So I spent some time thinking about the Lannan stuff going on and I keep coming back to one basic question : Does Rizzo even talk to his managers? This is the type of question that I must rely on our intrepid reporters to answer because I just don't know. But it sure seems like he doesn't. Why else would Davey come out with the "he's my guy" comment like he did unless he had no idea Lannan would be sent down?
(Well I do have one last theory - Rizzo told/wanted Davey to play up Lannan as
the 5th starter even though he knew he was going with Detwiler in order
to raise up Lannan's trade value. If so, well then the actions become more understandable, still real jerky, but more understandable)
I know some think this was Davey's call but seriously - do you really think anything on this team isn't Rizzo's call. Davey practically begged for Bryce Harper to break with the team and Rizzo decided it wasn't best for the organization (he's right) and sent him down. Davey talked openly about wanting a big bat on the bench and what do we see? A bench with less pop than a Wisconsin Mormon's 7th birthday party. This is Rizzo's team, no way this wasn't a Rizzo led decision.
Some may not believe that Rizzo could be such a jerk as to not let Davey in on what may or may not happen until the last minute, but isn't that why the whole Riggleman fiasco blew up last year? Because Rizzo's idea of talking to his manager was pulling him aside and saying "I'm not going to talk about this. Just shut it and do your job"?
The problem that we're at now has never been the decision. Baseball wise it's a bump in the road. It was with how the decision was presumably handled.
I think I've made it clear how I feel about Ramos and Morse this week. What about everyone else and the team as a whole?
LaRoche : Really don't know. I'll say he takes a slight step back because of the injury to .250 with 20 home runs but I don't feel strongly
Espinosa : There's hope he can get better and reasons to why he'll regress but I think he's found a nice happy medium. I expect a year a lot like last one, maybe with a few more walks. .230-.240 with 20 homers, .330-.340 OBP
Desmond : Improves just enough to hold onto the job for one last year. .255 / .310 / .380 12 homers
Zimmerman : I really like Zimmerman to have a year like 2009/2010.
Werth : He'll bounce back to something like .265 / .360 / .460
Bernadina / Ankiel : Nothing new.
Bryce Harper : struggles enough in AAA to delay his call-up to September. Deserves it a few months earlier than that, but didn't force Rizzo's hand enough to help 2012 so he keeps him down.
Pitching wise I don't see any surprises. I like Gonzalez to do a bit better than most think - hanging on to that low 3.00 ERA. I like Jackson to do worse than most think - ERA popping up to mid 4.00s. Detwiler won't do well enough to keep Wang out, Wang won't do well enough for the Nats to think he's going to be any sort of answer. Strasburg and ZNN will be great and very good, respectively. Bullpen wise - someone will flame out, most likely to injury (I'm thinking Clippard) but all in all they won't miss a step with only long relief being an issue which really isn't much of an issue at all.
Final standings - I think the offseason moves for Gio, Jackson and Lidge, took this team to the brink of the playoffs... and then nothing else was done outside a quixotic attempt to lure Prince Fielder here with the new cache of playing for the up and coming Nationals. It's not enough. The Nats need one of those 90% of things go right to be in the thick of things come September. The pitching was pretty good last year so the improvement there can't push the Nats to the next level. The hitting was pretty bad last year and the improvements made there were too minimal.
I say 84 wins. Two or three games out of the playoffs and with everyone jumping on the bandwagon for 2013.