Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - DOOOOOOOOM

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Quickie - DOOOOOOOOM

Yeah, so that didn't go exactly as planned. Coming out of the Marlins series with no wins and an injury to Scherzer? That wasn't part of the deal!

The Nats are not this bad. This is a 60 win pace. There is no way this team wins around 60 games. But of course that's not the point with this team.  This team is going to be judged, fairly or not, by how many playoff series it wins, not by if it can put up a decent season. Right now a 7-12 start could still be just a bump in the road. A pretty big bump yes, but not a derailing one.

When I look at the Nats issues there are some things that have to resolve themselves. Ramos can't struggle AND Zimm can't be injured and bad AND Span/Werth/Rendon can't spend all year getting over injuries AND Stras/ZNN can't be this mediocre AND the bullpen can't keep blowing tight games.  That would be a year where everything goes wrong and the best thing going right unexpectedly is Yunel Esocbar hitting a little better than expected. That's the worst case scenario, it's where the Nats find themselves now and it's why they are 7-12. If that happens all year then sure, the Nats could lose around 100 games but that won't happen all year.

But some of it could happen (the bullpen probably needs at least a few weeks to figure itself out or force a move, ZNN has some troubling signs, surely one of those three injured Nats will have an off year) and if they don't get enough positive to counter balance the negatives, we have a problem. A problem where the Nats might find it hard to win 90 games and they might have a rival who can do that.

Worry now. Panic... well depends on what you are concerned about. If it's the NL East, panic when the Mets get a 9 game lead. That's about the spot I'd worry about catching up at this point in the season. In a week or two it ticks down to 8. If it's the playoffs at all... don't panic at all. right now the 10-7 Cubs and 11-8 Pirates would be the WC teams. That's not a distance away to be concerned about.


Anthony Rendon said...

We might see a few good things come from this. First Lobaton will probably play next time Stas pitches. Second it doesn't allow the team to be overconfident. Third it allows Rizzo to see how inept Matt Williams is. Fourth we might actually try to trade for bullpen help.

Rendon is playing baseball again when he comes back they should protect him with Bryce.

Scherzer wants the DH that's a perfect position for Werth.

This is why we should have kept Clipp and seen if one of our starting pitchers (or Roark) would have brought back a 2b or 3b.

Anthony Rendon said...

Oops Typo Stras
Also I just commented I am still not robotic.

Donald said...

The next 13 days are played within the division -- 7 on the road and 6 at home. Too soon to panic at this point, but after that stretch, the Nats had better have gained ground on pretty much everyone. If instead, they lose several of those series, it may actually be time to panic.

JWLumley said...

I actually think the fears of some aren't overblown. This team could pretty easily miss the playoffs. They've dug themselves enough of hole (against the easiest part of their schedule no less) that they'll need to win at a pretty good clip to win 90 something games.

Mark Simon at ESPN had a pretty good column about what's gone wrong thus far and my biggest concerns are:

1. This is the beginning of the decline for Zim, Werth and Desmond.

2. The bullpen is bad and their best reliever is someone who has an increasingly lengthy history of blowing important games. Think about it, who do you feel comfortable about coming in from the bullpen? Exactly. I say trade for Papelbon, it'll be expensive, but he's good.

3. Denard Span was a flash in the pan, who had a good BABIP-fueled year. Umm, I really haven't stopped believing this.

4. Matt Williams is entering Dusty Baker, Fredi Gonzalez level of ineptness at manager. There's multiple stories out about how this team has no life in it. We all know he can't manage a bullpen, he doesn't do so great with the media and is at best average, if he can't manage the clubhouse he's failing on all 3 fronts.

5. Strasburg is still inconsistent, as is Gio, and NN is hurt. I think NN will turn it around if he's healthy, but there's a bit of a dip in his velocity. Gio is Gio and he's going to get shelled from time to time, but bad defense can get into pitcher's heads and even with everyone performing up to expectations, this is a mediocre defense. Werth is below average at this point, as is Escobar (not really his fault), Desmond is below average and so is Ramos. That's half the defense with two of them playing up the middle.

6. Ramos isn't going to hit. Injuries/weight have caught up to him and his bat is slow. I've seen maybe a couple of swings all year where his bat didn't look slow.

7. Did I mention Matt Williams?

But hey Bryce looks great. Hopefully Rendon will give them a spark, but if they don't turn it around in the next week, maybe two, it'll require an extreme run to make up the ground.

Froggy said...

I agree with @Donald, I'm not ready to panic, but it is time for action. Time to queue up some trades and what better trade bait than Desmond and ZNN. I would even throw in Barrett.

Hey, this is a performance league, right?

Anonymous said...

Froggy I thought you loved ZNN. Although you're completely right it is a performance league.

Kenny B. said...

To paraphrase this post:

Positives: Bryce is playing well; Escobar isa little better than expected

Negatives: Every single other thing.

Harper said...

AR - always looking on the bright side. Difference in Roark vs Clippard is millions of dollars to Clip and loss of yrs of control in Roark. They aren't doing that. Could you have handled Fister for a 2nd/3rd?

Donald - yeah I'd say the Nats aren't at panic level now but they really can't afford another bad stretch right now. .500 or better

JW Lumley - 1. Desi started a couple years ago, no for Zimm, Yeah Werth might not bounce back this time. 2. No Papelbon - it's no fun having guys on your team you actively hate 3. Neither have I (maybe not the BABIP part) 4. Eh I still don't see him hurting the team. He's just a rigid auto manager. Doesn't make it better 5. Defense issues (outside of errors) has been overlooked, for example Stras could have been saved by a knockdown 2/3tds of SSs make. Rizzo built a ball in play team and watch the D in play degrade. IF might be fine with Rendon but OF not getting better. 6. Possible 7. Yes

Froggy - what underperforming FAs to be are out there that you want.?

Froggy said...


I do. And I think his performance could possibly improve if the FA thing wasn't hanging over his head. But if the Nats aren't going to sign him then end the nightmare and trade him for something to help out.

Also, I must take partial responsibility for his losses at home as I have worn his All-star jersey to each one. I have since retired that jersey for good. The last time I went sans Nats gear he threw a no-no.

Chaz R said...

I still think it's too early to panic, make trades, or give up on anyone. Desi hss always had his April issues, Werth also tends to get better and better as the season goes on, Zim is not going to hit like this all year, the SP will be good but maybe not as dominant as we thought, the RP will begin to figure things out and be league average, and Bryce and Rendon will have big years. That'll get us to 90 wins.

Froggy said...

I was going to say Lucroy but looks like he has a broken toe and could be out for 4-5 weeks. I like Jason Castro (Astros), who will be a FA in '17. I've always liked Nick Hundley also. And there is that guy Kurt Suzuki who calls a good game and could be the answer for Gio's inconsistency. ;-)

Adrian Beltre of course as a rental as I don't think Rendon is going to come back to 100% form and we'll need help at 3b. Let Danny and Yunel fight it out for SS or 2b.

Alternate universe solution, go big for Troy Tulowitzki. I actually think Desmond would do well in Coors field.

Anthony Rendon said...

I'm a big fister fan but I would have traded him with a good deal so yes. I'm actually not a big ZNN fan so I would have preferred trading him though.

Have you burnt the jersey yet?

Mitch said...

JWLumley, what on earth do you mean injuries/weight have caught up to Ramos? Didn't you see the way he ran down Stanton?!

Anonymous said...

Kind of curious why we didn't kick the tires on Ichiro this past offseason? Marlins got him on a 1yr deal for $2million, seems like a great deal and a meager price for a good 4th outfielder.

By contrast we got McClouth for 2yrs/$10.75million and he's been garbage.

JE34 said...

@Anon - totally agree. Heaved a deep sigh when I saw Ichiro wind up in our division. Endlessly productive, and is incapable of being stupid with the baseball on offense or defense.

It may not be time to panic but...

Anonymous said...

Might not be time to panic, but I'm definitely reaching for the panic button

JE34 said...

I'm not panicking, but I have no more patience when it comes to stupid-ball. My 12 year old kid's little league team has executed two successful rundowns in their season's first two weeks.

Bjd1207 said...

@JE34 - Yea that's where I'm at. I don't care so much about our win pace or projecting out the rest of the season at this point. But day in and day out this team frustrates me with their sloppy play and its certainly not making the games enjoyable.

How about we set some tiered goals?

- One whole series without an error
- Get back to .500

THEN we talk about catching the Mets and what the rest of the season looks like.

Just play clean baseball for now so I can have some fun at the games.

ocw5000 said...

The season is off to a banner start when your fWAR leader is Danny Espinosa:

Anthony Rendon said...

Bryce is -4 defensively while desi is -2.5 I don't trust that.

Mitch said...

I like Bjd's post. I respectfully and politely suggest that Harper sometimes glosses over the "eye test" every now and then. Who is going to have how many wins in 5 months is kind of irrelevant when the team can't catch a pop-up or execute a run-down. To paraphrase myself from a week or two ago, until I see otherwise, I'm starting to think Tim Hudson saw something in the Nats last year when he made his little comment.

ocw5000 said...

@TonyRendony: fair point. However, -0.3 WAR for Uggla feels about right

Anthony Rendon said...

I'll give you that.

nicoxen said...

does anyone else feel like we should mail Rizzo, Williams, et al a copy of Moneyball?

nicoxen said...

The most perplexing thing is that the issues that are plaguing this team right now were very predictable coming into the season:

1) Werth & Zimm getting older and less productive.
2) Bullpen depleted with departure of Blevins, Clippard, and Soriano
3) Matt Williams managing like it's 1985.

I know people will say Soriano was bad last year, but he was arguably the top closer heading into the All-Star break. You have to replace that arm.

Like Harper said in previous post, it doesn't seem winning it all right now means much the Nats. They'd rather win consistently.

JWLumley said...

@Mitch I can only hope that was tongue in cheek. Yes, I saw him "run down" Stanton, except he didn't.

Agree with others, stop playing horrible baseball, get back to .500, then worry about catching the Mets. This team just isn't much fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Good god no Papelbon. At this advanced age, he's worse than Storen unless you believe in "Proven Closer Fairydust."

A relief pitcher is worth paying for in money/prospects if he's awesome. Kimbrel is awesome. Chapman is awesome. Papelbon was awesome but he hasn't been awesome in a few years. He's good. But a similarly good reliever can probably be had for cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Rendon playing 2B tonight in a rehab game. Idiocy.

Bjd1207 said...

@Anon - I can't freaking believe that. Seriously how idiotic is it to move an All-Star to a new position to make room for Yunel freaking Escobar

Froggy said...

Maybe they are 'testing' his MCL at the playing position of most stress?

*should I even be giving management the benefit of that kind of doubt?*

Regardless, getting him back in the lineup one way or the other will be beneficial, and give me something to cheer for. I predict Uggla is DFA'd.

Anonymous said...

BJD: agree wholeheartedly. I believe that it's *possible* that Escobar 3B + Rendon 2B may be *marginally* better defensively than Escobar 2B + Rendon 3B, but that small difference CANNOT POSSIBLY outweigh the increased injury risk Rendon - BY FAR the more important of the two players - faces at 2B. Keeping Escobar happy is such an unbelievably stupid reason to increase the likelihood that one of your two best position players will get hurt.

Kenny B. said...

Allow me to be the first to descend into all-out panic. Would anyone like to join me?

Froggy said...

Last place.
I'm not going to panic but this does give me visions of 2010-11 Nats.

JE34 said...

@Kenny B: DON'T MIND IF I DO! They're making me hate watching baseball, and that takes a lot of effort.

Richard Parker said...

As far as I'm concerned, I'll trade Nats losses for Caps and Wizards wins in the playoffs. Isn't that how it works? The Nats will just have to go on a major tear later after we get our first two championships of the year.

Anonymous said...

alright...I'm in panic mode. I can't even watch this team right now. I think I'll tune back in in a week or two to see where they're at. Right now, they're killing me

Steven Biel said...

I think it's totally possible that all those things happen. In fact, I think it's likely that the bullpen is just this bad.

They could get improvement from Werth and Zimmerman but why is it hard to imagine them as second division players now?

Desmond is overrated. Always a terrible defender, he had 1-2 really good seasons at the plate that were more than we ever really expected from him. Now he's older than you think and has been in steady decline since his breakout.

Wilson Ramos is a catcher, and catchers are unpredictable.

Rendon slipped to the Nats in the draft because people thought he was Nick Johnson. If so, last year was his 2006.

Even if Span bounces back, he's just Denard Span. He's not a gamechanger for a bad team.

Fister is in steep decline. Wouldn't shock me to see Gio lay an egg all year too.

Strasburg and Zimmermann will improve, but now you need them to be CY caliber to catch up.

Steven Biel said...

BTW... why aren't we hearing about Matt Williams on the hot seat yet?