Nationals Baseball: October 2020

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Purge

The Nationals are moving on.  Yesterday they declined the options for five veterans of the World Series team; Eaton, Kendrick, Sanchez, and new acquisition Eric Thames. The Nats also didn't come to early deals with Zimm, Doolittle, or Suzuki, as well as Brock Holt and Asdrubal.  

Eaton and Sanchez were no-brainers as their performances didn't warrant their options of 10.5 million and 12.5 million respectively.  Thames also was not likely to deserve his raise to 4 million for 2021. Kendrick if healthy should be worth his number (6.5) but given his injuries this year and his age the Nats didn't feel like betting on it. 

What's the most likely scenarios here? 

Zimm -  If Zimm wants to come back at some super low rate (last year he was essentially paid 4 million - 2 million for a buyout and 2 million more in contract), I'd imagine the Nats would take him back. But we're likely looking at 1-2 million. My guess is he takes that or failing that - signs a minimum contract just to wave to fans for a few games in April. I can't see him going anywhere as an inability to play a full season more than one time since 2013 (2013!), a middling 2019 at the plate and no defense, and not playing in 2020 means no one is going to offer him anything. 

Kendrick - Howie likes it here by all accounts and the Nats like Howie. But I think Howie is going to get his money if it's out there and I think an AL team would be smart to give him 5 million a year to DH, something I can't see the Nats doing. I imagine the Nats are looking in the 3-4 million range in total so that'd be no more than a contract for 2 million given the 2.25 million dollar buy out. (or else you'd just keep him).  This depends on the market

Doolittle - Doolittle is another one that loves it here but how much the team wants him back is a question. They need reliable pen arms and Sean can't be considered that right now. Relievers are a little too highly valued now so I'm going to guess someone out there will give him something like 3+3 and that'll be enough to pull him away from the Nats who will be more like 1+4 with a lot of performance options on the 1. 

Suzuki - the Nats appear to be moving on and Suzuki is a place holder starter.  The Nats appear to want to go with Gomes and see what else they got (or maybe go for a Realmuto?) not have another year of sort of platoon.  Suzuki has become a vagabond in the second half of his career and catchers are always needed so someone is going to give him 6-8 for two years and there he will go. 

Sanchez - Anibal is a tough one. The Nats could really use him just to eat up innings given the lack of confidence in their 5th starter options and questionable health of Strasburg. I imagine they offer him something like 3 million for a year (with the 2 million buyout). The question is whether a better market is out there for him given the poor 2020 showing. My guess is not given that ATL got him for 1 million at three years younger. (Although it was after 3 subpar years - not one).  I think he comes back on the cheap

Thames - gone. The Nats don't linger on these types. He might not be in MLB next year at all. (and honestly with the virus likely to still be around would probably be better off heading back to Korea) 

Holt - I don't like Holt, the type of mediocre scrappy white player who has more fans than hits, which gives me an unreasonable fear he could be back. But given he likely signed for something around 100K and they didn't work hard to keep him, I do have hope.

Asdrubal - Asdrubal is extremely useful, and doesn't seem to overvalue himself but he, like Suzuki, goes where he can get paid and play and I think some other team will give him more than the Nats, who are likely to give long tryouts to Kieboom and Garcia.  Harrison is already back as their acceptable part-time back-up. AsCab would be overkill. 

Eaton : The Nats aren't going to go just with Stevenson full time. But I'm not sure if they go for a big upgrade, veteran presence with Stevenson getting some time, or Stevenson first as part of a bigger rebuild.  None of these plans though include Eaton.

In the end my projections 

Back : Sanchez

Back if he wants to come back : Zimm

Back if the market isn't too high (and I don't think it will be) : Kendrick 

Gone : Everyone else, though the should really think about keeping AsCab. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Josh Harrison is back! Woo?

 Josh Harrison was re-signed by the Nats. One year, one-million, which is essentially the entry level "you are better than a minor league contract" contract.

Harrison was perfectly fine as a back-up 2B/3B/1B/Corner OF? wha? type.  His defense is decent enough that he can replace someone that is bad and be an upgrade (Zimm at first? I'd say Soto but why the hell would you ever be pulling Soto for defense. I don't care if he is a statue - like goes out into the outfield dressed in a Tanooki Suit, presses down and B and literally turns into one - he's too good at the plate. Are you insane?) And his bat was average (.278 / .352 / .418) which for a back-up 2B man is good! 

Is any of this sustainable? He probably won't hit that well but the terrible 2019 year does look like an aberration.  Expect like an 85-95 OPS+ type year (that's like below average but not enough to drive you crazy if the player has a limited role. The fielding seems more likely to continue which is a nice thing to have given that the Nats are likely to press Luis Garcia into a larger role and he was shaky on defense this year* Also given he played a decent corner OF maybe that gives the Nats a little leeway to let Eaton go and replace him with a lummox who can hit (or to take out Eaton late in games) 

Fine move. Doesn't move any needles though.

The Nats are also cleaning the house in some ways with staff. The let Chip Hale and Paul Menhart go so Davey could add some handpicked guys. Seems like we was given that leeway when he got extended. We'll see how that works. More curious is Kevin Long being let go, then brought back.  It looks like he wanted another job that didn't come free for him.

*Overall Garcia's minor league evaluations read a little like "this guy should be good on defense" with no more discussion. Given that a struggle at the major league level isn't surprising. But I also wouldn't write him off as a good defender yet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday Night World Series Post

 I'm for the Dodgers. Pretty simple

1) The Rays beat the Yankees and there fore deserve to get beaten into a bloody pulp. I don't buy into the "at least we lost to the guys that won" stuff. They beat me. They are bad. They should lose. 

2) I have a friend that's a Dodgers fan and it's been 32 years since they won.  That's a long time

3) Yes I know the Rays never have won. They've also been around 10 fewer years than the Dodgers have been without a title. 

4) Rays have that stupid giant logo hat

5) Rays efficiency baseball has made the game less fun for me to watch.  Not having starters? Shifting ruining the classic lefty bat as well as making me unable to know off the bat whether something is a hit or not when watching on TV? Not paying these guys any real money? No thank you.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Monday Quickie - Who ya got?

 OK, ok. I've been slack.  We're just going to have to deal with this as the new reality for a while because time is not kind. (not like I'm getting old, though I am - slower than you, but still - but in the not a lot of time when you are watching kids in school time). I'll try to figure out something that fits better - even if it' sjust one long post over the weekend or stream of conciousness stuff. 

Anyway, the Championship Series are here and it's hard for me to give a damn. I guess I'm rooting for the Dodgers because I don't really have anything against them unlike the still using a racist chant owned by a mega-corp Braves, destroying the game by trying to squeeze out every win regardless of the enjoyability of the method Rays, and the cheating cheaters Astros. 

Your mileage may vary. 

As far as former Nats out there pickings are slim

  • The Dodgers have Blake Treinen (and unofficial Nat Joe "why am I still on the mound" Kelly) 
  • The Braves have brief Nat Mark Melancon. They had Matt Adams but he sucked and was released. They had Tommy Milone and he sucked and was released
  • The Rays have no one I don't think 
  • The Astros have Dusty. Brad Peacock was also there but got hurt.