Nationals Baseball: Q&A

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Hey I've got an idea. How about a podcast?

I've always wanted to do a podcast. I enjoy listening to them - I basically spend any time I'm doing something that doesn't require much thought listening to one. The problem with baseball podcasts though, is that it's tough for them to stay interesting* because of the day to day nature of the game. I also figure they are a lot of work. So the end result is you end up doing something that might deserve a listen for about... 3 days. Hard to get worked up about something like that. I suppose Day 1, the All-Star break, and the playoffs are all possibilities but there's usually something more pressing I feel like writing about.

But the offseason is different. Nothing pressing. Things don't change fast enough (usually) to make the work useless. Seems perfect, especially now when little will happen between now and thanksgiving and you might be in the car with time to listen. So how about a little QandA, a little AMA, a little FAQ. Just ask a q below by Saturday and I'll do my best to Q it up.

*In my opinion of course


Carl said...

I listened to Will Leitch's (usually) weekly podcasts with Alyson Footer this season. Pretty good--the two of them had a good rapport, much better than listening to one person talk incessantly. And she kept his tendency to talk about the Cardinals all the time in check. Weekly seemed like a good frequency to be mostly up to date without having to talk about every little thing in order to keep up with a daily deadline.

John C. said...

Question: Who should the Nationals protect in the Rule 5 draft? This one is right no top of us, as the day to submit the reserve list is tomorrow, I think. This may explain the Carpenter move, although the Nationals now have five open spaces on their 40 man roster and I can only think of a couple of players that might be worth protecting.

Kevin T. said...

Question: What do you think of the Nationals' medical staff overhaul? Do you know of any other teams who have done something similar, and how it turned out for them?

MDA&M said...

Question about Drew Storen and the business of baseball. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Drew will earn $8.8 Million in 2016 through the arbitration process. How much does that diminish his trade value? Will the Nats pay that much for a setup man or, if Papelbon is traded or released, a closer with a record of poor performance in high leverage situations?

notBobby said...

I love the podcast idea. some ideas/Qs:

1. go through the Nationals position by position to say who mans the position this year and for how long, with who might be coming up the pipeline, where the weaknesses and strengths are...

2. not sure if you have the connections, but interviews with Nats people would be great (like front office, medical staff, scouts, minor league guys)

3. Who is first player to have a Nats cap on his head in the HoF?

4. What do you think Rizzo should do this off-season?

Natty dread said...

Discussion Piece. Jason Werth and Michael Taylor mirror each other with their skill sets. One is a fading star who has excellent situational plate skills but who is a liability in the field. The other is a young player who strikes out a lot and hasn't shown dependable hitting skills but who is borderline gold glove in CF. Taylor could break out in 2016, Werth could surprise everyone by staying healthy and having a comeback year. Either or both could also trend downward. Isn't it time the Nats acquired a starting impact outfield bat, let JW and MAT fight it out for the 3 spot and let the loser take the 4th outfield position? Can we afford to hope that both somehow end up above average when outfield positions have to be premium spots in a strong line-up? Bryce Harper has shown he can handle centerfield if MAT can't hit.

DezoPenguin said...

Bullpen questions generally:

Where do you stand on Papelbon and Storen? Do you think we should just keep them and see if it works this time? Move one or both of them out of town by whatever means possible, including DFAing them outright if need be? Seek to trade one or both but only if a reasonable return can be gotten? And should Rizzo be seeking to try to trade for a Chapman type (and if so, who?)?

And what about the rest of the 'pen, which now seems to have Rivero, a coming-off-injury Stammen, and a cast of walk-ons and extras. Do you think a push for O'Day makes sense? Or do we let it ride and hope someone steps forward out of the crowd? And why do you think Rizz ditched Carpenter?

Wally said...

Q: similar to your position analysis, what is your 'Outside the Box Suggestion' for the entire team? Not a rebuild or a reload (I can't stand the labels), but a way to dramatically remake the team?

Elsewhere I threw out trades of:
Rendon + Cole for Carrasco, Zimmer and Urshela
Stras for Gardner + Mateo.

So not asking for feedback on that, which was just a wild card, but something big like that.

JE34 said...

Harper: are you taking auditions for a straight-man, someone to keep your podcast from becoming the sound of one guy talking?

Possible discussion piece: are there other teams in recent history that can be viewed as precedent for the Nats current position? Above average team with a couple superstars, some aging/injury prone starters tying up a bunch of money, combined with a relative dearth of majors-ready talent on the farm, and a lack of willingness to go payroll crazy like the Yankees... I'm wondering if any other team has reached the mountaintop when dealt a similar hand, and if so, how they did it.

Donald said...

Assuming some people on the team surprise us next year, either to the upside or the downside, who are they?

Recognizing that Mike Rizzo frequently turns to this blog for advice and feedback, what moves do you recommend he do this off season?

SM said...

Something not necessarily--but can be--specific to the Nats.

A quick preamble: When Felipe Alou got his hands on Pedro Martinez, he immediately turned the 22-year-old into a starting pitcher. Yet Felipe would often muse about what a great (and I don't use the word lightly) closer Pedro would eventually make. But Felipe felt that Pedro was 1) more valuable as a starter at his age; and 2) Pedro's arm would be at risk if turned him into a closer at 22 or 23.

With the current emphasis on fireballing bullpens and shutdown closers--not to mention Tommy John surgeries--I've often wondered what, if any, is the optimal age for a pitcher to become a nail-the-door-shut closer and still have a career beyond, say, 5 years.

I looked at this some years ago and, depending on how hard he's ridden, 25 seems the magic age for closers to begin effective careers.

Of the 27 pitchers with over 300 career saves, 16 became closers after the age of 25. Lee Smith and Goose Gossage began in the bullpen, spent a season as either a starter or swing man, then became closers at age 25. In fact, 5 others became closers at exactly the age of 25.

Of MLB's 2015 top ten Saves leaders, only 4 became closers after the age of 25. So, yes, closers today are younger. How the career of, say, Familia or Rosenthal will look like in 3 years will be interesting.

I raise this issue in relation to the Nats' bullpen issues. Do they convert a young flamethrower--Giolito for the sake of argument--into a closer? Or Rivero, who turns 25 next season? When, if ever, is a young, hard-throwing pitcher more valuable as a closer than a starter?

I recognize the issue is a rat's nest of conditions, hypotheticals, qualifications, contexts and circumstances. Maybe even an exploratory excursion into unknown territory.

But what's a podcast for?

blovy8 said...

Why should I (and it seems like many others) assume Yunel Escobar is only worth a very good reliever after his resurgent 2015, when that is exactly what he was traded for before last year and he DID just have that pretty good 2015? Should my expectations merely be a very good reliever who is controllable for more than one year and call that a "win" or should his moderate salary and another year further away from his "troubles' give him extra value?

It stands to reason that the Nats are dumping spots on the 40-man to acquire people, who's your under-the-radar guy freely available at this point that would fill a need?

Who is your prospective Nats comeback player of the year?

Donald said...

Given Bryce Harper's winning of the MVP at the age of 22, does he have a better year in 2016? Is it even possible to do much better, so that he's going to plateau for the rest of his career? Or is there another gear? What's his ceiling?

Donald said...

Oh, one more. Could you give us a Nationals Haiku?

Harper is a stud
He defines the Nationals
No, not that Harper

Chaz R said...

Question 1: Do the Nats keep Papelbon and Storen in 2016?

Question 2: Do the Nats bring on a big time Free Agent in 2016? Who and why? If no, why not?

Question 3: What is your outlook and predictions for the NL East in 2016?

Robot said...

@Donald - if he plateaus at last season's level for the rest if his career, i wouldn't complain

Mick said...

So as a follow up to your Bryce post, has there ever been a big multi-year contract for big money that has included exceptions for health? I mean we hear incentive-laden deals and performance bonuses, but has there ever been a contract written that's "we agree to pay you a dump truck full of money IF you're healthy 75% of the time or more (if not, you'll just get a panel van full of money)"? Why not? Wouldn't that give the players security without tanking a club's payroll for a generation if a knee or shoulder or elbow blows out?