Nationals Baseball: Bumgarner isn't walking through that door

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Bumgarner isn't walking through that door

Although he should. For Robles. But I digress because the "NEVER TRADE ROBLES" camp seems firmly entrenched.

Going beyond Bumgarner - if the Giants are selling is there anything the Nationals could want?

Buster Posey? The gut reaction is Hell Yes.  A more tempered reaction is - he's a really good hitter for a catcher, but has only played over 120 games twice in his career and he hasn't broken 100 games in the past two years. So he's not the full-time catcher the Nats need, and he's a mediocre hitting first baseman.  He's also 32 next year and owed 22 million a year over the next 3 years. So... no? I mean he'd make the Nats better and I'm all for spending other people's money but it's pretty clear the Nats could get more bang for their buck anywhere else.

Longoria? I can't see how at those numbers both on the field and in the payroll.

Cueto or Samardzjia?  they pitched 53 and 44 innings respectively last year. Unless it's a Giants eats salary situation no possible way. And it would be a huge eat for San Fran which means minimal prospects... honestly though this fits better with the Nats reality of "never trade prospects" Eating 30 mill of Samardzjia's contract (Nats at under 5 million per for 2 years) for an Autstin Voth type?  Eating 50+ mill of Cueto's deal (Nats at under 5 million per for 3 plus a 5 million buy out) for a Fedde type?  I'd listen.

Crawford / Belt? Not needed.

Melancon? Again an eat salary situation for someone who now looks like a bullpen filler.

Anyone under control that's coming up for FA that the Nats would want?

Wil Smith? (FA 2020) YES!  If he's traded to someone else for a reasonable cost I will be angry. He's exactly the type of reliever the Nats should be trading for. Potential difference maker at low cost, but not too good or too in control to demand a Kieboom or Garcia. And a lefty!

Sam Dyson? (FA 2021) Eh. He's fine if he doesn't cost you much.  Just a guy in the pen for a couple years but you need those. Nothing to get excited about but nothing to write home about.

Hunter Strickland (FA 2022) Hahahahaha! Not good enough for the headaches, but possibly cheap enough for them.  I wouldn't want him but if the Nats got him I wouldn't kill them for it.


Ole PBN said...

I think a lot of the DON'T TRADE ROBLES camp's (proud member here) logic is based on the fact that he is the only legit prospect we have - as close to "can't miss" as you can get. Plus he makes Bryce leaving actually palatable. Now if we had the farm we had 3 years ago, sure I'd trade him for MadBum, but now? Too much to give away, especially since we have two question marks (Kieboom and Garcia) and nothing else in our system.

Harper said...

ALWAYS TRADE YOUR PROSPECTS is not supposed to be read as "Always trade YOUR prospects (mine are untouchable)"

I'm playing (somewhat) bc of course if you let Bryce go then yes, you keep Robles, but you also need to throw that money into where it needs to go. I however, don't let Bryce go.

blovy8 said...

Isn't Tyler Watson the old lefty who's making a lil' money? Much easier to acquire.

Yes, Bumgarner is not going to be paying a Nat for his jersey number, but of course, you are also implying that we would trading for BUMGARNER, postseason hero, patent pending. So even if we had BRYCE, and were naturally paying the price of an even larger font BRYCE, it would tighten the purse strings pretty dearly.

I would be one of those guys who think Robles is no longer a prospect. Unless he gets hurt, he is an average major leaguer at worst.

von_bluff said...

Nats need Robles in CF to optimize their lineup since MAT is out of chances. If Bryce signs elsewhere, I hope that ~$30M is used to get Greinke for nothing.

Ryan said...

Bumgarner coming off 2 injury shortened seasons? no thanks

Harper said...

blovy8 - I skipped over Tony Watson. Probably because his name wasn't Tyler. He'd be a good pick up too.

DezoPenguin said...

So I thought I'd stop and think about the roster as it stands. Right now I think we have:

LF - Soto
CF - Robles
RF - Eaton
3B - Rendon
SS - Turner
2B - Kendrick (?)
1B - Zimmerman
C - Suzuki

C - Kieboom
OF - Taylor
OF - Stevenson
IF - Difo
IF - ?

SP - Scherzer
SP - Strasburg
SP - Roark
SP - Fedde
SP - Rodriguez

CL - Doolittle
RP - Rosenthal
RP - Barraclough
RP - Glover
RP - Miller
RP - Suero
RP - Grace

The obvious issue is with starting pitching (duh). We need at least one quality starter, and honestly I'd prefer two, given that Stras is a near-guarantee to miss 5-10 starts. This has the added bonus of moving Rodriguez into the bullpen depth. Honestly, I'd like a better option than Fedde as SP6, too, but that's a lower priority.

Next we have the current absence of somebody to play the Lind/Adams role, a good-hitting backup 1B who can hit RHP, to (a) give Zim a rest, (b) compensate for possible Zim injury, (c) compensate for possible Zim being only good in a platoon role, (d) primary PH duty.

2B is the next question. The Howie Kendrick we had in 2017 and pre-injury 2018 I'm fine with being our starter there; the question is the status of his recovery, hence my question mark. Obviously, acquiring another quality player for 2B who can push Kendrick to be primary 2B/3B backup, part-time OF backup, and PH would improve the bench immensely (which is not a shallow consideration given Rendon's injury history, Eaton's injury history, Kendrick's age, and Taylor and Difo's one*-dimensional skillsets) In that case, I would remove the OF5 slot (currently Stevenson).

*Well, two-dimensional for Taylor, since he also quietly excels in baserunning.

Then we have RP. The bullpen as it's constituted is "not bad on paper," plus we have the potential to add guys like Rodriguez (assuming he's not a starter), Solis (if he's tendered), and whatever else lurks in AAA or can be picked up (as Papelbon, Melancon, Doolittle/Madson/Kintzler, and Herrera show, Rizzo is generally willing to patch the pen on the fly, though the success rate varies). But improvement, particularly from the left side (I'd love to see a third lefty option in the pen between Doolittle and Grace), can definitely be had. In addition, Barraclough's slump and Glover and Doolittle's injury history raise some flags, as does the general volatility of relievers.

As for Bumgarner, please no. He's in decline (injury and otherwise), and the cost to get him is way low. Steamer projects him to put up 2.1 fWAR over 32 starts (by comparison, Gio Gonzalez put up 2.0 fWAR over 32 starts in 2018), which is worth Bumgarner's 1-yr./$12M contract. I'm sure we could get the actual Gio Gonzalez for less than $12M without having to pay what the Giants would demand as a premium for the history and emotion their fans have invested in Bumgarner. Or Wade Miley, or Trevor Cahill, or Derek Holland, or trade something a lot less expensive than Robles to get Wade LeBlanc from Seattle (as Jeff Sullivan points out in a fresh article on Bumgarner, the two were surprisingly comparable, which is a scary thought).

...Actually, Wade Miley isn't a bad choice for the SP4 guy. Good last year, solid career numbers except for his 2017 season in the pitching hell that is Baltimore. Obviously he'd be the second addition after someone in the Corbin/Keuchel/(ace trade) tier, but.

@Harper: Steamer projects Robles to be worth 2.1 fWAR over 586 PA, so basically, a full season of Robles is expected to be worth a full season of Bumgarner, except Robles costs $11.5M less and is under team control for five more years after that. I know you're partially joking about the NEVER TRADE ROBLES crowd, but that's not even close to being worth it. It's arguably not worth it even if you got the God-Mode Bumgarner who basically won the World Series with his bare hands, but that guy simply doesn't appear to exist any more.

Ole PBN said...

Dezo, don’t forget Joe Ross. I think he’s our SP4 or SP5 (depending where you slot Roark).

traderkirk said...

Here's why Robles for Bumgarner is a horrible idea. Give the Giants Daniel Johnson instead.

And where do you get the idea that the Nats don't trade their prospects. I wish that were the case. Giolito, Reynoldo, Pivetta, Ray and Luzardo would be awfully nice to have right about now wouldn't it?

SuburbanSteve said...

Dezo - Thank you for giving more than lip service to Howie. I find it difficult to believe we haven't pushed back further on this point, but aged veteran with major injury on the comeback is iffy at best. I like that we are talking to LeMahieu if we aren't ready to give Garcia or Kieboom a try...

sirc said...

I like Jordy Mercer for 2b. He can play all infield spots well, is fairly patient and has a good contact rate. I also believe that he will come at a much lower price than the other 2b options and possibly on a 1 year deal. He isn't great but he is pretty good and an upgrade over Difo and a decent placeholder one year.

DezoPenguin said...

@Ole PBN: Gah! That's the second time this offseason that I've outright forgot that Ross existed. I mean, I'm not happy with him being SP4, and only meh with him being SP5, but he's a good SP6 option and gets rid of my "Fedde SP6 makes me nervous" problem, and if we sign two SPs Ross's existence means Rodriguez is available as another possible 'pen reinforcement.

@Steve: Yeah; Howie COULD be fine, but we know from just last year how much of a problem counting on someone to make it back from a major injury rehab could be a problem. And above all, Wilmer Difo is strictly a competent glove to serve as a general short-term replacement/defensive sub around the IF, absolutely not a starter, and giving him 450 PA again is a sign things have gone horribly wrong.

Marwin Gonzalez would probably be the perfect addition, able to play all over the field (even SS, in the past) and wield a league-average or slightly better bat in either a supersub role or as a full-timer if one of the others went down. Unfortunately for the Nats, he's a bunch of other teams' perfect additions, too. Jed Lowrie would be a good choice, but there's the risk of injuries and age with him as well, plus guys who deservedly make All-Star games don't come cheap, even old ones on 2-year deals. LaMahieu is probably going to get overpaid, Solarte lost his bat last year, Mercer is barely better than Difo over the past couple of years. Cabrera might be an okay choice--he can still hit and isn't completely lost on defense, but he's basically a healthier Kendrick who doesn't hit as well. Murphy's bat came back, but I'm not sure he can even fake it at 2B any more and might be better off just going full-time to a 1B/DH job where he can still hit well enough to justify a job. Josh Harrison had a lousy year last year, but if it's thought to be just a blip he might be okay...Descalso is a bad player unless he's playing AGAINST the Nats, so if he signed with us he'd probably collide with Soto and Rendon going after a popup and put them both out for the year. (...yes, I'm still bitter)

Apparently Corbin met with the Phillies, the Yankees, and us this week...the expected suspects.

BxJaycobb said...

I actually wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Nats sign Marwin Gonzalez. He is precisely what they need, and one of the Nats biggest flaws over last few years is they are insanely inflexible as a roster (I.e. they have very few guys who can play multiple positions and very few platoons compared to the teams that win.....this is a VERY under-discussed topic Rizzo is incredibly old school in this respect and behind the curve on that trend in winning baseball as well as the trend towards crazy awesome bullpens and lighter starter workloads.) I’m not saying that trend is absolutely the right way to go. I think a lot of the time these managers pulling starters who are doing great in the 3rd inning of a playoff game is idiotic and over the top, and also over the top to obsess over matchups when one player is just better than another player. Anyway, whatever philosophy you subscribe to, marwin gonzalez is the type of money spend that the Nats have to do if they’re letting Bryce go or I’m going to be pissed. Letting Bryce go is a perfectly fine course of action. Letting Bryce go and signing wade Miley and no more offensive pieces and calling it a day is not an ok course of action.

@Harper: I’m not categorically against trading Soto or Robles. But trading one for Bumgarner is sort of insane. Now, if you’re talking instead about somebody like Corey Kluber (3 years of control correct?) then that is far less crazy to me. Bumgarner simply is not good enough and dependable enough right now. Again, were not “never Robles!” least I’m not. If the Rays were like “want Blake Snell for Robles and Kieboom?” I would pull the trigger in one second. Sure. But not Robles for Bumgarner. (Side note: what’s the trade market on Marcus Stroman these days? I’ve always thought he could become a beast in the NL.)

Froggy said...

Nats must make a play for Cervelli.

Ole PBN said...

Interesting how Ronald Torreyes is heading to the Cubs for cash or a PTBNL. Of all the names floated around for INF bench depth (Mercer, Harrison, AsCab, Descalso, etc.), Torreyes is just as good, if not better IMO. I wonder if the Nats were even in on this guy, or if a player to be named later was "just too much to part with"? Hate seeing these guys slip through the cracks for practically nothing in return. While we don't know much of Rizzo's negotiations, it is frustrating seeing stuff like this nonetheless.

von_bluff said...

Speaking of Rizzo's negotiations, did they ever release who that PTBNL was the Cubs were giving for Murphy?

SM said...

Why the sudden obsession with acquiring a 2nd baseman?

Previously, the focus was on the supposed "sucking chest wound" at catcher. (It's merely a suppurating wound with the acquisition of Suzuki.) And starting pitching, what about that? Isn't another top of the rotation guy an absolute necessity? The bullpen has to be shored up, too, doesn't it?

Holes everywhere, some much bigger than others. To fill them, the Nats either slash and burn what remains of a relatively barren farm, or spend for free agents.

One problem is that there aren't enough trade assets on the farm to acquire the pieces that could even remotely turn the Nats into a prohibitive championship favourite. The other is the Lerners' reputation for proverbially throwing around nickels like manhole covers.

If the Nats re-sign Bryce, that's one thing. If not, spend available resources the team's biggest needs--starting pitching, in my opinion--not on a 2nd baseman. (Besides, Carter Kieboom--right now--is better than half the names mentioned on this site.)

DezoPenguin said...

@SM: I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm discussing 2B options because they're interesting. In my summary post above, I list the Nats' four top needs: 1) SP3, 2) SP4, 3) 1B/PH, 4) 2B.

Items 1-3 are boring. We absolutely need one more high-quality SP, we know it, Rizzo knows it, sports media knows it, or we're not competing in 2019. We probably need a second guy on the Gio Gonzalez level, whether Joe Ross magically becomes him or we get him from outside the organization. And the latest equivalent of Adam Lind or Matt Adams is an obvious need and there are many of them out there, and it's just a question of which one Rizzo will grab and for how much.

2B is, on the other hand, interesting. Wilmer Difo is not a full-time starter at 2B. He's Danny Espinosa with less hitting upside and a worse glove. We need someone who is not Difo. It's not going to be Carter Kieboom in 2019, seeing as how Spring Training is not when prospects learn to play 2B. Maybe it'll be him in 2020, but just as maybe he'll get traded for a pitcher or something; we don't know. Howie Kendrick could be the guy, but Kendrick is coming off a big injury and we just saw last year what happens when we blindly rely on a guy to come back from injury; we don't have enough information to say if he's going to be ready to go and bear the workload as a full-time second baseman, plus even if healthy Kendrick adds huge value to the bench. Therefore, lots of people are speculating about whether to either sign a veteran player to play 2B for one year as a stopgap for Kieboom, or to try to obtain someone who'll be a long-term solution if Kieboom is trade bait. There's many ways Rizzo can go with this (including "do nothing" if Kendrick is indeed healthy), and so it makes good discussion fodder.

Ole PBN said...

My thoughts exactly Dezo. It's not an 'obsession' SM, but a valid concern nonetheless. As I pointed out, Ronald Torreyes, who is easily better than Difo, went to the Cubs in exchange for a PTBNL or cash considerations. What?? That right there is a cheap move, costs us nothing, and we have a decent placeholder until Kendrick comes back. As of right now, I am not expecting him back until May or June. There is just no way. So we need to plan for it, otherwise 2B becomes just as much a black hole a C would have been pre-Suzuki. Hoping Rizzo sees this concern. Or I'd like an explanation why we didn't inquire NY about Torreyes.

sirc said...

Difo was essentially replacement level hitter vs. RHP in 2018 and for his limited career. A replacement level player has value when they are also decent defensively, which Difo is, and cheap, which Difo also is.

It's why I would like them to sign a short term platoon partner, namely Mercer. Mercer is well above average career vs. LHP and slightly below average vs. RHP. He is also a decent defender at SS which would presumably translate to decent 2b and 3b defense if needed.

I think he'd be cheap and possibly had for a one year deal. It would improve the team without costing them significantly.

Offensively he is about 30% more valuable than Difo overall. Against LHP he would be the Nats' first or second best hitter.

Please sign him Nats.

Matt said...

Dezo: I agree with you that not getting a primary 2B and thus (possibly) having Difo there is not good news. I'd add to your analysis that if Difo is the primary 2B then if anything else goes wrong at 3B / SS / 2B, you're looking at the next man down. I have no idea who that is/would be but am not assuming anyone good. Much as I would dislike Difo instead of Rendon for a month, I would like whatever AAAA player Rizzo digs up for Rendon for a month a lot less.

Basically, I think the Nats should avoid getting into a situation where if two not so unlikely things go wrong (Kendrick doesn't come back well; Rendon or Turner gets a moderate injury) they're in a really bad spot. One of those things you can't help (players get hurt) but one of them you can (no need to rely on players returning from major injury in their mid-30s).

blovy8 said...

Trading for a marginally better bench player does cost you a 40 man roster spot, I can see why they wouldn’t bother with that this early in the process.

Ryan said...

in what world is Torreyes better than Difo?

Ole PBN said...

Ryan. 0.3 vs 0.1 WAR last season, .281 vs .250 career BA, .375 vs .358 career slugging, .685 vs .669 career OPS, basically everything offensively except for power. The only value Difo has over him is defense, which I think can be overvalued at times due to the limited hard stats on it. It's difficult to accurately track just how valuable or poor a player is defensively, much easier to value a player's offensive prowess. Torreyes is average in the field, and decent at the plate. The opposite for Difo. The numbers, though close, do favor Torreyes. Therein lies the "world" in which you were asking about. I'm just mad that I actually decided to go look that up for you.

Ryan said...

both of them are on the same level, they can kind of fill in, they are below average, slightly above replacement level types, the Nationals already have Difo, why would they make a move that does nothing to improve that spot? the difference between 0.1 and 0.3 bWAR is basically nothing, they both had 0.4 fWAR last year. these are two similar players, that produce similar value in sort of similar ways.

Josh Higham said...

WAR is definitely not precise enough to say conclusively that a 0.3 WAR season is better than 0.1 WAR, especially since WAR is based on iffy defensive stats. It's very hard to argue compellingly that one not very good player is better than another not very good player when their skill sets don't align, and one of them is good at something that is not measured well in public data.

Last year Torreyes ran a .333 BABIP in 100 PA. Unlikely that he's even as good as his .280/.294/.370 slash line last year based just on that. He walked 2.0% of the time (and walk rate stabilizes at 120 PA, so it's pretty fair to say he has zero patience and his OBP will track his BA closely). Difo's BABIP was .269, and he's not a strong hitter so he'll probably always run a lowish BABIP, but Steamer has him at .294 next year and he's .299 for his career.

blovy's point that you don't want to give a 40 man spot in November to a guy who is not objectively better than Difo is on the money, especially given that we're all here saying "Please don't give Difo more than bench ABs."

Josh Higham said...

Yeah, giving this too much time, but:

Pretty clear from this that in more playing time, Difo has been at worst (assuming defense away) a little bit worse than Torreyes, and at best (assuming defense is under-represented in bWAR) a fair amount better, (in larger samples, with worse average, better patience, more speed, and a higher ceiling based on defensive ability).

It is almost as foolish to think Ronald Torreyes solves any problems as it is to get worked up because someone thinks that Ronald Torreyes solves any problems.