Nationals Baseball: Friday placeholder

Friday, July 06, 2018

Friday placeholder

How did the summer get to be so busy?

The Nats stabbed at the Marlins from hell's heart and with hopefully not quite their last breath spit on their huge lead with an improbable win. The Nats needed that win, but at this point the Nats need all wins. Easy 5-0 victories, Tense 2-1 nail biters, 8-6 hang-ons.  Whatever way they can get a W they need it.

I'm not enthused by the Hellickson performance, even if he was sick. There's a reason he was available and while he's not likely to get bombed each time out, he wasn't very likely to pitch to a 2.00 ERA for two months either. He's a true fifth that may not be 100% and the Nats don't have a good alternative. That can be fine depending on 1-4, but as of today 2 is out and 3 and 4 are also pitching horribly.  The Marlins aren't the best team to shutdown given how they've been since Realmuto's been back, but they aren't anything special either. Hopefully Gio and Roark can get back on the right track here.

Win 2 out of next 3. Get another game back. Easy peasy.

Soto post is coming. Don't worry.  The gist of it is, surprise, he's good.

57 comments:

G Cracka X said...

'Never, never, never give up even when the going's tough
Don't stop trying, when you're tiring, and you're out of puff (no!)
Never, never, never give up even when you're feeling rough
If at first you don't suceeeeeed, never, never, never give up'
- Thomas the Tank Engine song

G Cracka X said...

Looking forward to the Soto post!

Here's an outside the box idea: if Bryce can be resigned for a reasonable amount of money, how about moving Soto to 1B in 2019? He can platoon with Zim (who is good against lefties), and then can man the position outright in 2020.

PotomacFan said...

@ G Cracka X: Soto is an everyday player. No way you would want to platoon him. He hits lefties almost as well as he hits righties -- and in both cases, better than Zim hits anyone.

I think the Nats should focus on re-signing Rendon. Rendon is an excellent third baseman, with hitting stats not far behind Bryce.

NavyYardSteve said...

Weirdly, it seems like losing Edwin Jackson is a sneaky bad break. He opted out and signed with (the surging!) Oakland A's right before the starting pitching went to hell. Not that he was any good by any standard, but it seemed like he at least kept the team in the game most starts and could eat innings. Maybe I'm misremembering because the offense was much better last year, but I think given the internal options, I'd rather throw him out there for a month over Fedde or Jefry Rodriguez.

NavyYardSteve said...

@PotomacFan I agree about re-signing Rendon. The Nats also don't have any great internal options to replace him after 2019 the way they have a glut of OFs. So it would seem that they're going to spend money one way or the other on a 3B in 2020 and beyond, either re-signing Rendon, or signing someone to replace him.

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper. Quick note, because i know you’ve said in the past “not all DL stints or DL man days lost are the same.” This site ranks the teams that have lost the most projected value due to DL (not taking into account bad performance due to injury of course) and were easily the hardest hit team. https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-disabled-list-tracker/

@Navy Yard: Kieboom is the obvious internal option to replace Rendon if we get a second baseman. If we sign Rendon obviously Kieboom can play 2B. But he’s projected as a 3B as his best position because he’s apparently sub par at SS.

NavyYardSteve said...

@BxJ Interesting. I assumed Kieboom would slide into 2B to be the long-term replacement for Murphy with Difo as the seat-warmer until Kieboom was ready.

Anonymous said...

@ G Cracka X


I think that never-give-up sentiment was better expressed by Clint Eastwood in "The Outlaw Josey Wales."

ocw5000 said...

Have to try and sign Rendon, especially because there is a glut of very good 3B which will depress his market, compared to Bryce, who someone will talk themselves into because his peripheral stats are great this year. I would like 6 years of .280/20 HR and plus defense for half the price of maybe .320 / 40 HR, maybe .220 / 30 HR and minus defense, please and thank you.

Also, happy for Trea Turner last night. He's not considered a star for whatever reason, but he has higher bWAR and fWAR than Manny Machado. I think his rookie year was so spectacular that being on pace for a Rendon-esque .280/20 HR (and 45 steals!) is considered a disappointment somehow? He's great.

I would like someone to explain the logic of not keeping this left side of the infield together for as long as possible.

Sammy Kent said...

After the excitement of a marvelous rally quickly wore off, the sobering realization set in that the Nationals proved they could win a wild slugfest at home against the worst team in the division.

But a W is a W. Get another one.

Anonymous said...

I hear you Sammy, but winning a wild slugfest against the terrible Marlins is much, much better than getting blown out 9-0 (or maybe 12-0) to that same said team.

Anonymous said...

Win is a win. A blow out loss last night could have crippled the team. Instead they get to believe that the meeting has given them grit and determination.

Anonymous said...

Its unfortunate that the Nationals have had injury issues but I don't think they should be considered unexpected or unlucky

- Zimmerman is brittle due to excessive wear and tear. Last year's 144 game appearances was the true anomaly.

- Strasburg is usually good for one 3 to 5 week trip to the DL per season. This year's occurrence came a little earlier than normal

- Kintzler and Madsen were self inflicted due to overuse. Thank Davey!

- Matt Weiters is a 32 year old catcher. Do catchers have a shorter shelf life than other positions?



BxJaycobb said...

And Murphy took months longer to heal, and his replacement Kendrick was lost for the season, and Eaton reinjured himself, and Weiters got hurt a second time, and Hellickson hurt his hammy, and goodwin hurt his wrist, and Robles was lost for the season, and Matt Adams (Zim’s planned insurance who was hitting really well) broke his finger, and Rendon went on the DL, and Fedde’s shoulder blew out, and Benoit hurt himself, and Koda Glover’s not gonna ever pitch again....I mean. Of course they’ve had bad luck. They’ve had regulars go down then lost THEIR backups for long periods. Two things can be true at once. You can have a couple healthy people underperform (Harper, Roark maybe), AND have horrible worst in the league injury luck/losses.

BxJaycobb said...

There is no logic to it. As I have said many times on this site, Trea Turner is a STAR. Not a good player. A great player. He has a similar WAR to Freddie Freeman. We have a guy with a 115 wRC+, best speed in the game, and a plus glove at SS. He’s not Lindor or Correa (although Correa gets hurt a lot), and we’ll see whether Machado can stick at SS defensively, and we’ll see if Torres is really this good, but all told, he might on the whole be as valuable as anybody else, including somebody like Seager. Elite defense and .280/.360 with 20 homers and 50 steals is crazy.
Ocw5000: here’s the thing. I don’t think rendon will sign for half of what Bryce signs for. He will sign for less. But the FOs have wised up to the value of defense and all around players vs sluggers. I predict: Bryce gets a decent margin less than 300m. And I predict Rendon gets well over 150m. (I mean Eric Hosmer got 150m.).

BxJaycobb said...

But yes there is no reason we can’t dream on a Rendon-Turner-Kieboom-Soto?/FA infield for years to come. If I were running the team I would regretfully let Bryce walk and spend that money on Rendon and signing a decent C and starting pitcher this offseason.

Kubla said...

Two observations from tonight:

1) For the Dusty Baker Stans: There is a 100% chance he sends out a replacement level dweeb with the game tied in the 9th tonight instead of Doolittle. The game ends up 4-2 Marlins in Dusty's World, because Closers Close.

2) I'm irrationally angry that Soto doesn't have a thumbnail picture on ESPN.com

Nattydread said...

Rizzo appears be looking to Joe Ross as 5th starter for the last two months of the season. If he is the same Joe Ross, that could be the best option.

BxJaycobb said...

I’ve moved on from “will Soto be a hitting star in the majors” to “what should the Nats do in terms of his position? Because it’s kind of rare for somebody so young to not be a plus on defense in outfield....and apparently the Nats have worked with him hard to improve his speed to what it is now. I can’t decide whether maybe he will work to improve given how little time he has had in majors or whether he might be the Nats 1B for next 6-7 years (and play outfield on rare occasions Zim plays). Thing is he has very good speed per statcast. Seems like it’s all about reads which obviously can improve. And I’m sure he can always work on agility throwing etc. But I think this is the most likely “keep Bryce” scenario, to the extent one exists (and I absolutely believe one does, since it’s plausible Bryce takes a shorter deal to reesrablish value if this season doesn’t turn around) is that Soto or Bryce becomes 1B in offseason. Neither is a defensive strength right now. But wow can Soto hit. I’m sure Harper will touch on this but I was reading a piece the other day. It is virtually unprecedented for a teenager to have command of the zone like he does.

BxJaycobb said...

Don’t think Ross will be ready to start in August. I guess September is possible. But they’re gonna go crazy slow with him. But yeah. Would be very helpful. Chances of Nats 5 starters being healthy entire second half is basically nil and now Fedde is down slash not good. So would be huge. And more importantly the Nats need a SP to step up to be a dependable number 3 next year when Gio leaves. So just don’t do anything to risk his recovery. He’s so critical to Nats being good the next few years.

BxJaycobb said...

Speaking of young Nats starting pitchers, I think everybody should be prepared for Rizzo to finally have traded away a stud prospect (unless you count Robby Ray). Jesus Luzardo is supposedly looking like about the best pitching prospect in baseball right now. Polished power throwing lefty. Look....we got Doolittle in the deal plus Madson. We were going to have to give away something good. But Luzardo is slated to start the Futures Game for World Team at Nats Park. I predict that’s a downer for Nats fans to watch him. Seems easily the most likely of the pitching the Nats dealt to turn into a monster.

Sammy Kent said...

@Kubla, with Dusty and his coaching staff in the dugout since spring training, I'd wager there is a 90% chance that when the Nats get the dang bases loaded in the eighth inning with no outs, that someone hits a line drive or a sac fly or works a walk and Doolittle pitches for the save in the ninth instead of last night's result of shallow fly ball, pop up, pop up. I'm deliriously happy that Mark Reynolds gave us, what, our second or maybe third walk-off this season. Those are always fun and exciting. But the eighth inning was yet another miserable example of how this team has utterly, repeatedly failed to pass Baseball 101 this year. I never agreed with all of Dusty's decisions, but I don't think it's debatable among reasonable observers that while he was in charge the teams played smarter, better, harder, and displayed more genuine confidence and baseball savvy than they did under any other manager, including Frank Robinson.

DezoPenguin said...

The good news is that apparently Strasburg is doing well in rehab and will be back around the break. That drastically reduces the need to think about adding an SP, especially since most SP options on the market are not going to be much better than Gio/Roark, though improving on Hellickson is a valid possibility. Nobody better than Happ is apparently available, unless you count Archer who's spent the last couple of years significantly underperforming his stuff.

Catcher, though, has got to be fixed, and the rumors that Rizzo is waiting for rehab results on Wieters are scary because if the FO hasn't figured out by now that a healthy Wieters is part of the problem that needs fixing rather than a solution then Boras is putting something in their coffee. Wieters can be the backup, maybe, though Sevy's crap hitting and good defense might be better for that than Wieters' meh hitting and crap defense.

I agree with !BXJaycobb that the offseason priority should be extending Rendon. He's a genuine star player in his prime at a position where we're not flush with internal replacements (yeah, Kieboom, maybe, but Kieboom is a prospect, not a 5-6 win major league player, *and* we have just as much of a hole at 2B with Murphy walking and obvious internal replacement. Keeping Harper wouldn't be bad, obviously, but we have a quality ML outfield without him in Soto, Taylor, and Eaton plus Robles as a top prospect very likely ready to step in and replace Taylor (in terms of quality). Given two roughly equal options, better to spend on the one you don't have a good fallback plan for.

Winning more baseball games right now would also be good. I feel like we've gotten lucky two days in a row, first winning a slugfest and then a squeaker by the skin of our teeth.

G Cracka X said...

Agree with prioritizing Rendon over Harper. I'm also good with either Soto or Bryce moving to 1B if they can re-sign him to a reasonable contract. Both of them seem to have poor defensive metrics this year and may benefit by moving to 1B.

I like Ross and hope he does well once he returns. I wonder if he may be better suited to the bullpen, given the heavy slider usage. If he stays as a starter, I think he will need to improve his changeup.

Kevin Rusch said...

Some interesting developments WRT injuries - Robles and Glover are rehabbing in the GCL.

I'm coming to the agonizing conclusion that Rendon is more important to the Nats long-term than Harper. Someone pointed out the other day that the Yankees have *4* outfielders with higher WAR than him this year. So maybe he won't stroll off and make $500M with someone.

I'm afraid it's time to cut bait on Murphy. He may not be done, but he sure looks done now. I'd call up Carter Keiboom and have him play 2nd. (Or if he's better at SS than Turner is, whatever, I don't really care.) Similarly, you have to put your best player in the field, and Zimmerman doesn't warrant a very long leash to prove to me that he's better than Adams.

I want the nats to go get a catcher they can keep around for a while. I really miss Wilson Ramos, and he fits the bill and he should be available for a reasonable deal. Weiters is okay, but I'm annoyed by the bad deal that we gave him, and as others have said, if you have to break the bank, you break it on things you don't have alternatives to. We don't have any good catchers in the pipeline (Read? Maybe?) hiring one for the long haul has to be a real priority. If that means letting Harper walk to extend Rendon and get a good catcher who's under team control and good for 5 years, you have to make that deal.

Johnny Callison said...

KR: Totally agree on Rendon. He is a very good defender and well above average hitter at a hard to staff position. He's good in MANY areas. I would try to extend him for five-six years.

I agree that Murphy doesn't look like he can help this year. If Zim comes off the DL, do you drop Reynolds who can get hot and carry you for a week or do you keep Murphy who has lost his extra-base power because he can't put pressure on that knee and can't play second base, so he forces you have Difo on the field pretty much every game?

Ramos was probably the only really good hitter the Nats have had at catcher in my memory (Suzuki can hit, but wasn't here long). I guess renting him is a good idea. Seems unlikely that Wieters with his injury history and rustiness will be what the Nats need. If Philly or ATL get Machado, watch out. If the Nats try to "upgrade by getting guys off the DL," it's going to blow up in their face. All three upgrades (Zim, Murph, Wieters) are older players, so the likelihood that even one of them will return to form is low.

G Cracka X said...

Scherzer has a higher OPS than Severino, why not bat him 8th and Sev 9th?

Hot-streak Reynolds is great, but then I feel like we will miss his bat if he isn't kept on the roster when Zim returns. As Johnny points out, they could DFA Murphy instead, but i think they will bet that Murphy can return to form. They're a lot more invested in him than the Sheriff.

I was just wondering about the rehabs of Joaquin Benoit and Koda Glover today since Travis Sawchik mentioned them in his Nats article. Nice to hear that Koda's got a chance to return in September, though he is more valuable to the team in 2019

G Cracka X said...

Too bad the Nats can't redistribute the 13(!) surplus runs they scored tonight to Max's previous five starts.....

Kevin Rusch said...

If/when Zimm comes back, I think I'd DFA Murphy. His contract is up in September, and again, I just can't see him contributing. I'm ready to put Carter Kieboom at 2b. He can't be worse than Murphy *and* Difo. But if you want 'hits a few singles with bad defense', you could just tie one arm behind Difo's back.

I think you need to hang on to both Adams and Reynolds - they're both contributing too much to let go.

I'd be okay with Weiters sticking around to the end of the season if he can hit, but I'd sure feel better adding Ramos back. I wonder what the Rays want in return.

DezoPenguin said...

The problem with Reynolds is that Zimmerman can actually do Reynolds's job (play 1B against LHP), and Zim has both the huge contract and the tie to the franchise. Reynolds is a better player against RHP than Zim, but Adams is actually really, really good against RHP, so he's the clear best option. (Adams's bat also means that any "move Harper/Soto to 1B" experiments can wait until next year.)

Murphy seems like he's still hurt, plain and simple. He can't field, and he hasn't gotten back to hitting. Something has to give. Difo may only be half a player, but that's better than this year's Murph, who can't hit, run, or field. He needs to properly heal up and try again next year, for another team. He was great for us for two years, but he's just not right, and I'm not sure we can afford to let him try to figure it out for too much longer. Kendrick's injury really, really hurt us, because Difo is a fine utility infielder but he is just not an everyday player.

So I'd say that our priorities are:

1) Catcher. There are no good internal options here. Severino and Kieboom simply can't hit, and Wieters is at best a meh hitter with horrid defense even if he does come back healed.

2) SP. With Strasburg injured, Hellickson shaky since returning from his injury, and all three of the others underperforming what they were doing earlier in the year (admittedly, for Max "underperforming" still means "really good), plus Fedde's injury meaning we're also down our SP6, an upgrade is needed, and by an upgrade I mean "better than Gio/Roark," not just "better than Hellickson."

3) 2B, as noted above. A little less urgent than catcher, since Wieters's upside is "overall bad player" but there's at least the potential for Murphy to hit and Difo to play defense, but still a Lowrie or a Gennett would be a great fit here.

Maybe it's time for Rizzo to call up his old friend Billy Beane and make another one of their mutually advantageous trades...

Ole PBN said...

If we’re looking to keep Reynolds (which is hilarious considering I called this dilemma a long time ago thanks to Zimm) and not sure how to handling Murph, why not drop Goodwin? Carrying five outfielders is a little ridiculous (admittedly carrying 4 1B’s is even crazier). But we have five guys for the outfield and one of them is making even MAT look like a solid hitter. If you drop Goodwin, you still have 4 to rotate around, plus you wouldn’t have to DFA Murphy or cut Reynolds...

Johnny Callison said...

Ole PBN:

The Nats history of sentimental attachment to players like Zim and Werth (esp. when there's big money involved) makes me wonder if they would have the guts to DFA Murphy. He really seems like he should just be back on the DL which would eliminate the roster issues. He's not MLB ready, anyone can see that. He still knows HOW to hit, but his body is not cooperating. DL would allow you to keep Reynolds.

I said it last night and then DM said it--when Reynolds is hot, you stick with him. When he's not, he needs to sit for awhile. DM just kept playing him through the cold streak, unfortunately.

BxJaycobb said...

I don’t subscribe the the smarter better harder under Dusty thing at all. I think that basically when a team is winning we tend to just say the team is playing smart and hard. I bet if you look it up the team has been no worse this year at doing things like getting the guy in from third with less than 2 outs. Injuries have killed this team and the lack of depth at C and SP(Rizzos fault) has been exposed clearly. The manager is way less of a factor in how many games a team wins or loses in mlb than I think fans think. Yeah a move here or there in SSS playoffs can flip an outcome but in regular season? It’s as silly a thing to talk about as team chemistry or “will to win.”

BxJaycobb said...

Like if the Yankees or Red Sox had been killed by injuries and one or two big underperformerwabd were now 10 GB, I assure u that the knives would be out for Boone or Cora and people would say how they’re rookie managers and don’t know what they’re doing. Instead it’s all sunshine and rainbows and buster Olney is saying they’re “manager stars” on the BBTN podcast (both former ESPN colleagues of his BTW)....so it’s really all mostly nonsense.

G Cracka X said...

I would like to keep both Reynolds and Zim, but I wouldn't know what the team would do. There isn't enough ABs for three 1B, and 3B is already occupied by Rendon.

Kubla said...

@GCX

Obvs the solution is use Reynolds as a PH-RP and gets 1-3 PAs a night that way. Sunday night was a test run.

Cardinal Ximinez said...

i like Bryce
i like him alot. but not at 300mill plus. a 300-350mill contract hamstrings the team. a Robles/Soto/Taylor outfield can be awful productive. and i'm a big Eaton fan as well. and he'll be a much less expensive re-sign. i'd prefer to spend that money long-term on contracts for Rendon, Eaton maybe A lock up deal on Trea Turner and maybe a short 3 year deal on Murphy. bring back the Buffalo. Difo can back up all the infield positions. gotta keep Dr. Doo as well. Tanner Roark is making me nervous. we lost a lot of minor league depth at pitching and it's starting to show. Gio, Tanner do not look to be part of the future unfortunately and the jury is out on Fedde. Rendon, Eaton, Trea and Dolittle are my spending priorities over the next 2/3 years. just dont go to Phillies Bryce.

Kubla said...

I'd advocate for a megabucks extension for Bryce now. It could end up as a sign-and-trade, which would mean getting some control over where he goes (keeping him away from the NL east, Cardinals, Cubs, and Dodgers) and getting way more than a rental would get. Maybe he stays put until the end of the season and figures things out once he no longer is in a contract year (possibly even in time to have more than one month that earns his all-star status!). My guess is that Bryce/Boras doesn't actually want to be here anymore, but could support an extension with the knowledge that a sign-and-trade is the objective. If the catch is the Nats have to cover some of the salary in exchange for Bryce returning a package of top prospects and/or young star players, so be it.

The worst-case scenario is teams balk at accepting the max salary under any circumstances and the Nats are stuck with Bryce. That's not a terrible scenario; Bryce is good! He could pull a Kawhi and fake an injury while hiding from team doctors for the entire year, but he strikes me as someone who wants to play.

We as fans shouldn't care if the Lerners spend a ton of money. There is no hard cap in baseball, just what the ownership is willing to spend, and the Lerners' bottom line isn't primarily dependent on the profitability of the Nats anyway. They didn't buy the team for that reason. It's not like they would drop $300 mil in cash into the Nationals Stadium stands if they don't spend it, so we should be pushing them to at least drop it into star players' bank accounts.

Zimmerman11 said...

Do we have the prospects to get Wilson Ramos AND Ian Snell from TB? Victor Robles or Juan Soto would definitely need to go, but do we have enough "other" stuff?

Cardinal Ximinez said...

i dont know if anyone on the Rays is worth a Robles or a Soto. maybe Chris Archer +. but i'm in love with both Robles and Soto (in a Nats fan sense. and providing Robles injury doesn't have long term effects)

Kubla said...

I'm pretty sure we could get Ian Snell super cheap.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe Ramos would fix what ails this team?

Johnny Callison said...

My thinking is that they aren't going to amount to much this year. I just read Boswell touting the return of Wieters and Zim! Although he admits that SP is bad all of a sudden, he tends to think that Wieters would help with that. Maybe. I just think that this year doesn't look good for so many reasons and next year a lot of money kicks loose. So you sign Rendon, you let Harper go, you promote Robles and maybe C Kieboom, and after Rendon, you use the cash for real pitching and catching upgrades.

Interesting that Kubla thinks Bryce/Boras kind of KNOW they are leaving the Nats behind. Might explain Bryce's detachment. Bos just wrote that he thinks Bryce's first base mitt episode was very possibly a calculated marketing move to appeal to the Yankees. If everything Bryce is doing is about selling himself to other teams, it seems that mentally he IS gone. Bos has written that he has talked to so many players who took the extra cash to go somewhere else and wish now that they had stayed where they liked it and were appreciated and could still have gotten big money, but maybe not every dollar. Bryce may wind up missing DC; if he signs a giant contract and plays like this, he will hear about it.

Johnny Callison said...

I should add that my key thought is that since they aren't going anywhere this year, they should hold on to every possible prospect. Ramos is not enough to make a difference. They need a second baseman and they need two starting pitchers. And they need Eaton to heal for another year.

blovy8 said...

The same guy who thinks Wieters can help called the Nats babies, with a half dozen diapers they apparently pass around for use when reporters want to ask questions after a game. I'm guessing he must be wearing a diaper himself all the time at this point, if he's complaining about getting anything useful from a major leaguer after a loss.


Zimmerman11 said...

whoops... yeah I meant Blake Snell... AJ Cole lookalike

Anonymous said...

I too think Wieters can help... mainly because I think its addition by subtraction. Something about Severino being behind the plate irritates the Nats pitching staff. Its particularly notable with Gio. I think having a catcher not named Severino for most games will help.

blovy8 said...

It would really surprise me if Rizzo traded for Hamels after calling him gutless for beaning Harper, but that was six years ago. I think Archer is a good target because he pitches better than his ERA, and has a great contract, but he's just coming off the DL. Of course, it's easy to argue thing the other way, and say he's underachived the last few years after being ace-level for his first few.

blovy8 said...

Yeah, all Severino's flashy tools seem to add up to AAA. He can throw, but not at the base usually. He can block pitches, but misses the high ones quite frequently, he's quick around the plate, but I suspect that blurs the pitchers' target. And man, he cannot hit at all right now.

Anonymous said...

Signing up a pitcher like Hamels that spent many years in Philly, is a bit of a dbag, and doesn't like Bryce Harper. Would could possibly go wrong? Good thing we have a strong disciplinarian manager that can control the clubhouse.

Steven L said...

I'll be interested to see how Wieters does tonight, and I agree, the pitching staff (especially Max and Gio) seem to have trouble with Severino catching/calling the game.

I think we've possibly identified Martinez growth area: a feel for pitching and when to pull guys and when to keep them in. So far this season, and especially in the last few weeks, he has been quite bad at this aspect.

PotomacFan said...

@Steven: I don't agree that Martinez doesn't know when to pull pitchers. The Nats bullpen is incredibly overextended. In the case of Gio and Tanner, Martinez basically said: "you guys are throwing 110 pitches. Do the best you can. I'm not taking you out because I've got no one to bring in."

Kubla said...

@Johnny

I have always had a soft spot for Ramos, but agree that he and pretty much anyone else won't be enough this year. Given the Buff's combination of age and injury history, he's unlikely to help for too much longer. On the other hand, a package that included Nats prospects for other team's prospects/young guys could be a good idea. I think this year is done. The question is whether next year is about win now or rebuilding.

The big rotation issues are how much longer Scherzer stays close to as good as he is, if Strasburg can stay as healthy as can reasonably be expected (keeping to a maximum of a couple short DL stints a year), and if Ross is ever a starter again. Rendon and Turner are the obvious lineup nucleus for several years. Add Eaton if he recovers, plus Soto and/or Robles if those guys stick around and turn out to be as good as we think.

The best-case scenario still leaves them looking for two or three SPs, 2B, C, and either OF or 1B depending on where Soto plays and if he stays with the Nats. That's a lot, even leaving out any BP retooling and depth building that needs to happen, plus some sort of spot starter for the times Strasburg is out.

How quickly can that happen?

I'll use the Ray's roster as an example because I know it decently well. TB has young players at positions the Nats will need to strengthen to build a solid future. Snell (25, SP), Jake Bauers (22, OF/1B), or Willy Adames (22, SS/2B) could be big contributors to the team for a while.

A package that got two of those three for Soto+ or Robles+, not both, would be a huge win for the Nats. That's unlikely because those guys are the Robles/Soto equivalent for TB. More realistic would be getting one of those plus some AAA depth players/fringe starters like Brandon Lowe and Kean Wong (both 23, both OF/2B) in exchange for just Robles or Soto.
That still leaves a bunch of spaces to fill, and not much left to trade for them that doesn't compromise a different position and create a new need.

Some answers could come from free agency, but that's assuming the Lerners open their wallets AND the targeted players actually want to come to DC. Werth and Scherzer are the big acquisitions that way. They can't count on getting a Murphy often because not every MLB team is as staggeringly stupid as the Mets.

What is left is where to allow some weakness. The standard choices are BP/spot starters, fifth starter, offense/defense from the C, and depth. As we saw this year, those faults can quickly get out of control and tank the season with bad luck. This year was also way out of normal range on the injury front (at the end of the season, it will be interesting to see just how far away from the mean of player-games missed it will be), but still indicative of what happens when there are holes.

Anonymous said...

@ Kubla

If you trade Soto and/or Robles for Tampa's equivalent of Soto and/or Robles, then you're ripping off a scab in next year's outfield. If (when) Harper leaves, MAT is the starting centerfielder. How does that help the Nats get better?

JE34 said...

Good gravy. If the starters can't get get through six innings without the game getting out of hand, nothing else matters. Gio and Roark have WHIP numbers at almost 2.0 since the beginning of June... to say nothing of the AA and AAA arms.

Roark has always been one of my favorite Nats, but one more turd start might land him on the DL with a case of suck-itis. Could Tommy Milone or Austin Voth be worse at this point?

JE34 said...

...and does Wieters have to go right back to waving slowly at the first pitch he sees, in every at bat?

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