Nationals Baseball: "No Plan" Stan

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"No Plan" Stan

One thing is glaringly obvious staring into the gaping holes that are the 5th (and 4th?) starter spots and right field; Stan "The Plan" Kasten has betrayed his nickname. The Nats' goals for these spots as of the moment are non-existent. There is no carefully laid out path to the return of Zimmerman, the arrival of Strasburg, or the rebirth of Wang. There is no thought out strategy to compensate for the potential troubles that were apparent last year when Kearns was done in a Nats uniform and Elijah Dukes was struggling mightily. The Nats have turned a blind eye to these holes in hopes that mediocre major league talent might somehow successfully fill them and surprise, surprise they haven't.

Since the middle of Spring Training in right field the Nats have
  • Released Elijah Dukes
  • Named Willie Harris the opening day starter
  • Said Willie Harris and Willy Taveras would platoon
  • Started Mike Morse because the match-up was favorable
  • Called up Roger Bernandina when Morse went down
  • Called up Justin Maxwell and sent down Bernandina because the Nats were going to face lefties, even though Bernandina was a 5th OF unlikely to start.
Does that sound like a plan?

The Nats have also
  • Chose Garrett Mock for the rotation, over Scott Olsen, believing he had "#3 stuff"
  • Demoted Mock after one start in order to keep 8 men in the bullpen.
  • Brought back Olsen.

I guess at least the Nats HAD an idea of what they wanted to do with the rotation. Let Lannan, Marquis anchor the top two spots for now and see what Detwiler et al would do in the other spots until the three they really care about were ready. It was a dumb plan. You can't go into a season, even if it's just half a season, and say "Oh we're just going to see what shakes out in the 5th spot... and the 4th spot... and the 3rd spot." But it was a plan. Unfortunately for Detwiler and fortunately for us, he went down with an injury which forced the Nats to bring in Livan. Livan should eat innings, have the occasional good game, and the occasional bad one and be ready to be cut if necessary later on. Exactly the kind of guy they should have opened the season with anyway.

They had no plan what to do post-Dukes and now the Nats fans are reaping the benefits. This is especially frustrating after watching the Nats go with the "no plan" option for CF for 5 seasons. At last the Nats OF was set. It probably wasn't going to work out, but at least for a year you knew who was going to be out there and what exactly the team was looking at. Oh well.

It's frustrating but indicative of the Nats philosophy as a whole. They DO have a plan. They want to get better through development of minor league talent, which they can control cheaply for a number of years, supplementing it with a smart signing or two. But much like they had no idea what to do once Dukes was let go, or now that Mock and Stammen both look awful, the Nats have no plan for the intermediate time frame between point A and point B, between "Today" and "Winning Team". They are going to muddle through, and Nats fans are going to get a bucketload of Willy Taveraseses and Craig Stammens until they get there.


Bryan said...

I hate to jump the gun on guys or be too overly critical, but...

Stammen truly sucks.

bdrube said...

"They DO have a plan. They want to get better through development of minor league talent"

And the real problem there is that their minor league talent ALSO sucks balls. Once you get past Strasburg and Storen there is hardly a surefire prospect in the whole system. And several of the best ones; Norris, Espinosa, and Meyers; are now hurt.

110 losses, here we come.

Harper said...

bryan - What I don't get is Stammen had less going for him than Mock. Eh whatever. It's not saying much, is it?

bdrube - yes and as long as that remains their plan it'll take either several more years or a lot of luck for the Nats to become an outside playoff threat. 110 is too much (they aren't worse than last year) though... unless of course Zimmerman is out for a while, then all bets are off.

Bryan said...

Harper - yeah, that's a mystery to me as well. I'd still rather hav Mock over Stammen.

And I understand a short leash on Mock, but really, a single game? This is Ryan Church type crap they are pulling. You gotta give the guy a solid month, don't you?

I guess you don't.

Harper said...

If you want to be positive you think "Well they recognized the guy didn't have it and didn't want to waste starts"

If you want to be negative you think "Well if that's true and it was so obvious, why didn't they see it before this game? They were supposed to be intently studying him for over a month (not to mention the rest of his Nats career)"

Either they are bad judges of talent or they have no idea what to do and are throwing crap at a wall. Your choice.

Hoo said...

Look on the bright side...The Nats didn't trade Josh W'Ham last year. And I don't think they can trade him this year. You should be able to replace 1 corner OF But 2? yikes...

I think the Plan was to ride whatever mediocre pitcher got hot till Strass/Wang got the call. And Detweiler. It was an extremely optimistic plan but that what it was.

Anonymous said...

You wonderful judges of all that is Nationals appear to missing the fine print in your reading? Even when it is bold-faced?

Right field. Jim Rigglman has, at least twice, come out and plainly said he wanted Justin Maxwell to win the job in right field. From the beginning of ST. Period. He has said that HE STILL wants him to take that job and run with it. I guess we failed to notice that Bernadina was brought up to sit on the bench and serve as a defensive replacement. While Maxwell was immediately placed in the starting lineup?

Similarly, the Guzman/Desmond situation. Riggleman basically said Guzman would start and Desmond would be a utility guy. Then Rizzo said, not so fast, Desmond will play and start at shortstop. Guz's arm was and continues to be suspect so Desmond starts at short while Guz is made the "starting utility man" by Riggleman. He has played and started at shortstop. He has more at bats than Kennedy. Also second base and right field. Hey isn't that Maxwell's position? ;) Willie Harris was never shown such favor. Not even a shot at starting at second base. He continues to bat second even though his OBP and OPS continue to be lower than Desmond's and others.

And Taveres has become a backup center fielder to Morgan.

The point? Yeah there's a plan. There is Rizzo's plan. There is also Riggleman's plan. Rizzo's and Riggleman's "plans" appear to often contradict each other. Stan's plan? Bring in the Phillies fans through those turnstiles.

Alex said...

stammen ftw