Nationals Baseball: Don't Panic

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Don't Panic

At least if you are worried about a playoff spot. 

July 22nd - Nats lead ATL by 3.5, PIT by 3.5, LA by 4, and STL by 5.5

August 2nd - Nats lead ATL by 2.5, PIT by 2.5, STL by 5.5 and LA by 6.

Remember it's not enough for the Nats to get passed by ATL and PIT.  That makes ATL the NL East winner and takes them out of the WC race.  They need to get passed by ATL AND two other teams.  The 2nd team has gained no ground in the past week and a half and there is one fewer team within 4 games than there had been at that time.

Also for all we joke about the Phillies giving up on the season, they are still an ok team, that took one step back for the rest of this year, presumably to take two steps forward for 2013 (or else signing Hamels makes no sense).  After tonight the Nats have 8 games coming up versus Miami (home) and Houston (away). These weren't good teams to begin with and they also took steps back.  5 wins? 6? more?

As for the NL East - nothing has changed. The series with the Braves starting on the 20th will likely be the first chance for the Nats to feel safe about that pennant. Right now it's about getting to that series in the best possible shape.


Donald said...

No panic yet, even if the Phillies win again tonight, which wouldn't be a surprise.

On a different note more related to the prior thread, fast forward to the winter. Assuming Ramos is recovering nicely, what are the big moves the Nats need to make to improve again? If Jackson leaves, maybe getting another good SP would help, but the Nats have some pretty good prospects so they may not need to go long term there. The prototypical lead-off CF has always been Rizzo's dream, but does that mean pushing Morse to 1B or out the door if they keep LaRoche? Last year, the holes on the team were easier to spot.

Anonymous said...

Eury Perez seems to be acclimating himself well at Triple A, Goodwin is at Double A now, and Brown is ready for the bigs (though maybe as a backup). The only question is are they confident enough that one of those guys is ready to let LaRoche walk or deal Morse.

As for pitching, there's probably a need for a stop-gap, back-end veteran unless EJax takes a below-market deal. If Det continues to pitch well, there's only a need for one vet though.

blovy8 said...

Always good advice, per Douglas Adams.

I wonder if this coming offseason will look a lot like this past one. Maybe I shouldn't be sold on the LaRoche option year, but if he accepts it, I would take it at this point. I don't think it's as easy to sign good free agents as everyone thinks.

Would it be crazy for the Nats to put in a waiver claim on Cliff Lee?

Harper said...

Donald / Anon / blovy8 - you pretty much have it down. Pitcher (if they choose not to re-sign EJax) and CF (if they decide to let Adam LaRoche walk OR flip Morse). This is assuming a "from within" answer isn't available.

A better bench would be helpful but I don't put much stock in Rizzo doing that. The Nats bench has stunk pretty much every year. He seems to see it as wasted veteran space and trial runs for rookies. Not a terrible plan... if you're healthy.

blovy8 - Sure, put in a claim on Lee. Someone worse will probably put a claim in though and the Phils aren't trading him in dvision but what the hell - it never hurts to try.

calindc said...

Hey Harper, Lannen has the mound for the first game today, you gunna skip out and go see your Bro-crush?

Anonymous said...

Harper. Do you think Perez has enough potential to keep them out of the CF market? Or is Goodwin close enough to keep them out of the CF market?

As for pitching, I don't see prospects remotely close enough to be a five starter next year, unless Meyer is pushed or Karns is for real. But they're still in High A.

Harper said...

calindc - Hey if I leave right now I can make it! (I live in NC)

Anon - Maaaaaybe and maaaaybe. Both can probably field the position so that's not a question. Perez has a typical speedster make up in the minors. High average slap hitter. Endy Chavez was a lot like that in the minors too. The question is can he keep it up in the majors. Lots of guys can't. Still if he hits .330 for the remainder of the year in AAA it's hard not to give him a look and see.

Goodwin doesn't look ready right now, so chances are slim he'd be ready by Opening Day next year. But he's really the one to look at for the future.

So I guess - if Eury keeps hitting for really high average in AAA, the Nats may be tempted to see if he can do it next year - or at the very least be a serviceable stop gap for a couple years until they can fully evaluate Goodwin. If he doesn't keep the average up, (or performs very poorly in the Sept call-up he's likely to get) they may try to grab a CF on a ~3-yr deal while Goodwin develops.

calindc said...

awww nuts, I'll wave at him for ya'