Nationals Baseball: Going for it

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Going for it

Last year the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman. Some people didn't like the trade. It's too much. They didn't need him. They were young and good and would be in the playoffs for years to come so why bother?

Fast forward to 11 months later and the Cubs had to streak just to get within three games of the Brewers and are even further out of the Wild Card.

Chances are fleeting. Nats fans should know this. In 2012 they were presented with an amazing situation where due to luck and skill all this talent coming from drafts, trades, and free agent signings coalesced to create what seemed like would be a four to five year window of dominance. To best take advantage of that time frame the Nats sat down Strasburg, saving his arm for the inevitable need in the future. But then the Nats managed to make the playoffs only twice in the next 4 years and even when they did Strasburg was never the tipping point. They won the division with ease and Strasburg made no impact in the playoffs.


The offense, with Werth and Turner and Eaton all currently out, has collapse potential. It would probably take an injury to one of the big three but that wouldn't be unusual as all have recent injury history. The starting pitching, only going 3 deep now and reliant on a Strasburg who hasn't gone beyond 150 IP in a few years and a oddly competent Gio Gonzalez, is worrisome for a playoff set. The relief pitching, was so bad that bringing in two very good arms only gets you back to the point where you probably need one more arm.  There are still fixes to be made, if not for starters able to win you a division, then for depth that keeps the team able to compete in case of some bad luck.

You can do the playoff dance again. Get in see what happens. Technically that's your best bet. Nats are all but in now and no longer have a gaping wound on the mound in the late innings. There are no pressing needs. But we don't know what 2018 brings*. We REALLY don't know what 2019 will brings.**  I'd have loved to see the Nats make another move or two. Seeing the deal as it went down, it's obvious Robertson was there for a song. Did they let it pass by because of the money? Because they feel they are done?

I'm not advocating selling Robles. Never have (I don't think). He's too good and at this point they need him to come up next year. But there's no one else I feel that way about in the pen. Make some moves. Get some guys who should be good for this year and next and make a full play at the WS title you want before the chances inevitably fade away.


*Really I feel next year is more about the NL East than the Nats who should mostly be similar. It's very likely they don't get the performances from Gio, Zimm, MAT, Lind, that they did in 2017 and Werth could be gone, but a healthy Eaton and Turner likely keeps the offense chugging along as one of the better ones in baseball, and Madson and Doolittle here for another year means the pitching will likely be solid. 

**This has the look of the year they will come down, although 2017 had that look too before the Max signing, Stras re-signing, and Murphy becoming a superhero. At this point Gio is gone (always season staff reliable even if I don't trust him for big games), Madson gone, and I wouldn't be surprised if they let Doolittle walk with his injury history. Murphy could be gone - though re-signing is possible. One one hand - this marriage seems to be fruitful for both. On the other, he'll be 34 in 2019. And the big one, Bryce could be gone. Also at this point Max/Zimm are 34. You are really hoping Robles is a star, Turner is a star, they've re-signed someone and that something else has come along. Or the NL East is still garbage.

39 comments:

Jon Quimby said...

So much hinges on Bryce. Don't we want to do everything we can to be sure we have the room to pay him and the situation where we will continue to be competitive?

Fries said...

538 had a great piece talking about who should be buyers and sellers and demonstrating that buyers should really be teams like the Dodgers, Astros, and Nats; teams that have a good shot at the WS and should be doing everything they can to increase those odds. They suggested the Nats should be going after a LF, and given the recent Werth news, I have to agree.

So go all in, grab Dyson (a cheap rental who's performing decently well and would be a major upgrade over Heisey/Raburn) and another reliever, and if you can bundle it, maybe another SP. Because like you said Harper, this could be the last shot

Jimmy said...

I can't believe we weren't in on Martinez.

Josh Higham said...

Jon, while in one sense so much hinges on Bryce, in another sense you almost want to bottom out rather than sign a superstar to a megadeal. Pujols is not a good comp because he was old when he signed his decade-deal, but A-Rod is a great comp. He signed that mammoth 8 year deal and the Rangers won 73, 72, 71 games and then unloaded his salary to the Yankees.

Megadeals are really hard to justify, no matter what you believe about the marginal value of WAR or whatever metric says the deal is good. Just for example, a conservative-ish 10/$40 deal for Bryce goes to 2028. The Nats owe Max 15 million a year through 2028. For the last 7 years of this hypothetical Bryce deal, you're paying a guy 15 million a year to a guy playing for you anymore. So that's $55 million that you can't spend to bolster a rotation that starts with the TJ elbows of Strasburg and Ross and who knows beyond that. That's a third of the Nats current payroll to Bryce and Max, and only one roster slot filled. At some point in that 10 years you either become the Tigers and Cardinals, almost good enough, or you commit to a rebuild while you're paying $55 million to a retiree and a superstar. It's just ugly.

My heart says "don't you dare let Bryce walk" and my head says "Lerners, you better not give Bryce the contract he wants."

BxJaycobb said...

I am disappointed the Nats didn't try to get Martinez. I mean, the DBacks got him for almost nothing. The Nats offense is becoming depleted by injuries, and even with Turner back, it's beginning to look like both LF and CF will be below average bats for playoffs.

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: Here's the problem and it's hard to rebut...even though intuitively you want to keep giving improving team around edges for playoffs. It's unclear that the powerhouse perfect team does any better in the playoffs than the flawed team that has strengths but also holes. I mean we got beat by the Giants in 2014 (a mess kind of...and they won WS?) and the Cards in 2012 (clearly more flawed than the Nats, and Daniel Discalso and Pete Kozma got big hits). I certainly would prefer they'd pick up a JD Martinez or a Wilson to add to pen...but I frankly can't say with any confidence that it would improve their chances of winning a title this year more than a TINY amount. The small sample size of playoffs is just too goofy.

BxJaycobb said...

The fact is....Fedde and Soto (not just Robles) could keep the Nats competitive even after Bryce possibly leaves. It's possible they don't and the Nats stink. But it may be hard to say that dealing a few for another good reliever or bat rental overall improves chance of us winning a championship. If you get people who are controllable....then yeah, that makes a bit more sense.

John C. said...

I'd have loved to see the Nats make another move or two. Seeing the deal as it went down, it's obvious Robertson was there for a song. Did they let it pass by because of the money? Because they feel they are done.

They feel they are done? That's not what they've been saying, or has been reported. There is an expectation out there that the Nats are hunting for another deal.

The offense, with Werth and Turner and Eaton all currently out, has collapse potential.

Yep. And making a move doesn't keep that from happening. Everyone remembers the Mets getting Cespedes in 2015 and WOW! No one remembers their getting Jay Bruce in 2016, because he flopped (and so did the Mets). And as BxJaycobb points out, sometimes the powerhouse team wins in the playoffs, and sometimes the flawed team wins. Which of course is the wall of reality that the siren call of "all in!" constantly runs into. Everyone remembers the Cubs last year going all in for Chapman ... and they won! But they easily could have lost, in part because Chapman hacked up a furball in Game 7. As with Cespedes and Bruce, no one remembers the flaming hulks of "all in" teams that crashed and burned.

Of course, "slow and steady" and dispassionate rational balancing don't generate clicks or air time, so they will never get the internet love that "ALL IN!" teams get. But I'm OK being a fan of a team that thinks both long term and short term.

Harper said...

John C - I had to run to lunch and thought "I hope I get back before John C chimes in"

1) Should have been a question mark to end "Because they feel they are done", not a period.

2) I'm not saying all in. That should be explicit in saying they shouldn't trade Robles. I want them to carefully consider the cloudiness of the future and try to make moves this year that make sense for both 2017 and beyond. For 2017 that means exploring what it would take to get a third relief arm. If the Jays are selling - what is the ask for Osuna? What is the ask for Justin Wilson? What is the ask for another live arm to try out? Figure those out and make the best decision but bring someone in. It means exploring if there is another OF available that would likely be more helpful than Rayburn/Heisey and making a run at that. Based on the JD Martinez "haul" it shouldn't be anywhere near prhobitive. And third - see what the Sonny Grays, SPs who are available today and can help for several years, are going for. The Nats have SP problem beyond #3. That may not last if Roark perks up. It may get worse if Gio pitches like he has the past few years or Strasburg's injury history comes back to haunt us. It's certainly an issue going beyond 2017. So see if you can't somehow set that up now. This is something Rizzo has been good at - the long and short term solutions.

If they just bring in a 3rd relief arm, even a live arm, that'll be enough for me knowing that they've fully explored some of these other options. It didn't feel like they were in for Quintana. I think that was a mistake, even though I also feel that they shouldn't have outbid the Cubs for him.

BornInDC said...

The thing that's unusual about Bryce is that re-signing him is probably a better "business move" than "baseball move". Bryce could be the Nationals first homegrown "hall of famer" and the likelihood of his becoming a "hall of famer" is unusually high for someone his age. So the future marketing opportunity he may provide to the Nationals is unusually high even in his declining years and possibly, even after he retires. For example, think of all of the promotions as Harper passes various statistical milestones for the franchise and for MLB.

For example, think of someone such as Cal Ripken as he was chasing his consecutive game record and how much he was worth to the Orioles during that time when the team was often not performing well and how much he may have been worth to the Orioles in merchandising opportunities since he retired.

And with respect to many Nationsls records, Harper will be dealing with a relatively blank slate, even if you include the Expos records (which many fans won't).

Plus given his background and how he's behaved as a professional, he's unlikely to be someone like Alex Rodriquez that will have his image tarnished in later years by his off-field behavior. So Bryce is someone who is unlikely to embarrass management in a way that reduces the ability of the Nationals to profit off him.

So, I think Bryce has an unusually high value to the Nationals, in particular, beyond even what he does to help them win on the field. Had Zimmerman not gotten hurt so much, he might have had a somewhat similar value to the Nationals, but Zimmerman, even at his best, was never quite the "Hall of Famer sure thing" that Bryce appears to be.

Anonymous said...

If the Nats are healthy they are the best team in the league.

BxJaycobb said...

Fairly sure Rizzo is exploring all the things you are mentioning. It would be weird not to. Why do you say for example that they weren't discussing gray with Oakland also? Maybe beane wanted Robles and Nats were like nope let's just do the relievers.

BxJaycobb said...

The dodgers have won 30 of 34 games. 30 of 34!! Hard to say Nats are best team if healthy.

Harper said...

JQ - It's hard to imagine a scenario where the Nats are competitive w/o Bryce today but that's because of the make-up of the roster today. The current projected 2019 Nats need Bryce. But if Rizzo can turn around and give the Nats a 3rd starter through 2021, if Robles comes up and is a ROY type... the pieces start falling back into place even without him. Maybe not as good but still playoff competitive.

Fries - I don't think this'll be the last shot. Hard to see them not being playoff competitive next year. However this is about as certain as one can be coming out of the ASG break. You know there's not faltering or surprises down the stretch

Jimmy/ Bx - might have just assumed he was going to be too pricey. He was the best available.

Josh - that's always what people say. I think it depends on timing and payroll allowance. A team willing to spend a ton (NYY, LAD, BOS) can absorb almost any bad contract. Are the Nats willing to become that? I doubt it. A team with a good young core can be cheap enough that you can work around the superstar deal. Are the Nats that? I don't see it looking at the team now but if Robles and Soto hit and Turner is rookie year good... maybe. The pitching might be an issue though. Where's the SP coming from?

Thing about Rangers - they DON'T dump A-Rod and I can see a team that's right there 2004-on. Theny jettisoned him just as the young bats and pen came together.

Bx - I'm not asking them to sell the future down the river. I wouldn't deal Fedde/Soto for rentals, but I would for guys who maybe help for only 2-3 years. If I really like those guys.

Harper said...

Bx - I'm not saying they weren't but I didn't hear about it. I don't think everything is necessarily discussed. There's no real reason for parties to bring it up if they don't feel there's a deal there, especially if they feel that there are deals elsewhere.

best team when healthy is a moot point. THey aren't healthy wont' be same guys when they come back

Harper said...

Question I pose on Twitter just now - kind of aimed at you John C but I bet other readers have same inclination -

If you argue against "ALL IN" vehemently I'd like to hear why you aren't for "JUST IN" as strongly. Or maybe you are?

"JUST IN" being defined as trading current MLB assets for prospects to the point where the Nats still would make the playoffs. Would you trade Rendon to the Red Sox for Devers? Would you flip Doolittle and Madson - given they were already winning NL East - for Jason Groome?

Harper said...

And I'm not talking rebuild here - strip a couple pieces you think you can survive without for something very likely to be helpful w/in a year or two.

Anonymous said...

Harper, "just in" style thinking is what led to the Souza trade at the beginning of 2015. After the Nats signed Max, they were projected to win the NL East by 10 games. Souza was a good guy to have then as Werth insurance. But we traded him for future value because at the time wins in 2015 were thought to be less valuable to the Nats than wins in 2016 and beyond. From a process perspective, it was a good move because the Nats got so much value in return. It's also possible a healthy Souza could have stableized the Nats enough to keep the Mets from getting Cespedes and winning the division.

If a similar deal presented itself now, I wouldn't object if the Nats got enough value. Rendon for 3 prospects like Devers might be enough. For a "just in" move to work, you need to be bowled over with future value.

BornInDC said...

"Question I pose on Twitter just now - kind of aimed at you John C but I bet other readers have same inclination -

If you argue against "ALL IN" vehemently I'd like to hear why you aren't for "JUST IN" as strongly. Or maybe you are?

"JUST IN" being defined as trading current MLB assets for prospects to the point where the Nats still would make the playoffs. Would you trade Rendon to the Red Sox for Devers? Would you flip Doolittle and Madson - given they were already winning NL East - for Jason Groome?"

Well, "ALL IN" last year got the Nats two months of Melancon, who pitched fine, but who did not even get the Nats a divisional series win, but who cost the Nats Felipe Rivero who the Nats could have desperately used in the bullpen this year.

I have not done the statistically analysis on this, but it also seems that it is rarer that teams that go "ALL IN" make to the World Series, much less win the World Series because of an "ALL IN" trade than teams destroy themselves for years with little perceivable benefit from an "ALL IN" trade.

However, I will admit that I am probably heavily influenced by living in the DC Area and following the Redskins who have made any number of stupid "ALL IN" decisions when the team had no hope of making it to the Super Bowl.

Also, although I have not done the statistical analysis, one thing I have observed with the baseball teams in general and the Nats in particular is that have a particular position where the team significantly underperforms the league average, i.e., a "hole", can have effects on a team's ability to win far beyond what the statistics for under-performing player(s) would appear to show.

For example, take the year's Nats' bullpen which beyond causing the Nats to lose games that even a middling bullpen would have allowed the Nats to win has also caused the Nats to increase the innings their starters pitch. Also, in 2016, the presence of Espinoza, Taylor and Zimmerman in the the Nats line-up with their high likelihood of striking out appear to shut down many scoring opportunities. In comparison, Taylor this year may not be a hitter who will significantly help the team score more runs, like Adam Eaton did, but he is also batting well enough that he is not stopping the Nats run producers from producing runs as Espinoza, Taylor and Zimmerman did much of last year.

So the problem with the "just in" scenarios you propose for me is that your are creating the type of "holes" in the teams that I have seen have devastating consequences.

For example, consider how the effect of a typical "hole" in an NL lineup, i.e., the pitcher, has on the ability of NL teams to score runs when men are on base. When you have someone like Espinoza or Lobaton in your line-up, you are effectively playing with two pitchers in the line-up which makes life much easier on the opposing pitchers.

PotomacFan said...

Werth comes off the books this year, giving the Nats salary room to bring on a pretty good free agent. If the Nats are even thinking about re-signing Harper, they have to be planning on a minimum of $30 million per year (and that, of course, is the lowest possible). So, in theory, for 2019 that Nats should be willing to enter into free agent contracts with 2 players for a combined $30+ million. So, again in theory, over the next two years, the Nats could bring in 1 free agent and re-sign Harper, or bring on 3 free agents. Having said this, I doubt the Lerners would spend $30+ million on 2 free agents if Harper leaves. Instead, they'll just go with a less expensive team. But they surprise us sometimes: Scherzer got big bucks (the Nats like starting pitching), so who knows?

Josh Higham said...

I don't think GMs are dumb. The fact that Bryce getting 400 million as a baseline seems to be the consensus means that he does not project to cause the problems that I'm worried about.

But the problem is that sometimes consumers get carried away and make bad decisions because their projection models are bad. The consensus among homebuyers before the recession seemed to be "if you can get a loan, you can afford a house," which ended up being a pretty bad projection. "Bryce is worth $400 million at least" seems smart now, but it's really hard to say it will look smart in 2024.

Exploring new territory is dangerous when, as Harper points out, the farm is not wonderful and the owners have not proven willing to spend at a Yankees/Dodgers level. If Bryce signs in DC I will dance in the streets, buy season tickets, get the number 34 tattooed on my back, and so forth. Then I will start experiencing a low-grade panic that I won't be able to escape until the Nats win the world series or Bryce's contract comes off the books.

Dustin M. Smith said...

Interesting question.

I feel like the Nats strategy is "BEST IN... without compromising FUTURE IN". Which is an approach I think I'm okay with. Though of course if you could guarantee me "ALL IN" wins a WS in 2017 I'd take that.

ssln said...

To answer your question Harper (that you posed to my last post) Edwin Jackson. He did what I expected him to do and that was eat innings and keep the game close. He is an innings eater with a 500 record and that is all you need out of a fifth starter. He costs us nothing in prospects which is why Rizzo signed him. Rizzo trusts vets and Jackson fits the bill. Jackson will empty the tank because this is his last go around so expect to see him in the bullpen in the playoffs if he keeps performing.
I thought today's post continued your hysterical outlook. Ball clubs can NOT fix every flaw at the deadline without trading away the future. You don't seem to have a grasp on how important chemistry in the locker is to a ball club. There might be a better left fielder out there than Werth. But he has been here for seven years and the vets on the team want him there at playoff time. They believe in him even if you don't. He is a spiritual leader and to bench him or leave him off the playoff roster would kill the team from an emotional perspective.
You seem to understand baseball numbers but come up short on how teams are built and stay competitive. Bryce made the point that Jackson is loved in the locker room so he will fit right in.
Fortunately, Rizzo understands locker room dynamics so I suspect that he will add one more reliever and hope that Werth, Turner MAT can come back healthy and productive. I'm hoping that Wilson from the Tigers is that reliever.
The Nats are going to be underdogs to LA regardless of who they bring in. If we are going to win it will take great pitching, timely hitting and a cohesive locker room. My guess is that you will be disappointed if you think there will be big changes coming in the next twelve days other than in the BP.

Anonymous said...

Why does the comparisons have to be Nats with Harper receiving $400 million vs Nats without Harper receiving $400 million?

Why can't the comparison be Nats with Harper receiving $400 million vs Nats spending that $400 million elsewhere on other players. The latter would give you less vulnerability to injury, streaks, and horrific out-the-field accidents. These other players wouldn't have the leverage to demand 10 year contracts. Star player in baseball are far more constrained in their dominance compared with other sports (ie can only bat 1/9 of the time, field a small section of the field, or pitch 1/5 of all games)

Lets also address the elephant in the room. Nats aren't a large market sports team with large market revenues, not as much as one would expect given the large population in the DMV area.
a) Angelos is collecting a large portion of the Nats tv revenues. This will be true even when the courts force Angelos to pay up.
b) DC isn't a great sports town, mostly because DC is a great town with lots of other stuff to do
c) Nationals, as a relatively new team in the city, don't have 80 years of heroes, lore, and accomplishments that binds a city to a team.

Ergo, if the Nat spend $400 million on Harper, they are not going to have much to pay anybody else. They could end up like Staunton and Miami. Yes, the Lerner's are one of the richest owners in the league, but its unrealistic to expect them to continually lose money just to support a winning team. This is the Lerner's style.


BxJaycobb said...

@Harper: for the same reason any radical foreign policy doctrine is dumb: because moderation and being reasonable makes sense, even though that's not sexy. Is going ALL IN whenever you have a chance to be in the playoffs smart? Usually not, but I could see it. Is going JUST IN whenever you're guaranteed the playoffs smart? Usually not, but I could see it. I know it's more fun for debate to propound some bright line approach to GMing. But really you are just trying to balance Future and short term interests while making value moves. and the circumstances matter. If you're the royals and you're losing everyone and you're going to 100% stink next few years, then you go for it all in. But the Nats may be competitive in near future. Everything depends on circumstances. If Bryce Harper told the Nats he wasn't going to re-sign and the Nats were in a division race next year, and somebody offered you like Moncada or Devers, yeah you consider doing it. Rendon for Devers is silly. 2+ years of a superstar 3B for 6 years of a guy whose wildest dreams is basically to hit like Rendon without the defense. No thanks.

BxJaycobb said...

i don't think people really understand that 400 million bucks isn't crazy at all or a stretch to accommodate. The Nats would essentially pay Harper what they pay Werth and Zim combined. With those two on payroll (and producing at below average levels) we've won 4 division titles. IOW you'd be spending the same money on a guy who gives you like 4-5 more wins per year. It's not like replacing Harper's value with 40 million is super easy at all.

BxJaycobb said...

@Josh. Couple things. First, the stigma we generally think of when we think of giant contracts are almost uniformly for players who play majority of contract post prime. So it's an exceptional situation. A-Rod is the only comparable one I can think of. And the Rangers actually got tremendous value when they had ARod. They didn't lose because of that contract. He gave them surplus value. Also, as I said, think about having Zim and Werth on the team since like 2012. Those guys salaries combined are more than Harper's AAV would be. And he would be worth more than them in production with EASE...as in, he would be twice as valuable as those 2 combined. And the Nats have won more games than any other team during this last period.

BxJaycobb said...

Potomac Fan: here is my basis for advocating signing Harper. You mention the Nats can alternatively sign 2 players for 30m instead of Bryce (and that's the GOOD scenario where the Lerners don't just pocket money). Which two FAs exactly are the Nats going to sign for 15m each that are going to combine for Harper's value (probably an average of 6 WAR)? Because you can't find quality FAs for 15m. Those are average FAs. Gio types. Two of those does not equal Bryce unless you get super lucky.

BxJaycobb said...

But that really is my biggest reason for hoping they sign Bryce. To NOT want to sign him, you have to believe that the Nats can acquire more WAR from a two FAs than Bryce produces per year for 35m. And I think it is unlikely that will happen. Both because the Lerners will take any excuse to just pocket the money and reduce payroll, and second, because squeezing 6-7 WAR from 35m is hard, not easy. So then you're talking about diversifying risk bc of injury. Well I'll accept less diversification in return for getting to watch a guy who may end up an all time great.

Anonymous said...

"The Nats would essentially pay Harper what they pay Werth and Zim combined"

Werth and Zim are overpaid. Werth because a) he got the premium for being the first valuable free agent on a bad team b) on the tail end of a long term super star contract. Zim because his health atrophied far earlier than would be expected for his age.

Murphy is making $12 million a year. You could get two Murphys! Obviously a cherry pick in the other direction

More seriously, resigning Rendon would be a good first start.

John C. said...

The problem with "Just In!" is that baseball doesn't calibrate that nicely. Go "just in" and end up missing the playoffs. The Nats missed the playoffs in 2013 and 2015 despite not going "just in." The risks are too great, especially with the WC now only being a one game coin flip to even make the five game divisional series.

Harper said...

All- Looks like you want to talk about signing Bryce! Another day though.

Anon @ 11:09 - it's the style but trading a non-starter is a different matter. And well they are getting back stupid value. Like if today someone said "Zimm for Mike Trout" you do it. Some moves are just obvious

ss1n - I won't disagree that others know how to put together a team better than me, even numbers wise. But let's not jump over to praise the team dynamic mastery of a guy that ruined Storen by bringing in Soriano, brought in the "Big Marine", signed Jon Papelbon.. I think though I came across too desperate so check out tomorrow's post. Maybe you'll like that better.

Bx- Fair enough though I would say 2+ years of a fragile superstar versus all the control over one of the best prospects in the game isa closer deal than you think.

John C - true you couldn't do it year in and year out. You need 9x wins to feel good about making playoffs. What? 95+ to feel certain about winning division, which is important. And you don't go into a season sure you are going to win 95+ games. But right now, mid-season with such a big lead over such a flawed division... I think you don't have to calibrate carefully. You can lose a big piece and still totally be ok.

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: yeah I get it. I generally think dealing multiple years of MVP candidate/6+WAR type players for anything but a sure thing beast is unwise, just because you do have your busts like Buxton, etc. if it's a Bryant or a Harper or correa type, sure. I've read that some scouts are worried about dever's ability to play good defense at 3rd with such a giant semi pudgy body. Yeah you could be getting 6 years of Rendon for 2....or you could be getting 6 years of a Pablo Sandoval/Moustakas type who takes a while to get going or never becomes a stud. If it was one year of Rendon I'd be down.
Also, I don't really get Rendon's fragile thing. Unless I'm mistaken he's had one extended DL trip as a major leaguer? He's hardly as fragile as many others like a cespedes etc.

BxJaycobb said...

Anon: but that's my point---spending 40 million bucks on a player isn't prohibitive of success on rest of the team if the player is in fact worth the money (so as an example I pointed out we had basically 40 million bucks of dead money and have still competed). Re "we could get two Murphys!) That sort of makes my point. Even if you get the biggest bargain in the league basically....Bryce is in fact approximately worth two Murphys in value (murphy even the Nats version is a 3-4 WAR guy and Bryce is like 5-8...with an occasional insane 10 like in 2015). Anyway my point is...a win of value is a win of value. Having two all stars isn't better than having an MVP and an average player. They end up being similar.

BxJaycobb said...

Anon: sorry one more thing. They're not gonna end up like Stanton and Miami. First, Bryce is a much better player than Stanton. Dude barely gets on base at an average clip. More importantly tho Nobody goes to Marlins games. They literally could not sell out the ALL STAR game. Baseball can't work in Miami no matter what they spend.

Harper said...

BX : Well yes but he missed major time in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2015. If he can get to three years in a row of reasonable health I'll sign off on "not fragile"

BornInDC said...

"Lets also address the elephant in the room. Nats aren't a large market sports team with large market revenues, not as much as one would expect given the large population in the DMV area.
a) Angelos is collecting a large portion of the Nats tv revenues. This will be true even when the courts force Angelos to pay up.
b) DC isn't a great sports town, mostly because DC is a great town with lots of other stuff to do
c) Nationals, as a relatively new team in the city, don't have 80 years of heroes, lore, and accomplishments that binds a city to a team.

Ergo, if the Nat spend $400 million on Harper, they are not going to have much to pay anybody else. They could end up like Staunton and Miami. Yes, the Lerner's are one of the richest owners in the league, but its unrealistic to expect them to continually lose money just to support a winning team. This is the Lerner's style."

But, the thing is, the Nats are considered by Forbes to be the 10th most valuable team in MLB:

https://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlm45gfllm/10-washington-nationals/#3da594c06b9c

Also, regarding Washington at a sports town, the Redskins, despite being only one of two NFC teams not to play in the NFC championship game in the last 25 years (the other teams is Detroit), are the 3rd most valuable teams in the NFL:

https://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlm45efhhk/3-washington-redskins-2/#7ee6385f2d1c

The Capitals are also the 11th most valuable team in the NHL:

https://www.forbes.com/pictures/58335a30a7ea431d6019bbc3/11-washington-capitals/#67f836617f0a

The outlier for Washington is the Wizards who are the 18th most valuable team in the NBA:

https://www.forbes.com/nba-valuations/#67920f346db6

So, while DC might not be NY, LA or Chicago in terms of size and maximum potential revenues, it's probably in the next tier down and, as shown by the value of the Redskins whose current incompetent management deserves little support, can be a greats sports town. Also, as demonstrated by the relative value of the Capitals vs. the Wizards, good management can pay off. Washington is a much bigger basketball town than hockey town as demonstrated by the popularity of Maryland and Georgetown basketball in their heydays. The Patrick Ewing led Georgetown teams could sell out the Capital Centre, despite the fact that relatively few fans were Georgetown alums.

Yet,the Capitals have become a more popular team in DC than the Wizards thanks to a charismatic star, Alex Ovechkin and a more successful team (at least in the regular season) than the Wizards.

Growing up in the DC area, I never imagined that a professional hockey team here could be as popular as the Capitals have become.

With respect to the Nationals, because of the incompetence of the Redskins' management and the general loathing of the Redskins' owner by the fans, I think the Nationals have an unusual opportunity right now to become a bigger part of the sports landscape in DC. Fans right now are becoming disenchanted with the Redskins in numbers I never expected to see. For example, the Redskins are having trouble selling out FedEx Field, even as they keep removing whole sections of seats from the stadium.

I think the biggest thing stopping DC from being a better sports town these days is the lack of a team that can advance to a championship game or series. No team has been beyond the 2nd round since the 1997-98 Capitals made the Stanley Cup Finals.


sm said...

It appears your baited hook has created a frenzy.

Issue tomorrow's post now--today--and keep the discussion going. You've hit a nerve, obviously, and there's nothing so bracing as experiencing your readership finally unleashed and unbridled.

Best reaction to a post this season.

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