Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Papelbon being Papelbon

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Quickie - Papelbon being Papelbon

He's still here. He's still Papelbon off the mound. Is he still Papelbon on the mound? Probably so, at least for 2016, and does anyone care beyond that?

Nothing else to speak of as it is pitchers and catchers time which by definition means nothing is happening but beat writers warming up the daily news machine and columnists waxing poetic. Enjoy it for what it is. Not baseball but the general excitement that real baseball is coming... in about 5 weeks.

The Nats should have a boring Spring because there are really only a couple outstanding questions to resolve and you can only ask the same questions so many times.

(1) How will CF shake out? Will it be a strict platoon? Will it be Revere heavy with MAT back up? Vice versa? Will one be the clear starter and the other labeled 4th? Revere isn't overall good enough and MAT is not a strong enough prospect anymore for this to be very consequential assuming everyone else is healthy, but how it shakes out will tell us a few things; how the Nats view Taylor, will Dusty over emphasize the veterans.

(2) What's the lead-up to Papelbon going to be? I assume Rivero-Kelley-Papelbon (from what I've heard) but it could be anything. Honestly this can change week 1 so I wouldn't be overly concerned about it. Papelbon is the closer and they'll try someone out before him in the 8th spot. If it works out great. If not another arm will take the first arm's place.

Ten days until the first taste of baseball.


Jimmy said...

I think there should be a third caveat Shortstop question. As of now it's pretty clear they are going to sit Trea for a month to gain another year of eligibility, but I think that Rizzo's hand could get forced if Turner is absolutely tearing the cover off the ball and playing good defense come spring, especially if Espinosa struggles early.

sirc said...

Trea Turner will need to be in the minors until sometime in June in order to gain the additional year of eligibility, not a month as Bryce did in 2012 or Kris Bryant last season. He had 45 days last season, remember.

Harper said...

I've held the sirc position (held down for control purposes) for a while. It's another reasona Drew was brought in. Espinosa struggling? Well we can try Drew for a while rather than bring up Turner. I think the only way it doesn't happen is a combination of injury and amazing play by Turner.

Either way it's not really a spring question. In-season

JW said...

I don't think there's anything other than massive injuries that could force Rizzo's hand in keeping Turner in the minors to start the season. Absolute best case scenario for the season is probably Turner being worth 3 WAR (that's probably even stretching it), so the difference in the first two months will most likely be negligible and certainly not worth the extra year of control.

I think it's much like the Cubs with Bryant last year. You keep him down there and hope that you can still make the playoffs.

CF should continue to be an issue, but the pitching (starting and relief) is a bigger question mark of the two. The absolute biggest question though to me -- What are you going to get from Werth and Zimm? Personally, I think that's where the season gets defined.

Chas R said...

I think there's a question about rotation depth as well. If any of the current 5 struggle or have injury issues, they will likely go to Cole first then... ???

Sammy Kent said...

Eff Papelbon. Let him pitch mop up.

blovy8 said...

I agree that Turner is screwed - because if he hits the crap outta the ball and handles every play at short, that will just make the brain trust want to keep him that extra year even more. If they have a slew of injuries, I would want his bat in the lineup, but I'm pretty unconvinced he'll get his shot even then as they will probably get another washed up SS from someplace that they can jettison in June.

The bullpen is getting more interesting with each non-roster invite. Belisle might have something left in the tank. There's a chance that a dominant spring from Rivero puts him squarely in as the 8th inning guy and closer heir apparent. Realistically, Perez is the loogy, but if another southpaw like Burnett looks better than the remaining RH, I don't mind carrying three lefties in the bullpen, because Treinen and Petit can go multiple innings. I read about Maddux changing Treinen's change-up grip already, so there's some hope.

Rizzo left a lot of room for Taylor to keep the job in center, so if he doesn't strike out half the time in March, I guess he's made the club and Dusty will have to find him at bats. A look at the tools, and he's probably going to want him around anyway, so the 5th OF spot would become the real competition. Do they want versatility, or do they want balance? Will they keep den Dekker even though they likely hare stuck with Drew and Robinson on the bench from the left side already? Does TMo get yet another chance to be the RH hairy arm power guy because of that or will Baker's familiarity with Heisey put a different guy out there?

Old Man River said...

@Chaz R - probably would be Arroyo in that case...

Unknown said...

"Not baseball but the general excitement that real baseball is coming... in about 5 weeks."

Based on how serious the Nats take early season baseball, don't you mean more like 13 weeks?

Sam said...

Hi Harper,
Would you be interested in reviewing a new book on the Nationals? Sorry to ask on the comments thread but I can't find an email in your profile. Let me know and I can get you more details.

Jay said...

Can I just say that the Orioles and Peter Angelos drive me a bit crazy. MASN states they can't afford to pay the Nats a legitimate regional sports fee, but Angelos and the Orioles have spent the most money on free agents this offseason (if the Gallardo deal goes through). I saw something crazy that MASN is worth close to 1 billion and Angelos and the Orioles are getting the vast majority of the revenue. I don't see how anyone can root for both the Nats and the Orioles when the owner is trying to essentially drive the Nats out of town.

Done venting thank you.