Nationals Baseball: Last Lannan Thoughts and predictions

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Last Lannan Thoughts and predictions

So I spent some time thinking about the Lannan stuff going on and I keep coming back to one basic question : Does Rizzo even talk to his managers? This is the type of question that I must rely on our intrepid reporters to answer because I just don't know. But it sure seems like he doesn't.  Why else would Davey come out with the "he's my guy" comment like he did unless he had no idea Lannan would be sent down? 

(Well I do have one last theory - Rizzo told/wanted Davey to play up Lannan as the 5th starter even though he knew he was going with Detwiler in order to raise up Lannan's trade value.  If so, well then the actions become more understandable, still real jerky, but more understandable

I know some think this was Davey's call but seriously - do you really think anything on this team isn't Rizzo's call.  Davey practically begged for Bryce Harper to break with the team and Rizzo decided it wasn't best for the organization (he's right) and sent him down. Davey talked openly about wanting a big bat on the bench and what do we see? A bench with less pop than a Wisconsin Mormon's 7th birthday party.  This is Rizzo's team, no way this wasn't a Rizzo led decision. 

Some may not believe that Rizzo could be such a jerk as to not let Davey in on what may or may not happen until the last minute, but isn't that why the whole Riggleman fiasco blew up last year?  Because Rizzo's idea of talking to his manager was pulling him aside and saying "I'm not going to talk about this.  Just shut it and do your job"?

The problem that we're at now has never been the decision. Baseball wise it's a bump in the road. It was with how the decision was presumably handled.


I think I've made it clear how I feel about Ramos and Morse this week.  What about everyone else and the team as a whole?
LaRoche : Really don't know.  I'll say he takes a slight step back because of the injury to .250 with 20 home runs but I don't feel strongly
Espinosa : There's hope he can get better and reasons to why he'll regress but I think he's found a nice happy medium.  I expect a year a lot like last one, maybe with a few more walks.  .230-.240 with 20 homers, .330-.340 OBP
Desmond : Improves just enough to hold onto the job for one last year. .255 / .310 / .380  12 homers
Zimmerman : I really like Zimmerman to have a year like 2009/2010.
Werth : He'll bounce back to something like .265 / .360 / .460
Bernadina / Ankiel : Nothing new.
Bryce Harper : struggles enough in AAA to delay his call-up to September. Deserves it a few months earlier than that, but didn't force Rizzo's hand enough to help 2012 so he keeps him down.

Pitching wise I don't see any surprises.  I like Gonzalez to do a bit better than most think - hanging on to that low 3.00 ERA.  I like Jackson to do worse than most think - ERA popping up to mid 4.00s.  Detwiler won't do well enough to keep Wang out, Wang won't do well enough for the Nats to think he's going to be any sort of answer.  Strasburg and ZNN will be great and very good, respectively.  Bullpen wise - someone will flame out, most likely to injury (I'm thinking Clippard) but all in all they won't miss a step with only long relief being an issue which really isn't much of an issue at all.

Final standings - I think the offseason moves for Gio, Jackson and Lidge, took this team to the brink of the playoffs... and then nothing else was done outside a quixotic attempt to lure Prince Fielder here with the new cache of playing for the up and coming Nationals. It's not enough. The Nats need one of those 90% of things go right to be in the thick of things come September. The pitching was pretty good last year so the improvement there can't push the Nats to the next level. The hitting was pretty bad last year and the improvements made there were too minimal.

I say 84 wins. Two or three games out of the playoffs and with everyone jumping on the bandwagon for 2013.


Donald said...

I'm predicting 86 wins. While I don't think everything will go right for the Nats, I'm also pretty sure that everything won't go right for the Phillies, Braves and Marlins. In fact, I think their risks for something bad happening are higher in some ways (Phillies age issues, Marlins chemistry issues).

Jenn Jenson said...

I agree about the communications issue with Rizzo. I was frustrated with Davey over the Lannan drama, but it's not a leap at all to think that Mike Rizzo's operating style set the stage for unnecessary stress.

I'll go one step further and say that I think Rizzo's management style will cost the team a couple of wins this year. Why? Whether you're a baseball player or someone who toils 9-5 in a cubicle, it's easier to perform in a healthy work environment.

JWLumley said...

Yeah, it seems that Rizzo has some communication issues, but I think it's possible that DJ was playing Lannan up for a trade and Rizzo thought it was close to a done deal that fell apart. You just don't know.

As for predictions, I predict 88 wins, mainly due to a deadline deal for a CF and bounce back year from Werth and Zimmerman. However, I disagree and think that Detwiler pitches well enough to hold off Wang and/or Wang gets hurt again. Either way I see a breakout year for Detwiler.

Hoo said...

I'll go 85 wins and expect pleasant upside surprises from Ross and Ian.

As for Rizzo, he has a pretty good track record for now and the Lannan things fits it. Rizzo is a defense first, sharp baseball mind but can be a bit rash and have no problem being a jerk.

Damnatsfans said...

Predictions are for the birds. Sorry, don't mean to be rude, but who would have predicted Morse's production last year? No-one, of course. And that's what makes this fun, I suppose. As for Johnson/Lannan, pick your theory. But Johnson's a manager who says things to inspire players to work hard because it's both in their interest and in the interest of the whole club's vibe. You get the sense that Rizzo and Johnson are adults and that they don't play games with one another. As for Desmond, interestingly back in the '90s the Expos had a young SS with a meager bat and lots of errors. So they traded him and ... the guy hits .294 for the next 10 years and cuts his errors by more than half. Maybe he just needed a change of scenery from that miserable stadium up north. Who knows. But - beware - there is precedent for losing a guy who goes on to pull it together. Go Nats!

Anonymous said...

-_- you too. When he said "he's my guy" that WAS NOT a guaranteed rotation spot. It was a vote of confidence by Johnson, who was saying he really likes John Lannan. Rizzo decided it was best for the franchise (and it is best for the franchise) to send Lannan down. People need to let this go.

88 wins, playoffs, lose in NLCS.

JWLumley said...

Damnatsfan, not to be rude, but I know that some people predicted Morse's breakout year such as ESPN's Talented Mr. Roto, Matthew Berry. Still, I understand the sentiment, but I think we all like predictions because we can go back and see how wrong or right we were later.

Anonymous said...

82 wins- I don't see enough offense to make the playoffs, but because of the pitching, they will linger in the wild card race into September.

Hoo said...

With real data from the season, let me say that my forecast of Ian's upside looks genius.

Nattydread said...

I'm with you on the Rizzo-Lannan episode but agree it needs to be let go.

Technically its not fair to predict the season after game 1, but think we saw a lot yesterday of what we're gonna see all year.

89 wins.

Strasberg rakes, keeping an ERA below 2.50 and a 4-1 K-BB ratio.

Harper comes up in mid-May and hits 275 with 12 HR.

Werth lives up to expectations and hits 280 with 22 HR.

Desmond and Espinosa both reach highs in offensive performance but overall lack of offense kills any hoped for greatness.

In the end, Nats lose meekly after getting the last wildcard spot.

Teddy wins in the first home stand.