Nationals Baseball: Some A's

Friday, December 19, 2014

Some A's

What now for 2nd base?

Would the Phillies send us Utley for Difo/$$$?  No.
Could Taylor/Clippard bring back Odor?  No. 
Trade Stras/Difo for Betts/Owens?  Hmmmm... No. You have to discount Difo here. It was a nice A-ball season but come on. He'll be like #15 prospect for an average minor league system. But I still had to think because Strasburg is an alluring piece. Still I think an everyday position player and a potential everyday starter BOTH for 2015 and both with tons of contract time would be too much to the Red Sox.

Honestly I think the Nats do nothing. Rizzo won't deal for a 1 year replacement (or at least won't give up value for it which makes it hard to get done).  The obvious FAs to be soon but not now are either on playoff teams (Neil Walker, Ian Kinsler) or on rivals who would be tough to deal with (Utley, Murphy, Gordon). Which leaves the Nats, if they follow history, trying to pry the Doziers and Altuves of the world away from their teams. Good players but would demand risk for Rizzo. Altuve maybe could be had... for Cole, Taylor,  +. That's not how Rizzo rolls.

Why not Kang? 

I think the Nats are gunshy on international risks after Maya. Kang is a risk. He'll be 28 and his power numbers are suspect given the park he plays in. (Not a 30+ guy). I imagine the Nats will kick the tires on the guy, MI with pop aren't growing on trees, but the market for international talent is high right now so I also imagine they'll get outbid. These are players you get by going all-in. Nats will make an offer they see as fair.

Aren't some of us getting a little too excited about Souza? 

Yes they were. He's fine. You'd like him everyday, but he not likely a star in the making and couldn't force out the starting three right now. Trading him was the right move. He had value, but less value for the Nats than nearly any other team.

Why has Clint Robertson never gotten a chance? 

All the reasons. Some guys don't get a shot because they build up too slowly. Robinson was like that. good as a 22 in rookie ball, only ok in low A, then a little better in high A. Because he wasn't wowing anyone he didn't get fast tracked so when he did start to impress in AA he was already 25. That isn't too old in itself but here comes reason #2, he was now blocked by guys doing better or almost as well in the minors that were ~5 years younger (Hosmer, Moustakas, Myers) and a guy in the majors about the same age doing well (Butler). With nowhere to go we get into reason #3, he was young enough and good enough to be kept around as organizational depth for the Royals. So instead of being dealt after 2010 or 2011 he was simply moved to AAA and stayed there. After deciding he was now old enough to give up on he finally got traded (to Pitt) then found himself with Torono. Here comes his best shot to at least be a bench guy (Encarnacion and Lind were at 1B and DH) but reason #4 comes up, NOW he didn't hit well. The Dodgers picked him up but with Adrian Gonzalez in the way and we get reason #5, as a 29 year old career minor leaguer there really wasn't a good reason to use major league at bats on him. That's the gamut of non-injury reasons you can do ok but not get a shot.

Shouldn't we deal Tyler Moore if we don't need him? 

Yep. I'd deal him if the Nats DID need him. I don't think he'll ever be successful.

Will McLouth be back? 

Now that Souza was dealt most definitely. And that's not terrible in itself. fair OF, lefty bat. You could do worse for your 5th OF. Of course right now he's the 4th...

What's this infatuation with Difo? 

Standard overrating of your own prospects. He's a good prospect at the beginning of the minors. That is all. A nice piece to have organizationally but he could easily fall back to "not prospect" status with a off year next year. He's not someone you plan around. In comparison Turner is a great prospect at the beginning of the minors. With an off year you'd still think of him as a worthy prospect and with a good year you would start to plan around his development.

Shouldn't the Nats let Ian leave after 2015, or take whatever they can get for him in trade right now? Can't those numbers be replaced on the corners, where they are easier to find and significantly cheaper?

Welll... sort of. There is more power to be had in the OF (1B is in a rut right now) but the problem the Nats have is that they don't have room to improve those corners (unless you move Rendon back to 2nd). Zimm, Werth, and Bryce should be stuck in the corners for 3 more seasons.

Also, the fact that Ian has good numbers for the position IS important. His likely replacement woudl likely hurt the offense more than upping a corner OF a bit would help. Let's say team X gets those numbers from a new OF, that may be an extra win for say... an extra $8 mill. Great. But they just lost 3 wins going from Ian to a new SS. So you saved 10 mill a year but you lost 2 wins.

How about Refsnyder from the Yanks? 

I think it would take a fair amount. They see him as a Prado replacement for after 2016 assuming he does ok in AAA this year. I'm sure they'd part ways for a major league ready starting pitching talent but the Nats don't really have a good match. A guy like Cole is too big a price. Guys like Rivero or Treinen too low. Maybe a mass deal (rivero + Treinen + ? for Refsnyder + ? ) but I just don't see it happening


Chaz R said...

So, Harper you're thinking they do nothing at 2B? Let Danny have it, maybe bring in some low cost FAs at Spring training to give him some competition? You think Cabrera will cost too much for Rizzo to bring back?

Sirc said...

I understand that if the Nats lose Desmond that they can't replace the numbers due to long term deals in the spots where you normally make up what Ian brings.

Is that a good enough reason to overpay Desmond?

I'd bring him back for what JJ Hardy got at Ian's age, since they are a fair comparison. But Ian already turned down a better deal than that. Ian turned down a better deal than JJ's two 3 year deals covering the same age seasons.

I think what they offered is an overpay, but it was fair market. Also the possibility that the Yanks or Dodgers might be willing to pay significantly more shouldn't factor into the decision imo.

I want to understand, Harper. The reason you gave is fine, but I still think it doesn't justify what will inevitably be an awful contract.

This isn't 2010 anymore. The Nats don't need to overpay to get people to come here, and they shouldn't have to overpay to get them to stay. Especially when, to carry the metaphor onward, the Nats have the ability show them the door of their choosing(trade him now!).

(That metaphor fell down early and I appologize.)

Harper said...

Yes and yes. I think Rizzo is waiting on who out of Weeks, Beckham, Bonaficio, Drew, Ass Cab he can pick up for a cheap year. I think Cabrera is the most appealing of those so the least likely to end up back here. But who knows - could be an EJax type situation for him.

Harper said...

Sirc - depends on what you think the Nats need. If you think the offense can continue on a competitive level without Ian then the signing him is less important. It's a gamble with Bryce not yet developing, Ramos and Zimm struggling to stay in lineup and Werth aging.

Also the Nats NEVER needed to "overpay" to get someone. Fiction. Pay the top of what the market would give? Yep. That's true for pretty much every FA.

Harper said...

Harper - oh and the Nats DID overpay for Werth. My contention is that they never needed to. (6/108 or 7/105 would have done it based on everything I've read - they went both years and dollars. It happens sometimes because you are finding way in dark a bit Like Tigers with Prince)

sirc said...

Thank you Harper.

All I want for Christmas is a World Series title.

JWLumley said...

First of all, shut your mouth when you're talking to me Harper, Souza will be a star.

Second, a little rosterbation, because I agree there's nothing out there at 2B. Since the Rays are in fire sale mode, what if the Nats put a package together to get Longoria. It would probably cost Giolito, but right now the most overvalue commodities in baseball are pitching and prospects. RH power is hard to come by as is offensive production at 2B so even if his defense diminishes Rendon may have more value at 2B.

JWLumley said...

Also, I'm cautiously optimistic about a right handed Danny Espinosa at 2B. Plus, if he hits the Nats can let Desmond walk and flip Turner to fill another need.

Anonymous said...

I actually now think Kang makes a ton of sense...2 years with a 3rd option deal fits well into our timeline of Turner (or Difo). We know and can keep Espinosa on to play SS if Kang's range is up to snuff. I think if we sign Kang we can easily let Desmond walk next year knowing we have a 2-3 year handoff in place. Let Kang play 2nd this year and internally you can figure out if he can play SS. Keep Espinosa happy and learning to hit from one side. Let Desmond walk. When Kang's deal if up - Turner or Difo should be ready. Although I'm still for trading Difo at the highest possible hype level (now).

I'm still doubtful we'll spend want we need on the posting fee.

John C. said...

I'm more intrigued by Cuban 2b Jose Fernandez than Kang. Only problem is that the Yankees (who just flipped Prado to the Marlins for Eovaldi) will probably drive his price through the roof

Anonymous said...

Sign Kelly Johnson, Juan Francisco and a righty bullpen arm and call in an offseason unless someone makes an offer you can't refuse for Znn, Desmond, Fister or Clippard.

Bjd1207 said...

If I wasn't an Espi fan to begin with, no I'm even more afraid after having this thought:

If Hamels gets traded, then the premier lefties in our Division will be: Cliff Lee, Jonathan Niese, Mike Minor, Alex Wood. Not exactly a list of all-stars (except Lee who hopefully will start showing signs of age soon). Now compare it to the righties: Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, Jacob DeGromm, Julio Teheran, Jose Fernandez, Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart, Bartolo Colon even.

Basically, we gotta get someone who can hit righties...

Bjd1207 said...

Also a couple points on sirc's topic:

Generally speaking, offense is worth more than defense. Keeping in mind that advanced defensive metrics are rough to begin with, unless you have a defensive season like 2013 Andrelton Simmons, your bat's going to contribute much more to your value. Now if you think about the relative scarcity of that bat-value at SS compared to corner OF you really DO get the conclusion that his offense is worth more solely because of his position. And it also shows why you lose more than it seems by replacing him with a better defensive replacement. This is how I see it:

(Desmond's batting value - League average SS batting value) > (League Average SS fielding value - Desmond's fielding value)

And then if you factor in Harper's point, that if the Nats' plans pan out then they already have long-term contracts at both corner OF's as well as both corner IF's. So where WOULD you spend your top-dollar except to try and squeeze offense (especially power) out of one of those typically-scarce positions?

Not sure if I've convinced you. Also most of this rests on the assumption that Ian can maintain closer to 2012-2013 levels, which last year certainly cast doubt upon. If you're scare to bank on his offense I wouldn't blame you.

Sirc said...

@ Bjd1207

I do get it, and on an intellectual level I know you're right and Harper's right.

It's just...the wild swings at low and away sliders while ahead or even in the count, still and after 5 seasons. And this year he added watching fastballs middle-away, in what I can only assume was a conscious attempt to increase walks.

It is maddening.

So my issues may be my issues and not actually worthy of discussion.

Bjd1207 said...

@sirc - Hahahaha yea unfortunately can't do anything about that. And I agree with you, his approach seems to have taken a couple steps back last year. Not what you want to see for a guy about to start losing his physical tools

Clip&Store said...

^That's why I think we either move him now if it's a good package, see if we somehow can get him on a short term deal which is unlikely unless his market plummets somehow, or the most likely scenario give him the QO and let him walk

Anonymous said...


Sirc said...

Pirates got Kang. Danny still a switch hitter?

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