Nationals Baseball: Sitting on a beach, earning 3.5% or so I think

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Sitting on a beach, earning 3.5% or so I think

Why oh why did I cash out those bearer bonds and put them into a Bank of America savings account?

OK so I'm on vacation and the Nats finally do something and then they won.  Hooray?

I question big time the timing of these moves.  As sports guys et al have noted earlier, that Braves series marked the end of any tough series the Nats.  Sure I don't think the schedule upcoming is as easy as some have made it out to be, but the truth is it isn't hard. They will start winning more regardless of the make-up of the roster. It's just going to happen. By waiting until yesterday to make these moves you guarantee that the moves will be associated with more winning, even if it would have happened on some level anyway.  It's a brilliant strategical move to make yourself look better.  It's a terrible move though to stand pat on moves that were obvious weeks ago.

But this is all speculation.  Perhaps Rizzo isn't trying to maximize the perception of his own value. Perhaps he really just is dumb and it took him this long to think that Espy needed a break, and that Duke and H-Rod weren't major league roster material on a team looking to the playoffs. I'm willing to hear that argument.

The important thing is that these moves were made. Were the moves the right ones, specifically. No. Espinosa needs surgery on his shoulder. His entire professional career says he's not this type of hitter. To shame him with a stay in the minors? That's crap. Then why do it? Because Rizzo knows that Espinosa back to his normal self gives them the best chance of winning. Even though last year was a fluke, Desmond still has ok range. Zimm has lost some range so Desmond should shade toward Zimm. Espinosa's superior range makes that possible. Put someone else at 2nd and you open up bigger holes in the infield for a team geared toward giving up ground balls. It's extra outs, extra pitches, the team doesn't want.

The associated Rendon move is a panic one. He's the only hitter worth anything in the minors so they bring him up a coupel days after Davey was saying it might take him months to learn 2B in AAA. It's not that moves made out of panic are bad ones, but let's call it what it is. You don't push someone to AAA for two days. That's not a plan. I'm sure he'll be ok at 2nd. But he won't be Danny.  He'll have to hit like hell to make it worthwhile and I'm not sure he's THAT good a prospect.

DFAing Duke and H-Rod? That's fine.  Someone may pick up Duke. But it's an acceptable loss. Looks more like last year was the aberration and he'd only be a fair arm at best in the pen.  Replaceable.  If someone else wants to deal with the H-Rod problem. I say let them.

Ok so back to baseball for real. Nats win. Barely but oh so necessarily.  1 win down. 3 to go minimum in this little 6 game set.  I'm pretty sure they'll do it.


Erich said...


I agree about Espinosa entirely. The fact that this DL is not to deal with his shoulder is very concerning. He picked up the wrist injury sometime early this season. But he was not hitting well before that. In fact, his poor hitting goes back to the end of last season when the shoulder injury occurred. He won't be the player he was until that is fixed and it's on both Rizzo and him to realize that.

I'm not so bothered with the Rendon move. Panic move? Yes. Lombo was (is) an adequate replacement. I don't buy the idea that bringing a guy up "too soon" is going to prevent him from developing as a true MLB talent. If he earns his spot with the bat, great. If not, send him down. Will he make errors at 2B? Certainly. I guess in the scheme of problems the team is having I'm just not sure this is my biggest concern.
Having a healthy 2B is too much of a plus and the health of Harper and Strasburg seem more important for the moment. If anything, I'd say that the way Espinosa was handled is why I'm very concerned that someone still not going to appropriately evaluate these two. Well, that's already happened with Harper, but Strasburg... should he miss a start in hopes of avoiding missing 5-7 in July/August? Or worse.

blovy8 said...

Seems like they wanted the LH minor relievers to throw enough to evaluate how they can use them and in some cases health may be involved. Henry's 102 mph gets any GM salivating, and hoping he harnesses it on their watch. He does show enough flashes to think you can use him in low-leverage situations. Duke was the only lefty so he got a lot of rope. A case can be made that they are rushing Krol and Rendon, but they really couldn't wait any longer, unless they were really prepared to use Kobernus as a player. Seems like he's going to be the understudy for Lombardozzi's role in case of injury.

Some of this seems timed to Romero's opt out. If it was going to happen in this time frame, with his numbers you would think he'd have been given a crack at the loogy job, but maybe his numbers were better than his stuff. I really don't think anyone will pick up Duke, Henry could be worth something to a team in the DFA period that doesn't want to be out-waivered, but that's wishful thinking on my part.

We also know the book on Espinosa is high fastballs he can't get to or lay off of and off speed stuff inside late in the count. Strikes out 95 percent of the time on that sequence. Is it the wrist, is it the shoulder making him useless against major league pitching? How are we going to find that out in AAA? If he mashes down there it may not tell you anything about what ML stuff does to his approach. At least if he gets his shoulder taken care of, and nothing changes, we know the league has adjusted and he is limited and you move on from the higher expectations and you look to upgrade.

Miles Treacy said...

I agree with Erich, in that it's pretty concerning to me the Nationals are focused on the wrist when it seems the rotator cuff is playing a bigger hand in his problems since end of last year. I realize the Nats can't force surgery onto a player, but I think long term to have the infield you mentioned Harper, Rizzo has to be pushing surgery on him and hoping he agrees to get it now and take the time until next year to recover and rehab. I agree that Danny isn't this bad talent wise. It really seems his injuries and inability to speak up about them are derailing his career.

Donald said...

Cutting Henry and Duke were long overdue moves, but they absolutely came to a boil in Atlanta. So I can understand the timing of those cuts. I think if I were in Rizzo's shoes, I'd have started Lombo at 2B with Kobernus as backup for another 2 weeks or so before bringing up Rendon. But now that the move's been made, I'm okay with it.

I agree that Danny is a special defender. I really hope he gets better and in 2015 we have a starting infield of Rendon at 3b, Desmond at SS, Espinosa at 2B and Zimmerman at 1B.

Matt said...

I am not a great reader of the tea-leaves, but I think Espinosa to minors thing is intended to force him to get surgery on the shoulder. I think he's been resisting because he doesn't want anyone else to get entrenched at 2B, and I think this is Rizzo's way of saying that he's not getting the job back until he's performing again, which should shift his preferences.

Probably I am straight-up wrong.

bdrube said...

I think any discussion of "panic moves" should be viewed from the standpoint that here in the first week of June the Nats have five rookies and an Astros castoff on the active roster. Were they to make the other two possible moves they could make, swapping Moore for Marrero and DFA'ing Tracy to replace him with Corey Brown (the results on the field could hardly be worse), that would go to seven and Abad, or almost a third of the roster.

Inadvertently or not, Rizzo set up this disaster by leaving the organization so thin on MLB-ready replacements. This is particularly inexcusable regarding the relief corps, as Burnett and Gorzelanny could have been brought back without breaking the bank. Instead, we are now stuck with a pen that includes four stalwarts, two of whom have been quite shaky at times, a journeyman castoff and two extremely raw rookies. It almost looks like we're revisiting 2007 again or something.

cass said...

I don't understand what you mean, Harper. If Rizzo believes in Espinosa's fielding ability, why would he want him in AAA? You'd think he would have wanted him to get the shoulder surgery in the offseaon and be ready by June. I just don't see what appreciating his defense has to do with the real problem of not recognizing an obvious injury.

The Nats rushed Harper last year and it worked, so I guess they'll try it again with Rendon. His bat seems to be MLB-ready and he's not that young, so it's really a question of whether he can cut it at second. That should become apparently soon. Lombo isn't a starting secondbaseman, so rolling the dice on Rendon seems like the best option available.

Zimmerman11 said...

Looks like we might find out if Gio told the truth earlier this year...

ESPN Article on BioGenesis Lab

Booyah Suckah! said...

Miles, I agree with you, but I'll frame it differently. I don't think anyone is failing to speak up when they're injured, and therefore playing hurt. I think the coaching staff and the trainers are caving when the players say they're fine. Look at the cases: Espinoa, Harper, Werth... all played when they should've immediately gone on the DL. Det almost did, but they skipped him last minute. Hell, Straburg was practically yelling at them in the dugout when they pulled him last week. Part of coaching is being a surrogate parent, especially to the younger ones like Stras and Harper. I don't care how much they whine and complain, do what's best for them. You can't force surgery, but you can give them no other option, like Matt said. We've been beating up the trainers for not preventing these injuries, but I think the players deserve some blame for trying to hide them or coming back too soon. Bottom line, Davey needs to enforce some standards, but doesn't want to because he's already said this is his last season and its World Series or bust.

Kenny B. said...

Boz did an article recently that attributed the injury problems to a clubhouse culture of machismo and valorizing playing hurt. Based on what I know about Rizzo, that doesn't seem that unlikely.

I seem to recall that immediately after Bryce hit that wall in LA, Bryce wanted to keep playing and Davey wanted to let him, but the trainer insisted that he come out. How could anybody witness that crash and the bllod coming from his face and still think, "he's fine."

At this point though, they are catching enough crap about the issue that they seem to be addressing it. Here's hoping they can literally stop the bleeding.

Miles Treacy said...

and Strasburg now to the DL. Definitely seems mgmt is taking things more seriously now.

Froggy said...

Of course Rizzo is looking out for his own skin with these moves, otherwise he would have done it sooner. The ship is taking on water and it doesn't look like it will stop. Rizzo has to do something (finally) and bringing up Rendon was the next choice before making some trades.

**watching the game as I type and Haren is just terrible...three dingers for the Mets after three innings. 15 homers given up by Haren already this year, most in the majors. Nice.

I do agree Harper, it is painfully obvious that Danny has a shoulder injury, and sending him to AAA 'to work it out' makes zero sense. Borderline insulting if you ask me.

Froggy said...

The bigger news is the Phillies are in second place in the division.

If I'm Rizzo, I'm feeling a bead or two of sweat on my brow right about now...

Mr. Bean said...

Here's the deal with Espinosa. He ain't getting better, not anytime soon, and especially not down in AAA. You know why he has not been truthful about his injury? Because he is afraid of losing his job permanently. He and many people around the league probably feel as though this is his last shot at being a starting second baseman in the majors. As an athlete myself, I've seen it happen before when a player is looking out for No. 1. Espy is no different. If he accepts surgery, he runs the risk of someone else taking his job. In his mind, he can't afford to sit out.

Personally, I feel bad for him. But never in my life have I seen such a rally killer in the lineup. If you strike out a lot, you bring zero to the table offensively. Unless you're Mark Reynolds and mashing homers (which Espy is not), I would settle for a pitcher to hit in his spot.

TheDude said...

For everyone calling the Espinosa to AAA an insulting move, I disagree entirely. Should he have surgery instead? Absolutely. Look, he's hitting .158 with 3 HR and 12 RBI. He can't swing his way out of a wet paper bag right now. What this move says is, at the moment, he's not major league material.

And why do we value Espinosa? Aside from a strong arm (he plays 30 feet from LaRoche), good range that saves 1 to 2 ground balls per game; he has great power. A 2B with power is hard to come by, but that's Robinson Cano, not Espinosa right now. The book on him and what scouts see as a "plus" this and a "plus" that, needs to updated to the product we've had on the field at 2B for the past couple of years. Lombo is doing fine for now, and by the way, he put it in play with the bases loaded. That's a hard thing for Danny to do right now.

Anonymous said...

Damn the nats are 8 games back now. I'm not gonna lie I'm starting to think the division is not a possibility this year. I know all of you all are overly optimistic, but at some point you just need be realistic about this. The braves have started off to a really good start and they believe or not are not at their peak. In addition to that its going to take a dramatic fall from the braves and winning from the nationals to take the lead. Its not going to happen.The braves are going to get stronger offensively if bj upton and heyward make some improvements and lately thats been happening. Upton is starting actually starting show improvements on his timing while heyward has hit well in his last few (with multi hit games). I just don't see it happening this year for the nats, whether we get healthy or not.

Kenny B. said...

Third place, under .500, a negative run differential 34, 40% of starting pitchers injured, 33% of the opening day lineup not starting, third fewest runs scored in all of baseball, and not one single player with a batting average above .280.

But hey, we'll always have 2012 to remind us how painful it can be to actually be any good.