Nationals Baseball: DEAL!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I guess I spoke too soon when I said the Nats weren't the "team that gets swept all the time"...

It seems like even before the debacle of the weekend (in which the Nats lost 2 1-run games, even though Rigglemans is the bestestest at bullpens managements - regards Nats Fans circa late May) the commenters realized that the Nats were sellers of some sort. I'm heartened there didn't see to be any readers that felt this team was perfect and shouldn't be changed. Of course that didn't mean there weren't disagreements. First though, I think there was virtually no disagreement on the below and I agree with all the sentiments

  • Trade our "garbage" for whatever we can get. They want Willie Harris, Alberto Gonzalez, Tyler Walker, Sean Burnett for a low A-ball "prospect"? Fine. Do it.
  • Trade Guzman... if we can. There is a strong sense that the contract (I think there is 1.29 billion left on it for this season) will be a hinderance and this will be another test of the Lerner's commitment to spending. Guzman can be useful for another team as a bat off the bench that will make contact. Of course that isn't worth 4 million, but what if the Nats eat 3 million of it?
  • Trade Livan. There didn't seem to be anyone out there thinking that he was going to keep this up. You are all very smart. Gold stars for you. I think it helps that Nats' fans have seen Livan pitch before.
  • Trade Capps. I was suprised by the agreement over this but most commenters didn't think much of the guy, realized that we didn't need to keep Clippard AND Capps and opted to keep Clippard. A fan base realizing that it's closer can easily be replaced only one year after having a historically bad bullpen? That's a commitment to common sense. Patrick Henry would be pround.
Now there were some differing opinions on the next people.

Trade Dunn? The contract, while high, I think works in favor of dealing Adam since it does expire after the season and everyone can agree that Dunn is a better DH than a firstbaseman. But he does seem to be improving and he is a legit All-Star. Do you give up the bird in the hand? For me, I think a lot depends on some early contract negotiations. It's not so much the cost that bothers me so much wondering if Adam going to be a stickler for a longer term deal. It's hard to argue with another 2-year deal. Adam at 32 and 33 should still be a viable first baseman and by then Bryce Harper or some other minor league player could be ready. First base is where any slugger can be shifted eventually which makes it one of the easier positions to fill if need be. But a 3 or 4 (or more) year deal? I couldn't get behind that and if he seems to be a stickler in wanting that I say cut him loose now if you can.

Trade Willingham? A lot of people said no. Cheap and Good and 30? What's wrong with keeping that? Well nothing except that he might be doing much better than he ever will and those three things you mentioned would make him the most tradeable commodity the Nats have. I tend to fall on the trading side. I know he's done really well and is likely to carry it longer than Dunn but still I can't help but see his outburst this year as Nats good fortune not to be wasted. Remember his collapse last season? He was near useless past August. I know it's hard to think of how bad the OF could be without him but still I think what you can get back if better for this team in the next 4-5 years than keeping him around.

Trade Pudge? Most people who wanted to keep Pudge were of the "who else is going to play". Nieves did look horrible and catchers are hard to find, but remember this is a guy who has no power and no patience and hit .249 last season and .276 the year before and is 38 years old playing the most physically demanding position on the field. His numbers will go down. So the difference between Nieves and Pudge going foward.... ok even I can't convince myself that it won't be big. Nieves is that bad and even the spectre of Pudge helps on defense. So I wouldn't dump Pudge for anything, but anything halfway decent? Yeah I probably do pull the trigger. That second year is hanging over Pudge and he's certainly not going to be part of the next true playoff run roster. There's no reason to give him away just to do it (he'd still make a valuable, if overpaid, back-up next year if Flores is back) but a good fair deal should be accepted.


Hoo said...

On trading the Hammer...What type of prospect do you expect to get back for him? He's probably more valuable to the Nats than anyone given the lack of outfielders the org have...(although considering the Mets just traded FOR Jorge Padilla they might be really short of healty OF).

It would have to be a good deal to get someone for Hammer. I'd test the waters but enter discussions with a mindset "I'd prefer to keep him but you can change my mind." Be someone better than Aaron Thompson for example.

Pudge is in a bit of the same box but I doubt many teams are interested in him.

As for trading Guzman, hopefully the Lerners see $4 million as a sunk cost and see the trade as getting $1 million + prospect for free and a chance to bring up Pete Orr and let Gonzalez hit more! Yeah...

The problem with trading is that except for the pitchers, none of the fielders can be considered even coming close to blocking someone in the minors. Orr, Duncan, Mench, Maxwell again, Sean Burke at catcher? Maybe Leonard Davis?

Nats have a ton of pitching depth (Ross Detweiler making a strong push for MLB time this year), but zippo fielding depth. I still think Nats trade what you can but at the end of the day a cheap Hammer for another 2 years is better to me than a prospect 5 years from now when the Nats will have pay more money for a guy possibly not as good in FA...

Hoo said...

Lannan to AA and word is Ross D. will replace him. I've long though John was a candidate to the minors this year b/c he's been the worst starter (other than Marquis). I'm guessing Lannan goes on DL to let his arm heal.

But Nats have real pitching depth with Detweiler returning and Stammen/Chico doing ok (maybe not that much depth!)

But again, the farm system is stocked with arms but zippo bats.

greg said...

I'm still baffled by the people who think Guzman's contract should be an issue.

The nats should eat every penny of it if it means getting a prospect that's worth a damn. If they don't trade him, they're paying every penny of it anyway, it's a *sunk cost.*

nobody's going to give anything of value for him if they have to pay him. zero, nada.

so the choice comes down to:

(a) pay him the $4m (or whatever) and get nothing beyond some utility play for 3 mos.


(b) pay him the $4m (or whatever) and get some middling prospect that could prove to be, say, a decent middle reliever some day (and maybe get lucky).

either way, you're paying $4m. the question becomes: chance at something in the future or a couple of months of utility infielder?

regardless, the nats are going to pay millions.

as far as dunn/willingham, i think it comes down to what you're offered. i don't think we're going to be offered much for dunn. the teams that would be likely to want him wouldbe likely to want him as DH and probably aren't going to shell out a ton for a couple of months of DH ABs, even if they're good DH ABs. i think he stays instead of being traded for $0.40 on the dollar value.

willingham has more trade value, purely for the age/cost/performance ratio. i would worry about regression, to some extent. but also consider that he's healthy for the first time in a long time. i think there's a chance he's got another couple of seasons of this level of performance.

i think he ends up staying, too, because i don't think anyone will overwhelm the nats with an offer for him.

Harper said...

Hoo - I would totally go for an Aaron Thompson type player (still young former first round draft pick starter) for Josh. I think that's fair. I think though it would be more about quantity still. A trio of young arms (of various talents), a couple young bats and decent pitcher. Probably no teams Top 5 but maybe a few #6-#15. Something like that. A cheap Hammer is nice but I'm afraid the Nats will be looking at dealing a guy hitting .250/.360/.450 next year. It's a nice problem to have because as you say the Nats don't have to deal him.

Greg - I think only management has the issue with eating Guzman's salary and it would be completely one of pride. Though there's no guarantee they'd trade for Guzman at all.

I don't know - I think the right team might get antsy for a Dunn. An Angels team perhaps.