Nationals Baseball: O's get Lee, Nats get depressed

Saturday, January 01, 2011

O's get Lee, Nats get depressed

No Lee for the Nats as Peter Angelos remembered he hadn't screwed with the franchise in a few months. Derek signs with the Orioles.

For those keeping score at home this means after the surprise huge-in-a-couple-ways Werth signing the Nats struck out on getting guys they really wanted Carlos Pena, Brandon Webb, Zack Grienke, and Derek Lee. They also missed on less than 100% runs at Javy Vazquez and Cliff Lee (technically true! You can't deny it!).

Who could have known the big splash the Nats made at the beginning of the hot stove was the sound of the team jumping off a bridge?

Now the team is resigned to bringing in Adam "The Rock" LaRoche on a 2-year deal. That's fine. It fills a hole that needs filling. It doesn't make any long term commitments so if everything goes perfectly and the Nats are ready to compete in a year or two, they can still make a big time deal for someone knowing Adam is (or will be soon) coming off the books. I'm not enthused about LaRoche himself. I'll go into more detail if he signs, but I think the step back during a healthy year at his age is a bad sign. Still I think he'll be average over the two years so... whatever.

What the Lee signing really means is that any hopes for a suprise 2011 is gone. Oh they could make a shocking run to 78 wins or something but I can't see a way they would meaningfully be in a playoff race. Hopefully Rizzo will see this and accept it.

What does that mean? Back off Pavano. Sure he fills a hole but he's expensive, old, and has a history of injury. You sign him if you feel good about 2011 or 2012, and that shouldn't describe the Nats now. Instead see what late 20s early 30s year old pitcher you can wrangle in late January for a cheap guaranteed 2011 deal and an team option for fair-if-average 2012. Maybe Chris Young, maybe Brad Penny, Maybe Jeff Francis (though I see him signing for more). If you can't do that - run with what you got. No Millwoods or Daviseses unless you are looking at an extremely cheap one-year deal.

It also means if the LaRoche deal falls through you don't sign anyone to start at first. If you want to bring Kotchman in fine, as a spot-starter and defensive replacement. But Casey and pretty much everyone else left does nothing for the mythical 2013 Nats so there is no reason to bother signing them. Put out the guys you got, cross your fingers, and hope for a surprise year that can help you lure another piece for 2012 where if the Nats are lucky, Strasburg, Harper, and this signing all combine to give the Nats a true jump in talent.


Positively Half St. said...


I don't want to give up on New Year's Day. Let's sign LaRoche, then hope Rizzo can pull off something surprising. Let's hope for an unexpected maturation for some of our younger players, and that a number of them play beyond what their potentials were supposed to be.

I mean, it is not even Spring Training yet. We can't abandon ship while it's in drydock.

Wally said...

No reason that they can't trade for a blocked prospect, otherwise I agree with your point. Put Espy and Storen out there and see whAt comes back. Alonso, Sanchez, maybe Belt? If they go cheap, I would consider Branyan on a 1 year deal to platoon with Morse. He won't play a full season but he has some pop.

Also, I would add another starter on a 1 year deal. I care less about the $ than years. Francis, Penny, Bonderman, Millwood would all do. Can't rely on all these question marks. That should at least get them into the mid 70's in wins, which adds to the 'improving' label for next winter.

Harper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harper said...

1/2st>0 : I agree. Sorry if I was being too realist. I don't think any fan should be realistic heading into a season. I think everyone should go into a season with two points of view. #1 - We are going to win the World Series! #2 - If we don't here's a reasonable but optimistic projection.

For Nats fans #1 seems silly but that's the point. if Ramos and Espinosa are ROY type players, if Desmond takes another step, if Morse breaks out, if Lannan and Marquis match there better years, if Zimmermann sets himself as a true #2, etc etc maybe they sneak into the playoffs and from there... You have to figure out how your team can do it. That's the fun of being a fan in the offseason.

For #2 - I think Nats fans can hope for .500. It's not likely but it's not unreasonable, and it's something to hang the hat on.

Wally - I wouldn't just add another question mark (like Millwood) for the sake of doing it. That's why I want a young(er) guy. Give me soemone that can help the Nats in 2011 if they get lucky.

Wally said...

I would like a younger guy with upside too, I just don't see it happening any longer. So i would add a Millwood type because i see the probability of getting 175 innings of acceptable pitching from them higher than Livo, Maya, Martin, Detwiler, et al. Millwood and Bonderman also have the AL to NL move which might help in 2011.

They are dumpster diving at this point, and i see value to the organization to increase win totals for reputational improvement to acquire talent next year. This helps, I think.

By the way, what is the plan if Espy can't hit .200?

Wally said...

Thinking more about 1b, what is wrong with Branyan instead of Laroche? He Gets hurt a lot, but as a platoon with Morse could be pretty effective. He has more pop than AL, and he has had a positive UZR the last few years at 1b. Probably could get him for 1/$3m with an option.

I just don't think Laroche is anything special.

Anonymous said...

Lov the blog, guys. All I want is .500. .500 ball & the season is a RAGING success. period. Will be checking in throughout

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