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Nats send Karns to Rays for Lobaton, 2 prospects

Feb 13, 2014, 11:56 AM EDT

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Updated at 1:52 p.m.

VIERA, Fla. — On the day pitchers and catchers reported for spring training, the Nationals dealt one of their hurlers for a No. 2 backstop.

The Nationals traded right-hander Nate Karns to the Rays for catcher Jose Lobaton and two prospects: left-hander Felipe Rivero and outfielder Drew Vettleson.

Karns, the Nationals’ ninth-rated prospect according to Baseball America, was informed of the deal earlier in the morning by general manager Mike Rizzo and was told he was the only player being sent to the Rays.

“Rizzo told me the deal, he just couldn’t pass up on it,” the 26-year-old pitcher said. “I can understand that from a business point. He has a job to do. I have a job to do. There’s no bad feelings. It’s just business.”

Lobaton had been on the Nationals’ radar all winter. The 29-year-old hit .249 with seven homers, 32 RBI and a .714 OPS in 100 games with Tampa Bay last season but became expendable when the Rays re-signed Jose Molina and traded for Ryan Hanigan.

Lobaton will serve as the Nationals’ No. 2 catcher, with Wilson Ramos assured of the primary job, but he offers more of a track record than the group of players who would have been battling for the spot this spring: Jhonatan Solano, Sandy Leon, Chris Snyder. A switch-hitter with a career .254 batting average against lefties, Lobaton made a name for himself last October when he clubbed a walk-off homer in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Red Sox.

Lobaton has struggled behind the plate in one respect: In his career, he has thrown out only 16 percent of opposing basestealers. The National League average rate last season was 28 percent.

“He’s a good guy,” said Ramos, who has played with Lobaton in their native Venezuela. “Good teammate. Good catcher, too.”

A 12th-round pick in the 2009 draft, Karns had major shoulder surgery in 2011 but bounced back and was named the Nationals’ minor-league pitcher of the year in 2012. He made his major-league debut last season, posting a 7.50 ERA in three starts. He faced long odds of making the Opening Day roster this spring, and some have suggested his best chance for long-term success could be out of the bullpen.

“I’m glad I’m still able to play, and I’m looking forward to playing in Tampa,” he said as he packed his things at Space Coast Stadium and prepared to drive across the state to Port Charlotte. “I’m still trying to swallow the whole pill right now. It’ll probably hit me as I leave this complex, but I’m happy with all the time I’ve had here since 2009. Now, onto the next.”

Rivero, 22, went 9-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 23 starts for the Rays’ high-Class A affiliate last season. Fangraphs rated him Tampa Bay’s 10th-best prospect entering spring training.

Vettleson, 22, hit .274 with a .331 on-base percentage and .388 slugging percentage in 121 games last season, also at high-Class A. He was rated the Rays’ eighth-best prospect by ESPN this winter.

The Nationals, meanwhile, placed right-hander Erik Davis on the 60-day disabled list with a sprained elbow, a move that opened a spot on the club’s 40-man roster for Rivero.

  1. Jacob Rasch - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    The Nationals leveraged a piece in Karns that they really had no use for, getting the backup catcher they needed and two solid prospects. Karns is solid, but he’s 26, and didn’t seem to have much of a future in a Nationals’ uniform. In this trade, both the Nationals and the Rays get value — a true win-win. My full take here:

    http://seriousjammage.com/2014/02/13/nationals-acquire-jose-lobaton/

  2. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    I’m very intrigued by this Felipe Rivero guy who is being packaged with Lobaton. And there’s another prospect on top of that.

  3. originalnatsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    It’s got to be hard to be traded, but at least he’s going to a good organization.
    good luck, Nate

    • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      I was thinking the same. Rays and A’s will be my first two choices in case of trades.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Hard for Karns to break with Rays this season I would think. They already have their starting rotation set with Price, Moore, Cobb, Hellickson, Archer. Followed by Colome, Odorizzi. Their bullpen seems set also. I wonder how they value him.

    • nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      Price could still be traded and certainly at the trading deadline if the Rays are out of the race.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        That can happen. Would be interesting if it does. I would like to see Karns contribute with Rays.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Oh this piece by MLBTR sheds light on his value.

    • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      “Though Washington had already traded one well-regarded young starter earlier in the off-season when it sent Robbie Ray (among others) to the Tigers for Doug Fister, Karns did not have a clear place on the big league club and was something of a wasting asset in the minors given his age. By picking up younger talent in the deal, the club managed to maintain its talent base while shifting its promotion timeline in a potentially beneficial manner.”

      This says it well to me. We essentially gave up Karns for a younger, left-handed Karns and gained our backup catcher plus another prospect. I liked the deal to begin with, but I really really like it now. Rizzo does it again.

  6. veejh - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Like the move. I have a feeling Ramos has finally beat the injury bug, but this insurance policy makesme feel better. Let’s just hope Lobaton gets used for rest days for Ramos. That Lobaton D is a bit disconcerting.

  7. Steady Eddie - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Karns needs another year of seasoning and refining his out pitches in AAA for either team.

    Another benefit of Lobaton for the Nats is his switch hitting, which gives greater flexibility for him to come in as a late inning pinch-hitter.

    • Section 222 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      I hope that Williams is open to using his backup catcher as a PH in the late innings. That almost never happens though.

      • Steady Eddie - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        The likelihood that you’re going to need a backup catcher in the eighth or ninth inning is awfully low, though I know it is definitely not a general practice.

        Interesting question, though: with Lombardozzi gone who is our emergency catcher now? Werth?
        NOT Harper!

  8. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    We’ll have to clear a 40-man spot. Rivero was on the Rays 40 man.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      who do you take off? Perez? Kobernus?

      • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Probably one of the catchers.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        can we outright either of them to minors without risk of losing them?

      • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        No, but I feel fairly confident they’d clear waivers.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        Would be great if we can do that.

      • therealjohnc - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        Erik Davis – when he showed up at Viera he was informed that his elbow hurts, and he was placed on the 60 day DL

  9. CN - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Rivero is on the Rays’ 40 man roster. Interesting, since he’s 21 and only in High A, he may have signed at an early age and has spend a few years in the system, so they protected him from the Rule 5.
    Rays 40 man roster

  10. zmunchkin - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Rizzo strikes again. Another great deal for the Nats. Fill an immediate need, and get some prospects for the future for a player who was not likely see himself in a Nationals uniform anytime soon.

  11. NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Just read this on Burnett. While the Pirates clearly shafted him, he doesn’t sound like a “team” player. Temper, temper!

    http://calltothepen.com/2014/02/13/j-burnett-insulted-pirates-offer/

    • RPrecupjr - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      And that is why I had absolutely no interest in having him on our team. Rizzo has carefully crafted a team mostly devoid of prima donna inflated egos. The majority of us are not enthralled with the way Soriano behaves, as it seems outside of the mold of everyone else on the team. I saw no reason to bring in a guy known for his temper and “which Burnett will show up today” issues and therefore alienate one (Detweiler) and possibly two more (Jordan & Roark) pitchers already established with the team.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I don’t know all that much about Lobaton. Is he an improvement over Kurt Suzuki?

    • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Offensively? Yes by a lot. Defensively? They’re about the same as far as pitch framing (slight edge Lobaton maybe), but Suzuki is much better at blocking balls in the dirt.

  13. janebeard - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I thought Solano would be our back up guy. Guess they don’t see things the way I do. But Wilson will STAY HEALTHY this year, so back-ups will be less of a feature. Fingers crossed!

  14. Theophilus T.S. - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    I posted this on the last thread before I realized Mark had moved on:

    It sounds to me like the Rays heat for Karns was higher than Rizzo’s for Lobaton. Possibly the Rays see Karns as a middle innings reliever this year. Those kinds of expectations — including by those on our side — mystify me. Karns was less effective than Jordan. He’s like the toy you get from the box with the swinging crane in the turnpike service plaza. Exciting at first but ultimately not worth more than the dollar it cost. I think people on this side liked him more for the story — salvaged from injury, found himself, raced through High A and Double A — than for what he actually showed. I’m excited to get Lobaton — better than anything affordable on the FA market — and with four years of control, if he’s good.

    Addendum: Do you realize how valuable a switch hitting backup catcher is? Probably saves 10-12 pinch-hitters (or an equal no. of automatic outs) over the course of the season. When he starts for Ramos he stays in the game.

    • Section 222 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Are you suggesting that when a backup catcher starts he is often pinch hit for by the end of the game? I don’t really see that. If they are going to bring in Ramos to catch, might as well use him to pinch hit. And he’s a better hitter against lefties or righties than Lobaton. So what’s the advantage of Lobaton being a switch hitter?

      • Theophilus T.S. - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        1. Mgrs. are always loath to put the last available catcher in the game as a substitute.

        2. You always have a favorable R/L situation. Putting Ramos into the game as a PH against a RH makes no sense. Putting him in to face a LH is unnecessary, saves a LH PH and wear and tear.

      • Section 222 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Well, exactly. Which means they rarely PH for catchers in any event. Sorry, but I still don’t understand what you mean by “do you realize how valuable a switch hitting catcher is?”

        I doubt anyone’s too worried about “wear and tear” on the LH bench player who would pinch hit.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      if I am not mistaken, their bullpen should be set between Bell, Balfour, Peralta, Boxberger (yes, that’s a name), Torres, mcgee, and some other guys that aren’t their fifth starter.

    • sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Theo – good point on the switch hitting catcher and I still remember his home run to win that playoff game vs Boston. My points on Karns were thinking way ahead to the time where he is no longer a starter and moved to the bullpen and those thoughts were just based on a gut feeling. Yes, I had high expectations and they were not based on his back story but on what I saw. Pitching is really a crap shoot and there is probably more room for him to fail than succeed. The fact that we got a younger pitching prospect in return tells me that the Rays think highly of Karns as well. I am happy that there will now be one less drama to play out in spring training.

  15. sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    While I wanted to keep Karns, I have to give Rizzo his due for getting two prospects plus what would appear to be our back-up catcher. I wonder what all the older guys Rizzo signed to minor league deals are thinking. I guess they have to continue to try and impress so they can find another team deep into spring training. They will let both Leon & Solano get plenty of innings in the minors and I think we will get Nieto back as well so there honestly is not a place for any of our older backups unless they have coaching/managing on their minds.

    Certainly is a positive way to spend this first day of camp and a full day snowed in.

    By the way, no matter how well Karns does in the future, its not something I will dwell on. I did like him and thought he had a future with us but if he is able to help bring us closer to the playoffs by getting the backup catcher we need then I am certainly ok.

    Go Nats!!!

    • scnatsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      The older guys are already on the phone trying to line up new spring training places

    • realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      Re the older backup catchers, NatsJack said they are around to catch all the arms that are pouring into camp these last few days. So after camp do they move on? Or do they stay in the system and provide depth, and instruction to younger players?

      I like the deal too. It bothers me that lots of you say he’s not too swift blocking pitches b/c I think of Gio and Stras on certain days. But I feel safer with Lobaton backing up Ramos and Leon and Solano in the wings. Didn’t seem like enough depth before.

      And I like the prospects too. Don’t usually come away from a deal with Tampa Bay feeling like we got the best of it. Hmmm.

  16. Section 222 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Fascinating quote from the link that NatsLady supplied:

    “Perrotto adds that a Burnett source told him that being bypassed in Game 5 of the NLDS is what fueled a return to baseball instead of opting for retirement.”

    If that’s the case, the guy is really confused. He’ll never get a shot at starting another NLDS game with the Phillies. Should have signed with us if that’s what he cared about.

    Hard to believe the Pirates really offered him only $8 million. That’s insane after the season he had. Talk about cheap.

    • scnatsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      He would have never started a playoff game for the Nats, that’s for sure. We already have 4 guys infront of him for that.

      • sjberke - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        I suspect the Lerners didn’t want to spend $16 million or anything close for a fifth starter, and Rizzo wasn’t interested or couldn’t persuade them otherwise.

      • Section 222 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        Good point. But he would have a chance for a ring.

  17. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM
    • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM
      • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        how do you post a tweet like that?

      • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Just post the link and it does it automatically!

      • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        cool, thanks.

  18. Theophilus T.S. - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I screwed up my reply to sjm — meant that Lobaton in the lineup to face a LH saves using a RH pinch hitter.

    • unkyd59 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      Thanks, Theo…. My eyes were crossing, tryna figger that out…

    • sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      Theo – I think it was Dueces that had a problem with the switch hitting, certainly not me as I like that aspect.

  19. scnatsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    God I hope Espi shows with an attitude that he will do whatever it takes to make the team and help it win, even with a lesser role then he’d like ALONG with a shortened swing ALONG with the end of his fascination with the long ball and he has a really productive year for the team.

  20. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Official:

    • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Erik Davis on the 60-day DL with an elbow strain. That sucks.

      • NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        Yes, it does. But it opens up a spot, doesn’t it?

      • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Yep.

      • therealjohnc - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        It sucks if he’s really hurting. The timing is awfully … convenient

  21. NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Karns was drafted in the 12th round (!), and he just got turned into a major-leaguer (albeit a backup catcher), and two more prospects.

    Here is info about Vettleson.

    Vettleson, originally selected by the Rays in the first round (42nd overall) of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Central Kitsap (WA) High School, was ranked as the No. 8 prospect in the Rays’ organization entering the 2014 season by Keith Law from ESPN.com.

    The 22-year old spent the 2013 season with Single-A Charlotte, hitting .274 with 29 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 62 RBI and 50 runs scored. During the 2012 campaign in which he played 132 games for Single-A Bowling Green, Vettleson set a Bowling Green franchise record with 139 hits and his 15 home runs and 69 RBI were both in the top five among Rays minor leaguers. In two of his first three professional seasons, Vettleson also stole at least 20 bases.

    Following the 2012 season, he was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star, a Midwest League All-Star and Bowling Green’s Most Valuable Player.

    Vettleson, a native of Bremerton, Washington, was cited by Baseball America as being the Best Pure Hitter among high school talents entering the 2010 Draft.

    http://curlyw.mlblogs.com/2014/02/13/nationals-acquire-catcher-jose-lobaton-lhp-felipe-rivero-and-of-drew-vettleson-from-tampa-bay/

  22. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Not a bad return!

  23. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM
  24. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Rays fans seem to be upset about this trade, which is always a good sign.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Rays FO is pretty smart, but I did not expect their #8 as part of package.

      • DaveB - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        MLBTR said that they had dropped to #17 & #20 in this year’s ranking. Still not bad as TB has a decent minor league system, so I would expect them both to be in our top 20 as well.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Law ranks Drew V #8

    • Steady Eddie - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Rays must really like Karns as a potential starter to make that deal.

      Straight up 1 for 1 would have been a slight overpay on our part.

      Getting two genuine prospects in addition makes it another great Rizzo deal.
      How did he pull off that deal with the Rays must really like Karns as a potential starter!

    • pdowdy83 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Rizzo flipped 6 years of a guy who has mid rotation upside but more likely headed for a relief gig into a cheap yet useful backup catcher who is controlled for 4 years plus a lefty with mid rotation upside but may only end up a LOOGY AND a guy who profiles as a possible regular outfielder but is an ideal 4th outfielder with his above average speed, switch hitting ability and some pop. I will definitely take it.

  25. unkyd59 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    It’s getting so I sit here and scratch my head, every time a trade is announced… If this keeps up, the Rizzo haters will dry up and blow away… Nice!!

    • Eugene in Oregon - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      No they won’t. Some folks have to have a target.

  26. nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSN
    Rivero is on #Nats 40-man roster now, which is why Erik Davis had to be placed on 60-day DL, to clear a spot.

    • NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      I feel bad for min-Clip, but am wondering if TJ is next for him? Was this a case of he was going to try to pitch through it, and now may think better of it?

      • Chazz - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        If I’m not mistaken, players cannot be placed on the 60-day DL unless the team needs the roster spot, yes?

  27. sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    I was getting comfortable with this trade before I read about the two prospects and it just seems to get better. These are not two bags of balls, that is for sure.

    It is amazing to me that you can turn a 12th round pick into not just our backup catcher but perhaps two other young men who could end up helping us.

    Go Nats!!

    • nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Your correct SJM. Rizzo looks to have gotten the better of the deal. Im sure Rizzo wants that coveted Executive of the Year trophy back after he won it in 2012. The Fister trade and this one could go far in defining the off-season as well as the Blevins deal and add to that the FA signing or Mclouth.

  28. NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Another point about Karns. He was quoted elsewhere as saying of course he wanted to stay with the Nats, “they drafted me, they fixed me….” Then went on to say he looks forward to the opportunity with the Rays, etc. etc.

    Key point is that Rizzo & co. spotted a broken but fixable pitcher, and got him to (basically) major-league ready. That word goes out and guys want to sign with the Nats and are willing to spend a year or so in the minors “getting fixed.”

    • Steady Eddie - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      +1+

    • realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      Agreed. That’s why I hate to ever lose any of the members of this organization like we did at the end of last year. Great scouts and great teachers working within a common philosophy. It is what I always like about the old Os as well. And the Cards. I do love this organization and am thankful every time I think about the upgrade from Bowden to Rizzo. IRWT.

    • Jb - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      By “fixed” he was undoubtedly referring to his shoulder surgery and nothing more than that.

  29. nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    I think it is fair to say the Nats farm system is better today then yesterday after this trade. With the Nats control of Lobaton for 4 more years I wonder if Rizzo will look to trade Solano or Leon as I still think Rizzo will add Madson and could need another 40 man spot.

    • realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      I don’t know about Madson, but I hope they keep both Leon and Solano.

  30. David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Rizzo seems to be very, very high on pitch framing. That’s supposedly why he canned Suzuki too, he didn’t think he was doing a good job.

    • David Proctor - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:20 PM
    • nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      “Rizzo seems to be very, very high on pitch framing. That’s supposedly why he canned Suzuki too, he didn’t think he was doing a good job.”

      David, ESPN Stat dept is now doing those hot zone charts for pitch framing stats for catchers. Remarkable the difference on the Mets between Buck and d’Arnaud which is one they produced a few days ago.

      Your point on Suzuki is valid and a throwback to Game 5. I read many a comment on Storen and Suzuki and there were but a few critical of Zuk after Game 5 for poor pitch framing/receiving/anticipation at the most critical time and the Zuk apologists kept pointing to the great “defender” he is. Advanced stats dont back that up. I think there certainly is some bright people here becuz this was mentioned before it was a stat now available. I am still impressed by those who really see the game.

      • Doc - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        Not even Davey seemed to take account of Zuk’s poor pitch framing, but it probably went a long way in explaining the difference between pitchers’ significantly better ERAs with Moose than Zuk.

        Still would like Leon to do the deal as backup. He’s better defensively than Lobation and may be ready to smack the ball after a great VWL stint.

      • realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Doc:
        That’s at least 3X you’ve said this so you’ve got my attention. I don’t often see the carryover from Winter league batting to the majors, but like I said the way you’re so high on his defense has got me happy that at least he is ready to fill in for Lobaton when or if the time comes. Depth depth depth…

      • nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Another reason catchers make such good managers.

  31. nats106 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobaton-y

    Good deal for the Nats. Liked Karns a lot but this is a double good acquisition with Vettleson

  32. realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    The thought has crossed my mind recently that part of the silver lining of last year’s disappointing season is the depth we have added to the entire system. Maybe it’s just part of the larger process we needed to get through to be an elite franchise able to compete for it all every year.

    • NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Agree. Here’s the thing. Nats went from a .500 team to 98 wins in one year (+18). A lot, I mean A LOT of that was luck, health, poor performance by teams in our Division–Davey, especially in the 1st half of the season. My feeling is the Nats were an 86-88 Win team in 2012 on talent, and that Rizzo had not had enough time to build up the infrastructure needed for a playoff team. I figure that takes ten years, considering that everything was stripped bare from Expos days. The Nats “should have” won 83-91 games in 2013 and perhaps been in the mix for the 2nd Wild Card. If you look back, that is pretty much what everyone expected before the season started, namely, an improvement of 2-5 wins over 2011. .

      Rizzo probably improved the team to 88-90 wins for 2013, (i.e., about 2 wins) and the team “underperformed” by 2 wins, which I consider to be within the margin of error. Expectations for 2013 were unreasonably high from fans and probably from Davey and the players. But if you look at objective systesm, they did not have the Nats as much better than an 88-90 win team in 2013. Also, if you look at teams that make a +18 win jump in a single season, they rarely sustain that level in the following year. That is why you need to worry about the Pirates (and perhaps the Indians).

      Now, I think the Nats are 90 wins on talent, so, maybe, maybe a little better than last year. It’s very difficult to improve a team more than 2 wins without spending exorbitantly. A 90-win team is a strong team, especially if it is backed up by minor-league resources. Rizzo has plugged all the holes that he can see right now, but who knows what new holes will develop?

      • NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        *AND* Davey…. [Edit function]

      • realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        +1

  33. Theophilus T.S. - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    If Lobaton is as good Rizzo says then Leon becomes a likely candidate for another trade w/ the As. In the offseason I imagined J. Molina was attainable because the Rays would rather pay Lobaton. The decision to re-sign Molina and this trade seem like very unRays-like. Not that I’m complaining.

    • nats128 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      I theorized the same in the last post that Lobaton has 4 years of team control and it could point to a trade of either Solano or Leon as they both occupy a 40 man spot.

    • sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      So as I am typing, you both used one of my points and I guess that is why there is a drink list somewhere. While I don’t visit that site often, I want to recognize that I definitely repeated something said a few minutes before I posted and I apologize for the redundancy.

      • Section 222 - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        Head on over to:
        http://www.prettyfrickenbueno.wordpress.com
        if you feel the need to buy someone a virtual beverage. :-)

      • sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        I went to the link – hit several wrong buttons before getting it to come up and then had no idea how to add a drink so again, 128 & theo – nice job

  34. sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Someone earlier on this thread, before they moved Davis to the 60 day dl speculated one of our young catchers would A. be moved off the 40 man and B. clear waivers. I totally disagree with that and think either would be scooped up quickly.

    I don’t think either was going to happen. These two, while not hitting in their first major league attempts, are to me valuable depth and I think having both playing full-time in the minors will actually help their careers. I also expect Nieto to be back with us as well so we are set from AAA all the way down to high A with young valuable assets. While I hope Ramos has a full year without seeing the dl, would any of you make that wager? I am betting that at least one, if not both Leon & Solano play again this year in the majors, and I think after this season we use at least one as another major chip in trading for a guy who can play first base. I know I know, Zimmerman, Werth etc etc but my main point is that catchers might just be second most valuable trading chip.

    This is another reason why I am convinced, there is no “Window” for this team. Rizzo will continue to make moves and the Lerners will continue to allow it

    Go Nats!!!

    • realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      +1

      • NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Agree. As I was writing above, that is Rizzo’s goal, to build a solid, steady system that continues to deliver relevant teams year after year. The more years you have a good team, the better your chances are of getting to the playoffs and etc.

  35. realdealnats - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    NatsLady–

    What do you think are the best two or three franchises in the MLB?

    • sjm308 - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      Cardinals for sure and then you can quible about what makes a franchise good. Is it their minor league system (Rays), is it the ability to spend tons of money (Dodgers), Is it tradition (Red Sox,)
      I guess you have to say the Yankees are in there also but I just really don’t like the Yankees.

    • NatsLady - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      The Cardinals seem to be everyone’s choice, although I follow the “Is it too good to be true?” thinking, so I’m not ready to hand them the WS yet. The Tigers may have another year left in them and you can’t discount Atlanta. Then I guess the Dodgers and A’s. Sometimes you are comparing apples to oranges because teams have different philosophies, level of competition in their Division, age-curves, etc.

      • realdealnats - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        Nats Lady:
        so that was my question–1) which franchise’s philosophy do you think has been most successful and 2) which franchise’s philosophy do you like best?

        Sorry I wasn’t clear, but sjm you seemed to get what I was fishing for.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 53 43 --
ATLANTA 54 44 --
NEW YORK 46 52 8.0
MIAMI 45 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 55 11.0
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 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.

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