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Nats sign McLouth to 2-year contract

Dec 6, 2013, 5:15 PM EDT

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Seeking an upgrade to a bench that was among the majors’ least-productive units this season, the Nationals are adding a veteran with significant experience. And paying him like an everyday player.

The Nationals have come to terms on a 2-year contract with outfielder Nate McLouth, pending a physical, a source familiar with the deal confirmed Friday afternoon. The deal guarantees McLouth $10.75 million, according to the Baltimore Sun, a substantial salary for a player who doesn’t figure to be a regular part of the lineup.

McLouth, 32, is a career .250 hitter with a .334 on-base percentage, 100 homers and 129 steals in nine seasons with the Pirates, Braves and Orioles. He’s been an everyday player when healthy, for the most part, and wound up with 593 plate appearances in Baltimore this season (during which he made only $2 million).

The Nationals, though, lured the 2008 NL All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner with a multi-year deal that will pay him only slightly less in 2014 than starting center fielder Denard Span is due to earn ($6.5 million).

McLouth should immediately bolster a Nationals bench that struggled mightily this season, posting a combined .206 batting average and .264 on-base percentage. He’ll become new manager Matt Williams’ top left-handed bat off the bench, assuming a role held by Chad Tracy the last two seasons, but he’ll also provide a more-rounded skill-set.

McLouth is a gifted outfielder who can play all three positions, affording Span, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth the opportunity to take more games off. He also boasts speed on the bases, having recorded a career-high 30 steals this season for the Orioles.

With McLouth on board and right-hander Doug Fister acquired earlier this week to fill out the starting rotation, the Nationals will head to next week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando with only a handful of roster spots left to fill. They still seek a left-hander for their bullpen and perhaps more bench help (an infielder and a backup catcher).

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Candide - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    If Harper, Span, and Werth are all healthy, hard to see where McLouth is going to get much playing time.

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Chase Hughes ‏@chasehughesCSN 3m
      $5M is a lot for a bench guy, but Werth has averaged 105 gms the last 2 yrs, Harper just had surgery, & Span hit .263 in 1st 1/2 of ’13.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        This is the 4th outfielder the Nats needed.

      • pdowdy83 - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Well done sir. I believe you called this the other day. I had the contract right just didn’t think they would spend that much on him. I’m pretty happy with this. Great offseason so far.

      • jamie - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM

        Werth is getting up there and Span is no spring chicken. Great move.

    • Steady Eddie - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Along with McLouth being injury insurance,if LaRoche doesn’t return to close to his 2012 form, he could let Williams put Werth at first occasionally, especially against southpaws, and give Harper more time in RF (if he doesn’t start him there).

      • letswin3 - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        Good thinkin, Eddie. A most viable solution to several conditions. Who knows, they may have even suggested to McLouth that he will be in position to compete to start in right field in ’15 … when Werth may be more seriously considered for full-time attention to first base.

    • Hiram Hover - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      And if grandma had …

      • Steady Eddie - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Just because Davey would never have done that doesn’t mean Matt Williams might not. Once Rizzo gets the players, they’re Matt’s to manage.

      • Hiram Hover - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        Eddie

        My apologies – I wasn’t called Davey “grandma” but trying to make a joke about Candide’s premise – if they all stay healthy, which seems unlikely.

        The allusion was to the old one-liner, which I didn’t want to complete to spare those of tender sensibilities: “And if grandma had [different reproductive organs] she’d be grandpa.”

      • Steady Eddie - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        Hah, no prob, I knew the reference from my brother but thought you were suggesting that the hope that Werth might start a move to first was wishful thinking — which is why I brought in the reference to Davey, because it would have been wishful thinking had Davey stayed.

        The PG-rated Version of that line is “if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a streetcar.”

  2. Baseballswami - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Speaking of backup catchers–Nieves is a Philly. More lives than a cat.

  3. David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    “He’ll become new manager Matt Williams’ top left-handed bat off the bench, assuming a role held by Chad Tracy the last two seasons, but he’ll also provide a more-rounded skill-set.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure of this. McClouth replaces Bernadina. Sign a guy like Chavez to replace Tracy.

    • Sonny G 10 - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Good call, David. I really liked the Shark, but I believe McLouth is a significant upgrade over Bernie.

  4. masterfishkeeper - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    That’s a big if, based on the last two years. At the least he’ll give Werth some days off.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    I like it. He’s a starter on most teams and a smart add-on considering the flexibility he gives the Nats. If Espinosa is indeed the middle infielder I hope Rizzo trades Hairston to the AL and gets Drew Stubbs and signs Eric Chavez.

    • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      “Ghost of Steve M. – Nov 18, 2013 at 8:29 AM
      2 of the bench players I would look at is McLouth and Morse”

      Nice call Ghost!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        Thanks. I think I mentioned McLouth before that and to David Proctor in the last post, don’t be convinced that Hairston is staying. You can do the strategies and see that a NL team shouldn’t be looking for a RH guy like Hairston who can’t hit RHPs and can’t play average defense. He’s a negative WAR guy who can be traded to a AL team.

  6. MicheleS - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Upgrade the bench – check, still waiting on a Lefty for the pen, but could use Det or Solis so a half check, and Fleece the Tigers for a starting pitcher – check. Good off season for Rizzo.. just needs to sign Ian and JZ to extensions and settle the arb cases. Piece of Cake

    • DaveB - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Still think they need an upgrade to the backup C position also … Suzuki & Buck are still out there as FAs, and there are a couple of teams that have signed upgrades that might have excess (e.g. Tampa, maybe Yankees) so I think we will be able to pick someone up that would give some protection if Wilson gets hurt again.

      • MicheleS - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        I thought Buck was going to the Twins?

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        I thought Buck was already in the Twin Cities!

    • Sonny G 10 - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      +1

  7. dhamm6500 - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    • Jeff - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      We want A team 2 , Liam!!!

  8. DaveB - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    I think this was probably a bad day for Corey Brown … whatever chance he had of making the team just went way down. I think he has no options left, so will be interesting to see if Rizzo tries to get something for him (or include him in a package), or if he just tries to get him through waivers at some point.

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Good point. This is almost certainly the end of Corey Brown.

      • NatsLady - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        He had plenty of chances. I don’t feel too bad for him. How about Eury Perez? Is this his last option year?

  9. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 6, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    A couple of weeks ago I read an article — from a Philadelphia newspaper; forgive me, it was off a link — about the difference between ‘4th outfielders’ or ‘bench players’ in the NL and AL. Mr. McLouth fits the bill for the Nats. He’s a decent bat, can pinch run, is a LH bat, can be double-switched into any of the OF positions, and otherwise provides the manager with multiple options. Much more versatile than, for example, Scott Hairston. But Mr. McLouth is not, in my mind, a starting OF for the Nats. And I certainly do not see him as allowing the Nats to trade Denard Span, as some of the commenters at MLBTR are suggesting. Which, of course, isn’t necessary now since the Nats have already acquired a top-flight starting pitcher.

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Exactly. Even if you presume they’re about equal offensively (which I don’t think is true), Span blows him out of the water defensively. It would make no sense to replace Span with McClouth.

  10. NatsLady - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    That brings the 40-man up to 40, right? So Rizzo can’t go for anyone in the Rule 5 Draft without taking someone else off, and risking that guy getting drafted. Am I understanding this correctly?

    • pdowdy83 - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      Yes. That is correct. The rule 5 draft picks have to be placed on the 40 man roster. I still would not be shocked if they DFA Corey brown for this move though.

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        yes, back to 40. Agreed, Corey Brown has now been replaced.

  11. sjm308 - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    I like this deal.
    I like that we seem to not have problems with salaries.
    I think Corey Brown needs to be dealt sooner than later. I would not mind getting at least a bag of balls rather then trying to get him through waivers again this year.
    I, like MichelleS want to see more money spent with extentions for both Ian and JZimmnn.
    My backup catcher would be Buck but I would not be upset with Suzuki.
    Ghost had McClouth, hoping he is correct on Chavez as well.
    How difficult is it now to be an Oriole fan? They have lost their closer, and now their starting LF and have added very very little.

    Go Nats!!

  12. pdowdy83 - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    This is major insurance for when an outfielder goes on the DL. It happened with Morse and Werth in 2012. It happened with Harper and Werth last year. Now at least they have a guy to plug in who put up 2.5 WAR last season. A guy who plays good defense in LF with a bit of pop and above average speed. I like him better than Dejesus.

  13. Joe Seamhead - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Good call on Mclouth, Ghost. Is it safe for me to rejoice that between this move, and the trading of Lombo,that we won’t be seeing Tyler Moore, Kobernus, or any other minor leaguer infielders playing the outfield in 2014? I detested that last year. And when folks here made statements to the effect that any of those guys played adequately I cringed. No they didn’t, not one of them. We were lucky that Moore didn’t get Span hurt by not getting out of Denard’s way, Lombo needed two relay guys to get a ball in, and Kobernus is still looking for a routine fly ball that he played into extra bases. I like this move.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      Thanks and agreed. Rizzo like I said to SJM is that he learned from 2013 where the weak links are and the entire bench stinks and only Hairston, Brown and TyMo remain. Brown will gone before Opening Day starts and I think TyMo will be back in AAA. Hairston has to be traded to really make the bench a + 2 or 3 combined WAR.

      • natsjackinfl - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        Brown may be gone by next week.

      • NatsLady - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:29 AM

        Brown probably didn’t do himself any favors by making it clear he didn’t want to go to Venezuela, and then getting “sick” after a few games and coming home.

  14. rogieshan - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    A smart, versatile veteran who brings grit to the club. Really smart insurance move by Rizzo. McLouth should also make a huge difference when the team plays inter-league games on the road and the DH is required. No more giving at-bats away. Plus-plus.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      Very good point on the DH. Last year — and 2011 with Matt Stairs for over half the season — were painful to watch.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    A pretty good piece explaining advanced metrics regarding defense. After reading it you realize how flawed defensive saber metrics really are, but though I think that there is a lot of hocus-pokus involved with them, combine them with a scouting report and you do beat fielding percentage.That said, they are very subjective, and admittedly by their inventors, lacking in accuracy.

    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/64415132/?partnerId=ed-7777887-629379973

  16. trochlis318 - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    We might be getting more Os fans after this offseason lol still fu Angelos Go Nats

    • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      +1

  17. David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Kilgore lays out very well why this signing is a great one: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/12/06/why-nate-mclouth-makes-sense-for-the-nationals/

    • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      Not sure if hes said anything really new that hasnt been discussed here. His snarky comment on 1 less yacht could be said about all these players which I guess means Soriano was 2 yachts and Hairston was 1/2 a yacht.

      I read payroll is now heading above $130 mill. That’s a fleet of yachts!

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    For anyone dissing Denard Span’s offense, it was the tale of 2 halfs to the season. Span was .302/.337/.413/750 compared to a 1st half OPS of .677.

    Also consider Span stole 10 of 12 bags in the 2nd half which is like adding .32 net points to his OPS as the OBP drops 7 points for the 2 caught stealing but 10 stolen bases is like turning 10 singles into doubles adding 39 points to his slugging so it’s like a net .782 OPS! Not too bad!

    If you believe Span will be the 2nd half Span then he’d be #6 in OPS of NL centerfielders!

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      I believe Span will likely be somewhere in between first half Span and second half Span. And that’s okay.

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:07 PM

        I like 2nd 1/2 Span. Thats impressive when you turn those singles into a stolen base double. This is why Ellsbury becomes extremely valuable because he steal bases so proficiently and singles are like doubles.

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:07 PM

        I like 2nd 1/2 Span. Thats impressive when you turn those singles into a stolen base double. This is why Ellsbury becomes extremely valuable because he steal bases so proficiently and singles are like doubles.

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    This is an wonderful signing Rizzo… Great job…however… I do find it interesting that we got another LH Of instead of a righty… Since Werth and Harp are lefties… And Hairston is a lefty too…. But nonetheless, our bench production wasn’t up to par….

    Now looking for a back up C and another RH Of… I think were going to be set…

    Oh and how could I forget about a starting lefty pitcher….

  20. dgourds - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I am so stoked with this acquisition. McClouth is a gritty ballplayer. He’s an awesome leadoff hitter who disrupts pitcher’s concentration when he is on base. He’s a very good outfielder. Span most definitely does not “blow him out of the water” defensively. I’m rooting for Span to be 2nd half Denard in ’14, but if he falters, McCloth is great insurance. I really think he is by far the best leadoff hitter on the team right now. This was a great, great move. Thanks Mike!

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      “Span most definitely does not “blow him out of the water” defensively.”

      Yes, he most certainly does. Both by eye test and advanced metrics.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        I’m with you David. McLouth can play all 3 outfield positions.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        Concur.

      • knoxvillenat - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        +1 or 2 or maybe even 3. Span has it all over McLouth, defensively that is.

      • dgourds - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        I’m not saying McClouth is a better outfielder than Span. But he is no slouch. He’s won a Gold Glove! He’s a smart gritty defender with a better arm than Span. Span is great out there, but doesn’t blow McClouth out of the water.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Mr. Rizzo, these moves you are making are excellent. Please get that RH 5th outfielder and trade Hairston. Next move after that is Eric Chavez and then the backup catcher. I think when you do all that even Danny Espinosa will fit in well as you don’t really have to rely on his bat.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Think he needs to get a 5 pitcher that is a lefty… Det needs to go to the BP… But yeah… Another righty and a back up c…

      teams better look out…

      Really excited about this up coming season….

      • NatsLady - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        The Cards went to the WS with all righties, I believe. Fister has a completely different look than the rest of our rotation. It should be OK no matter who No. 5 is.

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:09 PM

        The Braves are the team you want to neutralize and all of a sudden with the loss of McCann and Chipper Jones (switch) after 2012, they are no longer really lefty. Its Freddie Freeman and Justin Hayward and thats really it.

        This is why I agree it would help more to have 2 to 3 lefties in the bullpen. The problem with Storen was that lefties were bashing him.

  22. Mrsb loves the Nats - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    I may be the only one… But I think T Moore is out…

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      Nah, I agree. I don’t see room for him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        If you really want an elite bench than TyMo and Hairston have no spots on this team but lucky for TyMo that he has options. No room for him unless Rizzo uses Espi to cover SS, 2nd and 3rd and doesn’t acquire another bench 1B who is a RH.

      • therealjohnc - Dec 7, 2013 at 1:13 AM

        This move jettisons Corey Brown. Corey Brown was clinging to the “LH bench bat/reserve OF that can actually play defense” role … a role that is now filled by McLouth. Since Brown has no options, he is gone. The Nats may hang onto him into Spring Training in case someone gets hurt, but are more likely to DFA him or trade him for a bag of baseballs to a team that needs outfielders.

  23. knoxvillenat - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    MrsB, I’m okay with 4 RH pitchers in the rotation and 1 lefty if that 4th RH is a better pitcher than the 2nd lefty. Otherwise I would agree with you.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      If you go 4 RH starters it would help to have 3 LHPs in the pen.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      I actually would prefer 3 starting lefties and 2 righties… I like Det.. Don’t get me wrong.. And I think he can be an excellent pitcher but he isn’t durable… And we need the back end of the rotation to be as strong as the top…

      And I think a bona-fine lefty should and could do it… But we lack lefties period… We only had 2 in Abad and Krol and both are gone… And that leaves no lefties in the BP…

      Big problem last year… Don’t want that again this year.

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        Its 3 righties right now in Stras, JZ, and Fister and thats not changing. Gio is the lone lefty and the #5 spot could be Detwiler.

        I agree wtih Natslady above with her comment on the Cards did it with 5 righty starters. If you can pitch, you can pitch and your specialists in the bullpen matters more.

        The Braves projected starters are 6 rightys and 2 leftys. Seems at that ratio and right handed starting pitcher is whats needed.

      • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        My point on the braves 6 starters that are righty and 2 starters that are lefty is referring to starting position players.

  24. nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I see the bench like this:

    1) Backup catcher – VACANT
    2) 4th outfielder & LH – McLouth
    3) Middle Infielder – Espi or ?
    4) 5th outfielder & RH – Hairston or ?
    5) Backup 3rd baseman – Could be Rendon is the backup and Espi goes to 2nd or ?

    Who plays backup 1st base as a Right-handed player? Is it Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore, Scott Hairston, Jayson Werth, or a new bench player

  25. nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Napoli stays with the Red Sox.

  26. nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    “If the only priority is to get paid, there’s always a sucker — and Seattle was the sucker,” an agent tells Crasnick. “For everybody to say this is an A-plus for Jay Z, I just don’t buy it. That would have been getting New York to pay $240MM. Getting Seattle to pay $240MM wasn’t some masterstroke.”

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      I know it’s 3 righties… I’m saying that if I could, I would have 3 lefties and 2 righties… I value lefties… But if the Nats do go with a heavy righty line up… They’ve got to add some lefties to the BP…

  27. natsfan1a - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Yeah, but is he hairy-chested? Just kidding. Gooo, bench guys!

  28. nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Seriously? Beltran to the Yankees!

  29. nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    There may not be a Top 10 Free Agent available by the time the Winter Meetings start! Choo, Garza, Ubaldo

    • letswin3 - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM

      I know it’s probably not a good investment to sign a FA to a $150-170MM contract that takes him to age 39 or 40. But Choo sure would change things up nicely for the Nats over at least the next 4 years, or so. An OBP just a couple of clicks under 400……WOW !! And what would that do to the prospects for extending Ian, Jordan, Stras and even Harper over the next few years. I’ll kick in a couple hundred if it’ll help.

  30. David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Beltran to the Yankees. 3 years/ 45 mil.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 6, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      And Mr. Napoli back to the Red Sox, not?

  31. David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    This is an unfortunate McLouth moment:

    http://wapc.mlb.com/play?content_id=16989585

    • nats128 - Dec 6, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      Wasnt Davey the manager then?

  32. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    a bit expensive, isn’t it? he also gets a club option? wow

    • David Proctor - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      It’s market value. Jonny Gomes got 2/10 from the Red Sox. Kilgore broke down the money aspect:

      “McLouth was worth 2.5 wins above replacement last year for the Orioles, per FanGraphs. He figures to see a sharp decrease in playing time – his 593 plate appearances may well be cut in half. Even if McLouth’s production and playing time fall, he’ll probably still be a one-win player. One executive said teams have been paying roughly $6 million per win on the free agent market this winter”

    • Section 222 - Dec 7, 2013 at 2:25 AM

      I’m not sure i agree that it’s an overpay, but even if it is, does that really bother you? Is even saving $4 million over 2 years really going to allow Rizzo to do anything that he can’t already do? That just seems like a silly concern. I consider whatever anything inflated that McLouth is getting simply a payment by the Nats to convince him to go to a team where he has no chance of starting on Opening Day. The guy got nearly 600 ABs last year. Surely the Nats can afford a few million dollars to soften the sting of only getting half that this year, if he’s lucky.

      Oh, and club options aren’t worth anything to players. There’s no wow in that at all.

  33. Jeff - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Oliver Perez seems like the next ex- buc to join the fold – re join in his case.
    Hope springs eternal : Ryan Doumit of twins

    • Jeff - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      Why not expand on my buddies deal ??
      Ryan Doumit for Matheus, Benincasa,
      Brown and Perez. Clears 3 roster spots minus one fir another ex buc in DC!!!!
      Santa Claus stop on MSP abs pick
      Up Doumit fir Matty9

  34. Sonny G 10 - Dec 6, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    I really like the McLouth signing. Wow, Rizzo going to fire all his bullets before the winter meetings start? What are we going to do for the rest of the winter? Save some excitement for later, Rizzo. (Just kidding, let it rip!)

  35. Drew - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    I really like the McLouth signing, especially with Werth’s injuries the last two years.

    Memo to the crazy Mariners: In 2006 the Nats brought in Alfonso Soriano. He had a monster season: 46 homers and 41 stolen bases.

    The Nats lost 91 games. Good luck with that.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      They were 71-91 last year and should improve. With King Felix and Iwakuma as a great duo of starters and top prospects Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen and Mike Zunino, and others, if they get their Draft picks performing like their draft status they will be good quickly or they have options for a blockbuster trade. Cano by himself only gets them closer to a .500 record.

  36. Section 222 - Dec 7, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Wow, turn your back for a few hours and Rizzo strikes again. Amazing. And great call Ghost! I really didn’t think he’d be able to land someone that good for our bench. Hope he keeps going along the lines you suggested by ending the Hairston experiment.

    Of course, MLB Network is all Yankees and Cano all the time, with a few minutes break to talk about Beltran and Ellsbury. Oh, and a dose of Red Sox news with Napoli. It’s funny, but not surprising, that on the two biggest events of the week — The Nats/Tigers trade and the Cano signing, all the talk is about the teams that lost the star players, not those that made great leaps forward.

    McClouth isn’t a move in the same league of course, but the difference between him and Stairs/Tracy is remarkable. Rizzo definitely learns from his mistakes. Kudos.

    • NatsLady - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      True, they didn’t talk much about McLouth, because that really was a “minor” deal in the scheme of things, but they talked plenty about the Fister trade. And I don’t mind the lack of publicity at all. We had too much publicity last fall and winter.

      • NatsLady - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM

        Also, re: learning from mistakes. Agreed. I think he was willing to let Robbie Ray go as a result of over-valuing Henry Rodriguez. “There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect.” Until a pitcher shows what he can do in the majors on a consistent basis, he’s just a guy. Of course, you have to temper that, you can’t be letting Alex Meyer go every day, hence, you keep Giolito, who apprently has no ceiling.

        BTW, speaking of Giolito, during the recent conditioning workshop, they had some contests.

        Here were the final top point-getters for individual relative strength:
        1. Dominican second baseman Wilmer Difo (6-foot-0, 175 lbs.)
        2. Right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito (6-foot-6, 225 lbs.)
        3. Right-handed pitcher Jake Jojansen (6-foot-6, 235 lbs.)

        This entire series on the Nats nutrition and conditioning program for minor-leagues is interesting if you haven’t seen it. No PB&J sandwiches for our guys.

        http://www.masnsports.com/byron_kerr/2013/12/eating-right-brandes-on-building-strength-within-the-nationals.html

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      222, thanks. It’s a change on direction for Rizzo to spend starter money on a bench player. McLouth easily is a starter on 10 teams in the MLB. I just hope Rizzo doesn’t stop there with spending. I’m hearing that Espinosa will be the utility infielder. If Hairston is retained then the bench is completed with a catcher and another utility type. Still need another lefty arm in the pen.

      Also don’t rule out a trade.

  37. edshelton2013 - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    McLouth’s career stats are BA .250/ OBP .334.–not great. We’ll see if he can maintain those numbers coming off the bench.
    I agree that Corey Brown now becomes history. He’s 28 but only got 40 ABs with the Nats since 2010, Will he be DFAd or can we package him in a deal?

    • nats128 - Dec 7, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      If Rizzo needs the 40 man spot he wont make it to Spring Training. If he does it depends on the health of everyone. Chances are he will be DFA’d becuz he has no options and it gives another team the ability to sign him as a Free Agent to a Minor League deal. Once Brown is called up he has to stay up or go thru that DFA system over and over again. Hes a good fit for a team like Houston but why would they give up more than a case of sunflower seeds or the bag of balls or Cutter Dykstra.

  38. NatsLady - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Baseball Prospectus’ take on the McLouth deal (they like).

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22374

  39. nats128 - Dec 7, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    “NatsLady: This entire series on the Nats nutrition and conditioning program for minor-leagues is interesting if you haven’t seen it. No PB&J sandwiches for our guys.

    http://www.masnsports.com/byron_kerr/2013/12/eating-right-brandes-on-building-strength-within-the-nationals.html

    Thanks for that link NatsLady. I had no idea of this program. I thought the bus would pull up to the Burger King after a game for dinner.

  40. Section 222 - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Thanks for that link NL. Great stuff.

    I wasn’t complaining about the MLB Net talking heads not discussing McLouth. Definitely not a move in the same league as those that have been getting the airtime, as I said. And sure, they talked about the Fister signing, but almost all from the perspective of the Tigers: Why’d they do it? What’s Dombrowski’s next move? Do they really have enough starting pitching? Wow, they traded Fielder and Fister? A remake of the team, etc. etc. etc. And of course, as soon as Ellsbury signed, the attention died down. The Yankees-centric coverage is really quite amazing when you think about it. Ellsbury signs, let’s talk about the Yankees. Cano leaves for Seattle, let’s talk about the Yankees. Granderson signs with the Mets, let’s talk about the Yankees. Beltran signs, let’s talk about the Yankees. (The Cards were in the WS last year for goodness sakes!) Will the Yankees get Tanaka?

    If they’re going to talk about the Yankees, they might spend a few minutes talking about how crappy their pitching staff is.

    One thing that has come through in all the Yankees blather is that the Yankees have no farm system to speak of. They have to buy players because they aren’t developing them. Thank goodness Rizzo has a different approach. I think I’d rather have Gio and Fister than Beltran and Sabathia.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 72 53 --
ATLANTA 66 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 9.5
NEW YORK 60 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.0
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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