Nationals Baseball: LESS BASEBALL PLEASE

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Max was not Max, unless you mean former MLB cup of coffee guy Max Povse (first Max pitcher that came up). Li'l Guerrero put on a show with 3 homers and despite the fact the Nats exploded with their best HR day of the year so far (two from Trea. He's reallly upping his contract demands) the Nats lost pretty handily.  All of the above should tell you it was probably more a Dunedin thing than a Max thing. He's a fly ball pitcher and usually that's fine but last night in Florida it just wasn't playing. 

The Nats go tonight and hope to pull one out facing a real pitcher pitching well vs Erick Fedde. That of course favors the Jays but Max vs the Bullpen favored the Nats and look how that turned out. 

Other notes: 

Bell and Schwarber continued their torrid pace with 1 hit to 4 Ks. Josh Bell holds a .410 OPS 13 games in which is terrible, but gives me a chance to remind you that Cristian Guzman had a .285 OPS (yes you read that right, .285) 13 games in. As bad as Bell is let's see if he can have an OPS under .500 113 games in to a season. Because who in their right mind would let someone play that much hitting that poorly? No one ever. 

The BIG news from yesterday is that Juan Soto won't be back as soon as he could be.  He's slated to play a couple practice games before coming up, so don't be surprised if you don't see him until the Atlanta series if then.  From the sound of it he's not ready to play the field yet either. He could be out for a while but Soto is precious so don't rush him.

Robles is also stuggling so people are calling for Stevenson but I don't get it. Well I get it in the "I'm tired of Robles, let's see someone else way" but Stevenson overall hasn't shown much that makes you think he'd be better than Robles in the field or at the plate. Also if you want someone replaced in the OF why not Schwarber? 

 Yadiel Hernandez is a lone early bright spot and has earned a few starts because no one else has really. Also good to see Zim, and Josh Harrison got a hit because of course he did. This years Howie-lite. 

McGowin and Espino were fine but arguably the Jays weren't trying that hard at that point and when they did have to try after the Nats pulled to 7-5, they got their runs back from Finnegan. So I'm not really taking anything from this.


Chas R said...

The Bell-Schwarber black hole in the middle of the lineup is very concerning, as is Robles' continued hitting struggles. They desperately need the pitching to be consistently good

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

Bargain basement shopping will only get you so far. If by Memorial Day the Nats aren't looking like they can turn things around offensively, it's time to sell. Unfortunately, because you went bargain basement shopping, there's not much to sell. If I'm Rizzo, I'm listening on Max, Harrison, Hand, and Corbin if he's turned it around at all (don't want to sell low). That's really all you've got that you're willing to part with, but Max alone should return at least a near major league ready prospect if not necessarily a top prospect given how the trade market has been the last couple years. And given Harrison's salary, he could command something a bit more than he's truly worth if he keeps up this pace.

I know you were more optimistic about this team's chances, Harper, but I personally am not surprised by the performance to date. It's a little worse than expected, but that can largely be blamed on Stras and Soto being out. With those two back, you're looking at a mediocre 75-80 win team. It's time for Rizzo to hit the reset button and look to build around Soto and Turner

Matt said...

CP - I basically agree.

But I'll throw in a hot take to spur discussion. I think given the state of the farm and the quality of NL east competition (esp the Braves built around young talent signed long term for well below market), I think you have to plan for a rebuild to take some time.

So, I'd eat money to unload Corbin because while you don't want to sell low, I wouldn't expect him to be good by the time things have turned around. And (gulp, making things really hot) I'd add Turner to the trade list. He's repped by Boras so you're not signing him for below market, and you could get good prospects back which might still be cheap when you're trying to be good again.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

@Matt - Totally fair. The problem with planning for the rebuild to take that long is that you're also looking at a situation potentially where Soto has no reason to stay when he hits FA. What you're calling for is similar to what the Marlins did a few years ago with Stanton and Co., and they still aren't competing.

I honestly haven't dug into it much myself, but do we know why the Nats farm is such a steaming pile of hot garbage? Sure they've traded a few prospects here and there to get players like Eaton, but in general I don't feel that the Nats have "sold the farm", their farm was just never there. Why can't the Nats seem to develop talent? Or maybe it's observer bias and most teams are this bad at developing talent? I don't know.

JW said...

I think that the best case scenario for the window that the Braves are trying to build right now for the Nats is actually to try to be the Braves to the Nats 2012-2020 window. In other words, hope to be the team that can take advantage of any down years and win the Division. I think you can build the offense around Soto and Turner. And I don't think it's a crazy hot take to talk about trading Turner either because a) there will be SSs on the free agent market, and b) there are quite a few promising young SSs in the prospect ranks across MLB right now. So there will be replacement options. But it would have to be for a really good deal.

The Mets are way more concerning to me right now. The real problem is if they can put it together to have them and the Braves as the 1-2 in the NL East for the next half decade. In which event, yes better start planning for the long(er) rebuild. The Nats could end up like the Phillies were for the past 5 or 8 or however many years. High payroll, bad results. That'd be the worst case scenario.

PotomacFan said...

Unfortunately, Max won't bring that much because he's a half-season rental. Check out what the Tigers got for sending Verlander to Houston. Not much.

I don't think anyone would take Corbin right now, even if the Nats ate most of his salary. The Nats would probably have to add a prospect to get someone to take Corbin.

Harrison and Hand are tradeable, but they would bring very little.

Not a good situation for the Nats.

Harper said...

CP - I think you also have to factor in the COVID stuff early on - health more in line with a typical year start and maybe they have a couple more wins and that's 10-10. I mean maybe.

As for the Nats farm, they refused to trade their top guys (Soto, Robles, Kieboom) so they traded a lot of depth away. That's pretty deadly to an org unless you can replenish and the Nats plans for a while were to go for big risk / big reward early. Worked out for Rendon but not for Fedde / Romero. Then in some sense they bet on the wrong horses - holding a Fedde but letting a Dunning go. They also did a terrible getting talent from later rounds. Especially hitters - went from 2012 to 2015 with the best bat developed being Andrew Stevenson. That ended up making their pitching depth the target of trades rather than a mix which might have kept the minors respectable

Egonadon said...

I'll drop another hot take: Rizzo is an overrated GM.

Harper said...

Egon - nah. He was able to be part of the first build, and then put the finishing touches on it. He was able to turn that luck and extend the window through 2019 which was good because they needed it. He has his flaws but I'd be hard pressed to name 5 GMs working over the same time frame that I was 100% sure was better than him

Egonadon said...

Harper - But look at the payroll he has had to work with. I think that can't be ignored. I will give him tons of credit for turning around our international system though.