Nationals Baseball: Trade Deadline talk

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Trade Deadline talk

The Nats did nothing on the last day of trading and at this point we have to accept the pattern.

They will not give up any meaningful prospects for a top player available in trade. They will not (pending further information and trades) spend any significant money mid-season.  These facts mean its unlikely the Nats will stock up at the trade deadline, fixing all potential issues. Instead they are limited to finding one useful piece that fits these criteria.  This is what they did this year for Melancon, and last year (Papelbon), and in 2014 (Cabrera), and in 2013 (Hairston), and in 2012 (Suzuki - actually mixing it up with a wavier trade 3 days after the deadline!)

So next year when the Nats need a... i don't know, 1st baseman, LOOGY, and could use a bench OF, expect them to pick up one of those for what seems like a great deal and do nothing else. Twice is a pattern. Five times is a corporate philosophy.

What about the Bruce trade? It makes the Mets competent. To me, it's the equivalent to the Johnson/Uribe trade they made last year.  It sets them up with a major league line-up again but it doesn't provide a game changing player. Like with the Marlins deal I take this to mean I can't dismiss the Mets out of hand. However, I may very well soon be able to dismiss them given the circumstances. Adding Lucroy as well would have made me worried.

Anything else from the deadline? Yes, the Giants, even year juggernauts, solidified a spotty rotation and shored up a tired pen. Wil Smith is just good. Matt Moore is merely fine. But the important part is they keep the Giants from having to use players that are not good and not fine.

The overall trade deadline certainly felt like the Nats are saying, "this is the team we are rolling with" against more aggressive moves from the likes of the Giants, Cubs, and Dodgers. The Pirates even seemed to try to re-tool on the fly. It's understandable in the face of the Mets and the Marlins, why the Nats don't really need to do more. But come October they aren't playing the Mets and the Marlins anymore and the "this is the team we are rolling with" philosophy has gotten the Nats all of two early October trips to St. Louis and San Francisco during this time.

Am I too down? Perhaps. But I feel like the constant moderate budget prospect driven success that the Nats are going for is extremely hard to obtain. I think the end result is what we've seen so far, on and off years, playoffs and not. Yes the Braves did it but the Braves run was based around three, THREE, Hall of Fame pitchers in their relative prime pitching for the team at the same time, boosted mid run by a HOF third baseman.That's a hard thing to replicate, even when handed two "generational" talents.

OK but there's the season to finish out and a pennant to take. Nats KILL. Mets lose. Marlins lose. Feeling pretty good about things so I take that to mean the Nats will lose the next two?

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or did it seem like this trade deadline was more of a seller's market than past trade deadlines?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I love the Nats philosophy. I want to see them maximizing the number of years that they are winning 85, 90+ games a season. 1) It makes it more fun as a fan that the team is continually in the hunt. 2) Post-season baseball inherently has significant randomness to it. I'd much prefer the Nats maximize the number of years that they are in the post-season, rather than going "all in" for any give year.

To me, the Nats philosophy signals that they want to put a consistent, high-quality product on the field every year. That means not trading high-level prospects for short-term rentals.

The Nats philosophy does not signal that ownership is somehow "cheap." Our major signings show quite the contrary, in my view.

All this goes to say, I very much respect the Nats for precisely this approach. It only endears me more to the team. Just my two cents; I acknowledge that there is obvious room for disagreement.

sirc said...

I would have liked to have seen the Nats go for it on Miller. Even if they didn't ultimately get him, I believe that they should have fought to aquire him.

I suppose that it's possible that they did, but I read no indications of it after they got Melancon.

Adding both of them would have been beautiful, and I would have traded any of the top pitching prospects to get it done.

Anyone but Trea.

Anonymous said...

"They will not give up any meaningful prospects for a top player available in trade."

This appears absolutely true at the trade deadline, but it's not true in the offseason. They won the auction for Gio Gonzalez by giving up two top 100 prospects and to cusp-of-the-majors starting pitchers. It's turned out to be quite a steal for the Nats, but that is a fairly sizeable prospect haul, and the A's certainly had other teams offers in hand as Gio was very publicly on the trading block. Prices tend to be higher at the deadline than in the offseason, so an organizational philosophy against trading prospects for big pieces at the deadline does make some sense.

I think you're absolutely right that, for whatever reason, the Nats just won't add salary at the deadline. I think their unwillingness to pay high prospect prices is defensible, but the reluctance to add salary is not.

In general, though, I think the playoffs are a crapshoot. I believe adding a good bullpen arm CAN help you in October, but that doesn't mean it WILL help you in October. Too many other seemingly random occurrences can cause a win or a loss in a single game, which can tip a series. The 2014 Giants' big acquisition was Jake f'ing Peavy. They were a thoroughly mediocre team (with a mediocre bullpen) that won the world series on the backs of a very good starter having an excellent run (Bumgarner), a superstar (Posey), and a decent player hitting very well (Sandoval).

I know you disagree philosophically, Harper, but I think the best way to win a world series is to have as many chances in the playoffs as possible. This means not trading high potential future value for very small increases in winning in the playoffs. If there was a trade to be made that would increase the Nats' probability of actually GETTING to October, that would be a different story, but I don't think that's much of an issue now (nor was it in 2012 or 2014; they should have been much more aggressive last year). Adding payroll is different.

Anonymous said...

To be fair though, which of these is worth the #1 pitching prospect + Lopez or Turner?

- Cespedes? (overrated, laughable defensively)
- Jay Bruce? (streaky hitter, no defense)
- Chapman/Miller? (all that for a closer? especially when relievers are so fungible)
- CarGo? (Coors numbers, but worth a look)

What the Nats want for such a package of prospects is a TOP OF THE line bat or SP. I'm talking about Altuve, McCutchen, or someone in their prime with years of control that is All-Star/MVP caliber. Some will say, "Well we're never gonna get those guys" so don't get pissed when we turn down Jay Bruce for Giolito and others. The market for quality players at the deadline the past few years, closers aside, has not been worth selling our farm for. I think the Cubs overpaid, so did the Rangers and Indians. If everyone can agree that the playoffs are random, then whats wrong with Rizzo doing his best to ensure the Nats make it every year? People get in a panic that we don't make a flashy move at the deadline. The Redskins, for years, have made that big splash and have been crowned offseason champions more times than the Patriots have won a Superbowl. Tell me, which would you rather have?

Harper said...

Anon @ 8:16 - feel the same way. I think recent years of prospect hoarding has maybe lead to the realization that "Hey these prospects aren't better than the hit or miss prospects of other years" leading to more willingness to let some of these guys go. For every Jeff Bagwell traded there are a dozen Hensley Muelens.

Anon @ 8:19 - I think it works great... if the Nats can win a title. But when you don't it wears on you. I mention the Braves and we all know how at the end they couldn't even fill up the stadium for playoff games. Some fans just appreciate the game and winning teams is enough. But most want something more and if they haven't won anything by say 2020, will they still care about good?

sirc - once a prospect becomes a performing major leaguer he has to be off-limits to all but the most crazy trades. See the Rangers basically saying Mazara, Profar were off limits.

Ole PBN said...

@ Sirc

To echo Anon 8:29, I think they did go for it on Miller, but as soon as they wanted more than just Giolito - Rizzo hung up the phone. Seriously, for Miller? All of that? You can't say you'd be happy with that deal.

I think baseball is an interesting game in which its slow enough to have the appearance that its easier to do that it actually is. When guys fail (which is often, its a game of failure) its easier to criticize from the couch. I hear the phrase, "its like they don't even care," way more than when watching football, basketball or hockey. For this reason, I think people feel vindicated if their team goes "all in" with big trades and flashy signings. The Marlins and Padres will tell you how that goes. AJ Preller ran that team like one of us here. Stupid. "But he tried!" Yeah, but there is a smart way to run this team and Rizzo is doing it.

Mike said...

"The idea is to win the last game of the World Series, not to brag about your farm system." -Tom Verducci

The Nats are good. They could have been muxh better. They failed at the trade deadline, and now we get to look forward to another postseason disappointment, which we all know is coming. But cool, at least we can look forward to a few more winning seasons with absolutely nothing to show for it aside from another "NL East Champions" banner.

Harper said...

Anon @ 8:29 - Giolito + Turner? None of those. But I don't think that was ever on the table. Is Giolito + whatever worth Miller? I say no, but that's an argument

Harper said...

Mike - we don't know! But probably! But only because only two teams make the WS and only one team wins! Disappointment is standard!

Anonymous said...

@ Mike

...oh how spoiled we have become.

Anonymous said...

I'm becoming more convinced by the day that the crazy run the Mets went on late last year was largely a big fluke, that they played way above their true talent level, and that there's close to zero chance of that being repeated again this year.

While I don't consider the Marlins to be a HUGE threat, I actually think that from top to bottom, offense and defense and pitching, that they're better overall than the Mets are.

Froggy said...

Getting Melancon was a great move from the standpoint of addressing the closer shortfall. Didn't make sense to give up the future for a Chapman rental. One could make an argument for Miller depending on what the price was, but Melancon has pretty solid numbers over the past few years and makes me a lot less anxious than Papelbomb.

Adding a closer is important but ideally a closer is a factor for what, one inning a game and then usually only if it's a save situation. Whereas adding another bat (I hate the term 'big bat') you get 4-5 chances a game to have an impact. That's why I've advocated a guy like Carlos Gonzales because he would likely play everyday and would definitely be an improvement offensively over our current CF options. Heck, Suzuki would be an immediate improvement and would only cost payroll and not prospects.

Chas R said...

Honestly, the Nats have plenty of talent to win the NL East, but that same talent does not match up to the enhanced Cubs, Giants, and Dodgers. How that will translate into wins and losses is yet to be determined, but I think we can look back on this midseason "philosophy" as the main reason if they should fail in the postseason again.

Anonymous said...

"The Nats are good. They could have been muxh better. They failed at the trade deadline, and now we get to look forward to another postseason disappointment, which we all know is coming."

"Honestly, the Nats have plenty of talent to win the NL East, but that same talent does not match up to the enhanced Cubs, Giants, and Dodgers. How that will translate into wins and losses is yet to be determined, but I think we can look back on this midseason "philosophy" as the main reason if they should fail in the postseason again."

Here's the thing: the best team - the team with the most wins - rarely wins the world series. Once you get past the play-in game, there are 8 teams left, and even the very best team doesn't have much better than a 12.5% chance to win the World Series. The Cardinals won 100 games last year and didn't make it out of the first round. The Royals in 2014 needed an insane comeback to win the play-in game and they made it to the World Series despite a middling roster. And they lost to a thoroughly mediocre Giants team!

The Cubs have been clearly the best team in the NL so far this year and they got better. The Nats have been clearly the second best team in the NL and they improved marginally. I think there's a three-way race for the third best team - Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals - and one improved quite a bit (Dodgers), one improved marginally (Giants), and one did essentially nothing (Cards).

There can be a million reasons the Nats win or lose to any of these teams in the playoffs. Some of them may have something to do with the trade deadline, and some of them may not. If the Dodgers beat the Nats in the NLCS and Kershaw goes 3-0 in the series, will you say the Nats lost because they were inactive at the trade deadline? If the Nats beat the Cubs because Scherzer and Strasburg each win two starts, and Chapman only pitches two innings the whole series, will the trade deadline have had any effect?

blovy8 said...

I think relievers are overrated - Ross is probably going to be a better reliever than anyone we could pick up if Gio is the fourth guy. If things go badly, sure, you need lots of guys, but part of our problem has been the prospects throwing 4-inning starts, so the pen has worked a bunch recently. Maybe they're only the equivalent of long relievers for the Nats this year already...

In the postseason, if you're aggressive, you can use your starters for an inning here and there, so you can match up pretty much forever against team in the playoffs if you have guys you can actually use with some confidence in particular situations.

We honestly don't know who is going to be healthy in the fall, but as least we have a couple of guys in Revere and Taylor who can really manufacture something. That's if friggin Revere ever bunted...

Rob Evans said...

Personally, I want a WS. I could live with several years of sucking in order to get one. You play to win championships, everything else is just noise.

The Nats should have tried to add another bat. Because they didn't, more than likely they're out in the first round.

Anonymous said...

Bruce made ZERO sense to the Mets, they said Herrera was untouchable and they have no one to play center. Their defense just became awful.

JE34 said...

Harper - let's make a trade for Hensley Meulens now! I'd rather have him than Rick Schu as our hitting coach...

JC said...

Harper - I have to say that this issue with mid season trading is the one instance were you are letting your "soulless automaton" mask down. The Nats are playing the numbers here. Like others have pointed out, there is just too much variability in the post season to make it worth paying the extra cost imposed on trade deadline teams. Who would have expected this time last year that Murphy would become a HR machine against the best pitchers in the NL? Those type of random streaks whether good or bad will determine the outcome of those games.

I heard Buster Olney ragging on the Nationals for not getting Miller/Chapman. This is ridiculous. Even if those two save 10% more games than Melancon the actual marginal benefit in the playoffs is small.

WiredHK said...

I always feel like Rizzo looks at his poor performing bats (Harper/Revere in 2016) and thinks, "I bet they will improve, so why add a hitter?" -- and this would have merit if it wasn't for the fact that doing this ignores your crazy-high performing bats likely to decline some (Ramos/Murhpy).

I have no evidence to support this thought, but it feels like that's his outlook. I do like that we added Melancon. That was a dire need (Paps has lost it) and he addressed it well.

Still, like you Harper, I'm left feeling like...meh...we sorta tried, sorta didn't....

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, wouldn't you describe some of the most successful sports franchises as equally committed to a corporate philosophy along these lines? The Spurs became the Spurs over time, and it has paid off handsomely for them.

Also, we're in the final two years of the Werth contract. Do you remember what the team was like when we signed that deal? If all we get is further playoff misery this year, I bet the team reconsiders their tightfistedness (definitely a word) in either 2017 or 2018 when his contract rolls off.

Flapjack said...

Got to agree with the last comment. Much as I would have preferred renting Chapman, he wasn't worth the bidding.

Meanwhile, look at what going all-in has done to rival farm systems. The long view is that the Nats are going to be in there punching with the refurbished Phillies and Braves while the Mets and (perhaps) Marlins are plunging toward mediocrity, and the Cubs and Giants, having depleted their depth, are more vulnerable to injury.

As a fan, I quite like rooting for a 90+ win team year in and year out. It has been pointed out many times on this page that what happens in the post-season has less to do with roster than timing. Wild card teams do win the WS from time to time. And there's a case to be made that having too big of a lead in September breeds less complacency.

Hopefully, Malencon is better than Storen. If he is, then the rest is up to the baseball gods.

Mythra said...

I have been a fan of the Detroit Red Wings since the 80s. That dates me a bit. But they have made the playoffs every year for 25 years. In that time, I have seen them win 4 Stanley Cups. Some of you would say 4 titles in 25 years isn't a success. I'd say I'm a Wings fan and enjoyed every playoff run, and hope this season they make it 26.

I looked in my closet this weekend and saw my Inaugural Season shirt that I got at RFK at my first Nats game. And I have to agree, the games at RFK were fun that first season, but the next five years were very hard to watch. Especially when MLB and Loria gutted the farm system. Remember, Kasten and Bowden and RIzzo had -nothing- to build upon when the Nats moved to town.

Since 2012, the team has been competitive into September or October every year. I much rather have that then those early days, when the Nats ran out a AAAA or AAA roster every night.

Mets have a lot of ground to make up and the arms aren't there to do it. They're more than Murphy and Cespedes streaks away from the playoffs, and I don't think the Bruce trade fills the gap. Marlins are trying to narrow the gap, but they're playing the Cubs while we have 2 more against the D-Backs.

Josh Higham said...

I agree 100% with Mythra. I love that I get 6 months of winning baseball to watch. I'm not willing to endure 6 months of Nick Johnson/ Ryan Church types as the best players on the roster again, even if the Nats become the 90s Braves and division championships get boring.

SM said...

Both supporters and detractors of the "corporate philosophy" occasionally turn to other professional sports to buttress their arguments. (Today, the Patriots and Spurs--and the usual whipping boy, Washington's NFL franchise--entered the conversation.)

A baseball example would be nice for a change. In yesterday's post, @Josh Higham suggested the Giants. Not a bad example. It wasn't until The Giants' minor league pipeline began gushing out Baumgarner, Posey, Lincecum, Sandoval and even Cain, that the horizon began to brighten. (Their best acquisition, however, was Bruce Bochy.)

But two other--post-Seitz/Messersmith/McNally decision--examples might alo apply.

The 1980 Championship Phillies who were knocked out three consecutive years (1976-1978) in the NLCS; missed the playoffs in '79, then won it all the next year. (Yes, they had Schmidt and Carlton, but both played when the Phillies were losing, too.)

The other is the championship 1985 Royals, whose history of playoff futility--'76, '77, '78, '80, '81 and '84--surpassed even the Phillies': Until, that is their own minor system
(mostly pitchers, like Saberhagen, Jackson, Black) provided reinforcements.

None of this is precisely analagous, of course (both examples are pre-Wild Card era).

Still, the corporate philosophy--versus, I suppose, the free-agent/George Steinbrenner philosophy--can and does work. (In fact, a good argument can be made that the Yankees from about 1996 to 2009 succeeded under a corporate philosophy.)

One way or another, ya gotta be in it to win it.


Anonymous said...

Rob Evans said...
"Personally, I want a WS. I could live with several years of sucking in order to get one. You play to win championships, everything else is just noise."

Rizzo doesn't have that choice. No matter what he does, he can't guarantee a WS. Therein lies the problem.

SM said...

. . . and hockey!

DezoPenguin said...

Honestly, I'm not sure that I'd count this trade deadline as a failure.

We needed a closer. We got one--actually, we got one of the best ones in the National League. So long as Melancon doesn't run smack into a wall of immediate failure or injury, that seems pretty good. And we got him for a lot less than the Cubs paid for Chapman. Yeah, Chapman is a better pitcher, but not so much better that getting into that bidding war would have been worth it. (Plus, to the best of our knowledge, Melancon is not a domestic abuser, and that actually does count to me.) Miller would have been worth pursuing, but Giolito+ would have been a ridiculous price to pay. Looking at Cleveland's package, if we went with bulk it'd probably have been Robles, Fedde, and a couple of org fillers to match that, and I'm not sure that's something I'd be comfortable with today.

Otherwise, what were our needs?

Depending on Ross's injury status, one starting pitcher (Gio having turned in several good games running makes me more sanguine about this), probably a rental type given Ross/Giolito/Lopez all going to be fighting over the 5th slot in 2017. Hill is fighting injury issues of his own. Otherwise, not a lot was moving around. Do we like Liriano or Hutchison enough to pay for him? I certainly wouldn't want to move, say, Anthony Rendon to Tampa for Moore. The Phils didn't even move Hellickson, implying that whatever offers they got weren't to their liking. Drew Pomeranz isn't a rental and he cost the Red Sox a top pitching prospect (plus, he has the pre-2016 track record of Drew Pomeranz).

As for the position players, we needed one stating slot filled by either a center fielder or first baseman. We didn't get that. Most of the guys who actually were moved at the deadline wouldn't have helped. We weren't going to bench Harper for Jay Bruce. Is Charlie Blackmon (who wasn't traded) better than Trea Turner? If so, is he better enough than Trea to give up prospects and money for him? Lucroy clearly didn't want to play 1B, if he's telling the truth about what he told Cleveland (and IIRC we're on his no-trade list, too).

Otherwise, what do we need? Maybe a utility infielder to replace Drew due to injury, or a backup catcher?

The only player actually traded to a buying team that I can say we actually "missed out on" was Steve Pearce, and yeah, he'd have been useful (apart from whether Dusty would willingly sit Zimmerman).

But ultimately, we fixed our position of biggest need, and found an in-house solution (Turner) to our position of second-biggest need.

So ultimately, I'm not sure that there was anything out there that fixed a position of needs at rational prices. And if that's the case, I don't see how we can call our deadline a failure.

Old Man River said...

Buster Olney had some criticism for the Nats. Because the Nats opted for Melancon over Miller or Chapman, we are at the top of his "Trade Deadline Losers List." Does this honestly bother anyone on this blog? That we "lost" the trade deadline? Is that what we're competing for?

In the city of "See and Be-Seen," I would expect nothing less from some of our fans. Winning all spring and summer gets boring I guess. Reminds of when the Caps season rolls around - "wake me up when the playoffs are here." Please don't do that to the Nats. Enjoy this.

Harper said...

JC - I'd say that you are discounting the variability of year to year success. The assumption of future consistent success because of a good farm system and young players is too far for me to go, at least in baseball. (Basketball and Hockey have deep enough playoff systems for this strategy to pay off with far more frequency) I think the best you can hope for is what we've seen - year in, year out type results - unless you luck into something particularly special.

I think you can get your consistent winner, if winner is "over .500, shot at playoffs" but I don't think you can get a consistent playoff team. Not this way. Well I'll walk that back a little. I think you can if you have a clear bottom of your division to provide easy wins and a little luck - that's basically how the Cardinals have done it. So many recent playoff teams with 91 wins or less.

Jay said...

I think the only thing that would have helped was a corner OF with Harper going to CF. It would have to have been an impact hitter - CarGo(debatable I know), McCutcheon (CF option, but no way Pitt trades him), etc. There is no way we were getting someone like that. Colorado is still in it and usually wants the farm for CarGo. Other impact hitters aren't getting traded. The deadline deal the Nats need is a trade of bryce (danny espinosa-like numbers in July) for Bryce or BRYCE. If that trade happens then everything else doesn't matter. Despite that they have the second best record in the league.

Bjd1207 said...

2 pedantic bones to pick -

@Mythra - While I agree with your sentiment overall, I don't think you'd get anyone to say 4 titles in a 25 year span isn't a success. The Red Wings are a success by any measure (titles or consistent winning) and of course that's what everyone's striving for.

@Josh Higham - Nick Johnson wasn't terrible. He averaged a 136 OPS+ while he was here and in his first 2 years before the injury he was a 4+ WAR player

Also the "storefront" bot check is easily my most hated bot check thus far. I'm not a robot!

SM said...

Bjd1207

That one throws me, too. One of them must be a subterranean medical marijuana dispensary.

mike k said...

@prolestes (last thread) - I understand why Lucroy would obviously want to get out of the team-friendly team option. My point was that it didn't make sense because the Brewers weren't going to waive the option if he stayed, so why make that a deal breaker for leaving? Unless he really really likes Milwaukee and hates Cleveland. Also, if waiving the option was a prerequisite to his being traded, then the Brewers had no incentive to trade him - just keep him, exercise the option, and trade him next year for the same value (rental). Also, I haven't read any indication that the Rangers waived the option. I think you get the idea. Not saying it's wrong, but it makes no sense. Methinks he didn't want to go to Cleveland and used it as an excuse.
___
I generally agree with the sentiment on this thread that an organization is best off by sustaining success and making as many playoff appearances over a 5, 10, 20 year span as possible. That being said, a World Series does cure all ills, so you want to do *something* to increase your chances during your window. Even if, technically, your chances of winning a World Series over the long run is (probably) greatest by not giving up top prospects and going all-in.

I'm also not sure that the Nats actually refuse to add salary mid-season, or if that's just a symptom of their being unwilling to give up major pieces mid-season. Anon @8:26 is right: buying is more expensive mid-season than the off-season. And players with high salary that are worth trading for usually require you to give up big pieces in a trade. Hence, with a long-term over short-term organizational philosophy, not adding salary mid-season seems to be a consequence of that philosophy (not trading big when the price is high), not a direct philosophy in and of itself.

Some people are talking like the Nats are like those good Rays teams, where they refused to spend money and were just generally good, going with their in-house guys every night. They aren't. We got Murphy this off-season, Scherzer the year before that, and just re-signed Strasburg. Rizzo makes, quite frankly, badass trades all the time. I think he just recognizes the trade deadline is a dangerous time when emotions cause us to overspend. I would've liked to add more at the deadline, too, but given the prices it just wasn't worth it.

John C. said...

I think it works great... if the Nats can win a title. But when you don't it wears on you.

You think that wears on you? Just imagine rooting for a team that sucks for a while, gets decent, pushes all its chips into WINNING NOW!!!! ... and fails. Which most trade deadline deals do, incidentally. We remember the ones that work, because they get huge play throughout the relevant postseason. No one cares about the acquisitions of Carlos Gomez, Andrew Miller (O's edition), etc.

From 2006-2010, the Nats averaged 96 losses a season. From 2012-2016, the Nats are well on their way to averaging over 92 wins a season. Hell, it's arguable that being less good in 2012 and 2014 would have been better, if they'd found a way to be just a bit better in 2013 and 2015. Then they could have had two more shots at the postseason lottery!

Because as anyone who pays attention knows, there really isn't a way to playoff-proof your baseball team. Baseball history, certainly over the past 50 years in the expansion/divisional era, tells you that being the better team pretty much means jack when it comes to short series baseball. But every year we look at the results and reverse engineer a rationale for "why it happened." Even though, when you step back and look at the years, the rationale mysteriously shifts from team to team.

DezoPenguin said...

@Jay: The only real problem with that is, we have no idea if Bryce can play CF. Having him learn the position on the fly while slotting in a probably bad defender next to him is going to take away a lot from the added value of the bat. But as you say, we probably weren't going to get a guy whose bat and/or glove *are* worth the risk.

@John C. Try being someone who's been a fan since 1980 when they were still in Montreal! Believe you me, I am very, very happy with 2012-2016 overall, much as I'd have preferred better playoff outcomes; these have been my most enjoyable years as a fan of this team.

Jay said...

The only constant in WS winners is that winners win, clutch guys are clutchy, goofy guys don't worry about the pressure of past team failures. WS winners don't strike out at bat, rather they just put the ball in play and see what happens. They manufacture runs, or hit big homeruns. Their pitching staff strikes everyone out or get groundball double plays.

In other words, it's a crapshoot. Hopefully this year they can have "it" and win a playoff series or two.

Chas R said...

I don't think anyone is saying the trade deadline was a failure or that the 2011 - present Nats are a disappointment. For me, I would have just liked them to be a little bit more All In. We don't need to trade our untouchables (Turner, Ross, Giolito, Lopez, Robles) to do something that could improve our "chances" of success. I'm not saying there is a direct correlation between a move and post season success, I'm just saying let's make a reasonable move THIS YEAR to improve our chances. The Os got Steve Pearce for a bag of balls. How did we miss on that move? Maybe there's information out there we (fans) don't have access to, but on it's face it is puzzling we did not do more before the trade deadline.

prolestes said...

I guess my biggest disappointment is the fact that we still have K-spinosa. Rizzo decided to not trade him while his value was high. Now danny's reverted to form and become the black hole in the lineup again...

Zimmerman11 said...

We leave any bullets in the clip for tonight after that drubbing vs AZ? Hopefully we score enough runs to back Max n Tanner tonight and tomorrow.

Zimmerman11 said...

Some Bats in This List of 2017 FAs:
1. Cespedes
2. Joey Bats
3. Reddick
4. Jansen
5. EE
6. Fowler
7. Chapman
8. Walker
9. Rich Hill
10. Trumbo
11. Ramos

Zimmerman11 said...

For when the doom n gloomers turn out to be right and we flame out in the postseason again.

John C. said...

Being a "doom & gloomer" is a cheap way to feel smart - because baseball will pretty much always break your heart. As Bart Giamatti said, it's designed to break your heart. So for 29 of 30 teams, just leaning on the "DOOM!" button is the play that's pretty much guaranteed to pay off. And when it does you get to say "see? SEE?! I TOLD YOU!"

My theorem is that this is one reason (along with the fact that humans strongly tend to be risk averse and that we tend to feel/remember pain more than we do an equivalent amount of pleasure) that fans trend so strongly to the doom & gloom end of the spectrum. Which is OK, by the way. We all find ways to get what we need out of the game.

Richard Parker said...

What you're forgetting, Harper, is that in the second half of the season the Nats have added, besides Melancon, 1) possibly the second-half MVP in Trea Turner and 2) a potentially important cog in the machine with Wilmer Difo. How much did they have to give up this year for those two guys?

Richard Parker said...


" I think it works great... if the Nats can win a title. But when you don't it wears on you. I mention the Braves and we all know how at the end they couldn't even fill up the stadium for playoff games. Some fans just appreciate the game and winning teams is enough. But most want something more and if they haven't won anything by say 2020, will they still care about good?"

The Caps have still sold out almost every game since Ovechkin and Co. made the playoffs back in 2008, despite the playoff disappointments. Put a good team out there and people will come with or without championships, at least in DC. Not the same in New York, obviously. The fans there are spoiled brats.

steven hamilton said...

I have to agree with "build solid teams and be competitive for a long time" side of the debate. Also, riffing off of what Richard Parker said above,I'd like to switch the script of "like the Braves" to "like the Cardinals"...who over the past 10 years seem to have an endless supply of quality players from their farm system, were competitive for many year, AND actually won some championships!

Dave said...

I am happy they did not give up the top prospects for a rental of Chapman. Plus, I do not think we want that sort of character baggage he carries. I would have been ok with them sacrificing a few of them for Miller. In hindsight, I would have taken the Melancon deal over what it would have taken for Miller. Even more so if they can resign him.

It would have been a lot more exciting to grab a bigger bat to fill first base. To a lesser extent, an outfielder. Trea gave them flexibility to go either way.

the interesting thing will be to see how they stack up in a series against the Giants and/or Cubs. They will have to earn it.

JW said...

I personally don't get the mindset that someone would rather win a championship and have multiple years of terrible performance, rather than be good every year but not win a championship. But that's also because I really can't re-watch sporting events. Clearly people are more than entitled to feel that way, it's just not something I can relate to. I just want to watch my team play good baseball as many times a year as possible, and the more that happens the better year I'm having (the happier I am for longer stretches of the year). You play to win yes, but not just play to win one game. At least that's my opinion.

I just don't see who would have improved the Nats beyond Miller and the price for him was really high. Maybe Pearce, but that's likely a bench player for the Nats. That's of the players moved. I mean clearly there are many players out there that could help that weren't moved, but of the players moved, I just don't see who the Nats missed out on.

Dusty's Toothpick said...

Honestly I think everyone is being a little spoiled in regards to the Melancon deal. Melancon is an all star closer!!! His cutter/slider is nasty, nasty. I would have liked a bat too but if we have Trea becoming a star in front of our eyes and Harper can play to a .265 clip and hit some clutch homers like we know he can then look out for the Nats. I too like the Nats approach albeit a bit conservative but our team is always good and can hang with the best. This year we push through the 1st round!!!!!!! 14-1 and 10-4 are good scores. If we can sweep the Indians this time around we are really cooking.

WiredHK said...

I can get behind that sentiment, Dusty's Toothpick (also - blog names FTW).

If Bryce becomes BRYCE this Fall and carries this squad in the playoffs, nobody will care much that his whole summer was pretty brutal. Unfortunately on the flip side, I can say with certainty that if Stras has a mediocre playoff run, the naysayers will crush him and forget every bit of his sensational regular season.

The microscope of the playoffs is a harsh bedfellow that comes with success...