Nationals Baseball: No Gomeses and Dykstras in 2012, please.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No Gomeses and Dykstras in 2012, please.

Yesterday I off-handedly mentioned Jonny Gomes might have lost his Free Agent B status.  I checked it out, and the reverse engineerer at MLB trade rumors seems to think so, too.   These aren't official by any means but he's shown a good track record of getting it right. 

What does this mean?  Rizzo traded away something of value on a good bet that he'd make his team worse. Gomes was hitting .211 / .336 / .399 when he was dealt.  It couldn't have shocked the team when he followed up with 2 months of .204 / .299 / .366 baseball.  Oh he did ok starting against lefties, but that wasn't the point of bringing in Gomes. It was to provide righty pop off the bench and hopefully get the Nats a draft pick.  Gomes got all of 0 hits in 18 PH at bats (presumably mostly against lefties).  He likely won't bring back any compensation if the Nats were to offer him arbitration.  Manno and Rhinehart are not huge losses but when your buddy hands over $3 for a bag of magic beans, you still gotta call him out on being stupid.

This isn't the first time Rizzo has given up something for nothing. Whatever you think about dealing Nyjer Morgan, and the fanbase truly is split, it was a bad trade.  Morgan had value.  Cutter Dykstra was a waste of a minor league space in 2011. 

These deals fly in 2011 if only because each individual win wasn't important. So what if he made smarter deals and got the Nats a win or 2 more?  It doesn't change the fortunes of the squad. I've liked the job Rizzo has done so far.  I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise. But it's time for Rizzo to reign in his less successful qualities.  Don't obssess over getting one more draft pick.  Don't throw guys away for nothing just because you don't like them.  In 2012 each individual win may very well matter.


Hoo said...

The Morgan trade was so awful that it needs to be pounded home. The Nats traded away a + CF who's at least a part-time starter on a team 3 wins for the World Series. And what did the Nats get in return? It was a complete throwaway deal just to get Morgan gone. The Nats simply don't have enough talent to make moves like this. Making moves for the right chemistry is a luxury you don't have when your organization is still below snuff.

The other thing, I'd have hammered is that the Morgan deal meant that the Nats were stuck between having an aging lefty at Center or a AAAA lefty in CF. Neither were great options.

But bah to both the Hammer trade and Morgan. Really bad ones. The Gomes deal could potentially be bad but if it made Davey happy so be it.

Bit wrong on my prediction for Gorzo being the best pitcher. I really thought Tom would have a good success as a strikeout lefty in the NL east.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Harper - "Every win in 2012 may matter." I hadn't really thought about the body of work on trades until you listed them out like this - it's a pretty bad list of deals. I agree with you and disagree with Hoo that Willingham was more nothing-for-nothing considering Wills wasn't going to be the starting LF on a playoff team, and Morse's value replaces Willingham's going forward. Sure, a 2011 team with a Willingham-CF-Werth OF and Morse at 1B post-Laroche injury probably wins a game or two more, but it's not fatal. If Rodriguez can look like he did at the end of the season, it'll end up tilting in Rizzo's favor, even.

But the Morgan deal is terrible. Plain terrible. Bad process (rushed to decision, rushed him out of town), bad outcome. It was basically a salary dump based on a presumption that we were looking at 2010 Morgan all over again and that he was going to clash with Werth or Riggles or both. I'm actually fine with trading him away, even though it made a hole in the lineup, but to do it as quickly as he did and to get zero value back...ugh.

The rest seem to me to be a bunch of nothing-for-nothing kinds of deals. Marquis, Hairston were both traded for lottery tickets - if they hit, the deals will look good, if they don't (and they haven't yet), they'll look meh. I think you may be overrating Gorzelanny - I thought he might blossom, but he's another one of those back-end of the rotation dreck kinds of guys - in there with the Stammens and Livos and Oliver Perez's of the world.

JDBrew said...

I disagree that the Morgan trade was terrible. I will agree that they got nothing in return. But everyone seems to have forgotten how poorly Morgan was playing at the time of the deal. Couple that with the fact that he was a horrible player to have on your roster. Despite his current success he was not showing signs of being a productive player. His fielding had become terrible; he was taking poor routes to fly balls, he was missing the cutoff man on almost every throw, seeming trying to make plays with his below average arm. His stolen base ability disappeared. He constantly ran into outs. His bat was horrible. He was showing no signs of bring an everyday player. On top of that he was starting fights. My mind is ingrained with an image of him being led off the field with his jersey hanging off acting as if he were just in a WBC title fight gone awry. Plus, next season he'll turn 32. He's not exactly a spring chicken. At the time the trade was more about removing him from the dugout than about acquiring anything in return. His current batting success is nothing close to what he was doing in DC. I personally say good riddance. I would have been incredibly angry if I had to watch another of Morgan's meltdowns in DC. I agree that they revieved very little in return. But his trade value at the time was incredibly low. There aren't many GM's that will trade much for a guy that was so publicly shown to be such poison to a team. I'm very interested in how his tenure with the brewcrew plays out. I suspect it won't be long into next season when he struggles, loses playing time, and once again exhibits his ability to be bad attitude, bad bat, bad fielding distraction. I'll comment again on this when the brewers trade him for cash considerations or cut him from their roster. I'll be sure to write back in. Not trying to argue with you Harper, but I see the comments posted in reply and can't help but respond to them.

Kevin Rusch said...

There are two things that worry me about the Morgan trade.
1) I understand the "I can lose with this guy or I can lose without this guy, and he's a jerk." attitude. Morgan played terribly in 2010 and in the spring, and he has had "headcase" issues. But he has had more value than Ankiel, and every CF prospect we have, in 2011, and we still don't have any better options.
I just get the feeling Rizzo decided to "get rid of this guy" and I think it was a bad decision.

2) I really don't want to say it, and I'm not sure it's conclusive, but have you noticed all the "character" guys Rizzo has unloaded (Morgan, Dukes, Milledge) have been African-American? Anyway, I think it's a coincidence, but people tend to notice that.

Harper said...

JDBrew - quick before I hit out for lunch. I think you can argue trading Morgan in theory made sense. I don't think so, but I know a lot of people do and I honestly think either view is valid. But trading Morgan in practice was terribly done. No value back, no plan in place to make up for dealing him. The idea might have been sound but the execution was terrible.

Harper said...

Hoo - while I didn't want Morgan gone, I'd give Rizzo slack on what they got back because they were firmly "addition by subtraction guys". But there's not slack for bringing back an organizational prospect with no position from one of the worst minor league systems in the game. Morgan's play and Rizzo's desperation killed his value in 2010.

I still don't see the Hammer deal as a real bad one. Willingham has always been a player that carries for value on the field than in the mind. Remember what the Nats were able to trade for him.

Long balls killed Gorzo - 14 in 80+ innings as a starter (1 in 20+ innings as a reliever)

Anon - I don't think it's a terrible list of deals. Mediocre, maybe. When he's not dealing for reasons other than talent in and out he does all right. I'm certainly behind little trades of guys the Nats don't need for random minor leaguers that may pan out.

JDB - I've said since early on that I suspect the Morgan era in Milwuakee would go like this : "Fiery Morgan leads Brewers to plaoyffs. Signs 3-4 year deal. Slowly deteriorates until he's baggage at the end". I think he'll be fine next year. A little above average over all. Year after that below average at the plate, saved by decent fielding. Then just below average. so eventually a release or dump trade is in his future. I just see it in 2014 not 2012.

Kevin - it's vaguely interesting but I think the fact he brought in Morgan (and Hairston and traded for Corey Brown) makes up somewhat. He also dumped Cabrera pretty quickly in part because he didn't like him, if I remember correctly. What I'm more interested in is how he deals with Bryce. He's no Dukes, but he's on the path to be a Milledge/Morgan eqsue type of guy. Of course there's still a long way to go here.

Hoo said...

Harper: Cabrera got cut with the "I'm tired of watching him pitch." My personal favorite was the Stephen Shell Bad Aura line. If you wanted to go down this road, you could say that Scott Olsen got some more rope than Morgan. Of course Olsen was hurt most of the time and in much better form than in Florida.

Morgan made WaPo front page with the news that Werth/Morgan almost got in a fight in spring training. Morgan got traded shortly thereafter. And of course Morgan has great fun pointing out that even his horrific 2010 had a BA of .250+ as compared to Werth's .230 in 2011. Ouch.

As you said, I have no problem getting rid of Morgan at even below market value. But There's a massive difference between below market value and NO value.

I also have a higher view of the Hammer than most, but he was a spare part with the Werth deal. Willingham was a top 10 OF at the plate in AL. I think that's worth more than a AAAA CF and a reliever. Maybe the value isn't there, but I'd be much happier with the deal if I'm an A's fan. You get a middle of the lineup hitter set for a few years and all you really lose is a mercurial reliever. That's a great deal from the A's point of view.

Harper said...

Hoo - the Nats got a deal trading for him, the A's got a deal trading for him, and now someone out there is going to sign Josh to a deal to DH for 2 years, $10 million because that's what the market is giving for him and they'll get a deal. I think people don't realize those 130 games he'll play will be much better than most guys 150+.

Donald said...

Quick comment -- I don't think it's fair to argue that Rizzo got less than market value for Morgan unless you think there were clubs willing to give more that Rizzo turned down. We may think the market should have valued him higher, but he got what he got which is kind of the definition of the market. You can argue that if he waited, he could have gotten more, but that assumes you think his stock will rise. It's just as likely his stock could fall further. The other thing you could argue is that he was worth more to the team then what the market was willing to give in a trade. I think that's the gist of people's comments because we didn't have a fall-back. But if was poisoning the well by getting into fights in the locker room, then maybe getting rid of him was right.