Nationals Baseball: Tyler Moore, Jeff Baker, and Livan Hernandez?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Tyler Moore, Jeff Baker, and Livan Hernandez?

Sorry. Livan is only on there because I was trying to form a joke. The butcher, the Baker and Livan played at Candlestick! See what I did here!
Bah. You guys are the reason the Nevele closed down. (At the Nevele!)

Anyway a couple more notes - first questions! Send 'em here if you have 'em.

gmail account, natsoftheroundtable

Second, how you feel about not getting Baker depends on how you feel about Moore and about the Nats mindset. Some people still like the gamble on Moore. Maybe you like his AAA stats the last couple years that suggest a very good player. Maybe you buy into the aging curve but feel like his total minor league stats suggest a guy that could at least do some damage mashing in the majors for a few years. Maybe you believe the numbers he's put up so far are in too few at bats to make a final judgement. Maybe you believe he just needs more regular at bats (even if there's little chance he'll get that this season). However you get to the point where you like Moore, once you get there Jeff Baker is a non-starter.  Moore is younger. Moore is cheaper. Unless you like Baker's positional flexibility - which is questionable - there's no reason to even look at Baker.

As you know, I do not like Moore.

If you think the Nats should still be planning long-term than Moore also makes sense. Baker is an older limited player. He might have 4 years left in the majors, he might have 2. Either way Tyler Moore, if he develops at all, would likely outlast Baker by several years. Signing Baker means cutting someone, and unless that someone is Scott Hairston, you'd be cutting a younger player. The lower cost of Moore and this younger player (if it's not Moore) gives you a little more flexibility in the next two years and possibly beyond.

At this point I think the Nats can't be looking at 2016. They need to focus on 2014 and 2015.

This isn't cut and dried. I can see a case for... well not for Tyler Moore I don't like him... but for not signing Jeff Baker. It's there. I just don't buy into it.


Chris Needham said...

The case for not signing Jeff Baker is that he gives you pretty much nothing that the Nats don't already have in abundance on the bench. Maybe maybe he's a marginal upgrade over what you'd get out of Moore or Hairston. But it's also likely that they'll get so little playing time that you'll never know one way or another.

If there's a 'tragedy' this offseason, it's not having signed Eric Chavez. That big left-handed bench bat is exactly what they need and lack.

If you tried to play this season in Diamond Mind or OOTP or some other simulator, you'll find that you're going to have a LOT of high leverage PH ABs with Hairston or Moore going up against the wrong side of a platoon.

Harper said...

Chris - I personally think you can take out the "maybe maybe" which makes it an easy sign. Get better, don't quibble about how muchs or ifs.

But you're right that Chavez was a bigger loss. Personally I think the damage goes back to trading DeJesus and sticking with Hairston. You can concieve of an offseason that would have the Nats sitting with a bench of DeJesus, Chavez, and Baker for about 5-6 mill more than the bench they have now. Sure it would have been hitting on all cylinders but that's a championship bench right there.

Donald said...

I'm not a big fan of Moore either and don't see how he fits into any long term plan. But I'm not a dan of Baker either. I'd be happier giving Walters, Kobernus or Perez a shot.

cass said...

If Moore had any value, we could trade him for a big lefty bat. I'm guessing after a subreplacement season, he does not.

The upgrade-wherever-you-can idea is why I'd suggest signing Burnett if he can be had on a one-year deal, no matter the costs. Just write a $20 million check. Or take him for two years, front load it, and just trade him next year. We wouldn't need our bench to hit if we had (almost literally) five aces. Just don't see why the Nats aren't in on the bidding if he lives around here and wants to play for a local team.

As for material, Harper, you can analyze a potential Lobaton trade I guess? I do think we need a backup catcher. Solano is fine as a third catcher stashed in the minors (and seriously, I'm one of his biggest fans), but it makes sense to get someone above replacement level if you can. I hate bringing this up cause I love to root for Onion and want him to do well, but as a fan of the team, I know they need someone else.

Anonymous said...

Anybody done any research on Yenier Bello? Is he a option for back up? seems that there is nothing out there and we just signed a guy I thought had retired 5 years ago..

blovy8 said...

OK, I wasn't that mad about missing out on Baker, but the next signing is Koyie Hill?

I'm hoping this is a depth move so that they're covered if someone claims Solano off waivers, when they have to make room for Lobaton.

blovy8 said...

I don't know about Bello, but even an uneducated guess tells me he's better than Koyie Hill.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, but Koyie Hill knows the secret D-Back handshake! So does Scott Hairston, and Chris Snyder, and . . . Matt Williams.

Solano isn't a viable MLB option. He can't hit, even in the minors. At least Snyder once could hit, although he hasn't in about five years. Lobaton? I wouldn't trade anyone for value for him, as I don't know that he'd be that much better than Snyder.

Light a candle every day for Wilson Ramos . . .

blovy8 said...

Well, Lobaton probably goes to the White Sox anyway, since they don't even really have a starting catcher.

Wally said...

I would have liked to see a Baker signing, but why can't I be both down on Moore and not terribly disappointed with losing out on Baker? While I think he is better than TMO, I think the lefty-masher narrative around Baker has made him out to be more than he actually is, which is a marginal bench guy. I mean, he got $3.5m over two years, not exactly a highly sought after guy.

But I think the premise of the blog shouldn't have been Baker v. Moore, but Baker v. Hairston. If Hairston is what he was two seasons ago, then Baker is the third bat off the bench, which should mean 75-100 PAs. If Hairston has begun a horrific decline where a .185 BABIP is the new normal, then you definitely need a Baker type, because that spot gets 300 PAs. I guess you can argue that taking Baker over Moore protects you against Hairston turning into a pumpkin, but now we are getting deep into contingencies.

I mean, I would have done it, but I can't get too worked up about it. I'd much rather see a quality backup C, because that spot is guaranteed 200 PAs worst case, and maybe twice that if Ramos goes down again.

Wally said...

BTW, following on Cass's 'upgrade wherever you can' thought, I think the most impactful way to spend some money to improve our odds for this year is to sign Kendry Morales for 2 years, park him at 1B and put Laroche on the bench. There is your lefty bench bat, and I think Morales would be a 2-3 WAR improvement over ALR as the full time 1B.

I know it won't happen, but I see that as a bigger WAR pickup than Burnett.

John C. said...

One note: if Lobaton goes to the White Sox, that makes it unlikely that the White Sox keep Nieto. Bonus catcher!

Anyone getting aggravated because the Nats signed Koyie Hill to a minor league contract should just ease up. Hill is signed for minor league depth and to provide an extra catcher (they'll need about eight) so pitchers can get their work in during Spring Training. It has absolutely zero impact on the backup catcher question.

To the anonymous commenter who said that "[a]t least Snyder once could hit, although he hasn't in about five years" I will point out that Snyder did hit .271 in 2011. More important is that while he doesn't hit much, he sure does walk a lot. His career BB% is 12.6%, and has improved the last few years. So while his career batting average is .224, his OBP is a respectable .328. League average (non-pitchers) last year was .322, and .328 would have put Snyder ahead of Wilson Ramos and Denard Span and just behind Anthony Rendon last year.

Snyder may well be the Nationals' backup catcher in 2014, and as a solid defender, very good pitch framer, solid OBP guy with occasional pop the Nats could (and have) done a lot worse. And if he falls short of that, they can let him go at virtually no cost.

Anonymous said...

Okay, here's my question: The Nats are now up to 7 catchers in camp, "battling" for the backup job. How the heck do you evaluate that?


John C. said...

Most of them aren't actually in the competition for backup jobs. They are there so that the Nationals are able to have squatters for all of their pitchers to throw to in Viera.

Sirc said...

The backup catcher is Chris Snyder. There is some small possibility of Leon passing him, but I don't think that's likely. It's Snyder.

Solano is what he's been for 2 years: injury depth.

I do not believe that there is competition at the position. Snyder is a typical MLB backup for a contender: an old guy with a lot of big league experience.

A good bat isn't a (big) consideration for a backup catcher. We, the Nats fans, are considering batting stats because for the past 2 seasons the backup catcher became the starting catcher.

The Nats aren't treating Ramos as an injury concern. Read the organization's comments on Ramos. They feel 2013's hamstring issues were a result of the 2012 knee injury, and that he turned a corner after he got healthy. Ramos didn't get many days off over the final 2 months unless the Nats were playing a double-header or had a day game after an unusually long night game. Even then Ramos usually played.

They clearly feel that he's passed the durability test.

So Chris Snyder is the backup catcher.

Oh, and I don't see the point of Tyler Moore. How is his name all over Nats discussions? Can't hit. Can't field. Can't run. Doesn't get on base.

How is he someone that we still talk about? Is there some super-secret belief that he's the next Chris Davis?

blovy8 said...

Yeah, Sirc, there kind of is that likely misguided hope for Moore. The Ryan Howard school of hitting allows you to be productive for a period of time with a 30 percent K rate if you really wallop the crap out of the the balls you actually hit. Moore hit a lot of homers in the minors and essentially carried that into 2012. 2013's mess doesn't quite erase that yet. Who cares how well he runs if he gets to trot that often?

Ryan said...

I think it's worth taking one last look at Moore if for no other reason that his numbers in AAA are so good that it would be silly to give up on him and then watch him turn into an everyday first baseman on another team

Sirc said...

Isn't Matt Skole a younger version of Tyler Moore, but with more patience?

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