Nationals Baseball: Gotta trade 'em all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gotta trade 'em all.

Well I'm glad I've been busy because this would have been a depressing few days to cover the Nats am I right?

There isn't all that much to say beyond the Nats can't score runs and hopefully Ryan Zimmerman's return will help. It's an interesting lack of offense at least. Yes the Nats don't get on base enough (15th in OBP in the NL) and they don't SLG enough (13th) but it's not because they lack the secondary skills to get on base and slug. If we remove batting average from the equation their isoOBP and isoSLG numbers are quite average (tied for 8th and 8th). It's the fact they don't get hits that is driving the terrible offense. There are only two players batting over .254 and neither have a ton of at bats (Nix has been up 5 fewer times than Rick ".208 / .278 / .278" Ankiel)

They are a little unlucky with BABIP overall (.277 as a team) but that only suggests a minor correction is coming. The hope for this to get better is (1) the return of Zimm, a lifetime .289 hitter, (2) the correction of Jayson Werth, a lifetime .270 hitter currently hitting .244, (3) the continued success of Morse and Nix, lifetime .294 and .247 hitters currently hitting .308 and .283 respectively, and (4) Wilson Ramos developing into a higher average hitter. That's a lot to ask but then again outside of Nix keeping up his average, it's nothing that one wouldn't expect.

Well, I guess there was a bunch more to talk about.

Anyway the trade deadline is a mere 50 days away so as clear non-contenders the Nats need to look into once again who will be dealt. My opinion follows

Who NEEDS to go
Laynce Nix, Jason Marquis.

Veteran players not signed for next year who have enough value to bring in a decent player (if you're lucky they might get a guy on the outskirts of some team's Top 10) and who don't necessarily have a place with next year's team. These define the ideal trading pieces. The iron's hot with Nix and there's no reason to wait on Marquis. If the Nats really want either guy it's quite possible to grab them again in FA after the seasons over.

Who should go but might not draw interest
Pudge, Hairston, Coffey, Slaten

Pudge (who I've grown to really like this year as he admirably slid into a back-up role - which I'd be perfectly ok with him taking next year too... for a lot cheaper mind you) and Hairston are both on the wrong side of 35 and have minimal offensive value. Hairston though is versatile and hasn't been terrible this year and Pudge makes a nice defensive specialist type back-up catcher. It could be that some teams might have a passing interest and the Nats should jump at it.

Coffey and Slaten are both older relievers - they type of guys you do want to deal. Coffey would bring a bit more interest, despite Slaten's being in team control for another two years, because Slaten is sneaky bad and doesn't get out lefties like he should. (in other words if someone drives around Slaten to take a look - toss him in their trunk and run away) Coffey though is still a Plan B type of pick-up for teams, if they can't get a better or younger reliever from the Padres. They'd be looking to get him for a steal.

Who could go but also has enough value to stick around
Livan, Flores, Burnett

You may think that Livan belongs in the last group but if Marquis has to go (and he does) Livan serves a purpose soaking up innings and taking a rotation spot every 5th time out. With Zimmermann on an innings limit, Lannan a year removed from injury and Gorzelanny unproven as a full year starter it would be a mistake just to trade Livan for a bag of balls. You need someone to take the abuse.

Jesus Flores is hardly lighting AAA on fire but he has decent major league stats and catchers are not that easy to find. On the other hand if the Nats believe in Ramos, that could make Derek Norris very tempting trade bait for teams, (or if they decide he shouldn't catch anymore) which would leave the Nats without a good alternative to Ramos if he gets injured. He would make a very competant back-up for a position that demands a lot of rest.

Burnett should draw at least passing interest. He's young enough to have a few more good years for sure. History would suggest this is just an off year. Most importantly, he still gets out lefties. But that ERA is going to drive down his price. While it would be expensive to keep him (at 3.5 mill next year) it may make sense if what you want to do is turn him into something younger. Chances are he'll fetch a better price next year.


Wally said...

Don't forget Clippard. I think that he has value as a high K, high innings reliever with an ability to get out LHs under team control for a few more years. Also why we would want to keep him, but you have to give something to get something. Might be able to get a position player piece from the right contender.

Would you trade Clip for Brett Gardner? Dexter Fowler? Probably not enough by himself to get Alonso

Hoo said...

If H-Rod gets a player like the Hammer, Clips should get more and is the Nats all-star at this pt (Although Znn and Ramos could make an argument).

The depths at Syracuse of position players is pretty sketchy. Catcher is ok. Maybe michael Aubrey. If Nix is traded, you can see either a) Roger B full time with Ankiel full time in CF (boo). Or Morse back to the OF and Chris Marrero coming up.

I think Chris is a lock for a Sept call-up and maybe before then if the Nats trade a bunch of folks.

I'm much more excited about him than an Ankiel-Morse-Bernadina-Hairston-Stairs platoon with a Nix trade.

Harper said...

Clippard to me requires a bit more in return than any of the guys listed in group 3. But he's tradeable because ;et's face it, you should listen to ANY deal just to hear it. He's in a group with pretty much every other decent young reliever like Storen and I'd even toss Desmond in here. Where you'll trade 'em but you want to "win" the trade.

Wally - Gardner no. He's getting old and won't be able to compensate. Fowler I don't know probably not. If he was a smarter runner probably.

Hoo - HRod is two years younger with less wear and tear and an extra pre-arb year... so I'm not sure Clips would get more. (and frankly Wham was too much for HRod)

I agree we'll likely see Marrero but I doubt he's ready. He's going to K all the time and isn't a great walker. I kind of feel he'll be Danny Espinosa like except Danny is a slick fielding 2nd baseman and Chris is a poor fielding 1st.

Harper said...

or to put it another way

Group 1 - you force the trade
Group 2 - you make a deal even if you are giving up more than you get back (as long as you're getting younger)
Group 3 - you review the deal, make it if it seems fair
Group 4 - (the clippard etc.) review the deal, make it if you thing you're getting more than you're giving.

Donald said...

Why Nix and not Morse? I think you'd get more for Morse and the iron might be hot now to get the most value back. Or do you see him playing a big role in their future?

Harper said...

Because Nix is a FA next year and Morse won't be one until 2014. You HAVE to deal Nix because (1) He's dealable (2) there's no guarantee he'll be back next year (3) He's not going to bring back a draft pick if he goes elsewhere after the season.

History seems to suggest while he's likely not THIS good Morse might be kind of close to it. And you'd have his age 30 and 31 years... not prime but still productive. The Nats are looking for cheap help to win in 2013. Morse could be that.

Anonymous said...

I think Pudge will draw a little more interest than you expect. He is a back-up that accepts his role and he has playoff and World Series experience which is useful for the buyers at the trade deadline. He is a decent insurance policy for a top line club that wouldn't cost that much. I like him in DC, but I expect him to be gone (not Marquis gone, but gone).

ckstevenson said...

I just want to say THANKS for an exceptionally sober take on things. Nats fans (like Skins fans, so maybe all fans) *drastically* overvalue our own guys in trades. People were foaming at the mouth to get 5 top 10 prospects when we were guaranteed to trade Pudge to San Fran. Lunacy. He's a good glove, no hit, old guy. He has more value as a mentor at this point (seems like he's actually doing that).

I'm hopeful some moves are made, but I think 1 deal is the most likely. 2 would be fantastic. If we can get something for Marquis and Nix I'll be ecstatic.

mrromantimothy said...

jesus valdez to the nats for werth? unless youre afirst round pick with a fat contract youre stuckcause theres a well travelled overpaid free agent that cant be traded waived or demoted in the way.unless rizzo wins the lotto and coughs up the money to buy out the contracts of his scott boras free agent frenzy" the holes in the nats lineup cant be filled in house.

mrromantimothy said...

the depth is sketchy? we'll never find out i see five 300 hitters at syr that at the very least could do better than 220 for the nats for millions less. if jayson was werth that much he would still be a dodger!

mrromantimothy said...

you need to check out cots baseball contracts wsh nats to see just how bad a situation the nats are in