Nationals Baseball: Visiting Friends

Friday, August 31, 2018

Visiting Friends

How are old Nats doing you might ask bored with nothing else to talk about.  Let me tell you!

Classic Nats
Tyler Moore is out of the league. Roger Bernadina is burning down Korean baseball. Over .300 with 19 homers so far this year. Danny Espinosa has spent this year giving organizational depth to 3 teams (Phillies now). I wouldn't expect another. Same thing goes for LOMBO, now in AAA with the A's. . Ross Detwiler, also org depth but getting one start this year in the majors for Seattle, might be also in his last season, too but you never know with lefty arms. Craig Stammen is putting up impressive relief numbers in San Diego. Clippard is putting up ok ones in Toronto appearing in a bunch of games as usual. Neither got traded because the reliever market was a buyer's one this year. Drew Storen is recovering from Tommy John and coming off a bad year - a double whammy heading into free agency. Jordan Zimmerman finally got healthy and is slowly getting back into form, though right now he's still a 3-4 middle rotation pitcher. Ian Desmond is being streaky Ian - flashing some pop with low average, but with the Rockies he's headed for his 7th straight winning season and maybe his third playoffs since leaving the Nats three years ago. Maybe the Nats needed him not Werth?   Wilson Ramos got traded to Philly and is crushing it there. The guy can hit if he can stay healthy and should find a place somewhere heading into FA.

Traded or moved on Major League Nats
You all know Blake Treinen has become the best closer in baseball. 0.95 ERA! What you probably don't know is Felipe Vazquez neeeeeee Rivero regained his form in the 2nd half and was almost that good throwing to a 1.23 ERA. Although he did miss time to injury so it's only been 14 appearances.  Steven Souza got hurt and is playing 4th OF ball for Arizona. Jerry Blevins has been fine. Jose Lobaton caught on with the Mets, hit oddly well in Vegas and then expectedly terrible for the Mets. Doug Fister was eating innings for Texas before going out for the year.  Sandy Leon is still a bad back-up for the Red Sox showing anyone can fluke - even for half a season. Adam Lind caught on with the Yankees and then the Red Sox but his "what am I doing in AAA" play has kept him in the minors all year.  Nate Karns and Yunel Escobar are out of baseball.

Traded minor league Nats 
Tyler Watson SP (Kintzler) struggling badly in High A. McKenzie Mills SP (Kendrick) progressed to AA but got hammered there. Jesus Luzardo SP and Sheldon Neuse 2B/3B (Doolittle Madson) have both made it to AAA. Luzardo at 20 is way ahead of schedule but hasn't quite graduated yet as AAA has been rough. Probably a IP issue as much as anything. Neuse is on age track to debut but will have to prove he deserves it next season, because this year was very mediocre. Jeffrey Rosa now RP (Enny Romero) can't make it out of rookie ball and should be done. Mario Sanchez RP (Jimmy Cordero) was looking maybe ok in AA but got hurt. Pedro Avila SP (Norris) is going nowhere in High A but a live arm should give him more time.  Reynaldo Lopes, Lucas Giolito, and Dane Dunning (Eaton) have differing fortunes. Dunning is doing pretty well in AA and is probably expected to show up in the majors next year if he doesn't bomb. Giolito struggled mightily earlier but has slowly got his control in order and looks to be a solid middle rotation arm as the year ends. Lopez has been a back of the rotation arm much of the year but also has been a little better toward the end. All together they could be a 3-4-5 for a few years.

Max Schrock 2B (Rzepczynski) got move to St. Louis and has been as mediocre as Neuse in AAA. Taylor Hearn SP (Melancon) is now trying to put it together in AA for Texas. Nick Pivetta (Papelbon) you've seen trying to figure out if he's a middle rotation arm or a back of the rotation one, but a major leaguer regardless. Tony Renda 2B (Dan Carpenter? I guess the Nats traded for Dan Carpenter) ended up with Boston and got an at bat but is org depth. Travis Ott RP (part of Turner Ross deal) is being converted to a reliever despite pretty successful showings as a SP the last couple years because the Rays are idiots trying to ruin baseball. Zach Walters SS (AssCab) one of Boz's "could be an All-Star" is out of baseball. Billy Burns OF (Blevins) is org depth in KC. Ian Krol RP (Fister) is in the Mets org now and probably will pop up again as bullpen filler. Robbie Ray SP (Fister) developed after a trade to Arizona into a solid to good starter but got hurt this year and is trying to get back to what he can do. Ivan Pinyero RP (Scott Hairston) refuses to give up the ghost and filled out the Angels AAA roster this year but still hasn't seen (or really deserve to see) the majors. And finally Alex Meyer SP (Span) escaped the SP Death Camp that was the Twins for 15 years and got to LA, developed into a pretty promising starter and then hurt his shoulder and has been out for the year.

Anyone you don't see here is probably out of baseball. You can look it up yourself lazy bones.

Whenever I do this I am taken back by how little these trades usually mean. A lot more guys becoming nothing than something and those becoming something usually taking time and a couple of deals to do it. The only real "Oops" of the past few years was Pivetta who pretty quickly became a major league quality arm for Philly. Kind of a reverse Roark deal. Luzardo has a chance to be special which would be another "Oops" but if he develops into a mid-back rotation guy (and Neuse becomes nothing) that's probably a fair shake out for 2 years of Madson and 3+ of Doolittle.

But part of that is that there are very few stars in baseball. It's going to take a pretty big mistake or unlucky/lucky break to make a deal really look bad/good.


G Cracka X said...

Treinen was also part of the Luzardo-Neuse for Doolittle-Madson deal.

Thanks for bringing up Ramos. Should he be the #1 catcher that the Nats target in the offseason (assuming they can't pry Realmuto)? Or is he too injury prone to be relied upon for a whole season on a contending team?

JE34 said...

I love this kind of post, Harper... always fun to see what became of those the Nats sent away. Of course you could have said "Danny Espinosa is finding new found success hitting 3rd for the Wellington Wallabies in the New Zealand Pro League" and I'd have been all "Hey, good for you Danny." This is the trust I have in your information.

Ole PBN said...

Injury prone Ramos is better than anything else we can conceivably get (aside from Realmuto). Miss the Buffalo at/behind the plate.

I wouldn't call Giolito a "solid mid rotation arm." The 3-4-5 combo you're referring I assuming would be Dunning, Lopez, Giolito? Because Lucas is still garbage in my eyes with that release point and lateral movement (if any) on his fastball, not to mention egregious control issues. Very inconsistent, but I guess young enough where something acceptable could come from him? I mean lets be real here: 111 K's in 151 innings with 77 walks and a 1.41 WHIP... and 23 HRs given up. Eat your heart out Chicago.

Josh Higham said...

Ole PBN - Giolito's had a good August, with new and better mechanics. K rate way up and walk rate down. Velocity back up as well.

Harper said...

GCX - I only put the deals in for the minor league guys.

I think Ramos can't come back here as anything but a mid-season trade. We'd all be waiting for that hammer to drop (but call me stupid next year when he comes back for a steal and I say - "well at that price you gotta take the chance")

JE34 - other than Bernadina it's all just baseball ref stat pages. Also the Wallabies don't need a MI. They're flush

OPBN - what Josh said. I'm not 100% buying August (in part bc he was supposed to have solved his mechanics last year) but I see the guy as a 3-4. In general I was just throwing them all out there though and saying it will probably break one will be good, one ok, and one passable. make whatever picks you want.

G Cracka X said...

Thanks Harper.

Perhaps if Ramos isn't the right fit, they should go after Grandal instead?

Anonymous said...

Ramos would be a steal only if stopped leading the league in GIDP, and held onto the ball on close plays at the plate.

Harper said...

GCX - I think there's a split between the guys who want Ramos back (sentimental fave and probably cheap enough to make more signings), the guys who want them to sign Grandal (easiest to deliver on, maybe a little undervalued for his consistency at the plate), and the guys who want them to trade for Realmuto (best of the bunch and could get better, cheap allows team to do more but will cost prospects).

Ramos is the King of GIDPland. He will always lead it.

Ryan said...

you forgot Brad Peacock! and Nate Karns is just injured this year, I don't think he's out of the game.

ocw5000 said...

Great post, Harper. I think you're undervaluing Robbie Ray. He had an amazing 2017, was #11 in bWAR (4.9) and #23 in fWAR (3.2) in all MLB, and was #2 in K/9 (behind Sale and ahead of Scherzer). He's good-to-great.

I love Ramos but are we sure he can actually catch the baseball? He had a couple plays in the most recent PHI series where he simply did not catch the ball, not just your standard Ramos-cannot-catch-a-throw-from-the-outfield situations, there was a PB in there and several dropped pitches with no one on. He'll be a fine DH for someone but no thanks.

After the Madson deal today I'm really looking forward to the double-whammy of squandering our remaining 5% playoff chances on bullpen implosions AND still not getting under the luxury tax threshold for 2018 by approx. $100,000

CardinalX said...

awesome work. nice analysis. appreciated effort. something that is often on the back of mind of fans, but rarely does anyone do the leg work. thanks!

Harper said...

Ryan - I stopped at the start of 2012. Though I do wonder whatever happened to Tommy Milone.

Fair enough on Karns though I'm not enthusiastic for a guy who had surgery over a year ago and still has no timetable for return.

ocw5000 - I want to see him do it twice. That's my usual standard. Which is why I didn't get overly excited about Trea (and will be the only guy saying "hold back on Soto in 2019" as he hits .330 with 30 homers.)

Ramos is a great AL player. a DH who can be an emergency catcher?

DezoPenguin said...

Xavier Cedeno quietly was adequate in relief for the White Sox this year. Which I only know because he just got traded to the Brewers today.

Fries said...

So how much more salary needs to get dumped with Gio riding the bullpen cart to the other clubhouse?

sirc said...

If the Brewers are taking on the entire salary, it is $2 million according to mlbtr.

This trade is the one that has impacted me. I am aware that the Nationals will not be in the postseason, that is not what I mean. And Gio is Gio, a replacement level pitcher on balance over the past 4 years.

It is trading away a player who has contributed for this entire 7 season run which has hit me. I am on board for a reboot. I just found this one sad when I read it.

Max David said...

They don't need a "reboot." With a couple of FA signings they'll be right in the thick of the playoff chase in 2019 and this season will be a distant memory.

Gio & Madson weren't getting the Qualifying offer so even if we got some 18 year old just graduated high school gulf coast league lottery ticket, that is still better than getting nothing when they leave. Sad day for sure, as aside from two awful implosions unfortunately when it mattered the most, Gio had actually been a consistent presence in the Nats rotation: I could be wrong and Harper/others would probably know more than I would, but I don't recall EVER in the 8 years Gio was here him spending any time on the DL, he consistently gave the team 32, 33, 34 starts a year, and outside of possibly a few exceptions, most of those starts were quality starts.

Johnny Callison said...

Gio actually went on the DL once, in May 2014. In 2012/2013, he averaged just over 6 innings per game (so basically, with his ERA, a quality start each game), then his innings per game declined to under 6 for 2014-2016, before going back up in 2017.

This year, though, has been his worst as a Nat with only 10 quality starts out of 27, including his disastrous run starting in June. His ERA this year, matches his worst with the Nats which occurred in 2016.

So, he was consistently good in three of his seven years, generally solid but unspectacular in two others, and had two not so great years, including this one. One DL stint is very impressive these days, so the fact that no one remembers it tells you something very positive about him.

A lot of folks have wistfully wondered if that first Game 5 had just gone the other way, whether Gio's legacy would be a tad better. Sad to think that, but maybe. One bad strike call and everything was changed. His anxiety on the mound and his two key NLDS losses shouldn't be his legacy--without his 180-190 innings for seven years, the team has a big hole to fill.

I'd say give him a B, overall, which is good for a seven year stint.

PotomacFan said...

I'd say A-, despite the fact that he crumbled in two key playoff games, and drove everyone crazy with walking batters. Let's look at the big picture: Gio has definitely been one of the top 5 left-handed pitchers over the past 7 years, and missed only a handful of starts over that entire period. A solid number 3, with a few years as a #2 or even #1, and a few years as a 4 or 5. Gio was critical to the Nats getting to the playoffs in 4 of 7 years. You just don't find many pitchers who can pitch 32 starts per year, to an era of 3.65, over a 7-year period. And to do so at an annual salary well below market freed up the Nats to do other deals (like Max). It's not fair to compare him to Max, who is on his way to the Hall of Fame. It is fair to compare him to Strasburg, and all things considered, in terms of value to the team (and WAR), they are pretty equal.

Johnny Callison said...

Good points, PotomacFan. I'm not ready to upgrade to A-, but maybe B+. The two playoff meltdowns and this season are deciding factors for me. But in this era, his consistent number of innings pitched year after year is very valuable. And the point you make about him being a valuable lefty is well-taken.

Edge said...

Soto cracked the .300 barrier again!

Ole PBN said...

Raise your hand if you blame the 5th inning on Martinez? Ok. Now raise your hand if you blame it on player execution? After Collins fell behind Yelich, the chance of a grand slam shot up dramatically. And the only strike he throws is just that: a grand slam. Just pitiful. Rodriguez to the bullpen yet? You heard it here first months ago, and I'll say it again: the kid has some decent stuff but can't command the zone well enough to go 6-7 innings before his pitch count hit 100 and he doesn't have the repertoire to keep guys off balance more than once through the order. Send him to the pen. It's just like watching AJ Cole out there, where you already know the outcome is going to be negative but you go through with it anyways just to arrive at the same conclusion you initially arrived at; just 10 starts later. That is on management.

Nats aren't going to make the playoffs, we all know that. But just want to see some smart baseball and average execution. That isn't asking for much from a "world class organization."

Jay said...

Davey had Collins warm up and then sit down and then put him in the game. He's awful (Davey that is). Notice all year the Nats have been saying once we get healthy we're going to be awesome. They've been pretty much healthy for a month and they're a .500 team still. Davey isn't the only problem, but he is part of the problem. Keeping a below average imo but at best average manager around just for the sake of stability is how bad teams stay bad.

Dan said...

Braves fan here. Enjoy this blog a lot for its good baseball talk. Even if Harper leaves, you guys should have a solid core for at least a few years. I think it'll be a three team race next year, and who knows? Maybe two wildcard teams come out of the east.

Kevin Rusch said...

Boo braves fans. Even the nice ones.

Anyway, I'm concerned about how relievers turn into Mariano Rivera once they leave here. Are we doing something wrong?

I've been feeling like the farm is getting really thin lately, and maybe we should bite the bullet after about 2020 and just restock? I don't know.

G Cracka X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G Cracka X said...

Nats pull out a comeback, extra innings victory, after seeming like they were on pace to break their own Left on Base record.

G Cracka X said...

Seth Romero had Tommy John surgery last week

G Cracka X said...

Anyone know if Juan Soto is close to the record for most 3-walk games by a teenager?

ssln said...


What your column proved today is that the trade of Murphy to the Cubs will probably result in a forgotten footnote for the Nats. The Cubs believe Murphy will put them over the top. Time will tell. But any time we help the Cubs, I consider it a sad day.
The missed rules call in the fifth inning last year while New York sat by and let it happen may have changed the short term history of this team.