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Nats New Year’s resolutions

Jan 1, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

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We can now say goodbye to 2013 (something I have a hunch plenty of Nationals fans are happy to do) and say hello to 2014 (something I’m sure plenty of you out there are ready to do).

With that in mind, I’ve once again managed to get my hands on all the New Year’s resolutions from Nationals players, front-office execs and others associated with the franchise. Many thanks, as always, to my unnamed source for providing these classified documents to me in the name of journalism and the public’s right to know.

Here we go…

BRYCE HARPER: Look before you leap.

STEPHEN STRASBURG: Pitch 200 innings.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN: Start working in that first baseman’s mitt so it will be good and ready in 2015.

JAYSON WERTH: Whatever that was you did from July through September, keep on doing it.

IAN DESMOND: Whatever that was you did the last two seasons, keep on doing it.

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: If presented with a fair, long-term contract offer from the Nationals before Opening Day, sign the dotted line. If not, pitch even better this year and force them to pay you even more.

ADAM LAROCHE: Recognizing this might be it for you, go put together the best season you’ve got in you and hope it ends in a champagne bath come October.

WILSON RAMOS: Catch 125 games, don’t spend one day on the DL.

DENARD SPAN: Get on base 40 times per month.

DANNY ESPINOSA: Recognize the situation, embrace the idea of becoming a utilityman and spend the whole year back in the big leagues.

GIO GONZALEZ: Try your best not to conduct any more interviews that include the phrase: “I felt like I was making love to my hand.”

ROSS DETWILER: Make 30 starts and prove once and for all you can be counted upon as a quality, major-league starter.

DOUG FISTER: Take the entire Nats infield out for a nice dinner at spring training. You’re gonna want these guys on your side all year.

RAFAEL SORIANO: Memorize this scene from Seinfeld.

DREW STOREN: Get one of your Stanford buddies to develop a memory wipe program that lets you forget anything that happened in 2013.

MATT WILLIAMS: If given the choice of either saying “World Series or Bust” or not saying “World Series or Bust” … don’t say “World Series or Bust.”

MIKE RIZZO: Don’t let Jordan Zimmermann or Ian Desmond so much as get a whiff of free agency.

TED LERNER: Keep enough cash stashed away in the emergency fund for a significant July 31 acquisition if needed. Oh, and if given the choice of either asking the District of Columbia for a $300 million retractable roof or not asking the District of Columbia for a $300 million retractable roof … don’t ask the District of Columbia for a $300 million retractable roof.

BUD SELIG: Just step in already and do something to resolve the most ludicrous TV rights deal in MLB. (NOTE: This resolution has no chance of coming true.)

MARK ZUCKERMAN: Do a better job coming up with story ideas so I don’t have to resort to writing yet another lame New Year’s resolutions post in 2015. (NOTE: This resolution has no chance of coming true.)

  1. natsjackinfl - Jan 1, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    Happy New Year everyone!

    And keep up the great work Mark and Chase!

  2. knoxvillenat - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    New Year’s resolution……more appreciation for the work done here by Mark and Chase, and for the insightful comments from my fellow NI’s. Happy New Year everyone.

  3. sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Happy New Year to all!

  4. MicheleS - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Happy New Year everyone! Thanks Mark and Chase for all your hard work

    See you all Opening Day (made the leap and became a 1/2 season plan holder)!!!

    • sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      Big move! More time at Justin’s. I am jealous.

  5. natsfan1a - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Happy New Year to Mark, Chase, and all of y’all Insiders!

    (Oh, and put me down for a tuck. Hang on. Changed my mind. Make it an untuck.)

  6. Jw - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    If Ramos only plays 125 games this team is in trouble. They need a better backup catcher and/or for Ramos to play another position (first base?) on days when he’s not in the squat.

    • sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      Prediction- Ramos plays ZERO innings at first. He could dh vs. AL teams though.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM

        Agree with you, sjm308! Happy New Year, everybody. Aren’t you glad that the Lerners own the Nats instead of Danny “The Jock Sniffer” Snyder? In Daniel Steinberg’s column in the WP this morning Frank Herzog refers to Snyder as a ” jock sniffer.” I about spit my coffee across the room and immediately thought how glad I am that it wasn’t Snyder that runs the Nats.

      • Jw - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        DH in AL parks gets him up to 135 at most. Catchers who are an integral part of the offense need to play more games than that. Posey and Yadi both have played first base, Carlos Ruiz has played third in order to have them in the lineup more often. If Ramos is raking, Williams will do something to have him in there.

  7. micksback1 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I’m back! Happy New Year to all!

    • MicheleS - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Hi Mick.. you were missed

    • nats128 - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      Hey Mick! Happy New Year!

    • unkyd59 - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      MICK!!!

      • sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Hey Mick – happy new year!!

  8. JayB - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Pitcher’s hold runners and learn to step off and vary hold times………Batter’s change approach with two strikes and put the ball in play the other way. Hit it where it is pitched with two strikes. You had two for you give the team one.

  9. Section 222 - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Don’t change a thing Mark, it’s one of my favorite posts of the season. Especially if you can come up with another relevant Seinfeld clip. Time to look forward not back. That’s my resolution anyway.

    Don’t get greedy. 125 games caught plus some DHing in AL parks would be just fine. Just add “Find a decent backup catcher” to Rizzo’s resolution.

  10. sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Just got back from baseball reference. Ruiz played ZERO games at any position besides catcher in 2013. He did dh though.

    • Jw - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Ruiz was hurt much of 2013. Take a look back to seasons earlier in his career when he was a force in the Phillies lineup. And you’re missing the point. 25% of the season with no Ramos in the lineup and only Solano/Leon in his place ain’t gonna cut it.

      • MicheleS - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        Ruiz was also suspended the first 25 games of 2013

      • sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        jw – I don’t disagree with that logic but I do disagree with putting him in a position he has never played. I want a solid backup as much as anyone and I want Ramos to get the decent amount of rest that other solid catchers get. No day game after a night game and maybe a rest in AL parks for 2 of the 3 games where he can just dh. I am intrigued with Leon and his good winter season but its not the way I would go.

  11. sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Just checked 2012 – still nothing but catcher & dh for Ruiz.

  12. sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Molina played a whopping 5 games at 1st and in 3 of those, he started as catcher and moved to first in later innings. Just not sure how Ramos playing 5 games at first helps our team since he has never played it before. If I see him with a new glove during spring training like Ryan, I will start to think there is a shot but I just don’t see it.

    • Jw - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Molina caught about 140 games, didn’t he? If Ramos can do that, more power to him. But do you expect Rizzo/Williams to bank on that?

  13. lovedanats - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Happy New Year, Mark!
    Thanks so much for the 10 significant moments. They were spot on and showed how much thought you put into your list. 2014 is the Nats year. I feel it!

  14. JayB - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Davey and Rizzo banked on Zack Duke and HROD and Danny!

  15. Doc - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Hope the Nats’ batters learn to adapt early in the season, so we don’t have to wait until post ASG to see them smash the ball.

    Happy New Year to all!!!

  16. JayB - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    ALR should play every inning of every ST Game…..Given he needs 400 ABs to get this timing

    • slidell2 - Jan 1, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Ha! Threaten him with it anyway. Might focus his attention. Seriously, I wonder what his usual work regimen is in Spring Training.

    • Section 222 - Jan 1, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Ha!! Well played JB. I think how much rope ALR gets will tell us a lot about Williams. If you look at the record, it is simply not true that he’s always a slow starter. At least not last year, when his best month by far was May:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=larocad01&year=2013&t=b

      Or in 2012, when his best month was September and his second best was April:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=larocad01&year=2012&t=b

      Based on his performance last year, there is no reason he should bat 4th or 5th to start the year unless, I suppose, he is absolutely crushing it in ST. If TyMo is on the roster, he should get lots of starts at 1B against LH pitchers. (Take a look again at ALR’s pathetic splits last year.)

      Let’s hope that he steps it up in his contract year. I’m not banking on it.

      • sjm308 - Jan 1, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        Dueces – I agree with you about where LaRoche should hit, especially NOT in the #4 spot. Its going to be interesting to see how Williams constructs a lineup. He has already stated that Span is his choice to leadoff but even that is a little problematic with how he hit vs. lefties last year. Desmond seems to do very well down in the lineup and very poorly in the first two spots. I am not sure how important that left-right thing is but Davey used it all the time. Here is one stab and this will change probably weekly depending on my moods

        Span
        Werth
        Harper
        Zimm
        Desmond
        LaRoche
        Rendon
        Ramos (only because he really seemed to do well in this spot & most hitter do not)
        pitcher

        I could easily move Ramos way up if he continues to crush the ball this spring and I would not move LaRoche up no matter how much he crushes it in the Spring. If he starts well in April then maybe I move him back to his regular spot but not right away.

        There are so many things we don’t know about Williams. Will he actually platoon ?(most managers do not).
        How will he give players rest and will he rest certain players on this squad who hate to come out of games? I also want to see how he handles the pitchers both starters and bullpen. Its going to be fun!!

        Go Nats!

      • Joe Seamhead - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:01 PM

        I don’t see Tyler Moore getting too many starts at first for a manager that stresses stellar defense.

  17. Sonny G 10 - Jan 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Happy New Year everyone. Let’s go Nats in 2014.

  18. NatsLady - Jan 1, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Happy New Year to all, and GO NATS!!!

  19. micksback1 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Its great to be back Coach! I thank you all for the nice welcome. I missed you all as well. I still followed all the posts. Finally figured out how to get back, only took 4 months.

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Mark joins Rob Carlin and Brent Harris 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.

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