Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Sell, sell, not that, sell

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Monday Quickie - Sell, sell, not that, sell

9 Week Status
Record: 52-53
Ground gained/lost in division last wk : 0 games to PHI, +0.5 games to ATL
Ground gained/lost in WC race last wk : +0.5 SFG,  -1 PIT, STL, -2 to MIL, ARI, COL

The Nats couldn't do it.  They couldn't put together the necessary run to make me think they have it in them this season. It wasn't asking for too much, especially after losing that game to rain in ATL making only a split necessary there rather than a series win. They were set-up to do it, winning the first two against the Marlins. But in the end, the Nats stumbled losing the last two and falling short of an adjusted 5-4 floor, with a 4-5 run.

The end result for the NL East wasn't too bad. Nothing gained but nothing lost either. In fact in two weeks of wheel spinning the Nats have managed to gain a tiny bit of ground on both Philly and Atlanta. But not every team can fail and the Nats lost a game in the WC and gave up a bunch to the teams already between them and that Plan B.

So what do the Nats do now? Well I'd say sell. If you can't beat the Marlins, why should I believe you can beat anyone? And with the trade deadline in front of us it means sell now, fast and hard. But that doesn't necessarily mean trade Bryce. If they want to have Bryce on their team next year (and I think they should) then they should keep the guy. If they trade him, they lose all chance at bringing him back. This doesn't mean offer him whatever he wants. It means keep him in good graces and offer him the deal you think he should. If they don't want him back, fine, trade him, but I don't see why you wouldn't want back a talent like his at age 26. Because Robles might be better, Eaton might be healthy, and Soto might keep this up forever? Good luck with that.

So who do they sell? Gio, Madson, Herrera, Murphy, Kelley.  If it's for bit pieces, then so be it. Accumulate stuff and then turn that stuff into something for 2019. That may mean you take all that you got for these guys and turn it into one ok reliever. Fine. It's still something. There will have to be other things done (FA signings) to make 2019 work but I'm done on 2018.  Wrong team, wrong manager, wrong time. Prove me wrong, Nationals. Prove me wrong.

But if you are more optimistic then me, or the Nats simply don't sell, then what can the Nats do this week to stay in it. The answer is simple - dominate. Its the Mets and Reds.  2 games and 4 games.  5-1.  That's the goal. 4-2 is the floor

80 comments:

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper. I agree re selling. On “wrong manager.” Perhaps. But I don’t really see a reason to blame Davey more than Rizzo. At least the reasons to blame Rizzo are verifiable and known, as opposed to mostly speculating about Davey’s ability to get the team to play well. Rizzo? He let a team the FO claimed was trying to win a World Series leave ST with a zero at Catcher, a less than zero at back up catcher, with no catcher plan in the minors. AND 4 MLB ready starters on the roster. That’s it. That’s not a lack of rotation depth. That’s a lack of a rotation. And he never gave Davey a match up Lefty to face guys like Odubel Herrera, Freddie Freeman, Markakis, Bour, Coforto, etc. We all called these problems a mile away. Rizzo choosing not to fix these three things probably on their own cost the Nats at least 5 games. (There were what? 10+ games started by Fedde, Jefry, Voth, and other disasters plus the worst production from the C spot in the sport in the last 3 years? Yeah. That’s about 5-6+ games right there. Personally I doubt Davey cost them that many. This was Rizzo’s worst year as GM IMO. Disagree? Ps. Too bad about Trea’s tweets. Not nearly as bad as Hader (holy god) or Newcomb, but nonetheless not a good look to say the least.

Chas R said...

Awful- worst Nats team since 2011.Sell all the rentals except Bryce. Not much value there, but no reason not to, and bring up the young guys and see what we have.

Sammy Kent said...

Wrong manager is correct, wrong hitting coach is doubly correct, but the real villain is Mark Lerner for being so ridiculously stupid to let Dusty Baker go to start with. Dusty should have been re-signed and Rizzo.....well, I've been wishing for Rizzo's firing for years.

ocw5000 said...

Mike Rizzo is a Top 5 GM, I would argue Top 3. Agree that this was not his best year. No idea how much of it was his overconfidence versus ownership demands (team payroll is also Top 5). Some of his moves have been great (Adams/Reynolds, not trading Soto for Realmuto, etc) this year. Ditching Dusty for Davey seems shortsighted at this point. Seems like it would have been the right move after 2018, for a fresh start post-Bryce (or Year 1 of Bryce, Part Deux).

I'm firmly on Team Sell Bryce. I don't think he re-signs anyway, and whatever you get back from NYY/HOU or whatever will be better than the 135th pick in the 2019 draft.

blovy8 said...

I'm gonna vent on Rizzo's side a bit. Where are all these wonderful, quality starters I keep hearing about that they could have signed for and then dealt Cole? Once you decide not to spend over a 120 million (if they'd even sign here) on Darvish or Arrieta, it's the likes of Alex Cobb, Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Andrew Cashner, Jhoulys Chacin, Jaime Garcia and all of those guys would have albatross contracts now for next year and beyond. Once Chatwood got his 3/38 deal, I'm pretty sure every GM went, uh, really? Rizzo probably thought, crap, those guys might not even be better than Cole! That's the real mistake you can hang on Rizzo, thinking Cole was a decent starter. As we know, he got the Nats a piddly amount of cash for him after wrecking several games, and the timing was such that even a creditable option like Edwin Jackson got to try on another new jersey.

Honestly, I don't blame them for not trading for Realmuto. I don't see that upgrade at catcher playing often enough to make up the offense and $$ that would cost the Nats down the line. As crappy as they've played, I don't think he'd have made a big enough difference in the standings to change their status, since you would have to take Soto out of the equation and play a worse guy in the OF quite a bit. Think of still being in 3rd place and watching Soto doing what he is for the Marlins and Robles getting ready to set up center field for them for six years.

If Rizzo were free to act and could get fair value, I think he would sell Bryce to a contender. He's the only guy who will get you anything of value, and they can spin that a lot better than the spiel they had to give Goodwin. Yeah, I know, Harper's a like a grandson to Ted Lerner. Well, let's just pretend he's a field manager. What's he supposed to give you for 21.6 million? He's just an average player this year.

Any guy not signed for 2019 is fair game, I doubt they will lose more starting Soto, Taylor and Eaton most days. Trade for any sort of pitching you can get. This team isn't a World Series contender. Get under the tax this year, so you can spend next year.

Jon Quimby said...

If I'm Bryce, do I really want to play out the rest of the season on a team that has given up on the playoffs?

I don't mind so much if they sell or stand pat, but at this point any thought of buying should be squashed. No way to giving up top prospects for Realmuto. We will need those top prospects as possibilities to replace guys we lose next year. If we end up losing Bryce then we damn well better have Robles in the outfield mix.

A lot of Davey's mistakes seem very forgivable, but putting Zimm in crucial spots seems beyond stupid.

W. Patterson said...

I'm glad I'm not paid to be in Rizzo or Martinez' shoes. Too many variables to determine why the Nats can't win 4/4 from the Marlins.

I agree with Harper that this season's a bust - but I've still tickets and will still attend the games cuz, ya know, it's baseball.

Robot said...

Too many variables to determine why the Nats can't win 4/4 from the Marlins.

The 10th inning on Saturday was a display of utter incompetence. Would the team have won if the game went to 11? Who knows? But they shouldn't have lost the way they did.

DezoPenguin said...

The reason to trade Harper is that keeping him around will cost money, and a lot of it. Meanwhile, he plays positions that are already filled by cost-controlled assets with many years of team control. Yes, if one of Robles, Eaton, or Soto gets injured, having Bryce around would be a nice cushion.

But as has been previously noted, the team has holes, ones that it will cost money to fix as well. The rotation is going to lose Gio and Hellickson, and doesn't have arms to replace them, or a SP6. The bullpen is in constant flux. Catcher, of course, is an ongoing disaster. And, of course, Anthony Rendon has only one year of team control left.

Maybe Bryce won't command a $40-50M annual contract any more thanks to his abysmal contract-year performance, but with Scott Boras at his back, he'll certainly ask for the moon and *some* team will give him at *least* $25-30M AAV for the potential of a 26-year-old player who's the only player in the majors right now with a chance of producing a season on par with an average Trout season. If the Nationals are to compete in 2019 and beyond, they're going to need that money (or in the alternative be willing to simply obliterate any spending cap). Moreover, they're going to need to be able to count on the good players at positions where they already have them (SS, 3B, OF). Keeping Bryce means that either the team has deemed Victor Robles not ready to play (in which case they need to be considering trading HIM and going with a Soto/Bryce/Eaton OF going forward), or they're keeping Robles or Eaton as OF4.

Unless the Lerners are willing to go Full Dodgers (something they have not shown to be willing to do in the past, despite the Nats being in the upper echelon of payrolls thus far), there will be holes in the rotation, rotation depth, catcher, bullpen, 1B (since Adams and Reynolds are leaving and Zim can't be relied on to be healthy OR good), and 2B (unless Kieboom is expected to pull a Soto and be ready ahead of schedule). Some of those holes will be plugged on the cheap (guys like Lind and Adams, for example). Other holes, however, will have to be filled by spending money or prospects. And resigning Bryce to double down on a position NOT of apparent need is how we leave some of those holes unfilled.

billyhacker said...

It's hard to build a team around a franchise player that plays a corner outfield position and also has substantial negative defensive value. It just costs too much to then have to also go and spend on the premium positions. You might respond that with all the offense you get from the corner outfielder you can use a defense-first infielder, who costs very little, but I think that ignores the importance of sequencing in a lineup. I don't know where the threshold is, but a lineup needs players that can avoid making outs so the offensive players can realize their value in actual runs and not just WAR. Harper will get signed somewhere that he can be a complementary piece - he's not going to be signed as a franchise player. So, if they can get more than $8 million in value for him, they should trade him.

Ole PBN said...

After Bryce won the home run derby (which was so fun to watch btw), I thought to myself "Given the season he's had and everything he's done in DC, this right her is his pinnacle of achievement: winning an exhibition showcase of home run power in his home park." No ring, one MVP, and what once was a debate about who is better in Trout vs. Bryce, it's no long a conversation. I don't think he wants to come back. I think he's pretty vanilla and don't get the sense that he's the leader this team needs (I suppose who could be at 25).

Not sure how you all feel, but my love for Bryce has diminished significantly since he arrived in 2012. It's sad really, because I thought that we'd have the face of baseball in here for 20 years. I want this team to be competitive year after year regardless of who is one the field. I think you sell all those names that Harper mentioned, but Bryce in particular. We need to get something for him and wherever he goes (presumably to a WS contender) to finish out 2018, that team will be most likely to sign him; thus commanding a decent return for us. I want that money going to two SP, a catcher, and to resign Rendon.

It's sad how all of this has transpired that we're actually discussing dumping Harper for prospects. Who would have predicted this in 2015 after he won an MVP at 22? Reminds me sort of the RG3 debacle where things are so spectacular and then crumble and wash away in only a handful of years.

When I think about Bryce, I think about the home runs on Opening Day. The pinch-hit walk off homer against the Twins in extra innings. The the home run off Strickland in the 2014 playoffs when it seemed that he was the only one who wanted to win that series. And of course this year's HR Derby. But that's it. Fun while is lasted, but I'll take the future that his return would bring and a batch of new players who bring a different culture to our ball club.

Ole PBN said...

And people on here blaming Rizzo: did you ever think that he's handcuffed by the Lerners? Is it that hard to believe that they don't want Rizzo spending any money so that they can bring back Bryce? I'd trust the baseball mind that is easily a top 3 GM in the game that some old billionaire. That is so like ignorant DC fans to call for Rizzo's firing.

Ty Miller said...

He’s had a decade to hire a manager who understood Xs and Os. He’s not accomplished that.

#Werthquake (Formerly clip & store) said...

Move Bryce back to catcher

Mr. T said...

Letting Bryce go is so the obvious move that I wouldn't be surprised if the Lerners make him an insane offer that would cripple the franchise for 10 years. (I mean, it wouldn't REALLY cripple them, but they'd plead poverty.) I guess Bryce would still have to accept it, though. Somebody interviewing Bryce during the All Star game asked how hard it would be for him to leave DC. The way he said "uuuuuuuuum" before spouting the standard non-answer, you could just tell he's long gone. It was like, "uuuuuuumm yeah not hard at all."

Ole PBN said...

Ty Miller: Lerner's won't spend for a decent manager. Only reason we were able to get Dusty was because he would have taken pennies to get back in the game. Only a rookie manager would take the cheap cash the Lerner's were offering and you think Dave Martinez wasn't among the top rookie candidates? Rizzo's fault though. Okay.

billyhacker said...

Can you imagine what Rizzo would have been able to do if he wasn't compelled to sign Wieters for $21m/2 resulting in a total of -0.3 fWAR to date? How do they get under the tax for this year? If they don't, the compensation pick for Harper is worth even less. So dumb.

Anonymous said...

The Nats have some bad contracts that are hamstringing them. Their payroll is through the roof, but a lot of that is being spent on guys like Zim and Weiters. Also, I don't think anyone predicted heading into the season that the Daniel Murphy would effectively be playing out what may be his last season in the big leagues. Toss in some regression from Rendon and some Harper being simply above average and what you get is a pretty meh team. Once you throw in Strasburg pitching like a #3 or 4 starter and then getting hurt and you can put a fork in this season.

Still, even with all of that. If the Nats had a competent manager, they'd be in it. Personally, I think one run games is the true test of a manager's x-o's ability. I believe the Nats are something awful like 10-18 in one run games. If they had just broken even in those games (14-14) they'd be in the thick of a pennant race.

Anonymous said...

Ole PBN: I totally agree. With Robles waiting in the wings, the Nats should trade him for whatever they can get. My affinity for Harper has greatly diminished. I liked the kid who ran into walls, said things he shouldn't and was exciting to watch. It seems he was replaced with Adam Dunn. Nice player, but not much there. That being said, from a business perspective, I'd go to Harper, make whatever offer you're going to make in the offseason and say take it or leave it. If he takes it, great, deal Robles for Realmuto, if not, deal Harper for whatever you can get.

Mainelaker said...

Trade Adams to NYY, especially if Zimm is gonna play anyways. At least trade enough of the others (eating as much contract as necessary) to get under cap. Who wants to improve the necessary amount to get into the playoffs, sacrificing the future, only to get eliminated in the first round again. Sell Sell Sell.

Jimmy said...

@Bloy8- this is my perspective. My only beef with Rizzo is his inability to bring in a long term manager, but that may be entirely out of his hands.

Jay said...

Do you trade Harper and demand whichever team takes Zim and his awful contract as well? Lesser prospects but you would be out from under Zim.

Lou said...

zimm has no trade clause. He's not going anywhere

Mainelaker said...

That's why you have to trade Adams

G Cracka X said...

Davey is not the main problem. Injuries and 1-run variance are the main reasons for the middling 2018 record.

Rizzo is not the problem either (in fact, he is a major strength of the organization, arguably the most valuable person in the org). I think he wanted to keep Dusty. I think he was given a limited amount of budget to work with, and made some pretty good acquisitions (Adams, Kintzler, Kendrick, Hellickson on a vet's minimum). If you're given limited resources, you can only do limited things.

I'm OK with buy, sell, or hold. I think sell makes the most sense. Reset for 2019.

PotomacFan said...

Does this look like a team headed in the right direction?



June July (thru 7/29) June + July
Nationals 9 – 16 10 – 14 19 – 30
Atlanta 14 – 10 8 – 13 22 – 23
Philadelphia 13 – 14 14 – 10 27 – 24
Cincinnati 13 – 10 15 – 11 28 - 21





TwoGloves said...

To add a nice cherry on this already disappointing season, nice tweets, Trea, glad you are not young and stupid anymore!!

Jay said...

Jeff Passan wrote an article about how "the clubhouse is a mess." According to the article, Martinez has communicated well with Harper and a few other star players. While other players feel marginalized. Add the article in the Post over the all star break about the relievers feeling overused and misused by Martinez. I think Martinez is partly to blame. I'm not saying Dusty Baker would be making a huge difference. However, I think not bringing Dusty back and going with a complete unknown in Martinez just added another variable for the team this year. Anyway, its a good article except for the part about possibly trading Rendon.

Seems relief pitchers are a glut at the trade deadline, so looks like the Nats have little of value to trade except maybe Harper. I'm just hoping they don't do anything crazy and trade Robles or Kieboom. Realmuto is a great catcher. He is not the answer to all of the Nats problems. I'd just sign Ramos or Lucroy next year.

Robot said...

I think the relievers were correct to feel overused, but that was hardly Martinez's fault. There was a 21 game stretch with no days off, during which time, only Max would reliably finish a full six innings.

Jay said...

Good point. I think the Nats really miss Stammen or Petit. A real long reliever that can go 2-3 innings. That saves a lot of other arms and helps in extra innings too. It's difficult to not use a lot of relievers when they all throw essentially 1 inning.

Ole PBN said...

The fact that there are "sources" telling Passan that the clubhouse is "a mess" is in itself a huge mess. I guess that's Nats Baseball right? A collection of talented individuals who's only thing in common is that they wear the same color uniform. Not a TEAM whatsoever. Heads should roll for leaking this to the media, who ever these "sources" are; they are part of the problem, not the solution. Absolutely pathetic.

Ole PBN said...

... from the article...

One recent example, they said, was following Saturday’s loss to Miami. J.T. Realmuto, the Marlins’ All-Star catcher and a player coveted by the Nationals all winter, blooped a bases-loaded single down the right-field line for a walk-off victory. Harper’s response after the game: “If that guy was on our side, it wouldn’t have happened. Tough luck.”

Oh please sell our CF/RF today. Please?

Anonymous said...

Ole PBN: Those sources could be clubhouse guys, or other team employees that overhear a lot of stuff as some players treat them like inanimate objects. Could also be coaches, or even the front office greasing the skids to change managers again in the offseason.

PotomacFan said...

Ah, the irony of being upset with Davey M. because of possible overuse of relief pitchers. Dusty Baker was long criticized for overworking his starters. And for warming up relievers and not using them. Now Davey M. is being criticized for overworking his relievers. It's a delicate balance.

And let's face it, what is Davey M. supposed to do when most of his starters are terrible, and are imploding in a game. In fact, in more than a few games, he just left them out there (see: Tanner Roark) to get to their 100 pitches, and damn the score. And what is he supposed to do when management provides him with zero relievers who can go 2+ innings.

I'm not a big fan of Davey M. I get really upset every time I see Zim in the line-up against a righty -- and I get more upset when Zim bats 3 or 4. But WWDD (what would Dusty do)? He'd keep playing Zim, too -- although probably batting 5 or 6. And remember, it was Dusty who batted Jayson Werth second for all 5 games of the Cubs series. So, I go back to whomever said that Dusty was a great manager 21 hours a day.

Ole PBN said...

And? This organization is in such disarray, it's laughable.

blovy8 said...

That’s overstating it, there’s still a lot of talent and a good amount of money coming off the books next year.

Zim has about the only deal that hurts a little. Almost everyone else will be under fair if not better deals. Hard to see Roark getting huge raise now, for instance.

Sammy Kent said...

Injuries schminjuries. Marginally relevant. Virtually everyone is playing bad, stupid, uninspired baseball. And that's why the record is what it is, and why the managerial change is so central to the performance we're seeing. The difference between Dusty and Davey II isn't tactics and strategy nearly so much as in terms of respect, savvy, leadership, inspiration, and motivation. Guys played hard and wanted to play hard for Dusty. They respected his even handed management style and many looked to him as a sage and mentor and friend. He didn't have one standard for stars and a different one for bench players. He wasn't worried about whether the Lerners or Rizzo would come down on him for disciplining a star or veteran if he deemed it necessary or fair. He never let the tail wag the dog.

This team is not playing hard and they feel very little motivation to bust their asses night after night for this manager. Davey Martinez is a rookie manager in over his head. He's working for a perennial contender with at least two of the best ten players in baseball over the past three years (Max and Bryce). He's intimidated by the realization it's more their team than his. He can't afford to start his managerial career antagonizing his principal owner and GM so he lets the star inmates run the asylum.

But the other players notice when, for example, guys are taking extra bases on Bryce because he's loafing in the outfield and nothing happens to him, yet Trea Turner sits because he doesn't run out a bunt back to the pitcher after the pitch darn near hit him. It wasn't his best effort, but Bryce Harper has given less than his best effort on several occasions this season. We've all seen it. The non-stars and the bench players know very well when they're being marginalized and cold shouldered, and the result is disunity, lethargy, and apathy.

Robot said...

The difference between Dusty and Davey II isn't tactics and strategy nearly so much as in terms of respect, savvy, leadership, inspiration, and motivation.

YEAH! You left off gumption, wanting it more, and being hungrier but YEAH!

Except no. Martinez has made numerous decisions that left me scratching my head or screaming at the radio, but at the end of the day, two things derailed this team. One was injuries, which was bad luck.

But the other was bad baseball. The offense has been awful. The pitching has been awful for everyone not named Max or Doolittle (now injured). You give up a lot of hits/walks, you don't get on base? You lose games.

I find it difficult to buy any of this talk about not being motivated by Davey. These are not children. They are grown men with a ton of money and a lifetime of hardwork on the line.

BxJaycobb said...

This is so idiotic. Folks. When a team expected to compete for a World Series plays mediocre and gets decimated by injuries and is .500 and there’s talk of selling pieces, guess what? The clubhouse isn’t gonna be great. I am so annoyed by people blaming such vague and ineffable things like clubhouse chemistry and grit and gumption and inspiration and MORALE! and being a team! Let me be clear: of course it’s not impossible some of these things are true. But it’s not only pure speculation to say they exist. It’s ALSO speculation to say they are related to on field performance. Why on earth would we reach for that first instead of the obvious answer which DOES have clear evidence: injuries. losing 1 run games (which has been studied and is based on pure luck, not managing or any other constant). Some underperformance (Roark, Harper). For a person to watch this season as a fan and say “NEVERMIND THAT THE NATS LEAD THE LEAGUE IN VALUE LOST TO THE DL! NEVERMIND THAT IF THEY LOST A NORMAL PERCENTAGE OF 1 RUN AND EXTRA INNING GAMES THEY WOULD BE IN THE HUNT. THE REAL PROBLEM IS (fill in random squishy terms for morale grit etc)” violates first order logic. When there is a simple explanation with evidence, that is more likely the answer than a complex explanation without much evidence.

Andrew Gentsch said...

Regarding the one run losses that Anonymous mentioned above.
Does anyone else remember the 2005 Season where we were in it BECAUSE of dominating in 1 run games @ the All Star break?
We LOST most of those 1 run games after that...

Anonymous said...

@Bx thank you for finally saying it - some of the regulars in these comments are absolutely insufferable when this team isnt doing well...

Ole PBN said...

The best move I've seen a GM make in recent memory is when Cashman dealt Chapman to the Cubs as a rental for Gleyber Torres+ and then brought back Chapman in the offseason. Savvy GM right there. The second best? Steven Souza for Joe Ross/Trea Turner done by our very own GM.

Do the right thing Mike and see what we can get for Bryce. He very well may not resign back here in the offseason (especially after being traded). BUT if we don't make the playoffs, with all the roster turnover and a lot of question marks... I see him signing elsewhere. That right there, is the worst possible scenario. Pull the trigger!

In all honestly, I'd bet my house that Bryce doesn't get traded and signs elsewhere in a few months and we miss the playoffs. It's just fun sometimes to pretend that our team knows what it's doing.

Ty Miller said...

What’s wrong with being a pioneer and hiring a math genius at a 100k or less and then have him restrict the manager’s options? If the manager is the clubhouse tone Guy only, what’s wrong with hiring a strategic specialist underneath him? Even Joe Madden showed in the World Series he is a light weight and really won in spite of himself. It is astounding the sheer number of strategic choices being left to manager’s who have no clue on how to put their team’s best chances of winning forward.

Sammy Kent said...

@BX, you ask "Why on earth would we reach for that first instead of the obvious answer which DOES have clear evidence: injuries."

The clear evidence that it's not merely injuries that have affected this team's performance is on the field every night in blinding clarity. BAD BASEBALL. There's not a single injury to a single player that has caused the ones actually on the field to run bases like little leaguers, make unforced errors, bad throws, loaf on defense, swing at bad pitches, fail to bunt or hit behind the runner when the situation clearly called for it, show discipline at the plate, and I could go on and on and on. The Nationals didn't score only one run in two games against the frickin' Marlins' staff and giftwrap an extra-inning victory to them because some guys are or were on the DL. There is no way in this world Max Scherzer should start five games, give up 2, 2, 2, 1, and 3 runs, and come out with one ND and four losses no matter who is on the DL.

Friend, I respect you and admire your willingness to defend the players, but honestly, I think you failing to see the trees for the forest. All the stats that look at "the big picture" disguise the fact that the big picture is a mosaic of little parts, those little parts being individual games. There are at least ten games, and I'm being conservative, that have been lost solely because of one or two little stupid dumbass plays that were made or failures to do simple, fundamentally sound baseball actions. You take ten losses and turn them into ten wins and this team is leading the division even with all the injuries. When you have injuries to key players it is even more incumbent on the players actually on the field to step up and perform....JUST LIKE 2015. Michael Taylor, Danny Espinosa, Matt den Decker, and Clint Robinson were not better players than Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon, Denard Span, and Ryan Zimmerman, but they played hard, smart, and effectively....and carried the Nationals to first place in the division until the wounded healed.

This falls squarely on the manager and the coaching staff. It is still their job to get these high priced prima donnas and egomaniacal divas willing and eager to play with enthusiasm and INTELLIGENCE. They have failed. The trouble is that Dave Martinez can't now, after being so loose and easy, lay down the law and start motivating these guys from a position of authority. CBS Sports' Jim Bowden nailed it yesterday when he said the Nationals are good enough to win the division, but the only solution is to fire Martinez and bring in an experienced manager like Joe Girardi. NOW! Otherwise, sell like crazy, because these guys just ain't going to play for Davey Martinez.

Jay said...

I agree that it is the players that win and lose games for the most part. However, after watching Sunday's game when the team pretty much laid down and quit. I'm sure it was common knowledge that they needed to take 3/4 against one of the worst teams in the NL. You can argue Saturday was just an offensive funk, but Sunday they quit. That I do blame Martinez for. I'm sorry but coaches and managers do make a difference. Otherwise, why are there coaches and managers in the HOF for different sports. I agree that Martinez is not the primary problem, but I wouldn't say he is clear of any blame. Also, when all of the hitters struggle and don't seem to have a game plan, and all of the pitchers except Max struggle and seem to have no game plan then I wonder if the hitting coach and pitching coach stink.

Ole PBN said...

Jay - Max puts in more effort to get better than any other person on the team. Film study. Dry work. Bouncing ideas off coaches and teammates alike. All in an effort to get better. This should be the norm, but it's so rare and unusual, especially for a player of his calibre. He treats his career like he's going to lose his spot tomorrow - just amazing. And then there's virtually EVERYONE else. This goes back to my "baseball players/million dollar athletes are innately arrogant" theory. They know better than anyone and no coach is going to tell them how to approach each AB. They go up there thinking "I'm getting mine." That's seriously about 80% of it. Anyone who has played the game knows that these guys are everywhere and a dime a dozen. However, some coaches find a way to get through and connect with those players. Maybe Martinez isn't one of those guys, maybe Dusty was. But its only a small piece of a the problem.

This is the only time where I will say "that's just baseball" is perfectly applied. It's a culture thing and has been around FOREVER. I wish more than anyone players who ditch the hubris and be a little more introspective as to how they can help the TEAM in a given situation and realize that 9 solo HR's and a 9-2 win is not the answer. That is a losing battle every time if you want to fight that, it's just the way it is for most players.

DezoPenguin said...

Chelsea Janes reporting that Rizzo has flatly said "Bryce is not going anywhere. I believe in this team."

If that is a true statement (as opposed to GM PR-speak for "my owners wouldn't let me trade him for anything less than the moon and the stars" or "nobody offered anything better than the comp. pick would be worth"), then Rizzo should be fired immediately.

This a team with gaping holes that Rizzo has repeatedly refused to fix (hello, catcher). This is a team sitting in third place that choked hard against the Marlins. Meanwhile, Bryce is "enjoying" the worst year of his career. Even if all the OTHER cards drop right (massive collapses by enough rivals to give us the chance to catch up, starting pitching righting itself, bullpen stabilizing), does Rizzo really think that the expected production from Bryce will exceed that of Taylor and Robles by THAT much, that it'll make a difference? That it'll genuinely move the needle more?

Again--assuming that Rizzo means what he says and is not just playing to the fans for PR to cover decisions made by someone else--this is Dayton Moore-grade head-in-the-sand denial. Anybody on this team with an expiring contract is worthless to the 2019 Nats, and keeping them in a futile struggle is just hamstringing the future teams while we still have a solid core of genuine star players to build around.

Ole PBN said...

Dezo... you want to fire one of the top GM's in baseball because he won't give up publicly for a lost season? Fine, fire him. But what about next season? And the 10 seasons after that? Are we seriously promised to be in a better place without him? Rizzo is the most important person in this entire organization. More than Max. This all sounds more like misplaced anger than anything else. We're all angry, but come on man.

Jay said...

I think it is more motivational for the team. Just like the general consensus that they needed to do well against the Marlins. The one thing that doesn't make sense - supposedly the Nats are no longer shopping any relief arms or any position players. They are listening and willing to trade Gio and Hellickson???

Please don't trade Robles for Realmuto. Robles is the real deal imo and will be great. If Harper is staying long term that is a different story, but I don't think he is staying.

DezoPenguin said...

@Ole PBN:

My point is, *IF* (and again, this is a huge "if," because what comes out of the GM's mouth to the press is only rarely the same as the facts and that's why I made sure to mention that twice in my original comment), Rizzo can't recognize that the season is, if not lost, at least teetering on the verge of going away, if he's refusing to sell any of the expiring assets that he has in order to help shore up the farm and help to keep the Nats competitive long-term while we have top young talent like Soto, Turner, and Robles on hand (to say nothing of Max, Strasburg, etc.), then he definitely is not one of the top GMs in baseball. I compared this situation to Dayton Moore for a reason: the Royals are a dumpster fire, and the two reasons why are the refusal to concede that the team is actually not good, and the rigid love for veterans like Gordon, Escobar, and so on despite they, also, being not good at baseball (see also: Ryan Zimmerman).

Barring a miracle of some kind, the most likely outcome of this season--if, again, nothing else changes--is a stumbling finish to a roughly .500 record, and then we're going to watch Bryce, Matt Adams, Murphy, Gio, Hellickson, Herrera, Madson, etc. walk away from the team and all we'll have to show for it is a single compensatory draft pick from when Bryce refuses the QO. Cashing in as many of these expiring contracts as possible gives at least the chance at lottery tickets or international slot money, some of which may hit or at least be useful for future trades.

So yeah, I am angry. It's one thing to not make trades because the return is too small, or because the team goes on a hot streak and looks like it's a genuine contender again. It's another thing altogether to stand in front of a microphone and make public statements that Rizzo is *refusing* to take action because he believes in something that is entirely unlikely to happen. And frankly, even if he is talking for the sake of PR, I'd prefer him to just remain silent.

@Jay: Yes. If we trade Robles, it had basically better come hand-in-glove with the announcement of a Harper extension. I like Taylor well enough as OF4, but I don't want to go into 2019 with him as Plan A as a full-time outfielder and nothing behind him.

Ole PBN said...

I understand, but even with all his actions this year (or lack of action) none of it is worthy of being shown the door. Not after building this team into what it's been the past decade. It would be a huge mistake. So misplaced anger indeed, but I agree with you that we should be massive sellers by 4pm ET today. To see that we're apparently not is very disheartening, confusing, and just plain bizarre.

Every time we want to blame Rizzo for something, we tend to forget how Mark Lerner said publicly that he intended to be more "hands on" than his father. Great. Ever wonder if he made Rizzo retract the Bryce-trade statement? Or that Wieters is a good catcher and don't bother on upgrading? Or that our impending 2019 FA bullpen pieces are staying put? For all that I admire about Rizzo, I truly believe he's a puppet for our owner, which is not his fault and will ultimately be the reason why he leaves DC. Very strange how no one talks about the owner in this city...

Kubla said...

@Dezo

I'm pretty sure that it's spin on not getting the offers that they wanted, which apparently required mlb-worthy SP. That's not something contenders give up. What are the odds that we get the honest statement, which would be "We thought trading Bryce was the best possible move, but nobody wants him that badly so we're stuck with the comp pick and he's stuck with a losing club."?

I'm also guessing that this applies to the other rentals, none of whom are having spectacular years even though they're solid career guys. I think Gio's been his usual self: good on average with a few duds mixed in, but that's not someone a playoff team wants. Still, "I believe in our team" sounds better than "I can't trade them. Believe me I wish I could."



@Ole PBN

In DC, Dan Snyder is the comparison. Nobody looks remotely meddlesome next to him. It's the anchoring effect at work.

JE34 said...

Rizzo is saying what a GM has to say publicly. It should be given little to no serious regard with respect to his actual intentions. There are maybe three other GMs in the MLB that I'd prefer to Rizzo... and we thought starting over with a new manager was tough? A new GM could set this team back a decade.

DezoPenguin said...

@Old PBN: And speaking as someone who is actually an Expos fan who didn't abandon my fandom when my team moved to another city, ownership by Jeffrey Loria will likewise anchor a perspective on what a bad owner looks like. @_@

JE34 said...

@PBN - your comments are dead on, about how most ballplayers are not like Max (and the obsessive Daniel Murphy, for that matter) in that relentless pursuit of perfection. Creating a culture that is "team first" is very difficult under any circumstances, and insanely difficult with multi-millionaires. Guys like Lou Piniella used the "I don't care who you are" hard-ass approach to get players to subordinate their egos. I am certain that the 2005 Nats did not want Frank Robinson's glare directed at them for doing something dumb. Competent leadership is not *THE* problem with the 2018 Nats, but one of several.

Successful teams routinely have clear and healthy leadership within the players' ranks. The way that Ryan Archidiacono played for Jay Wright at Villanova was an extremely good example (albeit in a different sport, and one without the $$$$ involved). Leaders within the players' ranks should be easy to identify, and should prioritize leading by word and deed.

Bryce must be a leader, whether he likes it or not. His reduced hustle and his very dumb public comments (like the recent one about Realmuto being on the other side) are corrosive to a winning culture. Other players will be more comfortable giving 75% if the highest profile guys are doing it. Conversely, I think that other players will shorten up and prioritize putting the ball in play in key spots (as opposed to the 5 run homer swing) if they see their on-field leaders doing it.

I am sad that Bryce hasn't developed into that kind of team leader. That should have been Dave Martinez's early priority, IMO.

Ole PBN said...

I agree completely JE, but to add on correction. Work ethic and leadership are being conflated here. Bryce and any other can player CAN develop a better work ethic, but leadership (the kind that most teams desire) is a personality trait. David Eskstein was had a great work ethic, but I don’t think anyone called him the leader of the clubhouse. Max is a pitcher, who plays every 5th game and is not in a position of leverage to tear down a position player. But this is why it’s difficult when your highest-paid/best player is not the leader of the team. I think Jayson Werth’s self-proclaimed leadership was bad for this team and I think Bryce being hoisted into a leadership role (at 25!) is not a good move either. We have a TON of talented, passive individuals and not a single leader (who is in position to lead <— this is important) on this team when the throne is occupied by personalities like Bryce, Werth, Zim, etc.

Fries said...

Ramos to the Phillies, guess that answers that question

DezoPenguin said...

For "a player to be named later or cash considerations," too. Such a high price.

Robot said...

Kintzler to the Cubs

Jay said...

How do the Nats not trade for Ramos? The Phils got him for a PTNL or cash. Also, they trade Kinzler. The word from Janes is that he was a squeaky wheel and that may be why. Again, I don't understand what they are doing today. Don't trade for Realmuto fine, I alway thought that was crazy. But to not pick up Ramos for essentially a bag of balls??

Ole PBN said...

I'd rather just sign Ramos in the offseason, than give up something for him on a year where not even Mike Trout can save us. Although that is assuming he would want to sign here... wishful thinking.

I like the Kintzler move. Let's get more of this going... you have 5 minutes Rizzo! Haha

DezoPenguin said...

I'm not sure what I think about trading Kintzler, since he had team control beyond this year; the "squeaky wheel" think makes more sense than any other logic. He's not so good that I'll weep over him, so I hope the A-ball guy they got is useful (though he's 23 in Myrtle Beach).

I...just don't understand our apparent "Hold" strategy. The Braves added Duvall and just now Gausman, the Phillies landed Cabrera and Ramos, and we added nothing (so far) to our third-place team, yet at the same time we're not willing to sell?

Jay said...

Kintzler thought it was a joke when others told him he was traded. Wanted to stay. For all of the Rizzo is a great GM stuff there is this. He traded Jerry Blevins for a AAA outfielder for the audacity of going to arbitration, and now traded Kintzler for daring to complain about ending up on the DL for over use. MLB is a business but this is not so great.

Anonymous said...

^^ Just goes to show that they know more than the fans. Always more to the story than meets the eye.

Jack Dundee said...

Jay, Mets almost traded Wilmer Flores, but then he cried real tears like a child in the middle of an inning. Thank goodness they didn't trade him as it definitely would have hurt his feelings.

Jay said...

Good point. I forgot about that. I think it worked out for the Mets if I remember correctly bc they ended up trading for Cespedes instead and won the division. Just goes to show, don't trade someone if you're going to make them cry (jk).

Anonymous said...

Braves: hey, we got Gausman and O'Day, oh and we got Brach and Johnny Ventners the other day too...and Duvall from Reds. We are in it to win it!

Phillies: well, we have Ramos, and he'll bethe starting catcher for the Phillies when he's off the DL. And Asdrubal Cabrera and bullpen help. We are ready for s stretch run at this thing!!

Nats: well, um, no comment...

AnacostiaRay said...

If they are going to get rid of complainers, who maybe call out GMs and Ownership for how they do things, I've read a few derogatory things recently and in the past few years from Harper. Didn't he just publicly call them out for not getting Realmuto??

ssln said...

I wish you guys would stop complaining about not getting Ramos. TB asked us for two bags of used balls and an old catchers mitt but we declined because we thought the price was too high. Philadelphia got him for just one back of used balls. This proves that Rizzo was right and the TB demand was too high.

Kubla said...

Nothing like getting to play the Mets to let the guys relieve all that pent-up frustration. Murphy has 6 RBI on 3 hits in 3 innings.

W. Patterson said...

Yeah, Kubla. I might just leave early enough to get a good night's sleep

Max David said...

This organization is clueless, so beyond frustrating! I think it'll be easier being a Padres or Marlins fan. Sure, the teams stink right now, but at least their on a path and have a plan, I honestly think the Nats plan is "let's play at least 1 game in October [regular season ends on September 30 this year I believe], and we'll figure it out from there." They are on the path the Phillies & Tigers are on, save the Nats have a few better players, and good positional prospects, but like the Phillies & Tigers both when they faced a fork in the road instead of taking either Path A: go all in for 1 more run before our window gets shut or B: We've had our chances to win, it hasn't worked, let's reload before it's too late, they put the car in park on the side of the road, so they wouldn't have to make a choice. It's cost the Phillies & Tigers, does it cost the Nats too?? So, with that said I'd like to know whether Rizzo fell asleep in the afternoon, or his phone died because that's the only options to explain why the Nats did nothing save for sending a controllable reliever to the Cubs.


At this time of year, you've played more than 100 games, so as a GM you should know whether your team can win or can't win, and if you think you can win, you should upgrade any weaknesses your team may have (Yankees mid rotation starting pitching, Braves any pitching) to give you the best chance to win. So, let's take option A at the fork in the road for Rizzo & the Nats, Rizzo thinks he can win. Even though he is 53-53 they have about a +60 run differential meaning they should be a lot better than 53-53 and really Phils & Braves haven't run away. Anyone with half a brain knows the catching position on the Nats is a black hole on offense and with the pitchers spot that's an automatic 2 outs for the opposition every night. Why give up on Realmuto so easily?? It must because Rizzo and the Nats are on path B, we've had our chance and couldn't get it done let's rebuild this before it gets too late. Makes since with the Kintzler trade, but then hold onto every other impeding free agent?? Huh?? Take Bryce out of this because he is the only one that will actually get the QO (if Herrera started the season with us like I said he should on a different board he may have gotten it) none of the other impeding FA's (Gio, Hellickson, Matt Adams, Shawn Kelley, Ryan Madson, Herrera [traded midseason so can't get the QO]) will have a comp pick attached to them meaning we end up with nothing, squadoosh if any or all of them sign elsewhere. I'm not saying trade them all, but why not trade a couple of them for an A Ball lottery-ticket guy. I'm not sure where Rizzo grew up and went to school, but where I went to school, getting something is INFITENLY better than getting nothing, and getting something has an infinitely better chance of doing something great at the major league level or even being a replacement level player than nothing does, so these A ball kids we could've gotten for Madson or Adams or Gio, they could turn out to be organizational fillers, but they could also turn into the next Trout, at least there was a chance.

DezoPenguin said...

Well, what's done is done, and while the organization's actions (whether it's Lerner, Rizzo, or both of them together) basically make no sense at all to me, at this point all we can do is to root for the team on the field. Regardless of wanting to pelt the front office with rotten tomatoes, at all times what I want to see the actual players do is play well and win baseball games, and at this point all we can do is hope that we can play the next two months like we did in May and that the Braves and Phillies both blink.

BxJaycobb said...

There are some people on this thread who are either so pissed off about the season that they’ve lost their marbles or they’re just fools. I can’t tell which.
1. This whole “the season is 100% over” stuff is just nonsense as a factual matter. Take your emotions out of it and look at the projections. Fangraphs has the Nats at about a 40% chance to make playoffs and 30% chance to win the division. That seems too optimistic to me, and B-R agrees, putting their chances to make postseason at about 15%. Either way they have a shot. The only people who think the team is done are depressed/manic Nats fans on this thread. Yeah, they’re more likely to miss the playoffs. They’re not done. So stop.
2. Can I ask a question? Bryce is 25 years old. How many 25 year olds (a year or so after most folks come into the league) are team leaders in MLB? I can think of one. Correa in HOU, and I’m not even sure about that. Think of Ryan Zimmerman’s profile. He is the very definition of the kind of player who would be the team leader. Longest tenured. All star at one point, even recently. Original face of franchise. Holds all records. And nobody even THINKS of Zim as a candidate to be a leader. Because he has an ineffectual, silent, sort of soft personality. Rendon’s the same, but his personality is goofy and nonchalant. Murphy fits the bill. So why exactly is the 25 year old the one everybody thinks should lead the team? Maybe Bryce also has a personality that doesn’t really conform to that.
3. You’d rather root for the Marlins and Padres? Really. Really. I’m not even going to respond.
4. Re the comment that the Nats are entering a wilderness period like the Tigers, Royals, and Phillies, all who held on too long. Wrong. None of those teams had half of the young talent as the Nats do. Not half of it. Every single player was an over the hill legacy type player, with albatrosses (Ryan Howard, miggy, etc). The Nats have half their payroll falling off the team over the next two years, as well as arguably 3 possible MVP talents making up a young core of position player studs, and that’s before you get to the possibility of extending Rendon or Bryce in his prime and Kieboom and two aces. It’s not the same. Could the nats have aggressively re-tooled? Sure but you’re not getting much from expiring assets. To really add some prospect studs you would have to trade Rendon Eaton and Doolittle with years of control remaining. But the Nats saw enough of a chance to win this year. I don’t blame their stand pat move.
5. I’ve found people’s disgust with Bryce Harper fairly appalling on this blog. We’ve gotten to have a generation talent who is probably going to the Hall of Fame on this team where he has accumulated 30 WAR by age 25 and watch him every day, and maybe we’ll continue to. Arguably the biggest “star” in baseball. Dudes a model citizen who occasionally says things that annoy people. So what. I’d rather have the guy be interesting than be Mike Trout. BTW I don’t see Mike’s “no drama winning culture attitude” bringing the angels to the promised land. Want to know why? Because culture and clubhouse morale and winning attitude is all fanspeak sportswriter hogwash to shape narratives after they’ve already occurred. Harper is having a down year, it’s true. Leading the league in walks and homers with a .850 OPS and .375 OBP. That’s him at his most hideous. One day (and it might be as soon as next April when he’s launching bombs and the Nats are struggling from a lack of punch) you’re going to realize how dumb it was to whine about having to have Bryce Harper on your team. Geesh.

Anonymous said...

“Because culture and clubhouse morale and winning attitude is all fanspeak sportswriter hogwash to shape narratives after they’ve already occurred.” Are you serious?

Robot said...

::standing applause BxJaycobb::

I just want to add that it's not as though Rizzo didn't try for Realmuto. He did. The Fish wanted way too much for him. Passing was the right call.

Josh Higham said...

@Anon - you're reading Harper's blog and you're surprised by an anti-narrative attitude in the comments?

I totally respect that you disagree and think that culture, morale, attitude, etc. do matter in baseball--you could be right. But this is a blog written by a soulless automaton and it attracts a lot of people who want to explain things with observable facts, not constructed narratives. I lean toward the hogwash side of this argument myself. At any rate, "are you serious" is a little lacking in substance.

DezoPenguin said...

BxJaycobb is right in that anything WE, the fans know, about clubhouse culture is pretty much after-the-fact bunk and narrative-driven hindsight. (Just hear anyone talk about "momentum" for an example of the same phenomenon.) When a team is bad, feelings naturally run hot among these highly driven and competitive athletes, and every little disagreement gets magnified out of proportion by the media. Scherzer yelling at Strasburg a week back would have been described as "leadership" and other, similar terms. Now, I'm sure that personalities, leadership, chemistry, and other sports psychology intangibles DO have meaning, but what WE, the fans, know about them is an entirely different matter. The subtle interpersonal workplace dynamics going on between coaches and teammates are things that can't be boiled down to soundbites that usually have more to do with the team's recent record than any actual analysis.

About the other points, though...

Look, I don't know who you're talking about in the thread, Bx, but your point #4 is exactly why I don't agree with your point #1. The Nationals DO have a future. We DO have pieces to build around, and sacrificing the opportunity to do that in order to try for a 15% chance of slipping into the playoffs is shortsighted. And this has nothing to do with liking or disliking Bryce Harper. Harper is a good player! He's having a down year by his standards, yes, particularly in the field. But wanting the front office to try and trade him is based on the assumption that (1) him being good for the rest of this year won't get us to the playoffs, and (2) he's not going to be good FOR US next year because he's going to sign a big free agent contract with someone else, and (3) related to the second point, the Nationals have a strong outfield already for 2019 without Bryce, and a lot of holes to fill that the money Bryce will command as a free agent regardless of this bad year would go a long way towards helping.

Sammy Kent said...

There was a time when I was physically uncomfortable, even queasy to the stomach thinking about the Nationals without Bryce Harper. He is a genuine throwback to icons like Pete Rose, Willie Mays, and Roberto Clemente--a guy that gives his all on every play, with enthusiasm, hustle, and abandon that has bordered on recklessness at times; a guy that delivered at the plate with power, average, discipline, and heroic drama. By all accounts a good teammate, a playing cheerleader, a player's player. I desperately wanted him to be a Washington National for many years to come, and be the guy to take this franchise to a World Series championship.

The Bryce Harper of 2018 has been anything but that. I'm not down on Bryce because his average has slumped and he's having --by the standards we've come to expect --a bad year. I'm down on Bryce because he has shown pathetically little of his normal piss and vinegar, if you will, and has instead played defense with lethargy and carelessness, with barely enough effort to justify his existence on the field. Only he knows why, but I suspect Scott Boras has told him to not run the slightest risk of injury in his walk year and pull back from his normal hell bent for leather playing style. Maybe that's why his average stinks like polecat turd. Between Boras's counsel and Kevin Long's tutelage maybe he's satisfied to either strike out, fly out, or hit dingers because either way he doesn't have to risk getting hurt running the bases.

For whatever reason, it's a pity for him and for the fans and for the team. If the rest of 2018 plays out like it has thus far, when he comes back to Nats Park in a visiting uniform, instead of a standing ovation he'll likely be booed worse than he hears now in places like Atlanta and Philly. Not because he took a better offer, but because he took his last season here off and played like crap and acted like a petulant little spoiled brat that couldn't be disciplined....just biding his time and going through the motions until his ticket to Los Angeles or New York arrived.

Fortunately Juan Soto is doing a bang-up job helping everybody in the DC area forget about Bryce Harper.

Ole PBN said...

I think it's all a broad overreaction by us fans. We have a good GM. We have plenty of talent. The verdict is still out on the manager (not the same as blaming DM for all our problems). And of course there are areas we can improve. I think it was this very blog that I first heard the phrase "In Rizzo We Trust." I still think that is true.

But Dezo, I'm respectfully disagreeing with you/Bx on the clubhouse culture argument: "anything WE, the fans know, about clubhouse culture is pretty much after-the-fact bunk and narrative-driven hindsight." You're right in that we don't know anything about the NATS clubhouse. But I've been talking about ANY clubhouse in baseball. If you've been a part of one at a high level, you know this to be true. Denying it exists is a little ignorant, just because you can't quantify it via a sorted column on Fangraphs.

I will say though (as I've clearly learned and sort of just makes this post a waste of time) that this is the wrong platform to shout about these things. Numbers never lie, that's easier to have a productive discussion with everyone on here. I enjoy the blog, always have, always will. And I love that we can have a difference of opinion. No one's OPINION on here is "hogwash" as none of really know anything about the NATS. But baseball in general? I think a good number of us have a lot of knowledge to offer. That's all.