Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie -

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday Quickie -

Well it looks like as far as the non -Bryce OF is concerned, we're not going to find a common ground. You look at it and see 5 guys who you think are at least capable starters. You see one guy who's All-Star caliber if he's 100%, another who might be All-Star caliber if he develops quickly, and a third who could be that if he surprises. This is not counting the solid guy expected to help out if needed. You throw in at the end a decent 3rd/4th caliber talent. You see all that and think what the hell is Harper thinking.

I look at it and see, yes, 4 guys who I think are at least capable starters. But I see one guy coming back from injury who is "on track" for Opening Day, another who is a better bet to be productive in the future than in 2018, and a third who has no sustained history of performance despite a fair number of chances. This is not counting the solid guy who they wanted to help but is almost certainly stuck at 2B for the time being. I throw in a guy who might hang on as a 4th OF if he's lucky.  I see all that and I see the 2017 bullpen, full of promise and potential and red flags.

In the interest of reaching an agreement, I think we all can get behind the hope that Adam Eaton is healthy and normal. My concern hinges on the fact he might not be himself. So if he is,  and we should know this before the season starts, there's no concern. 

Anything else?

The Mets continue to bargain hunt picking up Jason Vargas for a couple of years for not too much money.  This is a good move but it doesn't change much about the NL East race. What Vargas is here for is not for the Mets to catch the Nats. It's to make sure the Mets don't fall out of contention because of pitching injuries. He's depth for the rotation that was 7 deep in talent but 1 deep in pitchers who weren't injured last year. If he can be healthy and throw up a 4.25 ERA the Mets will take it. This takes a little of the cushion out if the Nats happen to fall off pace but the Nats would still have to fall of pace. Call me when the Mets sign someone actually good.

The Hot Stove finally is moving forward. First Darvish went to the Cubs, and over the weekend Hosmer went to the Padres. The deal is ridiculously long - 8 years should never happen unless you are a young stud like Bryce, but in reality the contract itself isn't as terrible as you might think. Since 100 million comes in the first 5, if Hosmer chooses to stay (opt-out after 5) you'll have a pretty good ability to trade him and his now 13 million a year salary, to get out from under it. The only real risk is that he crashes before he hits that 6th (age 33) year

It's thought of as  a Werth type signing for the Padres. Get the guy when you can get the guy and hope the young players come together fast enough that it all works out.  The other option is to hope you can get the guy you need once it comes together, an iffier proposition. Does that comparison stand? Werth was older by a decent margin (31 early vs 28 until very end) but was consistently better with the bat, putting up an ok, good, very good, and then a great season going into FA. Hosmer on the other hand went bad, good, bad, very good. He doesn't hit for the power or have the patience of Werth. Baserunning too Werth has the advantage. He was a good baserunner right up until FA.  Hosmer struggles to be ok.  Where Hosmer supposedly shines is defensively, but the fancy stats don't really back that up. Given his age he's more likely to maintain his status rather than watch it crater like there was some concern would happen to Werth, then did, but the status doesn't seem stellar.

So Werth-like I suppose but what Hosmer has going for him is basically only age, because Werth had him beat across the board in talent and wasn't as far off defensively (at the time) as is probably thought. It's a good idea, grabbing the vet when he's available so you are sure to have him when you need him, but this is probably not the best player to do it with* 

What am I watching right now? For opponents, I'm checking out the pitchers remaining. Arrieta, Lynn, Cobb. These are guys that are no worse than #3s who would make any team the Nats are worried about better. Especially a team like the Phillies who only go three deep with prospect question marks in the rotation. For the Nats I'm watching Lucroy and Holland. The Nats don't need either - they proved that last year, but either would help. And I'm looking at Tillman and Lackey, guys they might get for a song to fill out that 5th slot. 

*You want another Werth type? Brian Dozier is the guy to sign assuming he as a good 2018. Older but good across the board. Just don't make it 7 years and you should be ok.


sirc said...

Is there some means to measure the glove work of a first baseman in picking throws in the dirt? It's been decades since I played but even back then it was a much talked about ability among coaches. I hear it talked about from time to time, but I don't see it measured by any analytic being used.

I think that would be a valuable stat to have available for first basemen. When Laroche was here we heard it from FP and the radio guys quite a lot, and we heard it held against Adam Dunn too.

Hosmer does seem to be one of the most adept at that skill. Range and throws don't seem, to me at least, to be as valuable as digging out a bad throw for that position.

Also I'd like to know where Zim stands in that regard. I always felt like Clint Robinson was bad at it, and I felt like Lind was worse at it than Ryan. But I don't know if that's in fact true. It would be nice to know.

Anonymous said...

Regarding SP, I be very happy if the Nats pursued Ltnn or Cobb. I also be okay offering Tillman a minor league deal. He's young enough to be a bounce back candidate.

Anonymous said...

That should be Lynn, sorry for the misspelling.

Anonymous said...

Tillman back to orioles 3 million guaranteed up to 10 million in bonuses. We could have offered that but good chance he liked playing in baltimore

blovy8 said...

I’d almost rather try Solis as a starter again before those three upgrades cost me picks, bonus money, 30percent+ tax and budget flexibility. 13 million a win. Do they need those wins yet?

blovy8 said...

Benoit signing fulfills the old reliever spring tradition.

Josh Higham said...

@sirc, I brought up a similar question about the value of digging bad throws maybe last offseason or while Zim was slumping (so it could have been any time not last April or May, basically), and the general response I got was along the lines of "Almost any major league athlete can dig an in between hop at a good enough rate to play first, but in an infield with Murphy's gimpy hamstrings and slow feet, range is essential."

That doesn't explain why the Nats broadcasters are so effusive with their praise for Zimm (and LaRoche before him), but the fact is the home town announcers are getting paid to make fans like the player and get excited about them. There's not a whole lot of good to be said about another grounder between first and second, but if the announcers can emphasize that Ryan Zimmerman makes plays look easy that you, a former little league first baseman, could never make, you'll say "wowee, my boy Ryan Zimmerman sure is a heck of a first baseman."

I suspect it's true that Hosmer has an above average glove for a 1B, but I don't think there's too much difference between a guy at the low end of the ball-catching spectrum among world class baseball players and a guy at the top.