Nationals Baseball: Happy New Year!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

Long break so now I'll catch you up on everything Nationals related you might have missed.

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and

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don't forget

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And now you're all caught up!

Baseball was almost as quiet. The Brewers signed Chacin and Gallardo taking away a couple back of the rotation possibilites. The Indians finalized their Alonso deal which means almost nothing for the Nats. Same lack of impact for the Nats is the Yankees holding on to CC Sabthia. The Twins signed Zach Duke, who has been a quality reliever for everyone except the Nats since 2011, probably nothing as well now that Kintzler is in hand. They won't be signing a reliever that isn't a tiny deal (well they never pass up a bargain).

Finally in something that did potentially matter in some way is the Rockies signed Wade Davis to like a billion dollars over 100 years. While it was probably a non-impact for the Nats (unless you think they were going to build a super-bullpen) it was a reminder again that the Nats were not signing that "proven closer".  Of course, Wade Davis isn't Jansen or Chapman or the like. After he dominated in the 2015 playoffs, he was less than impressive last year. Though he did get one important set of outs...

If this bothers you - let it go. The Nats were done actively looking at the back end of the bullpen once Kintzler was signed. Doesn't mean they can't end up with someone else - even a Holland, but the price is going to have to work out.  The reality though is it's 5th starter and back-up MI time.

13 comments:

Ole PBN said...

Happy New Year ya'll.

I think the "5th" starter is imperative. Going into the playoff series against the Cubs, just looking at the SP for both sides as an objective fan, the Cubs had SIX starters I would have been comfortable throwing out there. The Nats had two. TWO! Gio is no go in October, but an innings-eater nonetheless and same deal with Tanner. People forget that Roark was 25th round pick for a reason. I think we have gotten more than we anticipated from him (i.e. if he's worthless from here on, its still a huge bargain). AJ Cole? Pshh. It's Strasburg and Scherzer. Whomever our "5th" starter is, it needs to be someone who we are comfortable with as a #3 in October.

Fries said...

@Ole PBN,

Gotta defend my man Roark here. Yeah he was picked in the 25th round. But over 2013-2017, he's put up 9.3 fWAR. That's half a win better than Trevor Bauer, who was picked 3rd overall. That's a full win better than Wade Miley (who did his 8.3 fWAR in 48 more games) and he went 13th overall. It's the exact same WAR as Andrew Cashner, who went 19th overall and put up his numbers in 20 more starts.

Let's stop with the nonsense about him being picked in the 25th round "for a reason". He was a diamond in the rough and he should be respected for what he's been able to do with his career despite pretty average velo and breaking stuff. Roark is the #3 starter on the vast majority of ML rosters, so having him as a 3/4 or even 5 at his salary level is pretty damn good.

Josh Higham said...

Backing Fries up, last year Arrieta and Roark performed close to identically, other than ERA. Roark is far from unusable in the playoffs. He's not likely to give you an ace performance, but the Nats have two guys who probably will. Not using Tanner in the playoffs was excusable given the platoon trick Dusty was trying to pull in G5, but it was hardly a no-brainer.

The whole writeup/survey from Fangraphs is worth reading (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/try-to-tell-the-difference-between-jake-arrieta-and-tanner-roark/) but if you're in a hurry, the answer key is here: https://cdn.fangraphs.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/arrieta-roark.png

Ole PBN said...

@ Fries - Roark is a total diamond in the rough and I respect the hell out of him. But heading into that series last year, did you trust him in an elimination game? Did you trust Gio? Did you trust anyone else aside from Scherz/Stras? That's my point.

My entire post was about needing additional SP depth and more importantly needing a #3 in October. Gio is a solid #3 on most ML roster... but how has he performed in the playoffs? So I guess we're good then right? AJ Cole is fine...

Anonymous said...

Roark had a so-so season and it cost him the opportunity to pitch game 5. He still would have been my choice as he did have a strong second half overall and is more level headed than Gio. So do we need a #3 starter? I think so, but it's unfair to bash Roark. In 2014 and 2016, he pitched like a #2/#3 SP. It's time to forget where he was drafted.

Anonymous said...

Boys, Boys . . . the Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs. In short: There is always hope.

Kubla said...

@anon

Hope that the Bills can reclaim their hard-earned biggest choker title, leaving the Nats with absolutely no distinctive characteristics?

Ole PBN said...

So clearly my original comment and entire point of getting a solid #3 (regardless of where he slots in front of or behind Tanner) holds no water as I “disrespected” Tanner. I’m sorry Tanner. Woof. So I guess we don’t need any more pitching? Ya’ll are totally fine with Gio, Tanner, and some AAAA guy as options behind our aces going into October. Well okay then...

Adam VB said...

The team right now is good enough to cruise through the regular season without having to pay for a #3 right now. See what happens during the first half of the season, then trade for that SP upgrade that pushes the playoff roster over the top.

Josh Higham said...

Ole PBN,

I don't disagree at all that the Nats would be much better if they brought in a proven middle of the rotation starter, but those guys are expensive for a team that's already over the luxury tax threshold and has a top-heavy but not very good farm. I reject the idea that the Nats "need" a guy better than Roark because they have, historically speaking, a very tight budget. I totally agree that signing Darvish or Arrieta, who are at best #2/3 type guys at this point in their careers, would make the Nats scarier in the playoffs, but I would prefer to fill up the bench, find an acceptable innings eater, and get a competent catcher if the Nats secretly have $18-20mm laying around.

blovy8 said...

Well, sure, the #3 starter splash is possible, if they were pessimistic about Harper and Rendon sticking around. Since they're already over the cap, and Gio will need to be replaced next year, they can actually get someone decent and do the deferral magic with all the contracts coming off the books, it probably would be pretty easy to reset under the 200 next year. But after the top few guys go for more years and money than you'd want, I'd expect we'd see one of Oakland's mediocre starters traded here for about a #15 prospect.

Fries said...

I would love to pick up Arrieta, but I don't care about luxury taxes and such. Lerners are loaded, pay it.

But they won't...so what should the Nats do instead? In my book, the Nats have 2 #1's and 2 #3's in their rotation. Then AJ Cole. The Nats are most likely going to coast into the playoffs. If they want to avoid what happened last year, you follow Adam VB's recommendation. But that may not even be necessary. You only need 4 quality starters in the playoffs and then a strong bullpen. The Nats by and large have that.

Gio's a nutcase so you slot him in at 4.

Tanner is a consistent innings eater who will give you a quality start more often than not. If the bats are there, it's easy to see a Nats game 3 victory with Tanner giving up 3 runs in 6. Sometimes the bats won't be there, so be it, but that's all you can ask of a #3 starter.

Why go out and spend a ton of money to get an Arrieta or trade what little prospects you have when you don't need a #3 and you want to be saving for next year for a) Harper/his replacement and b) someone to take over Gio's spot

Jay said...

The only problem with waiting until the trade deadline - those moves cost prospects. If they sign someone now, then at worst that costs a draft pick and some international bonus money. Plus, there is no depth for injuries. If Strasburg misses the playoffs again, then the rotation is Max, Roark, Gio, and some other 4th person.