Nationals Baseball: Give him time

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Give him time

As much as it seems like I'm concerned over the Nats lack of movement, I'm really not. Mostly because I think it's just because we haven't gotten to the end of the trade deadline yet. Most deals take place right at the deadline. The Nats still have time to do something. They haven't in the past but like I said, there were stronger arguments that they didn't need to. Now there's a stronger argument to at least make a few minor changes so I'll expect them to do it until they don't.  They earned the benefit of the doubt with the Scherzer signing - as odd as the payout may be.

So we wait.

The Mets got Clippard which is good for them. The Nats could have done that. Did the Nats want to do that? Maybe. Heyman seemed to think so. I think more likely the Nats heard the Mets were interested, poked their head in to see what the going rate was. A-ball prospect probably didn't scare them off. Take his contract probably did. With no will (and no reason) to up the prospect to an actually good one the Nats walked away. At least that's how I see it.

There are better arms available and certainly more arms available. I trust the Nats will get one.

In the meantime let's focus on watching Rendon and Werth hit and seeing what we think. 


Oh just for funsies I got a hypothetical for you :

Strasburg never gets healthy. Fister never gets good. Gio gets inconsistent again. Roark never quite gets it going. The Nats in mid September look real good for the playoffs and Scherzer, ZNN and Ross are their clear Top 3 guys. Rizzo sits Ross because he reached his pre-set innings limit. How do you react?

(There are plenty of ways this doesn't happen. Plenty. But it isn't impossible so I'm curious)

42 comments:

Miles Treacy said...

bahahaha. That's a fun/cruel argument to have. I think knowing how things went last time (The Shutdown) and not seeing that plan of consistent (actually non-existent) deep post-season runs, Rizzo wises up this time around. I think you know in another month conservatively what you'll have the rest of the year. I think they manipulate Ross' innings to ensure he's there if that scenario begins to play out, at least that's what I'd do. If the Nats keep stinking it up and say Mets make the postseason, we'll all be furious they have Harvey because they played it smart throughout the year.

In other words, I'd be ticked if we sent out a #3 that clearly isn't the best option and the play of "long-term" isn't always a given as we've seen the past few years.

Froggy said...

So why not shop Strasburg now and see what you can get? Maybe through a three team deal we get a Tulo, or a Miguel Cabrera and free up enough cash to resign ZNN (the better of the two pitchers IMO) to a long term deal?

Froggy said...

Oops, scratch Tulo...looks like the Rays beat us to it.

notBobby said...

As for Goggles - love the guy and will always be one of my all-time favorite Nats, but I am glad Rizzo did not make the trade for him. the price would have been too steep for a guy who is performing so poorly compared to his peripherals.

As forth hypo -hate it. Team needs to learn from Stras-shutdown. Play fr the current year, especially if in postseason. you never know if you can get hot and win it all.

Bryceroni said...

I think the starting consonant you were searching for is a J.

Shopping Strasbourg mid season while recovering from injury is a bad sell low. I personally don't like the idea of trading him, but that feels like an off season trade.

Bryceroni said...

Also, in response to the question, I am moving more towards ride the young arms while you have them and when they break they break. Nobody knows who is going to break or not, so get a bunch of arms and burn them to the ground.

Froggy said...

Cargo anyone? I'm sure he wouldn't mind playing CF or left and he looks to be getting hot now and could help Bryce in the middle of the order.

KW said...

The Nats have a truckload of arms better than Meisner. If that was the price point, Rizzo clearly chose not to do the deal. I was shocked that Billy actually kicked in a little cash, which leads me to believe he thought he was down to his last potential sucker (as in Rizzo had pulled out).

Anonymous said...

Please put the Strasdown to bed. It was the right decision and nothing that happened in the post season crap shoot changed that. Would your mind change if Storen had gotten one more strike? And its not like having Stras helped in 2014?

Anyway, if the Nats are looking to sacrifice their future for 2015, why has no one suggested just calling up Giolito and sticking him in the 8th inning role?

Yes his long term value is as a #1 starter and doing so would slow his development but its functionally the same as trading a prospect for 20+IP of a vet. And its not like it hasn't been done successfully before (Adam Wainwright circa 2006)

Bjd1207 said...

Cuz word is that we're hot for Kimbrel. I'd assume that the only reason we'd be so far out on a Clippard deal is because we're close on something bigger....right???

Mattyice said...

Froggy- I'm on board with you. Get Cargo. Rizzo keeps things close to the vest so I'm hoping that he surprises us with a nice for cargo.

Sean Paul said...

Harper I'm not sure why you think the price for Clip was too high - $3M for the rest of the year, some of which the A's are apparently subsidizing although I don't know how much, for a good but not great prospect. Clip's numbers are admittedly a bit worse off this year than with the Nats, but his ERA's under 3.00, opponents are batting under the Mendoza line off of him I believe, so what's the problem? One more walk and one less K every 9 appearances? Considering the chances the next batter gets are a hit are less than 1 in 5, and considering the state of the Nats pen, I'd happily have given up a good-not-great prospect for Clip AND $$$. This is not even factoring in the impact on the clubhouse, fan base, and most importantly, Clip's enthusiasm.

Bryceroni said...

@froggy unless the rockies eat a ton of money cargo is a nogo.

Harper said...

SP - Not high for me. High for the Nats - they've only ever added like just over a mill mid-season.

Froggy said...

Kimbrel or Papelbon?

On paper either one would probably be the preferred closer over Storen. Papelbon seems to be drama but what with the Phillies willing to eat some of his contract, seems like the easier deal.

KW said...

Papelbon isn't happening. He would have to approve a trade to the Nats and would not do so without some assurance that he would get the number of finishes he needs to vest for next season. He/his agent have already put that out there. Kimbrel intrigues me, if Uncle Ted would commit to pony up to keep paying him for three more years (which is doubtful).

Bryceroni said...

Even with the high profile playoff mistakes, I'm not sure why replacing drew as the closer is a good idea. He's consistently been one tier below the super-stud relievers and at times belongs in that category.

Donald said...

I like Storen. I think Kimbrel or Chapman would be an upgrade though. Papelbon? I just don't get that. His stuff isn't as good as Storen's and he seems like he's starting to decline a bit in terms of his velocity. He's probably a better 'pitcher' in terms of his approach to hitters, but I can't say I'd be more comfortable with him in the 9th over Drew. Plus, I think he's a jerk. If Papelbon doesn't close, he'll whine. If he does close, management will be telling Storen in very clear terms that they don't trust him. In almost any scenario, it'll hurt bullpen chemistry.

blovy8 said...

I think the Lerners would have to get creative with the accounting again to make a Papelbon deal happen. It strikes me as coming more from that area than Rizzo's. Say the Phillies pay a crap ton of money and then Papelbum's option is exercised regardless of his closer status. That might cost a legit prospect, but could be worth it.

In your scenario, Harper, I'd hope for long outings from Max and Zim in games one and two, take Gio's 110 pitches to get through 5 1/3 and hope the pen is good enough that day. I am really over Roark as a long man though, I'd rather matchup and annoy the crap out of everyone by using everyone else I have that game.

Maybe since we can't have half our starting rotation, some underachieving guy like Treinen, Jordan, or Cole becomes unhittable for a few weeks...

Bjd1207 said...

Guys - it's not about the upgrade of Closer X over Storen in the 9th, I agree that might be minimal. It's about the improvement of the 8th inning for a Storen/Closer X caliber player over whatever jokers we have in the 8th inning right now.

I agree Papelbon has some drama issues and would probably demand to be a closer. But even so, I think the upgrade of putting Storen in the 8th is so huge and so important that you STILL make that deal. Then you have a talk with Storen about being a professional and that it's not necessarily a trust issue but an issue of maximizing our resources, and have 2 top-tier closers in the 8th and 9th is just such a huge win.

We know that Storen has been a stud this year, now we have 2 studs on payroll. Which stud do you use in the 9th? Are you telling me the 2nd stud isn't going to understand that there's 2 of them now?

blovy8 said...

And isn't it time for the Nats to have their own scary new reliever dominating the postseason who isn't even closing like Rivera in 1996 or F-Rod in 2002? I vote for Rivero. Does that guy have a nickname yet?

Donald said...

@Bjd -- I agree that it is about improving the 8th more than the 9th. But I still think that's a tough conversation with Storen about being a professional and sucking it up. If I'm Storen and you're asking me to be the set up guy to Chapman or Kimbrel, I get it and would do the right thing. But if you ask me to set up for Papelbon?

Would the Nats be asking Drew to take the 8th inning because they think Papelbon is better? Or just because Papelbon is too big a baby and would cry too loud if he doesn't get his way? If I'm Drew and you're asking me to be the professional just because you're too afraid to ask Papelbon to be one, then I'd be pretty pissed. Remember that these things have a real, significant impact on Storen's future income.

Bjd1207 said...

@blovy8 - Lol sure I'd be cool with that too. But are you willing to bet your playoff life on it? Is Rizzo?

DezoPenguin said...

@Bjd:

Since the trade rumors are hot about Papelbon right now, let's talk about him. He's explicitly said that he wants to be a closer. His statistics and career performance justify that, and he has many millions of dollars that make him want to say it as well (his vesting option). He's a better pitcher than Soriano ever was (other than that one year) at a similar price point, so I am not against the idea of Papelbon-as-closer in and of itself.

This, however, immediately moves Storen back to being the 8th-inning guy. If he smiles, nods, and continues to pitch like he has all season, great, problem solved! Williams doesn't have to think about the last two innings (and anything that prevents Williams from thinking is a good thing), he has Thornton, Janssen, and (when healthy) Carpenter to shuffle around in the 7th without having to show too much risk (and heck, half the point of our starting rotation was to not have to bother with seventh-inning relievers at least half the time).

On the other hand, when Storen blew the 2012 playoff save, we went out and got Soriano to replace him as closer, and bounced him down to 7th-inning-guy. And by all reports, he pretty much threw a hissy fit over the "lack of respect" and all that, then his pitching performance pretty well blew chunks throughout 2013. He came back for 2014 fine enough (and even won the closer job back), but elite closers suddenly being told they're set-up men tend not to take it well (can you imagine Papelbon, to take a guy already in this post, even without the question of his contract vesting, saying "Sure, fine, I'm perfectly okay with that! Go team!"? I certainly can't.). If Rizzo and Williams have sat down with Drew before making this move, and he's learned and matured from his 2013 experience and has a good, team-first attitude, great. If not, this could easily end up accomplishing nothing other than replacing a great closer with an equally great but more expensive closer.

The problem here is, the Nationals don't need Chapman, Kimbrel, or Papelbon. The narrative over the October failures notwithstanding, we already have that guy. We need Wade Davis, Dellin Betances, 2014 Andrew Miller, or pre-2015 Tyler Clippard. And I really don't know why every Nationals bullpen rumor is about "Get a superstar established closer, then push Storen to 8th or have them trade 8-9 back and forth based on Matt Williams's incisive analysis of the circumstances."

KW said...

Papelbon rumors hot and heavy again. Oy. He's not what we need. I agree that he wouldn't be happy setting up for Storen, and that Storen wouldn't be happy setting up for him. Hard for Storen to argue about setting up for Kimbrel or Chapman, though. Still, I completely agree that the much bigger need is for an 8th-inning guy, not another closer.

Bjd1207 said...

@Dezo - First, I don't have an answer for the fact that I've heard Papelbon is a drama queen. I have heard the same and I understand that would present a problem for that particular acquisition.

But as for Storen, most of the stories I heard throughout the period was that his performance was injury/mechanics related. Then he came back later in 2013 (still in set up role) with great performance, and continued in the beginning of 2014 in the set up role. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/11/22/inside-drew-storens-turnaround/

And I have to believe if you sit him down and say "Listen, we could go get a Wade Davis, or Betances, etc. But we think we can get someone a tier better (Chapman, Kimbrel, Pap-maybe) and we think YOU are a tier better. And so we want the best we can get in both the 8th AND the 9th. Closer level stuff in both roles, and moving you to the 8th gives us that opportunity." I think he would understand and accept that, but you're right maybe not.

The salary point is also a good point which I don't have a great answer for, except that it's absolutely stupid that arb/salaries are still based on save tallies. One possible solution is to tell Drew as part of this deal that he'll be signed to a longer term deal with us regardless of save numbers. That we consider him an (in)valuable part of our bullpen in ANY capacity, and when Chapman/Kimbrel/Pap's deal is done they'd be gone but Storen would get a longer term/higher priced deal from us.

WiredHK said...

I wonder if Rizzo is feeling pressured into doing something bigger here than what makes sense. I would think there are other, very solid 8th inning guys available for lesser amounts that wouldn't "rock the boat" and we're not looking at them (ex. Benoit on SD, who has very fine numbers this year -- basically as good as Kimbrel, would happily setup in the 8th, is older and would not command much of anything in exchange).

If I'm pushing all my eggs in on the bullpen, it wouldn't be for Papelbon (just my view). Chapman and Kimbrel would be way ahead of him for all the many reasons stated before....

John C. said...

And by all reports, he pretty much threw a hissy fit over the "lack of respect" and all that, then his pitching performance pretty well blew chunks throughout 2013

Dezo, if "by all reports" you mean "wildly speculated by random fans on the internet" then I absolutely agree with you. However, as bjd points out, that's not the way the story went from those reporting on the team. This is the classic story of first one fans says "man, that's gotta sting to get demoted like that" to another fan saying "Storen is stung by the demotion" to, after Storen struggles, "Storen is struggling because he's never gotten over being demoted." Which then morphs into "Storen is pouty/whining/etc." It becomes "common knowledge" when not one aspect of it (other than the signing of Soriano) is built on "actual knowledge."

DezoPenguin said...

To note--I have nothing against "Jonathan Papelbon, Nationals closer" in the abstract. He's a very good pitcher, and any downtick in velocity hasn't shown up in any of his actual stats--he's actually having a better year than Kimbrel. He'd be worth his contract, in all likelihood.

It's just that bringing in anyone new for the 9th is going to come up against Drew Storen's financial future and Drew Storen's ego. Likewise, bringing in a superstar closer and making *them* set up would be pretty ego-heavy (though at least they have their money already, so it's only ego at work). And I can't see Rizzo and the Lerners signing Storen to closer money not to close, not unless they suddenly have decided they're the Dodgers, budget-wise.

I don't know...in the abstract, it improves the team. Storen-Papelbon is better than Janssen-Storen. I just think that there are probably guys available (Benoit, as WiredHK mentioned, is a perfect example) who are reliable relief pitchers that are better than what we have that can be had for less than what it would take for a star closer, and Rizzo would then have the prospect and financial flexibility to make a deal for another bat.

(Pulling ideas out of thin air, maybe we could approach the Red Sox about getting Holt and Tazawa in exchange for a package that starts with Difo and Cole (or maybe even Roark instead of Cole). I have no idea if the Sox would actually want anything from us we're willing to give them, but those two guys are the kind of players I would want to add.)

Froggy said...

The primary goal above all should be to make the 8th and 9th inning options 'Williams Proof'. So that no matter who goes in those last two innings they set up each other.

But the win/win/win (read: Williams proof) solution would be Kimbrel or Chapman IMO.

WiredHK said...

John C - you may be mostly right (Drew was professional, accepted it all in stride and his performance decline was simply coincidental), although I don't think him potentially reacting badly is quite as out-of-thin air as you're suggesting.

Didn't Clippard come out and state firmly to the media how pissed he was on behalf of Drew at the time? And, isn't it pretty well-known that those two are close friends? Certainly, that doesn't mean Drew said he was pissed/threw a fit and Tyler took it up to be his spokesman, but it's not a very long stretch to connect some dots suggesting it was at least in the realm of possible.

Who knows what really happened, in the end, but safe to say managing egos, personalities, roles and futures all have to play a factor as Rizzo approaches deadline deals.

DezoPenguin said...

After some quick Googling, I find that WiredHK was right; it was actually Clippard who was doing the public speaking about Storen in 2013, not Storen himself. (And I fully agree with the last sentence. If we do get a Chapman or a Papelbon, here's just hoping Storen was talked to before the deal, not learning he's lost his job on Twitter.)

blovy8 said...

I think Storen would be the team-first guy, but the reality is that Storen and either Chapman, Kimbrel, or Papelbum almost certainly means over 20 million paid your 8/9 inning guys next year for about 130 innings if you don't deal one again before that. Seems like a strange allocation when even a 14-15 million for those innings was too much before this season. In the case of Soriano, they deferred a lot of salary. That doesn't even take into account how reluctant Rizzo would be to give up the future pieces it would cost for the two better guys. I guess I'd credit this idea more if one of these guys was represented by Boras.

DezoPenguin said...

Entirely unrelated to the bullpen, but Zobrist is now a Royal.

Jay said...

I hate the Palbebon move if they make it. The guy is "me first" and no better than Storen. I wouldn't trust him in the 8th and moving Storen to the 8th for Palpebon is a slap in the face. Kimbrel is under contract through 2018. It's a no brainer, but sometimes Rizzo is too smart for his own good.

Kenny B. said...

Looks like they're doing the Papelbon deal. That's unfortunate. He strikes me as another Soriano type. It improves the 8th inning, I guess, assuming everyone us a grown up about it. That's a big assumption.

Bryceroni said...

I hate the papelbon deal. Its totally hypocritical to expect storen to do what's best for the team to his detriment (until mlb figures out that saves are a stupid stat) while allowing papelbon to demand the closer role.

DezoPenguin said...

...We got Papelbon for Nick Pivetta. And Papelbon is going to take *less money* to do it, though next year will be guaranteed, per early reports. That...actually sounds like Rizzo struck a really good deal in terms of value.

blovy8 said...

I think Pivetta is better than the guy the Mets gave up, I hope a good amount of money was trimmed off that deal. For all the talk about power arms, and having too much of a finesse bullpen, Papelbum doesn't throw any harder than Clippard. He's a groundball pitcher, so Escobar better start playing further back...

KW said...

I stand corrected for not thinking the Nats would do the Papelbon deal because of the vesting option, the trade approval, and the added salary. But in this market, Pivetta for 1.5 years of an elite closer is a heck of a deal. Hey, I've spent a long time not liking Pap, either, but he has a 1.00 playoff ERA.

Anonymous said...

I like the Papelbon deal. Now we can lose 3-1 instead of 4-1.

Froggy said...

Looks like I was right on July 14 that the Nats would get Papelbon.

Although I can't confirm this, I think Jason Werth had a hand in convincing him to come over.

Bottom line: we got a guy with extensive post season experience and a shutdown record in the WS.