Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - nothings happening

Monday, January 04, 2016

Monday Quickie - nothings happening

I was going to say that I expect a lot of "Nats want to deal Papelbon" and "Teams still very interested in Storen" type stories right now. Why? Because under my conspiracy theory they can't close the Murphy deal until one of those things are done. That's the only way the money will work itself out. Here we are about 10 days since Daniel Murphy was "signed" and still no official word. Coincidence? Probably but I THINK NOT!

With Jon Heyman drifting in the wind, we don't have our usual Nats/Boras outlet so it's left to John Morosi to start us off with a Storen still to be dealt side note. Keep your eye out because at this point there is no holiday excuse anymore. Murphy should be gettting physicaled today and announced officially tomorrow and if not, then someone is dragging their feet. Could be Murphy just enjoying a long holiday, but where's the fun in thinking that.

Will there be another move for the Nats? There are so many FAs still left you'd have to think so, and with each passing day the chance for the Nats to grab a short term deal on a solid player goes up. Of course - that goes for every other team, too.



Happy new year!


John C. said...

You think it's a money urgency thing? They're still well below the payroll levels from last season. If they're going to end up feeling salary pressure at all, I don't think that will become acute until they start locking in more of the arbitration guys. That's going to take place throughout the month.

I think that if the delays in formal announcement are for outside reasons (rather than people traveling for the holidays, getting physicals completed, etc) then a much more likely outside reason is the need to make a 40 man roster move. Given that punting Erik Davis (and probably Taylor Hill) off of the 40 man roster are likely to be very low-cost moves* I can't see this causing much of an ongoing delay either.

*I see them as low cost moves because: (a) I would be pretty surprised if anyone actually claimed either Davis or Hill; (b if they're not claimed they can be reassigned to minors once without losing them (the team did this with Corey Brown a couple of years ago when they needed a roster spot - he was DFA'd, cleared waivers and reassigned to AAA); and (c) even if they are claimed, RHP in general are a surplus item for the Nats. I see Hill as, at best, the #9 starter to open the season and likely to drop further depending on the progress of Giolito and Lopez. Given that as currently constituted the AAA bullpen already includes RHRP Treinen, de los Santos, Martin and (as a swing starter) Espino to go with Grace, Solis, and possibly Bryan Harper as LHRP, Davis may not even have a spot in AAA.

Chaz R said...

I would tend to agree with John C. Seems more likely a pending roster move that could also be dependent on one or more pending trade deals. At least that's what I want to believe!!

Harper said...

John C - I have two working assumptions, both could be wrong.

(1) Is that the payroll will be around 130-140 this year. They claimed to be "topped out" around 135 mill two years ago and no one expected the added payroll that came with Scherzer. Therefore either they had a change of heart about spending(and nothing I've heard about the Lerners makes me think that is the case) or the 160+ million was a one year aberration - sold to Lerner by Boras. Sign Scherzer - win it all - payroll drops back down in 2016 when FAs leave.

(2) The Lerners do not want to create a situation where they have a higher than expected payroll in place, even if trades will bring that total down. The Nats have up to $20 mill floating out there assuming they plan to deal both Papelbon and Storen. If they can trade them, and I believe they can, they are going to certainly lose some salary - the question is how much. So in theory you could bring in Murphy, bring the payroll up, with the expectation of future deals to bring the payroll back down. However the whole timing of Yunel trade / Kelley officially signing seemed fishy to me and makes me think that Rizzo is being asked to balance the payroll as he goes along. This also helps explain why Murphy was given that deferred money. He will only be paid 8 million in 2016, roughly the same amount that Drew Storen is expected to make in arbitration. I don't feel that is a coincidence.

Froggy said...

What if...

...the Nats keep Papelbon?

I mean other than being an asshole he is a pretty good closer. If his 35 year old ass hadn't choked out a 22 year old kid we would be thinking we have a pretty formidable pen, no?

DezoPenguin said...

Well, that's what Morosi is suggesting, at least...

Honestly, I'd be more comfortable with "keep Papelbon, trade Storen" than the reverse. Papelbon's been a jerk all his baseball life, but he's also been a good closer all his baseball life, and as a guy rooting for Nationals wins I'd rather have a guy who chokes other people to a guy who just chokes (yeah, okay, stupid joke, but hey).

Obviously, keeping Papelbon is predicated 100% on having Bryce Harper fully behind the move. Given that and the presence of Dusty Baker on the bench (hey, I may not like the guy as a manager but by all reports he's darned good at managing a clubhouse, which may explain a lot about his record of winning), keeping Papelbon may not be a bad move. Of course, if he blows a couple of saves in April the fans may burn him in effigy without bothering with the effigy part, but conversely winning baseball overcomes bad public feeling in a hurry. (And hey, at least unlike Aroldis Chapman, Papelbon chose to assault a highly athletic adult male and didn't have a firearm at the time, so he's not even the most morally offensive closer on the East Coast, right?)

blovy8 said...

I agree with John C.'s estimation of the types of guys who are expendable, but they were also somehow worthy enough to keep on the roster rather than leave the spots open. I doubt those guys are better throw-ins than Tyler Moore would be as the proverbial "right-handed power" teams need every other year (alternating with "left-handed power" of course). The Span and Storen money are still a puffy budget cushion, and unlike a few years ago, there haven't been remarks about what they can afford to do, even to the point where Rizzo has said paying some salary to get a good deal is on the table, and indeed seems to have been in the Escobar deal. He is stubborn enough about his valuation of players, that it will be hard to trade Storen or Paplebum until more dominoes fall. The market has dwindled to options like Holland, Clippard, Rodney, Nathan, Hunter, etc., so it cuts both ways for Nats and their trading partners. Clearly, Rizzo doesn't want Storen to be his closer, and he's easier to trade. He traded for Papelbum to close and that no-trade list of his could make him our version of Phillips. I suppose you can make a case for expecting Kelley or Rivero to handle the 8th or 9th, but you certainly aren't going with a lot of late-inning, high-leverage experience there. The question is going to be how much money to eat, it may take arbitration and a few more guys to sign for Rizzo to take what he can really get. If you have to sign another guy to take that role and you're paying Storen a few million to do it somewhere else, then I begin to wonder if we should just take Rizzo at his word right now that he can live with both these guys where they are.

Jay said...

I agree with blovy8. At this point, I might be ok with Storen and Papelbon staying. That pains me a great deal, but maybe Baker can make it work. Also, it sounds like old "paint by numbers" had relievers warming up way too much. Have to wonder if that had an impact. I'd rather see them focus on getting another OF and lead off guy. Of course, I would be ok with trading for Andrew Miller as well, but I don't see that happening. Some people have mentioned that Melancon for Pittsburgh is available as well. The only other closer that is somewhat interesting is the guy for Tampa Bay. Still, I would rather have an OF and lead off guy.

Rob Evans said...

What's going on with the Murphy deal? Is it still pending a physical?

Clip&Store said...

"And hey, at least unlike Aroldis Chapman, Papelbon chose to assault a highly athletic adult male and didn't have a firearm at the time, so he's not even the most morally offensive closer on the East Coast, right?"

Hmm you know what I like your thinking! Makes pap look like not a 100% totally bad dude I suppose.. At least it was a fair battle!