Nationals Baseball: Mike Morse Contest!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mike Morse Contest!

Allright boys and girls, Mike Morse's lat is not healing up according to the best case scenario the Nats training staff laid out for us, much like they lay out for every injury.  This leaves him unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.   The easy breezy weekend question for you is - when will Mike Morse take his first cuts this season? I'll go ahead and guess May 1st the day the Nats start their 2nd homestand.  Do I honestly think it will take that long? No - but with the Nats injury history I'd feel silly not guessing a few weeks longer than I would for another team.

What do the Nats do in the meantime?  Not much.  In house the easy answer is using some combination of DeRosa, Ankiel, and Bernadina. None of them can make up for Morse with the bat, though so the Nats are looking at other options.

Brett Carroll - you've heard his name alot this spring and you've probably thought "Why am I hearing his name a lot this spring?"  The reason is because he fields pretty well. Is he a CF? No, but if say... Werth got injured and the Nats wanted a guy on the bench that can be a late inning defensive replacement, he could fill that role.  Problem is - he can't hit. At his peak he put up some good AAA numbers, but those never translated to anything in the majors and by now you'd be silly to expect anything decent.

Jason Michaels - At one point in the mid 2000s you might have thought Michaels was a bit of an underrated player.  He seemingly could hit for average and field pretty well, which normally would make a guy a very useful 3rd OF for a bad team, or 4th OF for a good one. Problem is Michaels can't hit righties. His success in the past has been dependent on smart platooning. At age 36 Michaels could be terrible at any moment but if you can find a decent lefty to platoon with him, he wouldn't be the worst choice to fill in for a month or so.

Xavier Nady - Nady was a nice prospect back in the day but only developed into an average-hitting poor-fielding outfielder. He had one good half-season with the Pirates and turned that into a trade to the only Yankees team to not make the playoffs since Bryce Harper was two. Prospect + good half-season + recognizable name has given him more opportunities than he's deserved, including this one.

So - a strict Michaels, Bernadina platoon might be the best bet for now. Roger doesn't show big splits but you want Michaels up versus lefties. You might be thinking about Laynce Nix right now and he would be perfect... in a platoon just like Michaels. Nix could hit better but Jason probably brings better fielding and Bernadina is better on the base paths.  None of this is perfect but you can cobble a temporary solution together from what the Nats have on hand.


Pig.Pen said...

Since X and I grew up together, I'll say Nady. He has really battled injuries both nagging and major over the last few years and as a prospect was seriously mishandled by Bruce Bochy (Sorry Brandon Belt). He has good power and unlike the other two options the Nats could hope to catch lightning in a bottle for the first month of the season.

Donald said...

I'm going to guess that Lombardozzi gets a lot of playing time in LF. They really need a lead-off guy, and if Lombo can hit, they could move him into that position. They'd lose a lot of power, but gain a pretty good experiment. If Lombo does hit and Desmond struggles, then he could push Ian out of the line-up with Morse comes back.

Tyler R. said...

Why isn't Johnny Damon on the radar for the Nats? He could come in and be a great guy to fill in at several positions. He could play LF, RF, 1B, and be a GREAT option off the bench. We aren't very deep and Damon could provide the big bat off the bench. Even if he doesn't produce very well at this age, he still will strike more fear in some of the younger pitchers in the NL. We always talk about how a certain player can add 1 or 2 wins and I think that Damon can add more than that. If he came on with us one extra win would come from a bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, runner on first, down by one situation where he can step in for the Storen after his blown save hit one of his clutch HRs and win the game for us. That along with his leadership and history of playing on a winning team makes him the second best addition for the Nats after Gio.

Harper said...

P.P - can't argue with loyalty. Hope he gets to play again somwhere.

Donald - I don't know - seems really forced for a guy whose bat isn't crying out to be played. OBP is nice but he hsa to prove he can do it in the majors. Toying with it but I doubt they really do it.

TR - Damon wants to be pretty much a full-time player, and I'm not sure the Nats can promise him that. If he'd accept a bench role the Nats would be stupid not to take him.

Wally said...

"Harper said ...So - a strict Michaels, Bernadina platoon might be the best bet for now."

Yea! In an earlier post, I said that if the sum combination of Ankiel, Bernie, Michaels and/or Carroll get 300 ABs for the season, we are in big trouble. This let's them get 200 out of the way by May 1. There has to be - just has to be - something better than this. I'd be willing to try Tyler Moore out there, or even just go with two outfielders and let DeRosa play behind the bag at second, like softball.

It does look, more and more, that Damon would be a good add. He can hit more than any of the others that are available, and no good fielding guy is worth adding, we have plenty of those, thanks very much. Can he really be holding out for a starting gig at this point? Where is that even remotely possible, SEA?

Harper said...

Wally - I'm not even sure Damon thinks a starting gig is likely right now, but I think he wants to hold out as long as he can in case someone gets injured. He doesn't want to take a bench role for say... the Blue Jays, only to watch the say... Rangers lose multiple guys to injury and suddenly be looking for a LF. His call and he knows it.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Lastings Milledge

Wally said...

Harper - ok, but I think that he'd see this as one of his best playing time opportunities. LF - Morse is hurt, unknown how bad, and is a regression candidate. None of that is likely to result in a long term absence, but it's a maybe. Plus, Laroche is coming off a washed out year due to injury, and hasn't been the picture of health himself, so maybe Morse moves anyway.

Werth - ok, solid and expected to play all year. Every other current candidate for the OF .... in a word, sucks. Can Damon really be worried that Ankiel, Carroll, Michael and Bernie are going to block him from playing? Harper - maybe he comes up, but who knows when and who knows how well he does?

I could see the Nats being stingy with $, but if Damon truly wants to chase 3,000 hits and doesn't care if he plays for $1m, this looks like one of his best chances. If Rizzo will entertain the idea.

blovy8 said...

Trouble is, at this point Damon has to get ready for the season too. One week and adequate in the OF, probably not. I think you're right about May 1, unfortunately, and this favorable schedule will still yield a mediocre start