Nationals Baseball: Winter Meetings over : Nats are losers for now

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Meetings over : Nats are losers for now

Yep, you heard me. The Nats are "losers". Of course that's in "Idiotic Mid-Stream Forced Judgement Need-something-to-talk about World" (just around the corner from Melmac) but it's still true. So far the Nats have in a very broad sense traded Adam Dunn, at 4 years and about 14 mill a year, for Jayson Werth at 7 years for 18 million a year. They traded a reasonable contract for an unreasonable one while letting everything else remain the same. They didn't fix the first base situation. They didn't get that front-line pitcher they talk so much about. Mission Not Accomplished.

That's not to say that the Nats won't be better next year for having Jayson rather than Adam. I think they will (but only very slightly because of Werth instead of Dunn). That's not enough though. Right now, like EXACTLY this moment, the hopes for a much better team lie in a lot of things working in the Nats favor. Which is exactly how every season has worked since the Nats arrived in Washington. In 2005 that plan panned out. In 2006 through ever, it hasn't.

Of course like I said, this is a practically worthless analysis. The off-season is far from over. The Nats will do something else. They have to. Then we'll take another look at the Nats. But for those wanting the Nats to walk away from the Winter Meetings big winners so they could get excited about the team... well, "Sorry".

16 comments:

cass said...

I just can't figure out why they didn't sign Adam Dunn AND Jayson Werth. If you're gonna go for it, then go for it.

I know, I know. Rizzo thinks Dunn sucks and wants to make the Nats in one very specific way no matter whether the market supports that or not.

Harper said...

Sometimes it's nice just to talk it out to yourself, isn't it?

Matt said...

Although the 1B situation continues to be a disappointment (I bet LaRoche would've signed for cheaper before Pena's deal happened), I think Rizzo is playing the pitching game just right. By waiting, he avoids being used for leverage by Cliff Lee, and he probably manages to force down the asking price for Garza, since TB needs to dump the salary, so Rizzo might as well remind them he has all the leverage. But hey, I'm not a GM, so what the heck do I know...

Anonymous said...

Buzzkill Harper!! Especially when we had snow flurries today. When is Opening Day?

Donald said...

Another way to gauge their success or failure so far is in comparison to the other teams in their division. I think in that regard, they have probably gained on the Phillies and Mets. Maybe the Braves too.

What do you think?

Harper said...

Matt - I do like Rizzo hasn't gotten pitching just to get it. But the Nats need it so he's going to have to find a way to get it somehow. Good luck, Rizzo.

Anon - Would it help if I said I thought the Nats were a 75 win team in 2011 right now? No? That's all I got.

Donald - Hey that's a post idea! Quick thoughts so far would be Phillies yes, Braves and Marlins no because of additions, Mets no because last year was some bad mojo

Matt said...

Harper - from what I've read, I think TB is a lock to unload Garza. Sure, the Cubs are chasing him, but they don't have as many young, cost-controlled pieces as the Nats do. And TB just unloaded Bartlett, their SS, leaving them without an experienced SS on their roster. I think (due to SS + budgetary constraints) that they're forced to deal, and the Nats do line up well. Typical caveats apply about as I'm not a GM, and really have no g-d- idea what the h- I'm talking about.

Harper said...

I don't think you're far off but I'm not sure the Nats will pay what the Rays want. One could see Desmond as "25 year old, controlled to 2016, ready for the major league, great range, leader", another might see "full season .308 OBP, .392 slugging, tons of errors, an old 25". Espinosa is younger but even less proven.

My guess is that it'll take two prospects to get Garza and one of Desmond/Espinosa and a catcher. They'll probably want Norris/Espinosa. The Nats will probably want to give Desmond/Ramos. But then that opens up an infield spot right? As I said - good luck Rizzo...

Anonymous said...

I don't think this talk of exchanging Dunn for Werth is a clear-headed way to think about the situation.

The Nats are exchanging Werth for the Bernadina/Morse/Maxwell/Harris/Taveras combo they sent out to RF last year. Which should be a massive improvement.

Who they're exchanging Dunn for, we don't know yet. I agree it's likely to be a significant drop off & I wish they'd have signed Dunn. But the fact is, we don't know yet who will take Dunn's place at 1B.

If you want to talk about exchanging Dunn for Werth because that's all they've done so far to their roster, that's fine. But then, to be fair, when the Nats decide on a 1B, you should talk about how they're trading last year's RF combo for that 1B.

Wally said...

Earlier this year, I argued for keeping Desmond and Espy, because of their value due to cost control. The more I think about it, I now think they should trade one of them because their biggest value is in the identical value - namely playing an average or above SS during pre-arbitration years. Neither has as much value as a 2B because the bat doesn't project as well there. I don't know which would bring more value, but the trade market should easily provide the answer (I suspect Desmond because he produced over a whole year, and it is easy to dream on glove improvements).

Probably not enough to get Garza without another big piece, so maybe they should look a level down at Nolasco, Billingsley, Jurrgens. We probably need to supplement our side with something less than Norris. They also should
consider them bait for a young 1b like Sanchez or Alonso.

I guess that I am really saying that this may be their peak value due to years of $400k salaries remaining, and it resides at the same position. so act now on one of them and get a piece of the puzzle, not necessarily pitching.

Michael said...

Werth as a Nat mean Bryce Harper will end up at first base, perhaps as early as September 2011. That gives the Nats Werth, Bernadina, and Willingham in the outfield. They will trade Nyjer and a couple of pitching prospects and one pitcher for an almost front line starter. This may take until July 30 to play out, but it will.

Donald said...

@ Michael -- I don't see Bryce at 1B under any scenario. He may have the strongest arm on the team. He'll almost certainly be in RF with Werth moving to either CF or LF. But there's no way they're going to waste Bryce's arm at first. They'd put Morse or Willingham there first.

Anonymous said...

when harper comes up they can just shift to werth to left field, they don't have to worry about that until 2013

Anonymous said...

Hey, we're building a 68 win team over here! Oh wait, that's not too good... never mind.

Pig.Pen said...

While I agree with just about everything you said, I actually think the Nats are winners at the Winter Meetings for one simple reason: They announced that they are not the Rays, Marlins, Pirates, Royals et. al., in that they are willing to spend money to win. I don't think the effect of this can be understated in terms of signing other available FA's, both this year and next. There are a lot of guys, especially those of the good, but not great variety who will not go to a perennial loser. Case in point is the Mets, they've been downright awful the last few years, but they are not considered in the same class as the Royals or Pirates because everyone knows they're willing to spend the money to win, even if they spend that money in a ridiculous fashion. The flip side of that coin is the Padres, even though they've been average to good the last two years, FA's are still unlikely to sign with them because they're viewed as a team that won't compete year in and year out.

Anonymous said...

Harper has it right. Lots of bluster and BS from the Nats with no net gain (Werth vs. Dunn). Even if they land LaRoche or D. Lee the net gain is about ZERO. But by gosh they talked a big game. I see another last place finish coming garnished with a heaping side of BS.