Nationals Baseball: Going for it ^= ALL IN

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Going for it ^= ALL IN

OK it appears that yesterday's post was read as a plea for the Nats to go all in. I'd like to say I don't see where you were getting that - but I can totally see where you were getting that. This is what happens when you run through one draft and a quick editing check. I was hoping that saying that I didn't think the Nats should trade Robles would clarify that point but apparently not. So to clarify

I wasn't saying :


I was saying

It would be advisable if they address at least one of the three potential 2017 issues with a trade prior to the playoffs because while the chance all three come to bear is very unlikely, the chance that one does is not that far-fetched. Better to reduce the odds by attempting to eliminate one. Also, while looking into these issues, I would like it if I saw news that the Nats were addressing them in a way to deal with that uncertain future. I would love it if they could manage to address these issues without mortgaging the future in any significant way."

To put it into practical terms :

Fedde and Soto for Alex Cobb and Jay Bruce? RUN AWAY

Fedde and Soto for Sonny Gray and Andrew McCutchen? I'm listening. Doesn't mean I think this is available or that the Nats would do it but I it's the type of thinking that I want to hear the Nats are doing. Longer term thinking (which I think they do) not necessarily tied to payroll (which I think they are hesitant about)

Hope that makes my point a little clearer.

Another thing I want to note : Somewhere in the comments was a "With Werth gone the Nats have that money (21 Million) to fix some problems"  Well... no.  We can even ignore the Doolittle/Madson costs for now. Murphy is making 5.5 million more next year - 15.5 Million left. Bryce is making 8 million more. 7.5 million left. Eaton is making 2 million more. 5.5 Million left.  Do you want Adam Lind back? Of course you do. He mashes righties. He's due to make 4 million more. It's all gone pretty much! OK so you let Lind walk. Well then, you don't think Rendon (5.8 Million) and Roark (4.3 M) and MAT (580K) won't eat up 5.5 million in arbitration raises? (Spoiler: They will)

And like I said that's before you consider the 12 million that Doolittle and Madson will cost next year.  Oh and did I mention the best part? I didn't. Here it is.  That 21 million of Werth money is only coming off the books for luxury tax purposes. Werth actually deferred 10 million of his 2016 salary to 2018 so they are only paying 11 million less.

Basically the team you see today? That's the team that will be there in 2018 with some fringy edge changes, unless the team makes a deal or adds more payroll. But it's a good team! A playoff team.

And as for 2019 being cloudy, that's just the truth. The fact that after 2012, that 2013-2015 was pretty clear, and 2016 wasn't completely cloudy is the exception. Often you can't go more than a year or two at the best and feel confident. Three years feeling really confident and one sort of four years out? That's crazy! So 2019 being cloudy doesn't mean anything. It's typical. It's not bleak, it's cloudy.  You know what? 2017 was cloudy during 2015. Then Trea Turner kept developing like you'd hope. Then Joe Ross was unexpectedly good to finish year. Then Murphy was signed and magically became an MVP. Then Strasburg signed an extension. Suddenly, by May of 2016, 2017 (and really 2018 too) were pretty clear. It can happen just like that. 

So this is not gloom and doom. This is Nats are in a good spot for this year and next and there is the standard uncertainty about the future, which Rizzo and luck worked through once, beyond that.The Nats remain in a good position. I'm hoping Rizzo works and the Lerners pay now to make that true for 2019 and maybe beyond.


Alex Freeman said...

I think we've all been spoiled rooting for a good team for so long. Having 5 years (probably 6 counting next year) of playoff-caliber talent is very difficult to sustain in MLB, especially when you don't dump the amount of money into your team that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers do. I think the Nationals scouting and talent advisers do a great job and you have to kinda just hope they can do it again to solidify post 2018.

For the whole All-In or not debate, I side with the "get in the playoffs as many times as you can" argument. That's not to say that more solid teams (Astros and Dodgers this year) don't have a better chance of winning the WS, it's just that the difference between their chances and, say, the Indians or Nationals isn't as great as you'd really think. That being said, Rizzo has to see the post-2018 problem and try to make the team better for the future while maximizing the talent he has available now. Fedde and a couple lower prospects for McCutchen? Sure. Robles? Heck no. Robles for Gray? Probably yes. But the key is to have guys with multiple years of control to try to extend that window while keeping the current team still competitive enough to have a chance. That's why Rizzo made the trade for Eaton instead of McCutchen and, in doing so, solidified 2 out of the 3 outfield spots post 2018 (counting Robles). So I like Rizzo's handling of that near- and long-term asset balance and I think if more teams handled business that way, you'd see less Marlins and Blue Jays flameout stories.

Rob Evans said...

I want a World Series win. If that means going "all in", then do it. I know that the playoffs are a crap shoot, but I'd rather fail knowing that the Nats pushed all their chips in than playing it safe. I know I'm the minority here with that way of thinking, but oh well lol

Harper said...

Rob Evans - you might just get it next year. If Bryce doesn't look to re-sign, they can't manage to wrangle Rendon either, and the youth isn't coming along as it should BUT the team is still a favorite for the playoffs, I can see them trading a way a bunch of what would be B-level prospects to try to win in 2018. (Then selling off guys like Roark and Rendon and Eaton after the season)

G Cracka X said...

I agree that 2019 is cloudy, but I'm ok with that. I feel like the Nats can still be competitive then. But none of us know for sure, due to positive developments, regressions, injuries, etc.

The good news is that the Nats are doing well enough in '17 (and project well for '18) that the current topic of conversation is what to do about '19. That's a good position to be in.

Fries said...

Just stay in the playoff picture. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't make smart moves, and I think Rizzo gets that. Most teams over-value prospects, and that's why I'm still in the camp of trading for a LF like Dyson. Filling that hole in the lineup makes a huge impact on the team. Just look at last night's lineup, it's no wonder they scored zilch against a middling pitcher. Dude walks nearly 6 per 9, yet Lind, Weiters, Raburn, and Heisey were swinging for the fences on pitches 3-4 inches off the plate.


I agree adding another RP is important, but going into the playoffs the Nats are going to absolutely need a LF, because who knows what Werth will be able to do. He tends to be pretty rusty after injury after all.

Froggy said...

What ever level of "in" Rizzo pursues it should only be to support the goal of beating the Dodgers in the playoffs THIS year. Assuming the Dodgers beat the WC team and Nats advance of course. But, if the Nats do that and go to a World series then we are having a completely different conversation about resigning Bryce to a gazillion dollar contract, yadda yadda.

Harper said...

Fries - I think if Werth is healthy enough to play, Werth plays. That's it. You aren't going to sit him for a Dyson. He'd have to have a .100 0 HR September for that to be considered.

mike k said...

I'm also of the mind that you should try to make it as many times as you can, though of course you need to balance with the need to win today - (obvious neutral statement of the day).

Rob - I want to agree with you, but when you do trade away the future for today and you *don't* win, it feels so much worse. Both when you lose in the playoffs, and when you stink two years from then and you know you didn't have to. As a NY Ranger fan, I know that pain (from their past dealings...for modern day you only need to look at the Islanders).

I've said it in past threads, but...unless the Nats get another injury, the Raburn/Heisey/Difos won't be major players in the playoffs. People will be coming back from injury. IMO there's not enough marginal gain in getting a bat over the bat he will be replacing to make the trade worth it...better to use those pieces to get another reliever.

JE34 said...

@Fries - YES dude. Although I think Harper is right that Werth is going to get the ABs when he returns... it is *not difficult* to take some daggone pitches against a guy who tends to walk people frequently. Meyer had very good stuff last night, but still - this sequence had me fighting off an aneurysm:

Top of the 5th, two outs...

Four pitch walk to Rendon.

(this is where most of humanity says, "Hmm - he had issues locating his pitches. Let's not help him by swinging early in the count.")

Up steps Matt Wieters... who promptly swings at 3 (out of 4) pitches, each out of the strike zone, ending in a lazy pop to short left field.

That's not just bad hitting -- that's extremely stupid, oblivious hitting.

Froggy said...

All in scenario: Verlander

How much do the Tigers have to eat of his $67mm salary and what comps do the Nats give up to make it palatable for 2+ years of control? Is it doable with Robles Fedde and Detroit eats $20mm?

blovy8 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BxJaycobb said...

I wonder whether the Marlins would consider a Ozuna+Ramos package for Robles, Soto. That's the all in type trade I would be willing to do. Because it dramatically improves the team this year and also next year.

G Cracka X said...

Interesting fact: Gio's 2017 ERA is his lowest ever with the Nats, but his FIP and xFIP are the highest

Alex Freeman said...

Also Harper, if your title was meant to be read "Going for it is not equal to all in" then instead of ^=, you should have != as us programming nerds know. Just trying to be annoying here

Harper said...

Alex - Yes, for most software however for SAS, which is what I use daily you use "^=". I think "!" was deemed too similar to "|" and therefore can be used for OR "!=" would probably cause an error.

In fact taking a trip down programming memory lane it appears that "!=" wasn't generally acceptated as "not equal" until C was created which was about the same time SAS was. For FORTRAN, COBOL, and BASIC the popular early languages it seems like they preferred "NE" or something else. I THINK the fact "!=" doesn't work in BASIC carries all the way into Visual Basic, but don't quote me on that.

Alex Freeman said...

Weird that SAS doesn't use !=, considering it's written in C and that's the C standard. But that does make sense, it's pretty similar to |= which just makes you wonder why C didn't do it that way too. Probably because they didn't realize they should change the standard until it was too late and then they'd have billions of programmers screaming at them for messing up what they were used to. Don't you love all the different standards by different languages to do the same thing?

Josh Higham said...

In Visual Basic, not equal is "<>"

JE34 said...

Bjd1207 said...

@Froggy - MLBTR reporting Tigers are currently offering to eat the 2017 salary only, $11M

But Robles and Fedde is an overpay for 2 years of Verlander IMO

Froggy said...

Agree Bjd. More likely one of them and some lower level prospects. Obviously unless they are more salary it would be a non starter with Rizzo.

Froggy said...

*eat more salary

Alan Wiecking said...

What a bizarre way for Mike Morse to end a career

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