Nationals Baseball

Monday, November 21, 2022

Monday Quickie - Hall Of Fame Ballot Out

 As reported by Ken Rosenthal

For Nats fan this is the first "Werth" ballot. Not that he will or should get in but he's there signifying a certain distance from that era of Nats baseball. 

WORST GUY ON THE BALLOT

Huston Street and it's not particularly close. ROY, Street was a solid closer for a decade before breaking down and seeing his career abruptly end.  Two time All-Star, a couple stray MVP votes... I mean by virtue of being a "closer" and getting saves he gets on here but it's not deserved really. 

BEST GUY NOT ON THE BALLOT

These are never huge losses. Nine out of 10 guys on it aren't getting in, so a mistake that left off the 10th best guy here when 2 might make it... doesn't really matter. But still we go on. For my money give me Ubaldo Jimenez, who put up a 19-8 season with a 2.88 ERA pitching for Colorado. In another world maybe we're remembering the guy as one of the best pitchers of the "around 2010" time frame.  

WHO WILL GET IN

I think they'll get Scott Rolen in. He's been steadily gaining ground and was almost up to 2/3rds last year. He's clearly one of the best 3rd basemen of all-time so if they can get past the weird "I'll judge catchers differently and middle infielders differently and maybe CF differently but not 3B differently" he'll get over the hump this year. If not it'll happen eventually. 

Helton (.316 lifetime hitter with 369 homers), Wagner (probably best closer not in), and Jones (maybe best defensive CF in generations and a decent hitter) all have cases but they all have issues. Helton - Colorado, Wagner - he's still a closer, Jones - spent the last third of his career as a terrible average masher. 

Beltran, who's the biggest new name should get close but will probably go through a couple years of vetting / punishment for the Astros stuff. 

WILL ANYONE NEW HANG ON UNTIL NEXT YEAR?

Beltran for sure. Lackey as a 3 time WS winner with three different teams is a good bet too. After that I don't know. Two or Three "keepers" is about par for course. This being a weak class could help guys like Weaver (underrated solid arm for a long while), Matt Cain (crucial member of 2 SF titles), and maybe even Werth who media types seem to like and lionize a bit to stick around. But maybe not. 

ANY GOOD CLASSES COMING UP?

Next year is ok - Beltre, who should be a lock. Utley who people like, and Mauer who is thought of probably above his worth (but his worth would be like 2nd in this year's class) David Wright and Bartolo, both who won't make it, make it more a fun class for talking about.  2025 you get Ichiro - who is overrated in terms of pure major league contribution but given when he came in and what he did should be a no-brainers and CC Sabathia who is an interesting case. 2026 is a barren wasteland best not talked about except by the names I mentioned already as a place to possibly get in.

 

 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Offseason Position Discussion - Starting Pitching

Ugh.

That's the optimistic take on the 2022 Nationals starting pitching staff. The Nationals didn't just have the worst pitching staff in baseball last year, they had the worst pitching staff by leaps and bounds. Arguably the difference between the Nats and the 29th worst staff was the difference between the 29th worst staff and average. It was a bloodbath where nothing went right. 

Strasburg, whose health was key to any thought of a non-embarrasing season, started one game and was out for the year. Corbin, whose return to at the minimum level of "not terrible" was also key, saw worse results. Josiah Gray, who the Nats were hoping would step into a mid staff role, flashed some solid pitching but for the season would have had a tough time holding onto a job on another team. Joe Ross, the best of the rest who has been decent when healthy, didn't come back this year from last year's UCL tear. 

With the post-season 2021 hopeful Top 4 all having issues, it would take a miracle to have been good. The Miracle did not come. Erick Fedde continued to be bad for the 21st consecutive trial season. Josh Rogers, who some had hope for at the end of last year was bad. Joan Adon, an emergency "best we have" call up early in the year was terrible. Jackson Tetreault, a similar call-up at the end, was no good. Paolo Espino, the decent middle reliever was stretched to fill the role and showed why he is a reliever. Aaron Sanchez was a FA trial bust. Corey Abbott didn't take.

Only Anibal Sanchez provided decent results, starting with low expectations, and even that was a mirage as he pitched much worse than his ERA would indicate.

They might have been helped late in the year by prospects but best arms in the organization had tough years. Cade Cavalli had issues adjusting to AAA and needed more seasoning. Cole Henry broke down.

The Nats started the season in a precarious situation, relying on a couple of long shot health returns, a question mark former good starter, and a young pitcher to make a big step up.  None of those worked out and in fact they all failed in the worst way possible. Behind that (which if you note does include like 20%-25% of the Nats starts) they had no plan and nothing saved them from this lake of foresight. It was a bad strategy and perhaps having it end up as poorly as it did was what the Nats deserved. 

Presumed Plan : Corbin and the Kids. Corbin will be the 1. Followed by Grey, Gore, and Cavalli. They would be wise to sign a FA innings eater after but they could also keep the spot free for whoever in the organization they want to try out. Fedde another one last time? Evan Lee? I'll presume the FA pitcher simply because right now I only have them bringing in 1-2 offensive FAs so there's money to spend even for a bottom basement budget. So let's say Jordan Lyles. He's healthy and inoffensive.

Reason for presumed plan : Strasburg may not pitch ever again. With that understood, you can't count on him pitching next year.  Corbin getting worse really made his contract an albatross. He can't be dealt unless the Nats eat most of it and they aren't going to. Grey is in year 2 of his trial. Gore if healthy and Cavalli in year 1. You'd rather have the two best fighting it out for 4/5 but that's not the position the Nats are in. These guys are your 2/3/4. 

After that - the cupboard is so bare and last year went so poorly that I can't imagine Rizzo won't try to grab someone just for a sense of stability in the rotation where everyone I mentioned so far might not be major league worthy in 2023. Jordan Lyles pitched ok for Baltimore last year and has been healthy since 2019. He's a southern East Coast boy so DC isn't too far out of the way if he still lives near home like most players seem to. There's a fit so overpay him a little for 2-3 years and whatever. Really that could be something like 2yrs/15 million. That's worth it to the Nats if he can be healthy and throw 60 starts over 2 seasons to a 4.50-5.00 ERA. But if not him someone that threw 140+ innings last year. even if it was close to a 5.00 ERA.

My take :  It's hard to imagine it getting worse and it almost can't. Almost. But Corbin could fall apart and Gore could not be healthy and right off the bat your 1/2 is Grey and Cavalli who might not qualify as anyone else's 4/5.   And can you imagine who's throwing 5th in this case? 

The smart play is to sign two guys like I mentioned above. Take the pressure off the kids to all perform as the worst of them can go back to AAA. Save your pen some grief.  Back Corbin with a couple of guys that make it ok when he goes 1 and a third because they went 5 and 6 respectively. It's not asking for much at all. 

If the Nats don't choose to sign two people, I get it. At some point you have to throw these guys in the deep end if you want to see if you'll be good sooner or later. But it leaves open the potential for 2023 to be just as bad.  If they don't choose to sign ANY - that's malpractice and the team should fold. They were the worst pitching staff by far last year and you would commit to a plan that betting odds would say is probably worse. Get out of the GM game Rizzo, ya done.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Off Season Position Discussion - Outfield

Was OF an actual positive for the Nats in 2022? Probably not. I mean yes, it was given they had 2/3rds a season of Juan Soto in RF and Soto is one of the best hitters in the game today even in an off year. You take him out and the Nats OF, which ranked like 4th or 5th best in the NL this year, would be much lower. So it's not a positive. But unlike SP, and 2B, and 3B, AND SS AAANNNNDD DH the Nats wouldn't rank at or near the bottom. It wasn't a negative either. They had a perfectly cromulent year in the OF even without Soto.

Soto of course hit so awesome that it didn't matter than he fielded like crap. Which side note, I've been telling you guys for YEARS Soto couldn't field. That maybe bc he's so young and hit so well, you could suck it up through his FA year but it wouldn't be much after that when you simply HAD to move him. All yooooouuuu guys (pointing at everyone) said "Oh no, he's getting better!" "Oh he's fine!"  He stinks!  I was right!  And a mix of Yadi Hernandez (LF), Lane Thomas (LF/CF), and Victor Robles (CF) manning the other positions. Robles, who got his fielding back could compensate for Soto, and Yadi was hitting a little. It wasn't a winning major league outfield but it was a working major league outfield. Then Soto was dealt and the Nats had to make due. Josh Palacios, Joey Meneses and Alex Call all got tryouts and the latter two sort of stuck. Because of that Robles got squeezed out. But none of these guys can really play CF so it was a compromise in any direction they went. Still it could be worse  

Presumed Plan : Thomas mans CF while Call/Yadi and a FA veteran cover the corners. 

Reasons for Presumed Plan : For CF they have slowly but consistently given up on Robles, who they deem an attitude issue more than a talent one.  If Robles isn't here Thomas likely handles center unless they bring in a D guy, which might happen. But given the general newfound respect for them contract wise (see Taylor, Michael A) I don't think the Nats will win any bidding contests. That leaves them picking up more of a bat/corner OF guy.

Call was good but the audition was very short. Yadi was good to start with the bat, but he's a questionable fielder got hurt and is 35. That's not a good combination to rely on. This could be "eh" again or it could be a dumpster fire. Therefore grabbing a guy to bring in another body which probably won't cost much more than a few million and might be your biggest FA signing makes too much sense for it not to happen.

Does Robles get downgraded to a 4th/5th OF defensive specialist? Or does he get dealt for a similar "2nd chance" player somewhere in the league? I'm not sure. I can't see the Nats spending money on TWO FA OFs but there might be someone who slips through the cracks and can be picked up dirt cheap or a "minor league deal". Robbie Grossman? Tommy Pham? if only D matters in this spot, JBJ? 

My take :

They go into this year with everyone they had at the end of the year back so they could do nothing but one would think they will do something at a place so easily upgradeable for not a lot of money.  

If you are worried about them making a big mistake that's unlikely. The only guy to really build around is Judge and the Nats won't be in on that. Nimmo and Benintendi will get the next biggest deals. After that it gets dicey with a lot of very flawed guys. Hurt guys, guys coming off bad years, guys getting old.  It's a roll the dice situation whereever you look. Wil Myers, who regressed to not a good hitter while remaining an unimpressive fielder, will probably get a decent contract just because he can give you stability. 

The Nats don't need stability. They aren't building anything soon that a 32+ yo old is going to matter for. At least not one at this level. Instead they need a gamble and there is one that fits the Nats perfectly.  Michael Conforto.  Boras wants him on a big deal but after sitting a year with shoulder issues and coming off his least impressive year, Conforto has to prove himself again. A no pressure situation with a heavily incentivized contract and an opt out after this season... I think that could work. The Nats wouldn't want any long deals - the aim here is for the Corbin deal to get off. So a two year deal might be enough.  The money is probably too much of a gamble for a team that wants to win, but for a team that simply wants not to be terrible and have a player that someone could want enough to hand over more than a broken A-ball player? It might be just right. 

I hate what's happened to Robles, but at this point I think he should be dealt. He has more value as a trade piece than here. If he does well elsewhere good for him. And yes, he'd bring back a Fedde type at best - a first rounder who never got it and is this close to being released himself. But they sat on Robles for trade purposes then they sat him on the bench. They have far less now with him than if they dealt him 3+ years ago. Don't make the mistake of holding on until all you can do is release him. And if you don't trade him you have to play him. That's the crux of it. You have to get value one way or another. 

The OF will be a problem, but in the scheme of things it's not the worst problem. It's in holding pattern of mediocrity until the kids like Hassell & Wood move up and a place to put whatever bat that should really be at 1B or DH but those positions are full.  The alternative is you make it interesting.  Go out and sign Albert Amora, Lewis Brinson, Nomar Mazara. Last Chance Party. Ballpark of Misfit Toys.  Hey, it's going to be a LOOOOOONG season. Give us something.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Monday Quickie - HoF "Contemporary" ballot

Honestly I hate these things, but as you know from my general playoffs takes I'm a exclusionary guy.  I want fewer into these phony subjective things, not more. But I'll always lose because more people want more and more importantly more means more money. More guys coming to the inductions and hanging around, more fans doing the same. There isn't a good reason to go my way other than because you want to do it. 

That being said - the ballot is Belle, Bonds, Clemens,. Mattingly, McGriff, Murphy, Palmiero, and Schilling.  Enough has been said about Bonds - maybe best hitter of all time, definitely best of his generation, likely steroid user & wife beater; and Roger Clemens - Top 5ish starting pitcher of all time, likely steroid user and possible statutory rapist  - to make talking about them pointless. Same for Schilling - late but great bloomer who is one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time, also defrauder of the state of RI and his employees and now professional online right-wing troll. We've all have our thoughts on whether they should be in the Hall of Fame given the totality of their being, but on pure baseball numbers it's Yes, Yes, and Probably So*

On the rest 

Albert Belle - as good as anyone at the plate for a 6 year period : .310 / .389 / .614 with 251 homers. But was strictly a hitter and he fell apart fast with a hip injury. There were some thoughts he was a steroid user but nothing more than that although he did use a corked bat in one of the more wild baseball stories** so pegging him as a cheater isn't out of nowhere. Generally though he's more famous for being a jerk, to media, to opponents, to his teammates, to trick or treaters; and such a jerk that he didn't get near the consideration having one of the greatest 6 year span should probably get you. 

Possibly better choice : Darrell Evans - Evans is like the anti Belle. His value doesn't come from a run of great seasons. He only had two of those and they were a decade apart. Instead his value comes from longevity playing 21 season in baseball and almost 2700 games, 34th all time. During the course of those 21 years he only had three seasons hitting below average. A 12 game rookie year, his 107 game last season (at age 42) and 1976. He knew the value of a walk  (12th all time) which may be appreciated in the game now, but still isn't when looking over stats and in his time was a good fielding 3B then worked and learned 1B.

Don Mattingly - Yankees fans will tell you no one was better in their prime than Donnie Baseball. He was a top notch defender and hit .337 / .381 / .560 while doing it and being the general field captain every team wants. The names around him - Boggs, Henderson, Raines, Ripken, Schmidt, Gwynn. All HoFers. But that prime was an exceptionally short 4 years. He'd begin having back issues and by 1990 was a shell of himself. He'd get his one playoff shot and hit like a madman (.417 with 4 doubles and a homer in 5 games) but the Yankees wouldn't get to the series until the following year after Mattingly retired. 

Possibly better choice : Keith Hernandez - considered by most the best fielding 1B of all time, unlike guys like Ozzie and Mazeroski, Keith could actually hit and put up way more value in 17 years while winning 2 world series

Fred McGriff - Unlike the other guys on this list, McGriff wasn't a flash in the pan. He was a great hitter for 7 seasons, then a good one for another 8.  He was durable playing 144 games or more every year from 1988 to 2002 with the exception of the strike year. Yes he was kind of a stiff at first, but his biggest crime is tailing off during the steroid prime were he could hit .295 with 28 homers and it be an ok year in baseball. Also he didn't walk much. 

Possibly Better Choice - John Olerud never had the concentrated high of McGriff - his best years were spread out across his career but place them in more conventional order and you can see his hitting was just a notch below Fred's. Meanwhile the guy offered patience and was a great fielder, and likely had more overall value in his career than Fred did.

Dale Murphy - Dale is another burst of half a decade excellence. From 1982 to 1987 there might not have been a better bat at the plate. And they guy could steal bases too. But the former catcher was misplaced in centerfield*** and after holding his own to start in 1980 he regressed significantly quickly. That didn't stop the notoriously bad Gold Glove voters from giving him 5 straight awards but the last two were particularly egregious as rather than the best CF in baseball he might have been the worst. Is that his fault though or Atlanta's? Bat wise he pretty much fell off a cliff after 1987 and struggled to hit above average. Honestly the worst guy in this pack.

Possibly Better Choice - just one? If you want a Braves CF that's fine. But the choice is clearly Andruw Jones. His peak wasn't as high as Murphy's but if we're being honest it wasn't that crazy a peak and Jones had some decent years otherwise. And Jones was an other worldly defender.

Rafael Palmiero - A steroid guy because otherwise there's no reason to keep him out. He could hit for average (a .288 average and 3000 hits) and power (569 total homers). In his prime he was a good fielder, though overrating of that led to probably the most embarrassing Golden Glove moment; Palmiero winning the 99 award at first for playing 28 bad games of defense there. If you are past steroids but have moral objections otherwise here's an easy vote for you. If not - well there you go 

Possibly Better Choice - If I want to give a steroid guy with no real other issues a pass to the Hall I'm probably going Manny Ramirez first. Sure he couldn't field but Manny was a special hitter putting up a peak like Albert Belle but for twice as long. And he had a fairly decent start and a decent couple seasons at the end as well. Put these together and it compares favorably with Dale Murphy's best 6 years - although Murphy wins out because he played more. But again this isn't considering the decade of better hitting we're ignoring. This is his worst third. 


All in all it's not the best 8 they could chose. Beyond the roid guys, it's heavy toward the standard hitting stats over everything else. There just isn't the same value given to fielding even from guys that played the game. There's also the sense of being the best for a short time period matters a lot. That's a subjective choice but probably in line with the idea of "Fame" if you are focused on that.  I can hit great in 2023 and 2027 and 2033 but it won't leave the same impact as doing it in 2023 2024 and 2025.  

 I love talking about this stuff. At the same time I think it's very silly. But that's sports isn't it. Things that really don't matter we take way too seriously. 

*I leave Schilling off even on pure numbers but again I run that tight ship. I'm tossing out guys that are already in. Under most people's halls he's in. And hell - your choices don't have to make sense

 ** Here you go, for those that don't know. 

 ***guess what? Former catchers aren't usually good CFers. 

Friday, November 04, 2022

Off Season Position Discussion - Third Base

Since Anthony Rendon left for greener pastures after 2019 the Nats 3B situation has been one of the worst in base ball. The Nats have tried three main pieces there. Carter Kieboom in the shortened 2020 season, Starlin Casto in 2021 and last year Maikel Franco. It doesn't look to get any better in 2023

Last year Maikel Franco was one of the FAs brought in with the idea that you get them in cheap, maybe they surprise, then you can flip them. The problem is in modern day baseball that flip value has decreased incredibly. What would have been an interesting relief arm, has now become some A-ball rando slightly better than you could get off the street. This is especially true for older, middling rentals which is what Franco would have been if he played around average. 

He did not play around average though. After years of teasing baseball with the back and forth good and bad years, it looks like Franco has aged into just bad.  He backed up his terrible 2021, with an almost as bad 2022. His average remained low (.229) and his power remained gone (9 homers in 103 games) this is a far cry from the .260 / 25 you might have been hoping for. He never walked and his defense is subpar meaning you pretty much got nothing from him outside an ability to put the ball in play. That's not going to attract any buyers. 

Still he played pretty much the full first half because Option 1A, a second try out for Carter Kieboom was derailed by terrible stats in 2021 and an injury that would lead to him getting Tommy John surgery.  As the year dragged on and it became clear Franco was a big wash out, more time was given to Adrianza, who'd actually end up being traded, and the commenters of this blog's favorite, Ildemaro Vargas. Vargas started hot and cooled and ended up with average numbers at the plate. And the Nats ended up with another huge hole at 3B to think about.

The presumed plan : You know him, it's very unlikely you love him, but Carter Kieboom will get that last chance he was supposed to have gotten in 2022. He'll likely be backed up by Vargas or someone Vargas like - a cheap FA that the Nats can pick up for peanuts.

Reasons for presumed plan :  The Nats don't have any better options and up until 2019 there wasn't any good reason to think he'd be like this. He was a decent prospect and it seemed perfectly reasonably to think he'd be a usable major leaguer if not the star they might have thought they had at 19.Giving him a full run of chances is probably their best bet. 

After Kieboom in house you have Vargas, who is 31 and with a limited skill set making him unlikely to be your first choice to spend time at 3B.You also have Jake Alu, a non prospect, who nevertheless hit ok enough to get moved up to a spot fitting with his age and then had a run in AAA to end the season. Did everyone miss something? Probably not. But if Kieboom struggles and Alu is still raking in AAA a switch could happen. But you start with the guy who hit in AAA at 21 first not the one that did it at 25.

My take : If Kieboom was just a random prospect getting a shot that might not rankle but Kieboom is not a random prospect at this point.  He's had increasing cups of coffee in the majors with minimal improvement. Yes 2021 was better than 2019, but 2019 was hideous and 2021 (.207 / .301 / .318 in about 40% of a season) was still flat out bad.  Worse than that is that his fielding has been terrible along with his baseball. It's as if he has anti-instincts always knowing the wrong thing to do or place to be. He's been not just overmatched. He's been a bad baseball player in almost every aspect of the game.

We talked about Vargas before and I like the phrase "making the least out of his opportunities" to describe him.  His minor league stats suggested he could be an ok hitter for a while. He never showed it. Last year you can say he did but at 31/32 next year you can reasonably wonder when a guy who's "skill" is "ok hitter for average" stops being usable.

The baseball world is littered with never prospects that caught fire then flamed out. And that's just in the majors. We're talking about a guy who did it in AAA. With no top level skills ultimately it's hard to see how Alu becomes a real good major leaguer. On the other hand in comparison to Kieboom it's nice to hear about a guy who does all the little things right.

So I don't like any of them. It's three bad options. The former prospect who has consistently well undershot his projections across the board. The 31 year old who isn't impressive and is entering the era of his career where age might make him unplayable. And the never was who's skill set and age suggest a topping out at average if he's lucky.The most likely scenario is another round of pain. 

If there were a decent 2B/3B around this would be the place to sign a FA. The Nats need some sort of veteran stability at the plate. A guy that has seen the majors for more than 2 years to balance the rookies and cups of coffee we are going to see.  But I don't know if there is. Maybe Kolten Wong if the Brewers don't pick up his option? 

The Nats could go full no one but can they really sign no one at all?  OF isn't particularly deep either if they are looking there and Voit is filling that DH spot. SS is the deep position, and signing one of them for big bucks would be a Werth like move (but without the Stras and Bryce in the hole). Can the Nats do that?  I don't know. I just know they can easily justify doing nothing anywhere but if they do nothing everywhere this season is going to be so hard, so just do something somewhere and why not 3B where there isn't a good solution coming anytime soon.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Off-Season Position Discussion - Shortstop

What a mess. If there was a position that was the 2022 Nationals in a nutshell it was shortstop. The Nats didn't have a solution to who would play the position after trading away Trea late in 2021. They lucked into a decent 70+ games from Alcides Escobar but no one could consider him a serious solution or even stop gap. Within the system they knew Garcia didn't have the defensive chops for the position and the only true prospect in Brady House was years away, if he would even play the position when he got here. 

So the solution seemed obvious - get a FA to play the position. If the Nats were willing to gamble they could sign a big name, with the idea that they would be good again soon enough for such a FA to matter. If they were not then any decent SS would do, someone to fill the role for a season while other parts of the Nats world worked themselves out. 

But that was not to be. The Nats decided to try several terrible ideas and waste 3/4 of the season on hubris.  Fun! They brought back Alcides Escobar and he failed as anyone would have expected. There was a quick attempt to use an out of position Dee Strange-Gordon.  He did do better than expected, but was still below average with the bat and glove. After that came the "force Garcia to be a SS" trial which again was something everyone knew would not work and didn't. And finally post-Soto trade it landed on an actual SS that made sense to try there., CJ Abrams. 

All in all Abrams did not hit well for the Nats, but he had some stretches that got fans excited. He is a singles hitter primarily and at times would run off 1-2 weeks of hitting .350 or better. However he did not walk or homer (1 and 0 in his time with the Nats respectively.  I'll now pause as you take in the one walk as a Nat...  

 

 

 

).  Defensively he was probably the best pure fielder, but also the most error prone. 11 errors in 366 innings at SS for the Nats, or about one every 3-4 games. If you are wondering yes 35+ errors in a season would be a lot. 

Presumed Plan : Abrams starts the season at SS and plays the full season barring complete hitting or fielding collapse. He is backed up by... ? Vargas? You guys seem very into Vargas. If not than a FA because there's little in house.

Reasons for Presumed Plan : For Abrams, it is full-scale rebuilding time for the Nats and that means playing kids and Abrams is a very high rated prospect that they got back in the Soto deal. Granted he was very highly ranked like 2 seasons ago, but still you don't get that highly ranked for no reason. You could stick him down in AAA to learn fielding but he can hit in the minors and there is little for him to gain by being down there for that. Eventually he will have to field in the majors so why not just try it now? Garcia, although out of position, probably, hopefully, showed them the folly of putting a guy that is more than ready at the plate back in the minors to field. 

As for back up well Escobar is gone. Strange-Gordon is gone. Garcia is at 2nd. Lucius Fox is no good. That doesn't leave many options. Brady House is years away and possibly not a SS. Vargas did play SS a little so if Abrams is your everyday guy then having him play once every 2 weeks isn't going to kill you. However he's more of a 2B/3B guy and it's a deep SS year and maybe you get lucky and a real decent back-up SS is there in February waiting to be picked up.

My take : On the back-up.  You are going to have to sign someone - a MI or CI so why not a SS which usually gives you a built in emergency 2B/3B, unlike the other way around?  Well one reason could be because you want to sign a real 3B rather than let Kieboom take another crack at things.  Ok I'd be for that and we'll talk about that next time. But assuming an "all kids" strategy, a SS just makes more sense than a 2B/3B.  Of course the competition for signing will likely be tough. I really don't like Vargas as the primary back-up here as he has big no-hit no-field potential as a SS. Jose Iglesias would be ideal and maybe seeing if Abrams can play 3B? Eh - won't happen. 

Why? Well the Nats want Abrams at SS and he has the range so if it works out it's great. It's worth giving it a try. I'm not sure if it will. Abrams is in that period where we are going to find out what kind of player he is. What we know is he can put the ball in play and he's pretty fast, that can last actually. But it would be MUCH better if he could supplement that with power or patience. That way he doesn't have to rely on being a good to great fielder (which he isn't yet but probably will be - errors can be corrected, range and instincts, which he has, is much harder to learn). 

 Having a high-contact guy is great but funnily enough the Nats are one team that doesn't necessarily need that change of pace in the line-up. Ruiz is a big contact hitter and Garcia and Yadi both have under 20% K skills, if perhaps they need to be directed to use them in that way.  Long play - Abrams might be better used as a trade chip for a young arms. Not if he develops into a star - you want to keep those, but into a solid SS.  There's a lot of value in a good D, .300 hitting, low K SS but there's more value in a top of the rotation arm... but now I'm going way out there.

It's a good plan Abrams at SS, but it needs a solid backup because we don't know if Abrams can hang full-time in the majors at the plate. Unlike Garcia he hasn't proved it. That makes it more of a gamble and you don't want him to be in the line-up hitting .150 on Memorial Day.  You need to fix that if it happens. Having a real back-up SS give you that ability.

Friday, October 28, 2022

World Series starts today

Who's the best*?!  We start to find out tonight. 

I'm rooting for the Phillies. I like Dusty and would like him to get a managerial WS title to cement his status as HoF manager** It shouldn't be a question now but you hate to leave anyone a reason to not make the vote. But I've always had a soft spot for the Phillies. Well that's not true. I did dislike the early 90s Phillies. But all around that? Good feelings. I also have a Phillie loving friend and I have no Astros friends. Dusty isn't a reason alone to root for the Astros he's a tonic that makes the bad feelings of them losing go down a little easier.

As for how I think the series goes? I think the Astros are better. I think the Astros will win. But if I have to make a prediction I'll do it this way. 

If the Phillies win G1, the Phillies will win in 5. The Astros will get in their own heads about failing to win in the end and it'll snowball. 

If the Astros win G1, the Astros will sweep. The Astros will be charged to be the first team in forever to go through the post-season undefeated, and the first one to do it in the WC era.***

For reference here is how I feel about every team 

NYY - The BEST! They should win every year!

BOS - The Worst! They should lose every game and have to move and we should raze Fenway!

TOR - I like their uniforms and logo but every time I think I might be ok with them I remember the early 90s Blue Jays who I did not like and I can't let it go 

BAL - Extremely hateable when they are good, otherwise ok

TBR - The Next Worst! They should have to move and we should raze the Trop and actually everyone agrees with this

CLE - No real opinion. I wish they'd win once so we can move onto I guess the Tigers

CHW - I like them more than the Cubs. That's about it

MIN - Dislike Minnesota. Don't know why. Always glad Yankees always beat them

DET - I kind of like the Tigers. Snazzy uniforms

KCR - A bit annoying because they seems to hate the Yanks at a level that is disproportionate with how much they should but I harbor no ill will in return

HOU - Liked them, the Ryan/Scott/Cruz version, the Killer Bs version but now I hate them, I'll probably like them again once all these cheaters are gone in a decade

SEA - Dislike. For 95 but also there's a lot of Yankee hate from this place too and they tend to think way too much of themselves in terms of baseball (or more likely they are way over represented in baseball talking head circles)

LAA - Hate the dumb LA in the name but otws no opinion. I'd like to see them in the playoffs. 

TEX - No opinion

OAK - Like the Phillies I really disliked them for a time (that being the Bash Brothers era) but unlike the Phillies no like around them. Just meh. I like their uniforms.


ATL - No like. Maybe if you stop the chop

NYM - Now that I don't live in NY there's definitely kid brother vibes for them. Also my kid brother does like them. Like "I can't hate you. You try so hard and never succeed!" They'd probably be extremely hateable for a long time if they ran off a couple series in a row though.

PHI - Schmidt! Hayes! Juan Samuel! I liked those guys. So here we are

MIA - Eh. Still feel new and underserving to me 

WSN - Very interested in them as a well wisher

STL - I don't dislike them as much as I play along. the 80s cards were fun. good unis. but generally I'm rooting against them. 

MIL - I kind of like the Brewers. Really like the old school logo. Players don't do anything for me though. 

CHC - sort of dislike I guess? They are just another team and not lovable so when people say they are lovable that bothers me. I'm glad they won though. 

CIN - They should be better so I kind of root for that. Not sure where on the dislike-like range that falls. 

PIT - Pirates are fine. I think I should like them MORE because I like pretty much everything around them, colors, uniform, city, but it never gets there. 

LAD - Surprisingly more neutral than you'd think 

SDP - I feel an odd connection to the Padres and San Diego teams in general that I usually like to see them do well. Also my love for Tony Gwynn is real if toned down from the fun I have on line. 

SFG - Eh. 

ARI - Kind of like the Marlins. They shouldn't be good. And it feels sort of right when they are bad but a good D-back teams that doesn't win a pennant or anything is fine. 

COL - All over the place. I could get behind them or totally root against them depending on what's happening.


*best being poorly defined by which teams who were at least good, ran the gauntlet of several short series to end up the last team standing. 

**for those that don't believe - he's 9th all time in wins as a manager. Everyone through 16 is either in the HOF or will be with the exception of Gene Mauch who has a lifetime winning percentage that ranks 223rd and only 2 postseason appearances both losing the only series he managed.  He's 4th in playoff appearances, though that means less now, everyone through 9 is either in or will be. This is his 3rd pennant and out of guys with 3 or more 35 are in the HoF (though a few might be in as players) and a couple will be.

*** The 99 Yanks and 05 White Sox went 11-1,