Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday Quickie

THERE GOES THE NATS!

Hey - I'm on the road again. You may say "Harper that's crazy!  That means you'd have been to like 6 different places in the Eastern US in the past 6 weeks beyond where you live! No one wants to live like that even if there are vacations in there.  And I would say to you "HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA"

7 Week Status
Record: 60-58
Ground gained/lost in division last wk : +0.5 games to PHI, -1 games to ATL
Ground gained/lost in WC race last wk : -2.5 to STL, +0.5 SFG, +0.5 MIL, +0.5 LAD, -0.5 PIT, -1.0 COL
Well that wasn't that bad, you can kind of see the Nats turni... oh that was two weeks ago?

6 Week Status
Record: 62-63
Ground gained/lost in division last wk : -1 games to PHI, -1.5 games to ATL
Ground gained/lost in WC race last wk : -3 to STL, -0.5 SFG, -1 MIL, -1.5 LAD, -0.5 PIT, -3.5 COL


Oh there's your problem.  The Nats stink!


The Nats were not able to sweep the Marlins. In fact they lost two of the three which is pretty terrible. The hope they are clinging to now is basically "Well if we want to catch the Phillies we have to pretty much dominate them and if we dominate them we would be in the Wild Card hunt again!"  Which is really just a way of saying "anything can happen!"

Now my brother from another mother and father pointed out that really the division is more catchable than the Wild Card. Despite the leader being slightly further ahead, there are so many teams between the Nats and WC2 that the Wild Card is a harder get.  Ok, so be it. Someone in the comments pointed out this isn't about being realistic, it's about having fun with what's left of the season. The Nats are nearly certain to not make the playoffs in any form.  They are pretty certain to be eliminated, if not technically mathematically then enough so that you have no reason to pay attention to that chance. (Like say Angels fans right now), in fairly short order and then we can really commence talking about the wrongs of this year and how to right them (if possible). 

Why not be a little silly for a couple weeks?  What's it cost you? or the team?

One thing I will bring up right now is how to approach something when we talk about the reasons the Nats failed this year.  Injuries are often brought up as the number one reason and that is more than reasonable. These guys missed a lot of games! However, if they are expected to miss a bunch of games then the failure isn't one of bad luck, the failure is one of roster construction.  If you have several players going into the year who could very well miss a third of the season then it is your responsibility to cover that.  That doesn't mean covering that third it means covering more. This is the discussion that we should have over the injuries - were they properly accounted for.

My initial thoughts right now is no, but you probably knew that because I said as much early in the year when I said the OF could be an issue and everyone killed me for that. My take was "Sure there are 4 guys but 3 injury prone guys and a guy with a half-year of production. And sure the back-up is good but he will be covering other stuff for an unknow amount of time."  That's not exactly how things worked out but there was a little gap there and that gap was busted wide open when Kendrick went down.  When he went down in in mid/late May he should have replaced ASAP.  But like I said that's jus tthe thoughts now.


Sweep the Phillies.

56 comments:

billyhacker said...

Harper that's crazy! That means you'd have been to like 6 different places in the Eastern US in the past 6 weeks beyond where you live! No one wants to live like that even if there are vacations in there.

NavyYardSteve said...

Re: injuries - I keep seeing some stat thrown around that the Nats have the 3rd highest injury "rating" in MLB behind the Angels and Mets. Does that take into account who replaces the injured players? For example, does it take into account that the Nats were giving starts to Adrian Sanchez and Matt Reynolds in meaningful games because Murphy and Rendon were hurt, and Eaton was hurt so Kendrick was playing LF. I mean, Moises Sierra was batting 5th for a time...

Chas R said...

Injuries were certainly an issue. They had a good backup plan with Howie and Robles-Soto, but then Howie and Robles both get hurt as well. The lack of planning I think is about the lack of pitching depth for SP and the pen. Then there is the under-performance as well- who could have predicted Bryce would decide to do nothing but hot HRs?

Jon Quimby said...

I might actually enjoy the rest of the season since there's no expectation. I hope they don't make some crazy run and then fall a game or two short and blame it all on this Marlins series.

G Cracka X said...

I think this Boswell chatter put it quite well:

"I think it was just a tough year, injuries, new manager and bad luck"

I think the OF has been fine this year. Soto's at 2.5 WAR, Bryce at 3, Eaton almost 1 WAR, and MAT slightly over 1 WAR. Not great, but not terrible.

Injuries have been bad. DL stints for Stras (2), Murph (almost half a season), Rendon, Eaton, Zim (almost half a season), Herrera, Doo, Madson, Wieters, Kendrick

You can only plug so many holes.

blovy8 said...

Is the outfield actually a problem with an all-star/former MVP, a rookie of the year candidate, and a low cost solid veteran, and a stellar defender/4th OF? I'd like to see the quote where Kendrick was considered to have a risky achilles tendon.

I'm suspcious of the premise that the Nats could have easily upgraded their catching without weakening somehting else given the free agent list below

Castillo (good but suspended for drugs half a season and expensive, the money would come from someplace else)
Lucroy (probably the most likely, and stinks this year, a lucky miss)
Avila (hitting like Pedro Severino in Texas, again, who wants that for his salary?)
Hundley (who would be excited about that? The Giants. He's about the best Rizzo could have done)
Ianetta (can walk, but essentially nothing else, replacement level for 4m a year)
Rivera (you want to sign a 35-year old defensive catcher without injury worries? Yep, he got injured too)
Norris (stunk and still does and the Nats paid to dump him)
Stewart (AAAA guy)
Montero (can't throw, but proved he couldn't hit either)
Ruiz (too old even for this league)

Can we agree that trading Robles and Soto for Realmuto would have been dumb

I think the Nats not picking up Ramos for a non-prospect and trading Kintzler were admissions of defeat actually. The idea that the Nats should be worrying about his option while "contending" tells you everything you need to know going forward.

ssln said...

Harper

It is nice to see that no one can put any thing passed by brother. You finally figured out that this team stinks. Better late than never. The real problem is that the team has quit on the manager. Just look at their body language and lack of hustle. When Murphy hit the homer to send the Sat. game into extra innings most of the players looked like it was an imposition to play an extra inning.
Everyone wanted to know about your reference to Ceylon and the loss of your brother. That was a nice ruse so let me tell everyone the story. You probably think Harper was referring to Ceylon the country. Actually, he was referring to the Ceylon Covered Bridge located in Indiana. For the only time in his life Harper decided to ditch the soulless automaton persona and have a little fun. He suggested that he and his older brother get a couple of dirt bikes and race to the covered bridge. It sounded like a great idea but as you would expect the soulless automaton spun out. His brother was laughing all the way to the bridge. Little did he know that on the other side of the bridge two teenagers were having a drag race. They met inside the bridge. It wasn't a happy meeting and to this day Harper still blames himself. That is why he is a soulless automaton. He needs to mask the pain. Who would have known that a trip to Grandma would have caused such a devastating impact.
The only good thing that came out of the tragedy is that Bruce Springstein immortalized the whole thing in one of his songs.
Like Harper said why not have a little fun, because right now reality sucks.

Anonymous said...

Wait, are we going to ignore that Sammy Kent recommends taking out our only catcher in the ninth inning of a tie game? Did I really just read that on the last thread?

DM: "Great a mitt and a mask Wilmer! We're pushing all our chips in the middle! Saddle up boys!!!"

Come on senor Kent, you're giving us fans a bad name.

Sammy Kent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sammy Kent said...

@Anonymous, feel free to copy/paste or go back to the last entry. Comments are still accepted there. Otherwise, I'll suggest reading a little more carefully. All I said is sometimes it's worth the risk. Like going for two in college football OT.

IMHO the only injuries that have mattered more than the bumblin' stumblin' half-horse playing and managing are Stras, Doo, and Howie. Hard to cover for a 10-15 game winner, a lockdown closer, and a bonafide utility player that can hit more than his weight. Those have kept us from being a game or two ahead in the standings. If we'd had those three guys all year AND not had the lousy baseball we'd be 15 games ahead in the standings and taking bets on what day in September would be Clinchmas 2018.

Shelton said...

One thing I've been puzzled by regarding the Nats offense is the fact that all of our basic hitting stats look pretty good: in the NL ranks, we are 5th in runs, 3rd in OBP, 6th in wOBA and OPS as well. But we've been shut out 3rd most in the bigs, and 23 times we've scored 1 or fewer runs which is 12th most in MLB. Even based on the eye test, you watch our games this year where the offense was a no-show (2x @ TB, @ PIT, vs SF, @ TOR, etc.) and wonder how that happens with the talent we have in the lineup. A few theories.

First, the injuries can't be overstated, and anyone who argues that it's just an excuse is crazy. Rendon being out a month hurt a lot. As did Eaton and Murphy, who also were slow to get going again once they returned (I think that explained a lot of the lack of power and hence offense in June when we started stumbling). MAT sucked the first two months, but anyone who sees him bat knows he strikes out a ton and basically relies on a high BABIP to be successful, which he had in 2017 but not this year.

But I also think the lineup construction wasn't good. I went to Fangraphs and looked at our stats (sorted by OPS) by position in the batting order. From 1st thru 3rd spot we're 6th in the NL at .792. From 4-6 we're actually 1st (!!) at .824, and much of that comes from the 5-spot (i.e. Soto) where we lead the league. But from 7-9 we are 3rd to last, ahead of only AZ and MIA. Most of that is because of our production at catcher which falls squarely on Rizzo, for not doing anything about a) having a crappy and oft-injured starter or b) not having major-league capable backups. Severino and Kieboom are complete and utter black holes. So when the C and P bat one in front of the other that's two auto-outs and two innings right down the drain.

The other thing is that, in the first half, Bryce and Zim sucked (at least in terms of OBP). But I believe it was made worse by the fact they were batting 2/3 and 4 in the order the whole time, which really isn't ideal. So you're looking at the heart of the order being pretty meh. Regardless of what the analytics say, you want to have your most productive hitters bat consecutively to keep the line moving, as it were. I dunno how many managers would've had the guts to move Bryce or Zim down (or gasp: even bench them), but Martinez is certainly not among them. Also, part of I think is just bad situational hitting; per FG we are second to last in OPS in high-leverage situations (whatever that means), also not good with the bases loaded. Those may be some of those fluky stats that fluctuate year to year but regardless, we suck at it.

TL;DR -- find a real catcher, don't have unproductive players at the heart of the order, be better with RISP.

Harper said...

Nailed it

ssln said...

Good post Shelton but I think the problem runs deeper than what you posted. There seems to be a problem in the clubhouse. The whole issue with Kintzler where Rizzo dumped him because he SUSPECTED he was the source for a story about the clubhouse. Add to it the Kelley DFA over a glare. Really, Max had already handled it one on one.
We are on the outside looking in but my read is that there is decension in the ranks of some sort and that has affected the effort given by the players.
To me, at least, the body language of the players is a TELL. They are going through the motions and not having fun.
Go back and look at the CAPS when they made the run in the playoffs. You could tell that they were committed to each other and a goal.
This group is committed to seeing the season end as soon as possible. Question at the end of the season for management, what do you do with a manager who has lost a team or can't motivate them to put out maximum effort.

Max David said...

In the 12 remaining games against the Phillies and Braves they have to go what, 9-3, 10-2 even to have a realistic chance of catching them. That would mean sweeping at least 1 series and winning all 4, and oh by the way 3 of those 4 series are on the road. They lose even 1 this week and it’s likely lights out if not already.

As for the Wildcard?? Fuhgetaboutit! Just look at the Cardinals only using 1 team. Starting tonight, 22 of their final 37 games are against the Dodgers, Rockies, Pirates & Brewers, all teams currently ahead of us in the WC chase, which sucks because no matter who wins we lose, I.e Rockies/Bravos this weekend. I guess it’s better that the Braves got swept, but then that’s 2 games we lost to the Roxs in the WC race who were already in front anyways.
Cards next 9 games are against the Dodgers, Rockies, and Pirates. Let’s say they lose 2 out of 3 every series and finish 3-6, is that really any benefit?? Roxs, Dodgers & Pirates all have better records, so yes we might have gained on St. Louis, but we lose/stay with those 3 other teams who were already in front anyways, the math in the WC just isn’t going to add up. With the 3 West teams & the 3 Central teams (4 if the someone unlikely passes the Cubs) all with a lot of head to heads along with the intra-division head to heads it’s just going to be teams beating each other up with games & days lost on the calendar.

Sammy Kent said...

@Shelton, you post a lot of good thoughts, but I assure you the injuries can and have been overstated. We've had posters here that have flat out said this season's frustrations are ENTIRELY a function and result of the injuries, completely dismissing the awful game management, the lack of hustle, discipline, and effort, and the sloppy play that have been this season's calling card, REGARDLESS of who was on the field or who was on the DL.

@ssin, you are right about the body language. It has spoken volumes all season. This core group of Nationals was highly motivated to bust their collective arse for Dusty Baker from the moment he arrived. They are not and have not been motivated to play for Davey Martinez. Whatever it was....his inability to deal with the injuries, to manipulate the lineup, to manage the games, or his unwillingness to hold some players --coughbrycecough-- accountable for their lethargic efforts,....he lost this team early. If now they are motivated at all, it is not likely for Davey nor for each other, but for themselves.

Froggy said...

This puts things into context for me, in the NL the Nats @ 62 - 63 .496 are better than five teams:

San Francisco Giants 62 - 64 .492

Cincinnati Reds 55 - 70 .440

New York Mets 54 - 70 .435

Miami Marlins 50 - 76 .397

San Diego Padres 49 - 78 .386

They have 37 games remaining. Of those 9 against the Phillies, 7 against the Mets, 5 against Miami, and 3 against Atlanta. The remaining games are against the Brewers (3), Cardinals (3), Cubs (4), Rockies (3).

Strasburg comes back on Thursday against the Phillies, and if he doesn't injure himself again, he could bring some optimism to the rotation. But hold on, if Roark, Strasburg, and Scherzer win their remaining games (9 from Roark), (8 Strasburg), and (7 from Scherzer) and those other guys named Gio et al, lose the rest, that totals 24 wins. 24-13 record results in an 86 - 76 record. But the odds of those three winning all their remaining starts are astronomical. So...

The Nats are definitely not winning a wildcard berth with an 86 win record nor the division.

JE34 said...

Shelton's post did indeed encapsulate things very nicely. I'd add "plan for at least a *little* rotation depth" to your TL;DR summary.

@Sammy - your reaction to others overemphasis on injuries/luck is to go too far in the other direction.

Difo's bat vs Murphy's bat - that is an enormous difference.
Eaton's bat vs Taylor/Stevenson/Sierra or whomever else was out there before Soto - that's an even bigger difference.

I am with you on the sloppy play, lack of plate discipline, awful game management. Those problems are there with some of the full time major leaguers, but they only get worse with AAA personnel out there, which happens because of... injuries.

NotBobby said...

If Murph get traded through the waivers process would that put Nats below the payroll tax? That would be a great way to better the clubs footing going into next season.

blovy8 said...

It's nice that you guys run teams that have unlimited funds, can equip players with Kryptonian powers of injury resistance, and have a group of scouts and advisors with psychic abilities in prospect projection. I guess you also can just manipulate other clubs into trading you every guy you happen to need as though they are impatient adolescents in a shallow fantasy league.

Did you peruse the list of available catchers in late 2017? What a bunch of difference makers...all they needed was Alex Avila and this team might be better than the Pirates!

I suspect some of the things Shelton "nailed" are too small in sample size to be sure they won't regress within a baseball season. You don't know whether stinking with guys in scoring position will be for a month, two months, the whole year, etc. You can shift these guys all over the lineup, but one move affects another, and there are days off, injuries, different pitching styles and splits. It has seemed to me that batting Turner/Harper has meant he won't run much. He could have another 20 steals in a different lineup, probably leading to a few more wins.

I imagine the horrific baserunning overall has put the brakes on the two guys good at it in Turner and Taylor. I'll give Eaton a pass since the bases aren't kind to him anymore.

Josh Higham said...

@NotBobby, no, they'd still be $9-10ish over the tax threshold unfortunately. I think to get under, they'd have to trade at least Bryce, Gio, and Murphy without covering any of the salary they'd send away.

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper: You can both have a fairly injury prone roster and also have injury prone luck. My view is the Nats could reasonably have expected plenty of rain and a couple thunderstorms, but they got a raging category 4 hurricane. Like....I think it’s reasonable to look at the Nats and say “they’re going to miss a good amount of games.” I don’t think it would have been reasonable (nor possible to cover for) to say “they’re going to miss the most projected value of any team due to injury in the major leagues and will comprehensive widespread blows to every unit of the team and lead MLB in DL days by plenty.” In other words, yes, these 3 things are all true: (1) The Nats roster was always more injury prone than most, especially the much younger rivals in division. (2) they suffered really bad injury luck, as the injuries were not just significant but crippling; and (3) nevertheless, Rizzo has no excuse for not having more depth in the starting rotation and to a lesser extent, in the bullpen (hey! We have no matchup lefty on the team to pitch to Freddie freeman in a big spot!), not to mention having no catcher.

G Cracka X said...

Injuries and variance aren't the only reasons for 2018 turning out the way things did, but they are two of the main reasons and they have been cited/documented.

The Nats payroll currently is about $186 million, higher than any previous season. Its not clear to me that Rizzo was allowed to spend any more money than was already spent. So I can't fault him for getting more depth at SP or C or bullpen if he wasn't authorized to spend anymore. Plus, there have been signings that have gone over him, so he isn't 100% in charge of the payroll.

JE34 said...

Probably much ado about nothing... but one wonders what conversations are being had in Rizzo's office.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/08/bryce-harper-matt-adams-reportedly-claimed-on-revocable-trade-waivers.html

G Cracka X said...

I just noticed that Blake Treinen is tied for the lead in MLB Reliever WAR at 3.2. Wow! We all knew he had potential, but I didn't think he'd be "best of the best of the best, sir!" good. He has more reliever WAR than the entire Nats bullpen (including Kintzler's 2018 Nats contribution), and about the same WAR as the combined 2018 campaigns of Tanner Roark and Stephen Strasburg.

TwoGloves said...

@JE34 - I guess we now know what the discussions were about - Daniel Murphy to the Cubs!!

JE34 said...

And Matt Adams to the Cardinals.

Fries said...

with the towel officially thrown in, how much more salary needs to get dumped then...?

G Cracka X said...

Bryce pulled back from waivers. Looks like he will stay with the team for the rest of the season.

DezoPenguin said...

Last year, Treinen gets booed out of town, while this year he's a lights-out, hard-as-nails closer for a team that just ran down the defending champions for first place. Reliever variance is a thing.

Anyway, the Nats' failure this year seems to have fallen into four separate categories, which makes sense, because taking a team expected to win in the mid-90s and having it peck and scrape around .500 takes a lot of failure:

1. Injuries. We know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Fragile guys like Strasburg, Doolittle, Madson, to a certain extent Rendon getting hurt. Guys coming back from injury slowly like Murphy, Eaton, and Glover. Generally healthy players like Kendrick, Robles, Hellickson, Herrera, and Wieters going down. Injuries cleaned our clocks. You could nearly make a functional major-league starting lineup out of the Nats position players who missed major time (Eaton-Robles-Kendrick for OF, Rendon, Zim, Murphy IF, Wieters C...really, it just needs an SS).

2. Roster construction. Unlike Harper, I don't think the outfield was built badly. We started the year with five guys who could be expected to put up at minimum 2-3 wins over a full year, then lucked into a sixth guy on the same level with Soto. It's not unfair to expect that a backup plan for Eaton might be needed. It's completely unfair to expect a roster to be able to withstand that AND season-ending injuries to guys #4 and #5. (And hey, that still left us with Soto-Taylor-Harper, which is a pretty damn good OF, all things considered.) But the starting pitching depth was ridiculous (we got lucky that Hellickson was as good as he's been, even if he can't be relied on for more than five innings, and the rest was junk), the bullpen options were shaky, and catcher was a nightmare right from the start.

3. Underperformance. When players get hurt, other players have to at least play to their expected levels, and that didn't happen. Taylor stank up the world in the beginning of the year. Harper started hot then slumped hard when the lineup fell apart to injuries around him. Zim forgot how to hit righties. Murphy had a major slump coming back to the lineup. Roark had a nasty slump in June to mid-July. Gio fell off a cliff in June and unlike Roark didn't bounce back. Madson, Kintzler, Solis, basically everybody in the 'pen was worse than expected except for Doolittle. Severino was never expected to hit, but he also stank it up on D and in handling the pitching staff. Herrera fell straight off a cliff the instant he put on a Nats uniform.

(I do not include players like Difo, Wieters, etc. in this category--poor players playing poorly is not unexpected.)

4. Management/intangibles. While I'm not the kind of person who likes to blame psychological stuff for most things (and the problem is that since we're not inside the clubhouse, as fans we can't really tell what's going on day-to-day or tell when we're conflating bad playing with bad intangibles), Davey Martinez was brought in to be a young, ahead-of-the-curve analytical type and he doesn't seem to have been. His handling of Zimmerman hasn't made any sense. The whole thing with Kintzler and Kelley basically being kicked off the team--while performing adequately at a position of desperate need while the team is fighting to stay in contention, I may add!--tells that something is seriously broken behind the locker room doors.

DezoPenguin said...

Rizzo's got a lot of work to do in the offseason. First off, he and Lerner need to get on the same page, and then Lerner needs to get out of Rizzo's way and let the GM run the baseball team. The first thing they need to address is whether Martinez was a failed experiment or if he's just had growing pains combined with a lot of adverse circumstances. That settled, the Nats bring back:

OF: Soto/Taylor/Eaton/Robles. (Do they roll with that, or do they try to resign Harper? If they do bring back Harper, do they try to move Eaton or Robles to shore up other weak areas?)

IF: Rendon/Turner/Kendrick/Zimmerman + Difo (Do they try to extend Rendon? And they really should bring in a Lind/Adams type to platoon with Zim and act as a PH/LF backup. Will C. Kieboom be ready to take over at 2B?)

C: S. Kieboom (apparently he can be a functional backup, but the team desperately needs a real starter, and could stand to have a better backup, too).

SP: Scherzer/Strasburg/Roark + Fedde/Rodriguez (Not only do we need two more solid starters to fill out the rotation, but they also need a 6th guy that they feel confident in giving 10 starts in Stras's place. Ideally, Fedde opens the season as SP8.)

BP: Doolittle/Glover + assorted flotsam and jetsam (Maybe Rodriguez can be the long man, but it would be nice to have somebody at the back end who wasn't made of tissue paper plus some vaguely competent middle-inning arms.)

Meanwhile, the lineup is now short two guys that actually hit, sold off for an A-baller and cash, and we basically need to sweep the Phillies or even hope dies.

mike k said...

I hope they got good value for Murphy. I think he would have been a qualifying offer candidate in the offseason, so the compensation should be at least what they would have gotten for that.

Also if they know they're not resigning Murphy...why not try and work out a deal for Harper? Do y'all think they were going to not resign Murphy but still try and keep Harper/not rebuild?

SuburbanSteve said...

Carter Kieboom 2nd baseman as of Sept 1st?

Kubla said...

If the sample of one recent player to be named - Trea Turner - is any indication of how things will go, everything about this is awesome! I hope this Cassius Considerations guy we got from the Cardinals can platoon at 1B.

I wonder whom they'll call up to play 2B because I doubt I'm alone in really not wanting to see 37 games of Wilmer Difo out there.

blovy8 said...

Now you can write the Rizzo waited too long to trade these guys post.

blovy8 said...

Has Kieboom even played much 2B? He CAN be worse than watching Difo.

blovy8 said...

It would be akin to watching Difo play center, for instance.

mike k said...

Apparently the Nats did not get something good for Murphy, and were not allowed to give him a qualifying offer. Anyone know why? Is there a rule saying you can't get once twice?

NotBobby said...

@Mike K - that is correct. He got one already so he can't get another one.

Kubla said...

@blovy

There's nothing to be learned by playing Difo or MAT anymore. We know Difo is a decent defender but crummy on offense and MAT is a little better than that at both.

Robles and Kieboom could actually be good. A few defensive lapses at 2B wouldn't change much, since Murphy was not good in the field. If they get reps, it's better for them from a developmental standpoint and for the team for evaluating the current talent.

DezoPenguin said...

@kubla:

This is especially the case with Kieboom. If he can handle 2B, then it changes the calculus about a lot of things (among others, it means we don't need to go into 2019 with Howie Kendrick expected to be the full-time starter there and can instead expect him to be a useful part of the bench).

Robles I might be a little more cautious with, both because of the injury return and because Rizzo might want to play service-time games with him if applicable. But even so, he's a high-ceiling prospect and if he can be expected to fill a major-league slot in 2019 it has heavy impact on roster decisions.

blovy8 said...

I'm sure he can handle 2nd eventually, but it's not fair to make him learn it in the big leagues. Since the Nats are worried about things like Matt Adams' piddly salary, won't they be afraid to start Kieboom's service clock early? 9/1 would be early enough.

blovy8 said...

Having said that, you know they'll stupidly do it, and he'll be lousy and get hurt on a DP turn.

PotomacFan said...

Joe Ross should be available in 2019 as SP 4 or 5.

Silver Fox is Drunk said...

I think Robles showed he could play in the big leagues last year, the only questions is whether or not he's recovered. I'd call up Kieboom and put Gio on waivers until someone claims him, if only so the fans don't have to watch his starts anymore. Besides, Joe Ross is almost ready.

DezoPenguin said...

@PotomacFan: Oh, good point, I totally forgot Ross. Though I'd think of him more as like in the SP 5-7 range. In competition for the #5 spot, and if he doesn't win it let him come up later. For #4 I'd hope to get somebody more in the Expected Gio range, a reliable three-win kind of guy. Not sure where those are supposed to materialize out of thin air, though.

Ah, well, I've got all offseason to rosterbate. Beat the Phillies!

Ole PBN said...

If Joe Ross is indeed 100% ready to come back, fine. But if not, then we'll see him next season. Murphy is a real bummer, and was apparently surprised by the trade. He won't be returning to our side in 2019. I'd like to see Carter Kieboom get some action at 2B soon, but I doubt it will be in the MLB. Look for that switch to made in Harrisburg.

I want to see some bullpen arms flooding in from Harrisburg and Syracuse: throw crap at the wall and see if it sticks. There are a plethora of guys with great numbers in our system who should get a shot on a team with no goals for 2018. Guys to watch: James Bourque, Austen Williams, Kyle McGowin.

I want Rodriguez in the pen. I don't think he has the repertoire for an MLB starter, but his build, velocity, and slider are decent enough to get him some success. He'll be nothing more than a AAAA-type if they keep him as a starter.

Sad about this year. Sad about Murphy. And sad about the impending Bryce departure. Not because I think the team will suck without him. But because of what it means. A generational talent, drafted by us in 2010, and 8 years later walks away without an ALCS appearance. Who would have thought that mid-way through 2012? Time flies, and the expectations really do change.

JE34 said...

One more time! Bases loaded, 1 out... Nats' two best players, Harper and Rendon, come up empty, Phils keep it 1-0... then they promptly jump all over the Nats... homer by light hitting rookie, booted ball, etc, etc, etc. Why do I torture myself, especially now?

JE34 said...

oh wait, that's why

Kubla said...

Good thing we gave Difo and Stevenson all the bulletin board material.

Kubla said...

Now if this schmuck Bryce Harper could earn his stay on a big league roster.

Kubla said...

Noice

Max David said...

They were actually much better this year (record wise at least) without Murphy in the lineup. Go figure?? Possibly a 2017 Twins type run where they sell at the deadline, and play the Yankees in the AL Wildcard game. Of course they sold at the non waiver deadline not 3 weeks later and I believe the Twins were closer to a playoff spot, but possibly something to keep an eye on. I just now not to get excited, because they are such a tease. Knowing them they'll win 5 of the 6 games against the Phillies and in between get swept by the Mets (who by the way are likely NOT pitching Syndergaard [scheduled for Wednesday] or deGrom [scheduled for Thursday]), and than in September they'll go 7-3 in the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs stretch, and 4-2 in the @ Philadelphia @ Atlanta stretch to follow and than precede to lose 7 of the next 9 to the Mets & Marlins to erase anything positive.

Good news: They actually gained a half game as Milwaukee & Colorado each lost at home to Cincinnati & San Diego respectively and have now jumped in front of Pittsburgh, and the Dodgers look like a train wreck right now.
Bad news: They are still 6 games behind Milwaukee, Philadelphia doesn't control a playoff spot anymore so we can't automatically gain ground in the WC race with the head to head win and St. Louis is looking like an unstoppable freight train at the moment.

G Cracka X said...

For all the non-love of Difo, give the man some props when he does well: dude hit a Daniel-Murphyesque upper deck pull homer last night. Cool.

@Dezo and others - good thoughts on '18 and what to do for '19. I think the needs are in this order:

1. Starting Catcher
2. Starting Pitcher
3. Bullpen arms (7th/8th inning guys)
4. Backups for 1B/2B

I think Roark has turned it around and looks just fine for '19. So if you bring in a nice quality arm (not sure who), then you have Ross/Fedde/Rodriguez/Hellickson-type to battle it out for the #5 and the rest of the guys become SP depth.

As for Bryce, I think you either re-sign him, and trade Robles to patch holes (Eaton's trade value has diminished and needs to re-establish himself with a fully healthy season), or you let him walk, roll with the just-fine-thank you Eaton/Robles/Soto/Taylor OF and use the savings to extend Rendon. I think the latter is the wiser course, but I like Bryce a lot, so I would be perfectly happy if he came back. Generational talent, and HOF potential. Those guys don't drop into your lap all the time. It would be cool to see Bryce be a lifetime (or semi-lifetime) Nat

Mr. Lerner's letter makes it clear that the Nats expect to contend again next year, so I don't think there's much point in discussing at length the alternative, rebuild scenario with out-of-the-box ideas like selling high on Scherzer. However much merit they have, the Nats just don't look like they're planning a retool/rebuild.

Kubla said...

@GCX

If they end up keeping Bryce, wouldn't it make sense to move either him or Soto to 1B instead of keeping them both in the OF? Neither is that great of an outfielder, and Zimmerman has not been a starting quality hitter for a while. Z could come in whenever there's a LH starter or pinch-hit against LH relievers, while Bryce/Soto could replace Eaton in the OF on those days or just get a day off. Z's a fine backup/platoon guy if he stays healthy, but his overall numbers only look passable because of his splits vs lefties (1.222 OPS vs LHP, .681 vs RHP. Yikes).

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman, like Werth before him, has "vet privilege". Zimmerman will start. Zimmerman will get prime spots in the lineup. This is a decision made by fiat. On the field performance is not a consideration. Any decision not to start Zim on any given game is made for Zim's own benefit - he needs rest - and not for the consideration of the guy replacing him.

Not saying this is a wise policy. Just saying its the Nationals policy. (See Werth 2017 post season)

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere today that the Nats don't anticipate promoting Carter Kieboom during the September call ups and have no plans to promote him to the majors in 2019 because the kid has no experience 2nd base.

My question - why hasn't Kieboom received any grooming for second base? We have no for over two years that Trea Turner was the long term answer at shortstop and Daniel Murphy's days at second base will(/has) end(/ed) in 2018.