Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Last minute roster stuffers

Monday, December 13, 2021

Monday Quickie - Last minute roster stuffers

You got any last minute gifts you need to buy? The Nats do. It's been a lean year so they aren't looking at putting any big gifts under the Christmas tree. Instead they are stuffing that stocking (Stirrup? No it would fall out of that) with a bunch of cheap stuff that you might have heard of and get a couple days of play out of but really are there to make you feel like you are getting a lot. Silly Putty. A mini plastic slinky. A $5 gift card to Starbucks. Dee Strange-Gordon. A couple candy bars. An orange. Maikel Franco. Socks.

Dee Strange-Gordon 

Last Good - In 2017 at age 29 DSG hit about league average and played above average defense at 2B making him a minor plus for the Marlins

Last Year - In 2022 at age 33 DSG hit .248 / .288 / .370 across three different AAA teams splitting time between SS and 2B. 

Strange-Gordon probably isn't as bad as his last partial season in the majors showed, hitting to an embarrassing .213 SLG, if you can call that slugging. But even still he hit to 79 and 80 OPS the previous two years. The Mariners tried him in CF as that's what they needed which proved to be a mistake and since returning to the MI he hasn't been the plus fielder he was.

Maikel Franco

Last Good - Maikel's 27 year old 2020 audition with the Royals was ok, producing a line of .278 / . 321 / .457 over 60 games. His defense was ok as well. Together they put him in the mix of a bunch of decent third basemen.

Last Year - Maikel's 28 year old 2021 was an abysmal failure at the plate producing the worst season of his career by far and a .210 / .253 / .355 line. Defense was still solid though.

There's kind of a knock on Franco that he can't keep his attention or interest up leading to wildly varying production. His OPS+ the past 5 seasons are 79 - 106 - 81 - 102 - 63.  If he hits with his defense you have a useful player. If he doesn't hit he DOESN'T HIT and you don't.  There's talk the Nats could use him as a DH which is silly considering his decent defense is probably why you signed him as his offense doesn't fluctuate far enough into positive to be worthwhile.

Cesar Hernandez

I like this format so I'll put Cesar into it 

Last Good - At 30 in 2020 Cesar put up solid numbers at the plate, not trying too much for the homers and some strong defense at 2B which he is capable of doing.

Last Year - At 31 in 2021 Cesar once again swung for the fences and got his highest HR total yet (21) at the expense of everything else. His defense was solid but not exceptional

Said this a week ago but Cesar is swinging and missing a tick more in the past few years and walking a bit less and he doesn't have the overall skills to keep that from dipping him into a below average bat. It's just a tick below average though and his defense is still solid making him a kind of borderline starter / back-up in the league depending on the team. 


Cesar is the best bet to be usable. He'd be a great back-up for some team, a decent "worst bat" starter at a tough position to fill, and questionable as anything more important. Franco is a gamble. He seems to oscillate between bad and good at the plate so this year he could be good again. That's more average actually but with his decent glove that's a starter. But he tends to be very bad when he doesn't hit.  Gordon is probably still a good fielder but his bat is likely not good enough to keep him on a team in any form but PR / late inning defense.  I'm not sure why the Nats would grab him. 

There you go! Baseball news.  And if you do need a last minute gift let us know in the comments and maybe the collective audience can help you out.

24 comments:

PotomacFan said...

Well, I think I've been a good boy this year, so I'm asking Santa (Rizzo) for a major league third baseman and two mid-rotation starting pitchers. I'm expecting a lump of coal (aka another year of C. Kieboom).

Harper said...

PF - so far it looks like maybe you weren't so good. Is there like someone you are torturing in your basement?

Mainelaker said...

As long as we're asking, I'll ask Santa for a brand new bullpenšŸ™„

PotomacFan said...

Harper: No torture in the basement. I think my mother may be down there in a rocking chair, but that's another story.

Harper said...

You put her in the attic that's how they find her.

PotomacFan said...

Nah. I was making a reference to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" -- and specifically to Norman Bates' mother. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWHYmNrAFlI

That was a basement situation.

Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Has any minor league Rule 5 pickup ever gone on to generate 2 WAR in any subsequent season? 1 WAR?

After being almost silent during actual FA, we're one of the most active teams picking up fringe (and worse) players during the lockout.

Obviously there's a lot we don't know. Rizzo and the Lerners have surprised before. But my expectations for 2022 keep sinking.

Harper said...

PF - I got it. For some reason though I thought it was the attic.

Anon @ 8:15. Scott Podsednik is the only one that comes to mind. I could dig a little more but it's not IMpossible

Steven Grossman said...

Whether you think Rizzo has some major moves planned (I do) or not, there always seems to be a lack of appreciation on many boards about the intention of minor moves. For example, signing Escobar and these additional infielders does not telll you anyting about Rizzo's game plan. He may still recruit a major FA infielder (including SS).

Filling your Spring Training with has-beens and may-be's is a way to improve the odds of catching someoneto about to break out or recover. Everybody else will be in the minors by April 1 or released.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Love the silly putty, plastic slinky, socks, orange stocking stuffer comment. Takes me back to my childhood and I can definitely say my kids would enjoy those things for a few days. So funny. Still grateful for those things.

Harper said...

SG - I don't think fans don't appreciate what Rizzo is doing. I think they are just disappointed on what it portends. He's grabbing a bunch of fringe major leaguers for nothing with the hopes of yes, finding a break out or recover guy. But none of these are good enough that you'd bet on them being good long term, even into 2023. The purpose isn't building for 2023 but turning them around come trade deadline and building beyond that. Nats are looking further down stream than fans (and Soto's prime) would like

Harper said...

Dan - I'm a little young for the oranges and come to think of it we never actually had stockings. But I'm very tempted to go out and get at least a silly putty. Slinkys and 2yos don't mix though. Literally bent my current one I use as an office fidget toy in under a minute.

Dan said...

Yeah, our metal slinky was stretched by our toddlers years ago...

Steven Grossman said...

@ Harper... from my viewpoint, your answer reflects what I was complaining about. There are three possible outcomes: 1/ Rizzo pursues no big signings and several of these guys make the team; 2/ Rizzo makes one or more big signings and most of these fellows get released or play in the minors; or 3/ Rizzo has plans for some major signings but fails to be the successful bidder and several of these guys make the team by default. Regardless of which of these scenarios is the case on April 1, they will all will look pretty much the same today.

I think the better argument for scenario one is what you responeded to me a few weeks ago. Most years, Rizzo's surprises were preceeded by a certain amount of general chatter about National's inquiries and level of intended activity. Nobody knew what was coming, but there was a sense that something was. This year there is no chatter. While this is a negative inference, it does seem to make scenario 1 more likely.

It is the lack of chatter, not these low-level signings, that represent the case for scenario 1.

Harper said...

SG - Got it. I will say the signings themselves are a sign, though maybe not as telling as the lack of chatter. Implied "we're not signing anyone big" followed by a bunch of middling signings is another step on the path at least. The amount though I do find unusual. I can't recall this much dumpster diving in recent years with the exception of some bullpen arm which usually followed the "not really doing anything more here" patter.

JE34 said...

@Anon - I think the biggest splash Rule-5 guy was Johan Santana... 1999 Rule5 pickup by the Twins from the Astros, got to 2.7 WAR in 2002.

Anagramsci said...

When it comes to Expos/Nats Rule 5 history, my reference point will always be the great Nikco Riesgo

DezoPenguin said...

So what you're saying, Harper, is that we need to get *you* a new plastic Slinky for your office?

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