Nationals Baseball: Traded

Friday, July 30, 2021


 This blog has been traded to the Oakland A’s for an 12 yo ready to start a daily blog next year as part of a class assignment.  I hear his writing is a little rough but I get it.  Nats can’t be expected to pay my 0$ salary forever. My performance, while BOY* worthy for most of the contract has been off this year. But im a professional so I’ll do my best.   

On to today’s news;  Montas looked sharp last night… 

Bah of course the news is all the deals which I will get to but it’s a vacation recovery day so I’ll get to it but maybe not in the morning 

*blogger of the year


Nattydread said...

It would depress me almost as much as Max's leaving if you decided to shut down this blog. Please don't give up now*. Your analysis --- and that of the small circle of wanabees who append comments --- endlessly enhances my appreciation of the Nats.

Having said that, Rizzo certainly outdid himself this time. That West Coast trip and the embarrassment in Baltimore must have set him off.

*Should you elect to end this, do it in the middle of the off season, quietly, not midst the tear down of the 2019 champions.

billyhacker said...

Yeah, agree, please don't sell out to a 12 year old...

Mr. T said...

Enjoy the west coast, Harper. Maybe you can help get the A’s over the hump just in time for their move to the happiest place on earth.*

*Vegas, baby!

Anonymous said...

Unless the 12 yo is really, really good. A prodigy. Einstein.

Steven Grossman said...

Let me also vote for your continuing as a Nats blogger. I have been reading the fan comments responding to the trade stories (in MLBTR and WP). The level of ignorance and illogic among our fans is appalling--they understand nothing about roster construction, the need for cheap controllable players to balance off the star salaries, and that you can't make people stay just by offering the money you have rather than the money they want (e.g. Rendon, Harper). Most appalling of all is the young players are being assessed as worthless despite their youth and inexperience. My recollection is that Scherzer was nothing special the first few years of his career.

All this tirade is meant to say--those of us who have some knowledge about the game really need an intelligent blog to read and a forum where we can trade insights with you and our peers. Harper, you are appreciated.

G Cracka X said...

I veto the “Harper to the As for a BTBNL*” trade. I mean, at least give us the next Boswell or the next Dave Cameron. Rizzo usually gets better value in trades than this!!

Seriously though, I do hope you keep blogging. I started following the team in 2012, so I’ve never seen what it’s like to root for the Natinals.

*Blogger To Be Named Later

Ole PBN said...

@Steve - I understand your point and generally agree. Missed the mark on the Scherzer analogy. While not MAX early in his career, he at least had the pedigree of being the 11th overall pick in the draft. I think fans are generally upset that two fan favorites just disappeared over night, whether it’s logical or not. Most fans root for their favorite players, not the team that allocates resources negotiates well-constructed contracts. I’ll say that I’m a little disappointed in the return for both players. I truly thought we’d get more.

And by “more” I don’t mean more players. We got plenty. Plenty of “meh” IMO.

Chas R said...

It's a new Nats Era Harper and new Era for your blog!

Jon Quimby said...

They're prospects, so we'll have to see, but it looks like we got a legit starting catcher who is ready right now and a solid #3 who will be ready at the start of next year. Both are young enough to have upside and are far enough along that there's almost no chance they aren't at least major league contributors. Maybe, I'm misreading, but that's my read on what we got. I think we did great in this trade.

I WISH we had done something similar when we lost Harper. It would have been nice to have gotten back a prospect or two.

Jon Quimby said...

Where do I cast my ballot for Harper as Blogger of the Year?

Anonymous said...

@Harper I want to add my voice to the chorus of appreciation here, Harper. Other than a few major newspapers, this is the only website I check every day and I really appreciate the content and the community that you're delivering on a day in, day out basis.

@OlePBN, I really don't think you're right. It's true that the surplus value would have worked out to net a single FV60 prospect (and maybe 1-2 40s, but def not more than that), but there are just very few FV60+ prospects on contending teams. And Max's no trade limits it even more by nixing the Rays and Mets and possibly others.

So, narrowing to the set of teams that was publicly in on Max with his blessing (LAA, LAD, SFG, SDP, BOS), what you're really saying is that Max+Trea should have gotten Abrams from SDG or Luciano from SFG. Now, maybe that was on offer, and maybe the team would have been better off going in that direction. But those players are at least a year farther away from the majors than the players we got from LA and with the middle infield FAs available in the next couple years, getting an above average catcher and an above average SP -- even if the most likely number of all star appearances between them is zero -- seems to me to be the right call.

Like I said yesterday, the only thing that's really bothering me is that we didn't send money with these deals, especially to the dodgers. We should have been able to buy up the 3rd and 4th prospects in that deal, and it would be a terrible omen about the post-WS Lerners if they didn't offer. I'm hoping the dodgers irrationally refused but I don't think that's particularly likely.

Kubla said...

@Ole PBN

In 2019, I was moving back to DC. When I came up to look at apartments, I made a point to go to a Nats game because Scherzer was pitching against the Marlins. The Nats' record was trash at the time, so I was worried there would be a fire sale and this was my last chance to see Max. It was an unremarkable game for him, 6 Ks and 1 ER on 7 hits over 6 innings, but he left with a 2-1 lead until Rainey and Barraclough combined to lose it. The loss dropped them to 22-32. We all know what happened next.

This year I still didn't feel terribly comfortable going to another game yet, but if he was still here when he got to 3000 Ks, I was going to take the risk and get tickets to the game where it looked like it would happen. Every time they rose a little in the standings it felt a bit more likely, so every loss really hurt. Injuries really took the wind out of their sails, and the writing was on the wall even before that sweep at the hands of the O's.

It makes sense that they traded him — giving up the potential returns for sentimental reasons would be a terrible idea from a soulless automaton perspective — but it sucks that Nats fans will miss out on that moment. I am sure at this point he is a lock to be a hall of famer and probably will wear a curly W regardless of if he gets one or more additional Series wins with the Dodgers (or somewhere else), but part of me wanted him to play out his career here and give people a reason to come to games. I'm still glad I got to see him pitch at least once.

DezoPenguin said...

Allow me to add to the chorus of appreciation for the work you've done over the years, Harper!

As to the trades...well, it had to be done. We weren't going to win the division this year barring a miracle (and looking at this Phils series, with two epic ninth-inning choke-jobs stealing the sweep, it looks more like the miracles are running the other way) and as Rizzo pointed out himself, those expiring contracts weren't going to be with the team come the offseason anyway. If there are players we want back among that group, we can offer them FA deals along with anyone else, and if, say, Max or Hudson has warm fuzzy feelings about being a National they can sign those deals. Losing Trea hurts, but the value we got back seems fine for the deal (for all the howling on fansites, I don't see a lot of professional commentators arguing otherwise--see, eg. Ben Clemens and Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs). Gray and Ruiz were the Dodgers' #1 and #2 prospects, and now they're immediately our #1 and #2 prospects and Carillo probably cracks our top ten as well. Ruiz projects as a good-to-star catcher, Gray as a #2-3 starter (basically 2019 Corbin), and Carillo as a high-leverage bullpen guy, with Casey probably org fill or an OF4 type. That's worth a year and two months of a very good but very expensive SS.

Given our sudden depth at catcher with Ruiz and Adams plus Barrera playing well, Gomes needs to be added to the sell list by the end of the day and current rumors suggest that he will be. Rumors further suggest that Harrison will *not* be traded; if so then Rizzo needs to ink him to a 1-2 year extension immediately so that he can serve as a 2B/3B/LF/utility+mentor guy. Which, I think, leaves our 2022 club looking like this right now:

C - Ruiz
1B - Bell
2B - Garcia
SS - ?
3B - Kieboom
LF- Stevenson
CF - Robles
RF - Soto

Bench - Harrison, Adams/Barrera, ?

SP - Strasburg, Gray, Corbin, Ross, Fedde (with Cavalli probably getting a late-season audition)
RP - Finnegan, Espino, Rainey, Suero, Voth, Carillo, McGowin, Machado

There's some wiggle-room there (for example, if Kieboom goes back to SS with Harrison as starting 3B, or if Espino wins a rotation job as he's put up the best numbers of our parade of #5s this year). And I think the rest of this year is going to help determine where we stand on Garcia, Kieboom, Robles, and Stevenson. If Rizzo and ownership think they can make a stand in 2022, then there are FA moves to be made: the typical one-year fliers on a couple of bullpen guys like Hudson, or a Schwarber-like deal for a LF type, and we need to figure out what to do about shortstop, and knowing the Nats they're going to be looking for a high-end SP to plug into the rotation, though the Stras/Corbin situation hampers that (so much riding on Strasburg having a successful return from TOS).

Anonymous said...

Definitely sad not to be competing this year. That said, it was time (arguably overdue after last season). Rizzo made magic in the past with a thin farm system, but it's empty today (honestly, far emptier than it should be even with the last trades).

Speaking of which - is it player development or scouting? How can we be so good at evaluating MLB / higher MilB talent but so bad at building our own or drafting it? I assume it's more to do with scouting than coaching, in which case can we bring in better pitcher scouts?

Chaos56 said...

Harper, that post may put the "soulless automaton" moniker to rest.

I was worried going into yesterday that Rizzo had had so little practice actually selling off that it was starting to look like the market might pass us by which would have been the worst outcome. I think this has been a great set of trades both on the guys who get a chance to actually be in the playoffs by leaving and the wide-open opportunities the guys coming in have. Granted, I'm a homer and a Rizzo-er but I'm pretty happy with the past 24 or so hours.

SM said...

Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
For Harper, your sorrow, is not dead.

Like the theoretical million monkeys on a million keyboards eventually producing Hamlet, enough 12 year-old blogging prospects will eventually produce another Harper.

PotomacFan said...

Let me chime in with much appreciation and high praise for Harper's work. This is the only blog that I follow, because the discussion is sophisticated, folks respect each other, and folks even admit when they are wrong. I'm predicting that the blog will be more interesting than the Nats in 2022.

SM said...

I wonder:
If the Lerners/Rizzo had decided to drive a stake into the team's heart and stuff its mouth with garlic, what could the Nats have received in a trade for Soto?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Soto + $$$ for Franco + one of their 50s?

Other than that, I don't know if there's a fit. It's almost impossible to put together a prospect package that's worth enough for 3+ years of Soto.

Dmitri Young said...

Yes, thanks Harper.

W. Patterson said...

These paeans to Harper don't usually show up until after the season. Does that mean we're throwing in the towel?

Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

It ain't over now, 'cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me? Let's go! Come on!

I was raised a Dodger fan and now I guess I can only with Max and Trey well - for the rest of the season, and next, respectively.

And best to the Nats.

P.S. - I can't wait to see Schwarber take a swing or two to the short porch in Boston, or the Green Wall. With his speed he might stretch the Wall hit into a double.

ExposNats said...

Some good analysis on players from the Mad Max Turner trade

Cautiously Pessimistic said...


Thanks for laying out next year's lineup. It makes me feel a heck of a lot better knowing that we'll likely go after a FA SS (there's just so many this offseason), and then it's a matter of picking up a SP and a LF and we're arguably looking at contention again. Next year may be too optimistic, but 2023 with a couple more moves and maybe a diamond in the rough appearing from the minors, this could be a great team again.

If I had my way, Nats would sign:
1. one of Seager/Story/Baez/Correa/Semien (I'm high on Semien and he's older therefore cheaper)
2. a solid pitcher, though not awe inspiring, like Cobb/Duffy/Davies
3. an older OF like Dickerson or Pham
4. and if Kieboom doesn't look like he's stepping up, go after Bryant and dump salary elsewhere by trading Corbin

It's a lot of moves and still would likely leave payroll questions around extending Soto, but that immediately puts them into contention

Ollie said...

@ DezoP, I'm holding out hope they splash around in free agency. Think how Stras recovers, Corbin figures out his pitching will play a huge role in that decision, since rebuilding the rotation would basically double the cost of building next year's squad. I'll hold out hope for a reunion with Schwarber and Scherzer, and maybe adding Bryant to lock down 3rd/LF, but be realistic about the low odds of that happening.

Anonymous said...

Did Max sign an extension? Figured with LA's luxury tax issues there's a window to get him back next season.

DezoPenguin said...

@Cautious -

If nothing else, the fact that there are five high-end FA shortstops in the market this year suggests that looking into that market would yield a lower price than a Turner extension or post-2022 resigning; personally I'd prefer Correa just because of his age; I like Semien, too, though I do wonder because this is only his second year in his career with an over-100 wRC+ (admittedly it's two out of the last three, plus his D has definitely improved from where he was in his early As days to become a genuine plus). Story and Baez's batting slumps and Seager's injury history make me a little more worried.

Depending on what he'd cost and how many years would be involved, going for Bryant as Plan A might also be a valid choice. He could cover 3B or LF depending on team need, and with his bat at 3B we could afford to go cheaper or glove-first at SS, plus a Schwarber type in LF (or as you suggest, someone like Dickerson or Pham)--basically "functional competence."

A lot relies on the kids, though, especially since it looks like the rotation won't be able to carry the team the way it has in some years.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

Hmmm not loving the haul from the Gomes/Harrison trade. Only Millas looks like he might contribute on the major league roster, but he's yet another C. Looks like all 3 are just farm filler for future trades and hopefully getting a lottery ticket

Max David said...

Scherzer HAD to be traded. Since he received the QO offer after 2014 with Detroit he was ineligible to receive another one this year, so if he signed elsewhere they would have gotten nothing for him. Turner hurts but it was the right move. And yes I know the fact this could still have been a winnable division with all the head to head matchups left against the Mets/Phils and Braves, this team wasn't going to do anything in the playoffs and were a likely sweep, 4 games max NLDS loss to the Brewers/Giants/Padres/Dodgers anyways. I really like Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray. I would've liked to see maybe one more inclusion either Gavin Lux, Tony Gonsolin, or my personal preference Dustin May, even out until the second half of 2022 with TJ surgery, but it was a good move.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened! Thank you Max & Trea!

Anonymous said...

@Cautiously Pessimistic

I agree it's a disappointing haul. Would have rather the headline 40/45 prospect be another arm instead of another catcher.

But rental, non-star position players are tough to get value for at the deadline, so I think Rizzo just did the best he could, and I"m glad he got value for everything.

I'm not sure if we'll be able to complete a quick retool, but Rizzo played this week pretty much as well as he could have to give us a chance at it.

DezoPenguin said...

Trader Rizzo strikes again. He actually managed to get the Cardinals to take Lester! Which, honestly, even if it's for cash considerations or a guy who'll never play above high-A has got to be counted as a win.

Mark Zuckerman (the MASN reporter) retweeted a short write-up from Melissa Lockard on the prospects in the Gomes/Harrison deal which seems pretty positive: A little surprised they went for another C, but I have to say, in the space of 48 hours catcher went from a sucking chest wound in the organization to a position of strength (especially considering Last Trea Standing Barrera's generally positive performance in the bigs this summer).

(And while I was typing this, I learned the return for Lester is Lane Thomas. He's not good or anything, but he's a fifth outfielder type, and teams need fifth outfielders.)

G Cracka X said...

Nats got what, 10 prospects or so? Would be neat to see them rank ordered

DezoPenguin said...

Of course, every prospect board is going to be different, but Eric Longenhagen's The BOARD over at fangraphs ranks 'em this way (# in parentheses is the overall rank within the Nats system):

1. Gray (1) (21st in MLB)
2. Ruiz (2) (40th in MLB)
3. Ramirez (8)
4. Carillo (10)
5. Millas (13)
6. Adams (20)
7. Thompson (22)

The others appear to be lottery tickets/JAG/etc. in his opinion.

That's not half bad-four of the top ten prospects in the entire system are fresh additions at the deadline, including the top two.

G Cracka X said...

Thanks Dezo!

Also, there’s this from Ben Clemens about the return in the Dodgers trade:

“From the Nats’ standpoint, this feels like a fair return. Again, it’s hard to acquire prospects these days, particularly multiple top 100 prospects in the same deal. Rentals don’t fetch as much as they used to; teams have become more and more averse to surrendering future value for short-term acquisitions. In a surplus value context, the Nationals are coming out ahead, and quite frankly, there probably aren’t other teams who have multiple top 100 prospects they’re willing to trade. The game has swung pretty far towards prospect preservation, at the expense of teams looking to trade veterans at the deadline. It hurts to trade two key cogs from your championship team, but swinging one of the biggest prospect returns in terms of top-end talent since the Chris Archer trade should soften the blow.“

G Cracka X said...

Wow, just noticed that all 7 of the new “Nats Top 30” prospects are either right handed pitchers, or catchers

mike k said...

Harper, coming from someone who hardly posts anymore - I cherish this blog, still read it daily, and agree with the above posters that this is one of the only places to come from some "civilized" discussion about the Nats outside of friends. And since I don't have any friends who are Nats fans, I do enjoy coming here from time to time.

That all being said, I also agree it makes no sense to keep you on for the next few months when the Nats are bad and you'll probably just outprice us with your preposterous demand of $5, so it makes the most sense in the long run to ship you out to Cali. I heard the new kid just told a reporter he wants to be a Nats blogger for life!

The return was huge, but feels a bit light for both Turner *and* Scherzer. Turner alone should have commanded the Dodgers' one and two. That being said, I'm not sure what other team can even put together a prospect package like this, so the Dodgers probably had leverage to say "if you want 'fair prospect value' for your top three SS you need to give us Scherzer also" and this was probably better than trading both for separately for less.

Just super frustrating we lost top five players in 3B and SS in two years.

Harper said...

guys I literally say at the end that I'm going to get to the trades soon (meant to by now but you know). I am a constant. I am the North Star. I am watching Teaching Mr. Tingle at 1 AM.

G Cracka X said...

Question: do the Dodgers now pay all of the deferred money due to Scherzer? If so, that is quite a relief to the Nats!

DezoPenguin said...

Gotta say, I'm already getting sick of all the hot takes from commenters (not actual writers) on articles/boards/forums (thankfully not here) about how the Nats somehow got "taken" by the Dodgers. The most amusing-yet-infuriating one was someone claiming that the Berrios haul "proves" that the Nats were ripped off, whereas most assessments of the Berrios trade suggest that the Jays overpaid (presumably because they were in a position of need, and setting aside the fact that both the prospects going to the Twins had a downtick in performance this year (moreover, Longenhagen at least considers that both Gray and Ruiz are both higher-rated prospects than SWR and Martin, which makes the argument even sillier). Just because Dave Stewart really wants Shelby Miller doesn't mean that anyone else who can't get the same haul got underpaid.

Anonymous said...

@Dezo. I mostly agree.

By a raw surplus value calculation, we gave up more than the Twins did. But this difference isn't very large. Max's $12M remaining salary isn't that far off from the 1.5 wins you'd expect from him over the rest of the year. Trea offers a projected 2 WAR more than Berrios over the next year and a half, but comes with a higher salary, so that the surplus value differential is only like a half win.

Let's say Max being Max, and playoff structures that allow aces to have an outsized impact rounds that up (which also applies, though not as much, to Berrios), and we gave up the equivalent of 1 extra win. Using FG's estimates, that's about the value of a FV45+ prospect.

We did not get an additional 45+ in the deal. It was more like a 40+ and 35. So I kind of do get the take that the Twins did "better" than we did.

But that's assuming these four top prospects are all equivalent and they are definitely not. One, FG at least, has a 55 on Gray and 50s on the other three, which adds $13M in expected value and basically covers the gap on its own. I mean, by FG's accounting, we actually got slightly the better deal in terms of prospect value per surplus win traded. But even if they're all in the same tier, I definitely like the two guys we got and wouldn't trade them for the two the Twins got.

TBF, I'm probably underplaying the true value of the the "playoff ace" some, if Max on his own could have gotten us a 50. But the exchanges rate on the prospect value in two deals is actually really similar. Maybe the Twins did slightly better, but it's definitely within the range where the noisy estimates of public prospect rankings and WAR projections (as compared to team's proprietary systems with their dozens of scouts and full time analysts) means that we can't definitively say one way or the other.

Ollie said...

The return from the Dodgers (on top of everything else) is a little underwhelming, but I wouldn’t say the Nats were ‘taken.’ But unless the top prospect involved, the C (Ruiz, right?) develops power and/or an arm they basically just got Jose Vidro behind the plate. Law has him as the #2 catcher in the Dodgers’ system (they’re more excited about a 19 y/o).

Worried a bit that Gray could end up a reliever because of the converted position/release point stuff. But seems like ACTUAL BASEBALL PEOPLE are also excited he’s only spent 3 years as a starter and reached the majors.

Wonder if Scherzer did nix a trade to the Padres since they have better prospects overall, especially at C and SS...

Robot said...

@G Cracka X - The rumors I'm seeing say that L.A. is taking on all the deferred cash, but i haven't been able to confirm.

Robot said...

Other sources saying just the deferred payment for this season, though, so not clear