for Rizzo to be considered. After MLB gutted the Nats farm system, its taken a lot of work just to get us competitive. If Rizzo gets us to the playoffs a few more years in a row, he might make the list.

  22. David Proctor - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    CBS Sports is reporting that several AL teams have interest in ALR as a 1B/DH. The Yankees are expected to be one. He would hit a lot of home runs in that ballpark–all those warning track flies would be out. The question of course becomes: if you trade LaRoche,who plays first? Don’t say Tyler Moore. Don’t say Zimmerman. Don’t say Werth. None of those things are happening in 2014. There has to be a real plan if you’re going to ship him off.

    • masterfishkeeper - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      I could see Werth moving in 2014. I don’t think it’s likely, but maybe. You pick up a big bat for left field (that may be the hard part) and move Harper to right.

      I agree that it’s unlikely, but Rizzo is likely to do something none of us expect.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Read what Rizzo said earlier on LaRoche. According to him he’s his 1st baseman. Ridiculous.

    • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      The Yankees have a 33yo 1b that they owe $67.5 million over the next three years. Who probably will hit better than LaRoche in 2014. And they already have a bunch of other players to play DH for them. ALR isn’t going to the Yankees.

  23. jd - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM


    I am not buying it. Not with Beltran, Granderson and Choo on the open market. I can see a team like the Brewers or Houston showing some interest if we eat half his salary. As far as a real plan to replace ALR; how hard is it to replace a 0.6 WAR player?

    • David Proctor - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Beltran, Granderson and Choo don’t play 1B. Given that T-Mo had one of the worst WARs in theentire league, pretty hard to replace internally. There are no free agents out there any better.

  24. David Proctor - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Also, Mike Rizzo has reached out to DC-native Javier Lopez.

    “Lopez, 36, has appeared in 72 games per season over the past four years, striking out 6.9 batters per nine innings with a 2.37 ERA. Last year, left-handed batters hit .156/.208/.222 against his deceptive, sidewinding delivery. Over the last three years, remarkably, Lopez has allowed one home run to a left-handed hitter in 299 plate appearances.”

    • jd - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Well, since you are talking about the Yankees they do have Mark Texiera at 1st base so I took your comment to mean that they are looking for an extra left handed bat to DH and play 1st base.

      I guarantee you that if T-Mo played 1st base all year he would have little trouble beating the 0.6 WAR ALR put up last year.

      • therealjohnc - Nov 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        Actually, ALR is likely to have little trouble beating his 0.9 bWAR or 0.6 fWAR next year, either. For example, fangraphs projects Laroche to put up 1.2 WAR next season (they predict -0.1 for Tyler Moore).

    • jd - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      That would be a good signing.

  25. Joe Seamhead - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Interesting results on a poll on the Phillies blog regarding whether they felt that signing Byrd was a good move:

    • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      Tough crowd. 82% dont like the deal. Oh yah, thats right, that poll is on a Philly blog.

  26. Section 222 - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    I love Rendon and would think long and hard about trading him, even as part of a deal for Price or Scherzer. I would trade him in an instant for Stanton though. Don’t forget, he’s only six months older than Rendon. He’s already a superstar and hasn’t come near his potential yet.

    I wish there was a definitive report on what Rizzo actually offered for Greinke. I sincerely doubt it was all four of Desi, Espi, Storen, and JZnn. Rizzo wasn’t going to trade his entire middle infield. But let’s be honest, it’s only Desi and JZnn who cause us heartburn at this point, right? If Espi and/or Storen brought us a good major league player back then, that would have worked out fine for us. Now, I doubt they would.

    Greinke is a darn good pitcher but with a lot of mileage on him already. And he’s very expensive (5 yrs, $127 million left on his contract.) He and JZnn have been very similar pitchers over the past three years, and JZnn is 2 years younger. At this point, I don’t think I’d trade JZnn straight up for Greinke. And Desi has entered that small group of untouchables on this roster.

    • David Proctor - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      My concern about Stanton is his average and injury history. Don’t get me wrong, I would probably still give up Rendon for him, but there are some red flags there. The raw power is unmatched right now though.

      • Section 222 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        His average? Really? In an injury plagued year, his OBP was .365, the highest in his career. I deal Rendon for Stanton any day of the week. And I’m a big Rendon fan believe me. So the fact that this deal will never happen is fine with me.

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    “@AdamKilgoreWP: Scott Boras said he will meet with Nats’ contingent before the GM Meetings break.”

  28. water47 - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Speaking of the MASN deal, how does Angelos/Orioles get to participate in the competitive balance draft. I would think the Nats could argue that the Orioles should be disqualified due to their market being more than 70% of the Bmore & Washington Market. That would seem to make it one of the largest markets.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Because the balance is on ticket sales and local TV rights and excludes his MASN profit which gives him all the perks from the competitive balance.

      Just another loophole Angelos has worked in his favor. His team is worth over $1 billion which puts him in the top 10 of valuations yet he gets the same perks of the poorest reams.

      Doesn’t seem fair? It’s like sports franchise welfare fraud if it was illegal.

      • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        There has to be an accountants model for Angelos to manipulate how much he can tank his team and still maximize profits which is entirely possible if you are classified as a small market team!

        It sounds like he can lose money on the team level which is what MLB monitors and make a ton of money as he collects his share of the MLB media deals and then his MASN profits and then the cherry on top is his competitive balance revenue share which is a free $20,000,000 to his team for creating “suckitude” by like Ghost said is a loophole!

        What type of BS is that!

      • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        I just looked it up and Bloomberg has the Orioles as the 7th most valuable franchise based on a $1.120 billion valuation. They value theOrioles share of MASN’s value at $492 million!

  29. water47 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Ghost & nat128,

    Alas, that is all true but I wanted to vent and hope that it could be another way to resolve this MASN deal!

    • nats128 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Its hard to negotiate a settlement when one side knows he will lose and has every incentive to push this off as long as possible.





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