Nationals Baseball: Roark was... ok

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Roark was... ok

Roark had a better outing last night than his last two, but it wasn't exactly the Roark we've came to expect to see last year. He was still missing wildly at times. He was still getting hit pretty hard. On the other hand, he wasn't just catching breaks on where they hit them. He did pretty much manage to get the ball over to every batter on one of the first two pitches. That's not trivial as it kept Roark away from a count where it felt like he needed to throw a strike or a pitch that looks like one.  His pitching, Seattle being a bit aggressive, and the Nats having a nice lead all added together to present few "have to" situations for Roark.

That's good enough and not good enough at the same time. It's good enough for the season, as you saw last night. The Nats still have a good offense. Maybe not the killer, carry the team all-season offense with Eaton, maybe one that can go into a funk now and then, but it's good. They will score and that means the pitchers can relax a bit. But it's not good enough for the playoffs. You at least need a reliable third arm in the playoffs and I didn't see that from Roark last night. I don't expect to ever see it from Gio - he's limited to starting against teams that can't hit lefties. I'm not sure Ross will get there. So Roark being '16 Roark again is pretty important for a team whose goals are not just to make the playoffs. There is plenty of time to work that out though.

The Nats Blog brought up re-signing Werth for next year and... well... I don't know. I noted last year that Werth had pretty much hit best reasonable expectation for his contract. He didn't do it in a usual way - the order of the productivity of his years were all out of whack - but he did it. I feel kind of sure that he won't get out of 2017 with a 120+ OPS+ but more like something around 100 and that's great! Really! That means he's still a viable player, though a lower end one because of defense, for an OF.  So he still fits into the Nats OF... maybe. Assuming Eaton is back and Bryce is Bryce you have one spot left. Is that for MAT*? Is that for Robles? The question is one of is the team better served in the long run by letting a young guy patrol that corner spot rather than trying to squeeze out something from a guy at best 2-3 years from being put out to pasture?

That's probably yes, in the long run, but what if you are just worried about 2018? 2018 could be the last year of Bryce and of Murphy as both head into free agency (also probably Weiters as Severino is nowhere near ready with the bat right now). With a big chunk of the offense potentially gone the next year do you really want to "try out" a guy in the OF and maybe cost yourself something? Wouldn't it be better for 2018 to sign up Werth for one last go at it?

It's a tough question. I suppose honestly the hope is the Nats win it all this year and then - hey! Who cares!? Champions! Woooo!

*Yes, I'll talk about MAT and Trea - maybe tomorrow, maybe post Memorial Day.

17 comments:

Josh Higham said...

Part of this is the below average and slightly aggressive offense he was facing, but "... ok" seems like an understatement given Roark did really well in the 3 things we talk about pitchers controlling. He struck out 8, walked none, and gave up a home run-ish double where the wind was blowing out but MAT scooped the homer into play. It wasn't just a double, but it also wasn't over the fence at all if not for the wind (which was pretty fierce, I was in the top deck last night). If the Mariners hadn't hit so many line drives and Tanner hadn't thrown quite as many fastballs at eye level, we'd be talking about this as a great game by Roark. As it is, I was pleasantly surprised.

G Cracka X said...

I'd say No to re-signing Werth. I think he is going to show by the end of the contract that it was clearly a good signing, so I am happy with how that turned out. That being said, with his age and defense, I'd like them to go another direction next season.

That's why the MAT question is huge. Can he be good enough to be the starting CF for the Nats in '18? Then you put Eaton in LF, and can save $$.

Overall, the team looks like it is shaping up nicely for 2019 (as Boz mentions): Zim, Difo, Turner, Rendon, Eaton, MAT, Robles, Scherzer, Stras, Ross, Roark, Glover, Treinen, Solis. They obviously will need to fill some holes in FA (for example, catcher, 5th starter, bullpen), but otherwise the team looks decent in the near future.

So, should the focus be on extending Rendon and getting other FAs, rather than sign Harper to a mega contract??

Robot said...

I was happy with what I saw from Tanner last night. Yeah, it was short of 2016 Tanner and pitching against Seattle certainly helps, but the lack of walks was really encouraging.

@ G Cracka X - Overall, the team looks like it is shaping up nicely for 2019 (as Boz mentions): Zim, Difo, Turner, Rendon, Eaton, MAT, Robles, Scherzer, Stras, Ross, Roark, Glover, Treinen, Solis.

I'm not optimistic about a lot of names on that list. I'm still not convinced MAT can hit at the major league level, the past couple weeks notwithstanding. I've never been sold on Treinen-and-Failnin'. And Difo? Eh, we'll see, I guess.

Priority #1 needs to be resigning Bryce. But we all already know that.

Ole PBN said...

I don't think we should resign Bryce if it gets beyond what we're willing to pay. I can't believe I'm saying that as its been a pleasure watching him grow up with us. But nobody, and I mean nobody, is worth half a billion dollars (as its been rumored he could command). Even if he's the next Barry Bonds, I think far more often than not, those contracts turn out to be a mistake. As for MAT, I just can't tolerate the strikeouts. And if we do, which were are now, its because he would be our only hole in the lineup, which he is now. But he has to be the only one, otherwise you're looking at a Espinosa/MAT/pitcher stretch in the order that high school pitchers would salivate over.

I'd also like to point out how good Rizzo has been with the restructuring of deferred money. We have a competitve team year-in and year-out, a solid core, an ability attract high profile FA, AND still have a chance at resigning Bryce? I don't think anyone other than Dombrowski in Boston or Cashman could say that...

G Cracka X said...

I agree that MAT's K-rate is too high. That being said, I think he would absolutely destroy high school pitching. Look at how well he does in Spring Training every year, against guys who are way better than HS.

G Cracka X said...

Also, I agree with you that $500 million is too much

BxJaycobb said...

Ole PBN. It's not going to be half a billion. But it could be 400 million or somewhere approaching it for 10-12 years. And I would argue 400 million for 10-12 years is worth it, unless you believe 2015 was a serious aberration (1 WAR has a market value of about 5m now, and will presumably be worth more through inflation in years to come). So that deal would assume about 7 WAR a year (Bryce was worth 10 WAR in 2015 and is on pace for about 9 WAR this year). So if you believe Bryce is somewhere approaching that type of player during his prime, which I don't think is unreasonable given that the vast majority of this deal would come in his prime prime years (he had 10 WAR at age 23 remember). Obviously his 33-36-ish years will be less maybe like half value of 26-33 years. But consider. If you actually believe that Jaysen Werth is worth his deal, when he would make half the AAV of Bryce's 35-40m/year....that makes Bryce clearly worth it, as Bryce is like three times as valuable a player as Werth. He's probably twice as valuable as Strasburg per year. So 35-40m is about right. And his value is unique because it goes beyond baseball value, in terms of value he brings to organization off the field. Obviously what is concerning is spreading risk. When you have a bunch of 3 WAR guys making 15m/year, if one gets hurt or seriously underperforms it's bad but not a disaster. Obviously if a 7-8 WAR/35m guy has issues...wow. That's a ton of your budget. But the reason Bryce's deal is not comparable to other FA deals that haven't turned out well is SO FEW deals start at age 25. That's crazy young. I can only think of A-Rods, which actually was easily worth it. And emotionally, I'll be fine if we are "saddled" with a great but not intergalactic Bryce vs think how hard it will be to watch him become an inner circle HOF player in Bronx. Anyway, a lot to think about. But just remember. Bryce isn't just your best player. He is at least as valuable as your next 3 most valuable players (roughly) if he resembles 2015 Bryce. I do hope we make a competitive offer at least.

Jay said...

I think it boils down to what the Lerner family plans to do with the team budget. If you treat Bryce as an outlier and don't change the budget for the rest of the team, then you are ok trying to keep him. In that scenario, the team budget gets calculated with Bryce's salary sort of not included. If they are going to stop spending and try to cut corners like crazy and constantly talk about budget constraints bc they signed Bryce, then it's not worth it IMO. The problem in baseball is that Bryce only bats 4-5 times per game and can just be walked like the last two nights. The Nats didn't even make the playoffs in 2015. They made the playoffs in 2016 with bryce performance most of the year.

This year is also a good example. They spent to get Wieters. They have great starting pitching and offense. They swung and missed on several closers and their bullpen is awful. Despite that they have the 2nd best record in NL and are comfortably in first. However, they definitely need to address the bullpen (I hope they trade for Melancon and the Nats pay his entire contract - lower prospects go to SF).

Jay said...

Their bullpen is just awful. So far with 2 outs in the 7th the Nats have given up 2 runs and another 2 inherited runners scored. They've managed to get 3 outs total. Not encouraging.

blovy8 said...

It's not a total loss if they are willing to change bullpen arms because they stink. Would you rather have Jacob Turner be a 3.70 reliever until August when you can't do anything but pick up waiver-wire expensive bums?

Ole PBN said...

Bx... a lot of data in there, and a lot of that speculation as well (which we all do here, so its okay). I see your point, but the part I respectfully disagree with is that he is as valuable as the Nats next 3 most valuable players. Thats ridiculous. If Rendon, Scherzer and Murphy all go down - we're still just as good a team because we have Babe Ruth hitting solo homeruns? If we lose out on top quality talent because we have intergalactic BRYCE/albotross contract clogging the payroll and no one else helping out, you get a 2015 season at best (for both the team and for Bryce). You get Trout and Pujols and a bag of dog food sprinkled all over the field at best. No thanks. You're right there are not many comparable contracts, maybe aside from A-Rod. That one brought 1 WS title in his 12 years as a Yankee. I can't recall another team winning a WS with $250M+ man on its roster.

I want him to stay a Nat as much as the next guy and I think we should make a competitive offer (which we most likely will, as evident of the good-faith 2018 deal he signed this month). Just don't absolutely decimate the bank to keep him, which as a mid-market franchise, we'd be forced to do.

Ole PBN said...

I'll lower the bar. How many teams have won a WS with a guy getting over $150 million? The answer: 2. Buster Posey ($167M/9yrs) and a ton of Yankees (but is that a surprise? They can afford it). Just look at the list below and tell me how great these teams are...

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/league-info/highest-paid-players/

Anonymous said...

Harper- can you talk about what the nats would have to give up to get certain bullpen pieces with the current market? Would it totally gut the system or no?

blovy8 said...

What are the odds the Nats trade for Brad Hand since the Padres are in town? The airfare savings alone are worth a 27-year old AA-ball OF at this point.

Bjd1207 said...

@OlePBN - Not saying this is absolutely true in this case, but you're missing part of the "3x as valuable" equation.

The argument is that if you have 4 guys, do you want Babe Ruth and 3 call ups from triple A? Or do you want Scherzer, Murphy, and Rendon with a cheaper guy. And the numbers may point to the first one. Obviously harper can't cover 3 OF spots by himself (much less 2B and 3B), but you still have other players on the team. The question is Harper + 3 randoms >/</= Rendon, Scherzer, Murphy + 1 random

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