Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Quickie

The Nats have a gaggle of new relievers. You can't swing a dead cat in DC without hitting someone currently being called a relief pitcher for the Nationals. That's great.

But...

But when will Papelbon/Storen go? Will there be another big signing?

The latter seems inevitable. They've made market offers to O'Day, Zobrist, & Heyward. If they manage to get rid of Papelbon and Storen they should have 15-20 million to play with, if they aren't eating too much salary. Not to mention whatever flexibility they may have between where they are now (~130 million) and where they were last year (~160 million). This is what we wait for. The other shoe to drop.

What seems likely too is that other things may happen. Gio was talked about in a trade. It was assumed some of the Voth/Lopez type arms might be going if the Nats sign another arm. We've heard Cargo rumors and rumors for the cheaper Charlie Blackmon as well. And Chapman is still out there - though everyone is waiting to see what MLB does first. It's kind of amazing how much of interest is still on the table.

Yunel Escobar was traded for Trevor Gott.

Last year, at 32, Escobar had a great season at the plate. When you luck out and get something like that - that is almost certainly going to be a one year thing (BABIP of .347 - even with the better hitting that is going to come back down) - you almost have to trade high on it. The Nats have. They didn't get much, but they never were going to. Everyone sees the same thing the Nats do when looking at Yunel. He had a lucky year at the plate and he can't play in the field. The Angels are hoping he can man third hitting not too far from .300, walk a little, make a little more contact than your average Angel, and not embarrass himself in the field. The last point is important because he should have value at the plate. The question is how much his play in the field takes away. If he's even just ok, the Angels have a good value and a choice to keep him another year for a reasonable price if they see fit. If he's not ok, well maybe Adrelton Simmons can cover for him. Anyway you slice it though - it's probably a better move than something like 3/30 for David Freese, an every so slightly better player who they had last year and is now a FA.

What about Gott and the Nats? There is something worrisome about Gott in that he basically was your typical flamethrowing reliever who struck out a lot but also walked a lot (though some argued this wasn't a control issue as much as an approach one). Then he got up to the majors and struck no one out. He still did fine because he forced a lot of groundballs but that isn't his game. One school of thought is that he learned a new trick and once he gets those K's back he can be a dominant reliever. The other school of thought, populated by the kids whose parents can afford to send them to the good school, is that his stuff isn't quite translating into the majors and he'll top out as a middle reliever. (There's also the med school of thought that worries that he's a few months away from injury) The good thing is that he is only 23 next year so really anything is possible.

The biggest issue for the Nats is the same that comes with dealing/losing any one. The Nats have to make up what they lost. Yunel Escobar 2015 was a positive player who hit .315 and kept the offense from stagnating for much of the year. The assumption is healthy Rendon will make up for that or healthy Werth. That's probably true. But we all saw what relying on guys that "should be healthy" did for 2015. This is why we push for a new bat. Not a better offense in projections, but a more security for that offense. We'll see. Plenty of off-season left.

13 comments:

Jimmy said...

I'm fine with what they do as long as it doesn't include Justin Upton. Chris Davis would be fun for a couple of years before he falls off the cliff.

John C. said...

Just a quick note about Gio being "talked about in a trade" before hearts start going pitter-pat: according to the guy who tweeted the story, it was the Marlins contacting the Nats about Gio (i.e., the Nats weren't actively shopping him). The Nats said "sure - how about this guy Yelich?" And the Marlins hung up. As I would have, too, if I were them. But Gio serves a valuable function even beyond being the only LHP in the rotation and, for what he does, is dirt cheap. It's going to take a pretty significant offer to make it worth the Nats' while to move him.

Harper said...

Jimmy - do you want to know the horrible truth of what a Chris Davis contract would do or do you just want to see him hit dingers?

JC - It's just noting that the Nats consider him available - and not in the way "everyone is available". Something more concrete, especially if they sign a Leake type. Of course as you say the return would have to be pretty damn good

Rob Evans said...

Harp - you think there's any chance the Nats go for Cespedes?

Donald said...

I think the most likely next pick up is CarGo. I think the Nats are really desperate for another lefty bat and they could use outfield depth. Span would be a possibility too, though I think they are looking for more power than that. The issue with Chris Davis is that his best position is 1b which happens to be the only place on the field that Zimmerman can play.

Here's a hopeful thought. Instead of the Nats offer for Heyward being a sign that they weren't going to extend Harper, maybe Boras told Rizzo that before any extension talks start, the Nats have to prove they are willing to build and maintain a championship caliber team around Harper, starting with another big bat.

Harper said...

Rob Evans - No. I think they are looking for a lefty bat and will pay/trade for that.
Donald - keep thinking positively

blovy8 said...

mlb trade rumors has the Nats in a lil' bit on Frazier. That moves Rendon to 2nd and gets a LH bat, but I can't imagine they'd be the biggest bidder there either.

blovy8 said...

sorry, meant a RH bat that doesn't solve the lineup sameness without concurrent moves.

Jimmy said...

Re Harper:

I'm dinger starved. Two 30 hr threats in a national's lineup hasn't happened since 2009.

Harper said...

Jimmy - Nats hit a lot of dingers actually, but they are all spread out. Also the NL is in a power lull. Last year when Cargo and Arenando both hit 30+ was the first team in NL to have 2 30HR guys since 2012. Still I get what you are feeling.

MPK said...

If the season started tomorrow, who would be our second baseman? Difo (assuming Espinosa at short and Rendon at third and Turner in the minors)? I think they may need to sign a few really high quality backups because so much could go wrong with that group.

Anonymous said...

What about trading Storen to the Yankees for one of their middle infielders? They may have a need for another reliever after trading some guys away and they may end up sending Miller to the Dodgers. They also just traded for Starlin Castro. Storen plus something for Refsnyder would be great, even if Refsnyder is just a younger version of Yunel Escobar.

I'd also be fine with Nats trading away Michael Taylor if they bring in a long-ish term outfielder like Blackmon or Justin Upton. No sense in having Taylor ride the bench for two years until Werth expires when you could move him for a more pressing need.

blovy8 said...

The funny thing is, if they really want to move Storen or Papelbon, the Chapman situation is going to make that easier.

If the starting team is made up from the roster now (which I don't actually believe, since I agree that they clearly need a little middle infield help if nothing else, and Rizzo is not going to stand pat with this roster), I'm trying to like Taylor more, he seems to be saying all the right things about making adjustments. If Dusty could bat him 7th, he would have a reasonable chance of developing into an average player. For instance, there's no reason for him to be a negative base runner - Lopes should be able to help with that. If he knocks 4-5 percent off his K rate, he could be a 250/310/400 sort of guy with positive defense and 25-30 steals. But he's got to be able to at least foul off the breaking stuff.