Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, November 05, 2012

Monday Quickie

So my computer is broken, when it comes back I expect to get on a more regular schedule in the offseason.  Probably Tuesday - Wednesday - Friday but nothing set in stone yet.

The only real big news has been the lack of a qualifying offer to Edwin Jackson.  You only don't make a qualifying offer to Jackson if you are afraid he will agree to it.  You are only afraid he'll agree to it if you have what you believe to be better plans for his position. What could those plans be? Here are my guesses from most to least likely :

The Nats are looking to deal for a young pitcher. Rizzo likes his pitchers like he likes his coffee; cheap, young and in team control for several years (that analogy makes sense, right?). The Jackson signing last year made sense with Strasburg's situation as it was. They needed to be sure of getting the innings. This year that isn't the case. The Nats have some chips to deal. If they want to get better on D, Morse is an obvious one.  Espinosa could be one depending on how much they love Rendon. Or else their somewhat decently showcased "other" young guys like Moore and Lombo could be part of a package.

The Nats have a killer 1-3 and a 4 in Detwiler who might be very good as well. Taking a risk on a young arm is something this team can afford and is in line with their philosophy.

The Nats are looking to showcase Lannan and/or Maya.  This wouldn't be popular with the Nats fans, but it makes sense to me. Lannan has been nothing but decent pitching for years now.  The guy would be more than fine as this team's 5th starter and would be ready to be dealt early to another squad.  If you don't let him pitch for a deal, it would be a waste as he'll just walk as a FA next year.

As for Maya, his age doesn't necessarily lend himself to be part of the Nats future but he did pitch better than Lannan did in AAA. Plus he's a complete Rizzo guy and I bet it gnaws at Mike constantly that this didn't work out.  Throw him out there hope that he's great like you thought.  If he's merely good that's still fine, you can deal him for something.

This move would allow the Nats all the monetary flexibility they need to really step up and make a big $ FA signing for the offense, where they seem more agreeable to such things. 

The Nats are looking to sign a long-term pitcher.  I don't see the Nats as being the types to sign long-term pitching but there is one guy (Greinke) who is good enough and young enough that you might try it.  They did go after him before.  My issue with this move is that for anyone other than Zack this hardly makes sense and what if you don't get him? You let a very good pitcher walk for no compensation for nothing? This is a big gamble that I don't really think the Nats are making being pennant contenders now and Rizzo being the draft pick hoarder he is. 

The Nats are looking to sign another temporary pitcher. If this was the case I don't see why they wouldn't just offer the spot up to Edwin.  I don't see anyone out there THAT much better, but they know more than I do about Jackson, obviously, so I suppose this is possible. They liked this set-up they just didn't like Edwin for some reason.

The Nats want to keep the 5th spot free to showcase their young pitching just like Detwiler last year.  That would be nice but who would these young studs be?  Meyer is the best bet, but he'll open the season in AA. I can't see him up early enough to be the driver of a 2013 plan. Neither Meyer or Rosenbaum didn't end the season well. The rest of the guys in line are just filler or injured and in the low minors. There may be a nice young pitcher in the Nats rotation but I'd be shocked if it happened before September, and I'd be surprised if the September above wasn't September of 2014. 


Kevin Booker said...

Meyer didn't finish the season well? What did you him to do? His last 7 games he was 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA. If he hadn't had one bad outing in the 7, his ERA was sub 1.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that too. Also, Nate Karns may ultimately need to be in the discussion as well. He needs another year in the minors though.

Harper said...

KB - obviously I had him confused with someone else. I'm not a huge follower of the minor leagues so I have to look up most of that stuff and was pretty sure what I said was right, when it was in fact totally wrong.

mike k said...

The thing I don't like about Jackson is his inconsistency. One day he pitches a complete game shutout and the next he gives up 4 runs in the first inning. Especially thinking ahead to the playoffs, I'd much rather have a pitcher who consistently can give you 2 runs in 5 innings, even if the ERA ends up being higher. I think the Nats are in a position where, given their ability to put up some runs and likelihood of making the postseason, someone who consistently gives you the chance to win games is better than someone who will give you the automatic win or automatic loss.

Cory said...

Agree with you that SOMETHING must explain why the Nats aren't giving EJax an offer, as it would at least mean a comp pick if he walks, right? Personally, I think EJax is worth 10-12/year for two years just going by performance, but at the same time might always be inconsistent enough to be a worry in a playoff rotation.

As for the rest of the possible roster changes, I think Greinke makes by far the most sense, with Bourn being the only other change I'd consider. This year's roster was successful and relatively young, so I see no reason to tinker too much. If LaRoche is reasonable, keep him. But I don't get the willingness to move Morse. His defense is poor, but outside of Bourn, there's no obvious FA that can make up in value what Morse's plus bat and minus D gives.

Pescado said...

With the new rules, they would have had to make a $13.3MM offer to Jackson. Even if it's only for one year, that's an awful lot of money to pay your 4th or 5th starter.

Tromboni said...

Does anybody know they there are two bullsh*t obama-related links to the huffington post underneath the link to this blog on the nationals web page at espn?

Matt said...

One other possibility that I've been mulling over is that there was something in Jackson's old contract which prevented the Nats from making a qualifying offer. Having a qualifying offer is, if anything, worse for FA values this year (since only 10, not 15, teams have protected 1st round picks), and Jackson was a Boras guy -- Boras often sees to things like this. On the other hand, if that were the case, I'd think that Boras/the team would have publicized it.

Unknown said...

What about a Lohse or Dempster signing? They wouldn't demand anything close to what Greinke would, and would be just as good or if not better than Jackson. I don't see anyone in the system other than Lannan that could come up. I personally am not a fan of Lannan, but he did step up this year.

Wally said...

Why is Greinke's such a big concern? I think it would be manageable and he would be perfect for our situation. Even bringing his outlier 2009 season down to something in line with his career averages, he has averaged Gio's 2012 season over the last 5 years. he is in his prime and he has been remarkably durable, really never having any arm troubles of note. He has excellent control, an increasing GB% and pretty good strikeout rates. If you gave him a 6 year deal, he ends that contract at Kyle Lohse's current age.

As for money, the Nats have a ton of it coming. They have $25m per year coming because of the new MLB TV contract, $30-60m per year more when the MASN dispute is settled, reasonable expectations of growing attendance and merchandising revenues, and an excellent 3-5 window with controllable players. Then you go into the playoffs with 4 shutdown guys. Who has that? We'd be feared.

Maybe it doesn't work, but I don't really get the Greinke bashing I see on a lot of sites.

Donald said...

I wonder how teams price draft picks? If you assume that Jackson could get $10-12m a year for 3 years without strings, does giving up a draft pick drop that down to $8-10m? That's part of the puzzle I don't know. Clearly, Jackson can get $10-12m for 3 years with no strings. If giving up a draft picks nixes that to the point that the 1 year / $13.3 is a better option, then it must mean that the Nats have a better plan in mind. I'm skeptical that they will pursue Grienke but I hope they do. It's probably more likely that they are looking for a trade, though, by packaging Morse with Espi?, Clippard? Skole?. Not sure who'd they get, but the Nats are 2-3 years away from prospects contributing much. If they could create a dominant rotation with 3 aces (Strasburg, Gio, new guy), with Znn and Det as 4 and 5 they'd be tough to beat. That would be worth a fair amount and they could afford to part with a fair amount to get that.

Harper said...

mike k - I think the inconsistent rap is overdone, but really because the highs aren't there enough. He's much like the rest of them with most games being good and a couple being great. The difference is he has 3 of the worst 4 games by one of the Nats "big 5" this year. When he's bad he can be just awful. I suppose that is something you want to avoid because you can't afford that type of game in the playoffs. I guess.

Cory - Morse is a borderline type guy hitting, those Ks worry you that when he loses a bit of bat speed the effect on his hitting will be large. His age and recent injuries suggest it'll be sooner rather than later. If they don't plan to re-sign him after next year (and I don't think they will) trading makes sense.

Pescado - True, but it's $ the Nats do have and playoff teams can't worry about 1yr contracts

Tromboni - Hmmm. Porbalby has something to do with how ESPN is pulling in that feed. The word "Nationals" is going to not just pull in the Nats. Still I haven't seen that before. Doesn't show up on other team pages though so I don't think it's a systematic thing.

Matt - yeah I think we'd have heard about that from someone.

Miles - If you could get Lohse on a 1 or 2 yr deal maybe. I don't trust Dempster. This year was a bit fluky good.

Wally - There are a lot of reasons to dislike Greinke - his supposed flakiness, the fact he turned down the Nats before, the idea that he should be much better even if he is real good right now. These aren't good reasons but they are reasons.

My only issue is it will be a LOT of $$ (that the Nats might need to spend on offense in the upcoming years) and he's an older 29 year old. You get the feeling with pitching injuries it's when not if.

I'd do it.

Donald - not sure. I think it's less strict money than appeal and Rizzo likes his draft picks which makes this confusing.

A big FA pitching signing would be interesting. They'd buy into the Nats offense in 2014 more than I do right now.

milo s said...

Are you an Eddie Izzard fan? ('I like my pitchers like I like my coffee'?)

Anonymous said...

What worries me about Greinke is the cost would mean that we wouldn't be able to re-sign one of our own in a few years, because the Nats will never shell out money like the Yankees.

Harper said...

milo s - not particularly.

Anon - Yes... unless they can get Greinke on a 4-yr deal. That would time out so that they could choose which of ZNN, Stras and Gio they wanted to keep.

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