Nationals Baseball: Plop Plop sure. Fizz Fizz? Not yet

Friday, January 20, 2017

Plop Plop sure. Fizz Fizz? Not yet

The Nats need relief.  Honestly they probably need 2-3 decent arms to have any real confidence that the pen will be good. They aren't likely to get that which means while the pen will probably be ok, there will be a lot more variability on performance, especially on the "oh they could suck" side. That's not to say they should throw up their hands and do nothing if they aren't grabbing all the good arms left. Any single good arm will help reduce variability.  Are there good arms still out there?

Quick run through of the more interesting names

Greg Hollland - Was fantastic up through 2015 as a closer then got hurt. If he's 2013-14 Holland he's a steal.  If he's 2015 Holland he's good but wild. If he's something worse uh oh. And he hasn't pitched in 18 months so he's a straight up lottery ticket.

Sergio Romo - Nats can really complete a set of Giants relievers with him and Javy Lopez (missed out on Casilla though) in FA this year. Romo is the epitome of solid. Last year was a step back and injury plagued but he's still effective. Big drop in FB speed might be concerning.

Joe Blanton - reinvented himself as an effective reliever after years of mediocre starting. Hard to read with only 2 relief years to look at but everything seems in order.

Jerry Blevins - Outside of arguably unlucky Nats stint has been decent and improving over time. Stikes out a lot more guys now then before. Not a LOOGY. Good against all but hard to see him wanting to come back here after he was unceremoniously dealt because he took Nats to arbitration.

Boone Logan - Solid reliever who didn't let Rockies stint mess him up permanently. Really good against lefties, but decent enough against righties to not be LOOGYd. There's some boom potential here if you like guys coming from Colorado.

Luke Hochevar - like Blanton but figured it out 5 years earlier. Solid but a little prone to the long ball. Had another arm surgery in off-season after TJ in 2014 so might miss start of season.

Tommy Hunter - decent control but no strike outs.  Keeps the ball in the park.

Travis Wood - an effective long man. Could develop into a LOOGY as he ages

Javier Lopez - Old guy (39) who made living killing lefties while being good enough against righties. Last year took a step back against both. Not at all a K guy and poor control. Big spike in HR/FB last year. Usually that's fluky but again 39.

There are actually more decent arms out there than I thought. My guess is the dominoes are waiting for Greg Holland to end up somewhere before falling. If I were the Nats - yes I'd take a gamble on Greg Holland - there's greatness potential there, however unlikely, that isn't with any other arm available. The Nats have effective but lack dominance. I'd also pick up Boone Logan to add another lefty arm that's more LOOGY than Solis or a pick-up like Blevins, but not so LOOGY that he can't be useful in the regular way. Plus I like the way Logan's K's went up and HR went down in Colorado. I think there's sneaky potential for him to be really really good away from Colorado. Although it might take a year to right himself. THEN I'd still pick up whoever is left standing in this group (well not Lopez) come March 1st because you can't have too many arms. That's what I would do.

What I think will happen is that Holland will go somewhere then Blanton, Blevins and Logan will all settle in short (and likely that) order. I think they will all get multi-year deals for a few million a year. (I think Holland might get something as long as 4 if you count options) Then the bargain hunt will be on. Like I said Hochevar's injury status will make him a bargain pick-up and he's a Boras client so I think he's the one that ends up here. Another name I didn't mention that might be able to be picked up by the Nats here is JP Howell. He's an extreme groundball guy who pitched very similarly to his 2015 stats but ended up with a worse ERA. He's adding control and sacrificing hits, but since he's a GB guy that's mainly singles. He wasn't effective vs lefties last year but if that was a fluke you've got yourself a Boone Logan type for half the price. If it wasn't a fluke you still likely have a useful arm.


Chas R said...

What could be holding up Holland's decision? Surely, by now he's received all the offers/counter-offers he's going to get.

Fries said...

I want Holland badly. I would also love Blanton. But I really don't see the Nats landing any of the "big" names (relatively speaking) left. I see them picking up 2-3 arms of the likes of Hochevar, Lopez, and Hunter. Rizzo is too risk averse with relievers during the offseason and the Lerners won't spend long-term money like Holland's looking for

sirc said...

Holland would be good for the nerves, wouldn't he? Whether or not he's healthy or effective come April, it will make the next 25 days (under 4 weeks until pitchers & cathers, wow) less stressful.

Harper, what about Belisle in your list? He seems to be in the Stammen mold, and he has great numbers when weighed against cost. Seems no-brainer to me.

ClassOf87 said...

Rosenthal seemed to sort of confirm Bowden's Tweet regarding Nats not being willing to spend more at present. He didn't tie it directly to the new Spring Training facility, but said in his notes column last night that the team was "awaiting ownership approval to spend further" before going in on Holland, etc.

Jay said...

I worry they are going to let it ride and not pick up anyone. This whole MASN thing is driving me crazy. The Orioles sign Chris Davis to a monster contract last year. They bring back Trumbo this year. The Nats have spent virtually zero money this year. The fact that the Lerners won't spend is ridiculous. Trust me Ted, no one is going to care how much you guys spend this offseason when figuring up the new regional sports fees. Also, CSN Atlantic dropped their coverage of the Ravens. Here's to hoping they pick up the Nats somehow (I know it would be a legal nightmare) and leave MASN and Angelos in the rearview mirror.

I hope they pick up Holland, Romo, and a lefty. They really need a long man as well IMO. Holland could be such a steal under a 2-3 year contract. If he hasn't recovered from TJ and doesn't have it then it only costs money.

The Nats closer job is sort of like the Harry Potter series. Stay with me for a minute. In the series, the defense against the dark arts teacher position at Hogwarts has been cursed and no one stays in the job for more than 1 year until Harry Potter breaks that curse as well by killing Voldemort (spoiler alert). Anyway, have the Nats had the same closer for two years in a row since Chad Cordero?? Maybe we should blame the Chief.

Harper said...

Chas R - he has a specific contract wish (multi-year where he can opt out after one) that I bet he hasn't gotten yet. Or hasn't gotten from a team he wants to go too

Fries - I'd be fine with 2-3 arms of that type. That at least adds known depth. The problem might be that Hochevar is the top of the list and the other 1-2 are garbage minor league dealies.

sirc - I like Belisle and be fine brining him back as that other to Holland and Logan.

ClassOf87 - yeah, well like I said the other day - I think it's a real spending cap. I'm just not sure it's related to ST. Seems to me to be in line with past payrolls

Jay - I doubt they'll get no one. I think the minimum they do is offer minor league deals to 2-3 guys come end of February.

blovy8 said...

Hey cmon they already got Neal Cotts, how much more can you ask for? Matt Thornton?

Anonymous said...

And why didn't the Nats sign Kurt Suzuki again? Instead the Barves get him for $1.5mm. No, let's chase Wieters instead.

John C. said...

Boone Logan has already pitched away from Coors field - and he's a reliever with a career ERA of 4.45 and a 1.448 WHIP. Blech. Yeah, he had a fine season in CO last year - built on a .221 BABIP that was 100 points below his career BABIP. Logan isn't really good; however he is a strong "buy high, regret later" candidate.

Teh Lernerz r cheep! OK, other than backing up a truckload of money to try to sign Jansen. I think it's more likely that they don't think that the scraps left at the FA table aren't worth the asking price. Sure, Holland would be nice - but it's been reported that he's seeking a high $$ two year deal with a player opt out after one. That's insane; I'd be pretty peeved if the Nats signed that kind of deal. If the price comes down, sure.

NotBobby said...

Wow, so Yordano Ventura died in a car wreck in DR. Why does it seem that ballplayers are always dying in car wrecks in the DR? What a shame for the Royals. He was a central part of that team.

Now Duffy, Kennedy, Vargas, Karns, Strahm? I wonder if KC gets a rp or two to make up for the loss...

Harper said...

JC - my impression is that with Coors is that pitching there is a constant mind game. When I look at him I don't see 2016 Logan any more than 2014-5. I see 2012-13 Logan that has survived pitching in Coors where other arms haven't. That tells me something about the pitcher in my opinion. (key word "opinion"). I think that's the best comp and I think that guy is an effective pitcher. Normal stadium I'd say 3.60/3.70 ERA type.

as for Jansen thing - like I said there was a plan in place for Gio to be dumped. I assume that if they get Jansen that goes through.

John C. said...

Logan thrived pitching in Coors with a screwy, unsustainable BABIP. Caveat emptor.

Froggy said...

Is the door completely closed on a possible deal for David Robinson?

NotBobby said...

Froggy - i think it is anything but closed. Pale Hose want to get rid of him, they just haven't found anyone at the price the want. I am sure Rizzo would pull the trigger if the price came down. Robertson will be traded in 2017, just maybe not before the season starts.

Froggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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