Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Possibly last updates that don't matter

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Quickie - Possibly last updates that don't matter

Max pitched in a minor league game.  Everything went fine.  Said he even used some two-finger grips. This keeps him in "first rotation" track, but not first start track since that either would require some short rest or a leap of faith on conditioning. Dusty doesn't seem inclined to do that just to pitch Max what amounts to two games earlier.

Do we really know he's ready? Not quite yet. While every outing is the potential key to showing he's NOT ready, this next one will be the first one that will really show he could be. It's real hitters and with only two weeks left in Spring, it's real hitters really trying. There will be a radar gun and this time the Nationals can't just stop the inning if Max can't get the outs he needs and let him start over in the next one like they did in the minor league game. If he looks well enough this time then you can start saying Opening Week for Max.

So this is pretty damn good news, especially since AJ Cole and Erik Fedde have looked less that ready for a spot start, let alone a rotation spot. Voth? Maybe but he's at 4.2 IP in 3 games. No the Nats were basically only looking at two guys for that role. So good thing they won't need it.

Catcher update

Wieters is getting his first team reps and seeing the pitchers we expect him to see. There really isn't anything more here to update unless you think Severino will replace Lobaton on the bench. I can't see that though. You'd probably rather Severino get the ABs to work on his hitting. Maybe Solano replaces Lobaton? You'd be putting a lot of faith into ST stats if you make that call.

As for Norris - don't kid yourself. The Nats didn't do him any favors. They kept him as long as they could before his pay would jump up. Then they cut him. They didn't cut him so he could explore options. They cut him to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. This was completely the right move as you have to hold on to him in case there's an injury. It's nothing more than that. Nats are a baseball team, not a non-profit charity.

Closer Update

The Nats had one closer type situation (3-1 win over Mets) and Glover got the save. That's good to see but won't be the way the Nats start the year. They had another close one and Guthrie pitched the last two innings. That's definitely not what we'll see. Kelley pitched for the first time in a real ST game in long time the other day. Treinen still hasn't pitched in one since March 9th. The Post says the Nats say it's all part of the plan. Sounds fine. Now let me see Treinen, too.

Clint Update 

The bad news for Clint is that despite getting regular at bats he's not showing the Nats any reason for him to win the job.  .176 / .163 / .206.  Not that those numbers matter but like I said if it's a tie-breaker situation (and it might be - hold on) that's not breaking any ties.  The good news for Clint is that Lind isn't making this a simple decision. .179 / .233 / .214.  Contract and history both are on Lind's side so let's hope it doesn't come down to ST stats.

Here's the Post's take on that. Please to ignore when Janes' calls Robinson the "big, powerful lefty" bench role filler in. The short of it is Clint is likely to end up somewhere else or a fill-in AAA player bc they want to make a final decision on "prospect" Matt Skole so he gets the 1B ABs.

Anything else

MAT keeps hitting in the Spring, presumably while shouting "Wolf! Wolf!"

Bryce has hit his 6th homer of the Spring. Don't bet that it means a 50+ homer season, but this is heartening for those that thought last year he didn't quite put enough balls over the fence.

Zimm got hits! Several! He may not be dead quite yet.

With Zimm actually hitting my biggest offensive worries shift to the prep for late-arriving Wieters and never-used in WBC Murphy. Not getting ABs now may mean a slow start in April (of course they may also be unrelated if it happens but it'll be fun to blame Boras and Leyland)

All the starters look fine! Great!


DezoPenguin said...

I'm perfectly happy starting the season with MAT as the fifth outfielder and primary late-inning defensive replacement. He can field, which gives him one useful skill. He's fast (albeit not a good baserunner; I wish there was some way to combine his wheels with Jayson Werth's anti-Ryan Theriotness), which is a fraction of a skill. He probably won't hit, but it's not like Goodwin was going to do that. I wouldn't do anything crazy like assume he could effectively replace and injured Werth, Eaton, or, God forbid, Harper for any extended period of time, but it's not like any of the other alternatives can do that, either, unless Robles somehow morphs into Turner 2.0.

Ole PBN said...

Harper - any chance to get a post about your take on the WBC? Or just a reply on this thread? Read an article highlighting Dusty's concern with Murphy and Roark's lack of playing time in the World Baseball Classic. The idea behind the WBC has its heart in the right place, but we have a season to play and the WBC isn't paying Murphy/Roark their salaries. No one has pitched as few innings as Tanner has and Murphy is literally just taking BP. I gotta say, I'm with Dusty on this, who's job it is to make sure a guy is ready for this MLB season. Not to sound like a little league parent, but if you aren't playing - come home where you're needed. Thoughts?

JE34 said...

Ole PBN - I was thinking the same thing. Harper, your audience beckons. I've enjoyed what I've seen in general. Interesting format, players playing for their countries, fun times. If I were Dusty, I'd ask to have Murphy back, but I think Murphy would object. He appears to be ever the enthusiastic teammate. Tanner is getting the start vs Japan tomorrow night, so that's good.

blovy8 said...

Maybe I'm the only one who's happy Murphy isn't playing. I suspect a few starts wouldn't make much difference in getting his swing in order. Archer nimbly got out of waiting around for another start, it's too bad Murphy couldn't do that.

PhthePhillies said...

Of all the Nats players, I get the sense that these two guys need the least amount of time to get ready.

Robot said...

Bryce has hit his 6th homer of the Spring. Don't bet that it means a 50+ homer season, but this is heartening for those that thought last year he didn't quite put enough balls over the fence.

Because it'll be 60+, amiritebrah? ::fist bumps Harper::

Good to see that he appears to have some power back, even if this is just ST.

Harper said...

Dezo - MAT will be on the roster for the reasons you state. No real good reason to go in another direction. The only question is if there is an injury do you give him the shot or bring in a Goodwin (assuming he's hitting in AAA) ahead of MAT.

Ole PBN - So we see two main problems with the WBC. 1) You don't have the best players across the board 2) Playing time can be sparse at a time when players should be readying for season. For the first there isn't a good way of doing it bc it doesn't have ultimate primacy. Pretty much every sport outside of soccer has this issue with "world title" related championships. If you can't get the best major leaguers across the board then there isn't a point to getting any. It shouldn't be primarily about recruitment. One option, that I prefer is using minor leaguers and/or recently retired major leaguers.

But most people would prefer to see the current best and it IS only the US that loses out (seems like few players from other countries beg off) so could you force or cajole better attendance? Participation could be added into the labor agreement but I'm not sure it will fly. Having the tourney right after the WS would be anti-climactic. Having it Dec/Jan would necessitate very limited locations. I don't see an easy answer to this

As for limited time - another potentially unsolvable problem. More thoughtful usage or bringing along players to do sort of split-squads will effect the teams' abilities to play at their best and ultimately why bother if that's the case?

So I keep coming back to the idea of using former player or minor leaguers that can play pretty much normal games without effecting the current season.

sirc said...

The top of the first inning of Netherlands v. Puerto Rico was just about as fun an inning of baseball as I've ever seen.

WBC has been great fun.

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