Monday, July 30, 2007

Sketching A Plan

Just for the hell of it...

'08 estimates as we think about where we're headed next year:

Catcher: $5.3 million
Schneider, $4.9
Backup, .4

First: $10.5 million
Johnson, $5.5
Dmitr, $5

Second: $6.6 million
Lopez, ~$5.0 (arb-eligible, 3.9 this year, could be 1-2 million higher)
Belliard, $1.6

Short: $4.6 million
Guzman, $4.2
Backup, $.4

Third: $1 million
Zimmerman, $1 million (barring an extension)

Outfield: $8 million
Kearns, $5
Church, $1
Langerhans, $1.5
Logan/Watson/Whoever, $.5

TOTAL OFFENSE: $36 million

Pitching is a bit trickier.
You could have the 5 minimum guys starting rotation: Hill, Bergmann, Chico, Redding, Hanrahan (or jumble up their names with any of the other sort of low-salary stiffs we've seen far too often this year).

Let's just call it $3 million.

Bullpen: $11 million
Cordero, $6 (arb-eligible, $4.2 this year)
Rauch, ~1.5 (arb-eligible)
Rivera, .5
Wagner?, 1
Vet Lefty, 1.5
Scrapheap reliever, .5

TOTAL PITCHING: $11 million.

TOTAL PAYROLL: $47 million.

The Nationals Opening Day payroll this season was roughly $39 million.

So trotting the same lousy team out there next year will cost $8 million more.

The good news? Svrluga has tossed out some asides that the team is willing to substantially increase payroll in the coming year. He's thrown out the $70-80 million figure before. Even if you assume it's $70 million, that still would leave the Nats with over $20 million extra to spend in the offseason.

So, no, the Dmitri Young signing didn't cripple the franchise now and into the future.

But that doesn't make it any less curious given the pieces that are on the table.

And if Svrulga's report is wrong, and it's closer to $60 million? Then, maybe, that $5 million would come in handy.

Of course, if they trade Cordero (which the emergence of Rivera and Jesus Colome could allow them to do), that's an extra $5 million or so in the piggybank...


  • 36 mil for offense + 3 mil for starters + 11 mil for the 'pen=$50 million as we stand now. So in theory we could spend 5 mil a piece on two solid vets and 10 mil for a big name superstar. That would still put us on the 'low' side at approximately $70 million, and give us a shot at being competitive even in this tough division. Why can't/won't this be part of the Plan? Or is next year pretty much going to be another 'rebuilding' season?

    Bad news if the Braves get Texiera, he's still got a lot of big hits left in his bat. The rich keep gettin' richer......

    By Blogger Rob B, at 7/30/2007 1:56 PM  

  • Looks like you're making the assumption that Patterson will be non-tendered, because he'd burn up about a million and a half just by himself.

    If they're going to sign a free agent, I just hope it's a really spectatcular one, not a couple of Aubrey Huff types.

    By Anonymous Simon Oliver Lockwood, at 7/30/2007 2:41 PM  

  • Yep. I think the non-tender is probably a safe assumption at this point. ;)

    I'm with you on the Huff thing, as I've written 1,000 times before :)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/30/2007 2:45 PM  

  • Patterson who?

    Honestly, by definition of the word plan, the PLAN can not include Patterson. He will not be able to make more than 10 starts even if healthy!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/30/2007 2:47 PM  

  • Great post....I hope they really spend the money instead of screwing us. Get a big bat (maybe one who plays CF) and 1 good pitcher, I'll be very happy. I think that along with a healthy Nick (PLEASE BE READY BY 2008)and a healthy staff (who knows where we would be if the pitchers had stayed healthy) we honestly could be a .500ish team.

    By Anonymous Natsfan7, at 7/30/2007 2:58 PM  

  • don't print the playoff tickets yet! ;)

    Even if you assume that the pitching staff improves, some of that's going to be offset by the park. At best, the pitching's not going to be improved THAT much.

    Let's assume it stays the same as this year.

    Then next year, the offense would need to score roughly 170 more runs than this year to get near .500.

    Good luck with that! ;)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/30/2007 3:01 PM  

  • I think that the Nats intend to go into the new stadium with the following lineup:

    Lopez, ss
    Belliard, 2b
    Zimmerman, 3b
    Johnson, 1b
    Young, lf
    Kearns, rf
    Church, cf
    Schneider, c

    Then in the later innings Church moves to left and Logan or Langerhans comes in to play center.

    No great shakes but that would improve the offense (although at the expense of the defense, not exactly a healthy environment for a slew of young pitchers).

    By Anonymous Chet, at 7/30/2007 3:22 PM  

  • I would be surprised if the Nats don't trade either Cordero or Rausch before the end of this season.

    Trading Cordero would free a lot more cash than Rausch.

    Despite the surprising medocrity of starting staff, I would think that Nats will invest in at least 1 veteran starter. The problem is that they are ridiculously expensive (see the huge deals signed by Gil Meche, Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis).

    They also will sign 1 middle of the order outfield bat. There is no chance that the Nats head into the 2008 season with the Church/Logan/Langerhans/Fick LF/CF combo.

    With $47 million committed and $18 to $23 million per year to play with for these two spots, the Nats will not be able to sign two marquis players if the 2008 FA market is anything like the 2007 FA market..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/30/2007 3:27 PM  

  • I think Lopez in gone by next year.

    Ronnie is a much better choice. I think Chad and Rauch will be gone because of money and lack of effectiveness. Please PLEASEā€¦.FICK, Bastia, Logan all must be gone or I will be looking for a new team to follow.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/30/2007 3:53 PM  

  • As a minor league FA, is Hanrahan under team control for the normal service time period, or is he a FA at the end of this season, or does it depend what roster he's on at the time?

    And, yes, I'm getting ahead of myself.

    By Blogger Sam, at 7/30/2007 4:04 PM  

  • Unless there was some clause in his contract, he stays under team control as if he was Nats property all along.

    Same thing goes for Colome, who'll likely fill one of those empty slots.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/30/2007 4:13 PM  

  • And not even a whiff of Dodgerprospect fanboy mockery?

    You're losing your touch Needham.

    By Blogger Sam, at 7/30/2007 4:17 PM  

  • I reserve all my bitterness for club officials.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/30/2007 4:20 PM  

  • By all means, let's show Batista and Logan the door. Langerhans can go, too. But we need somebody on the bench like Fick, who you can drop at pretty much any position and who won't embarrass you with his defense. I preferred Marlon Anderson in that role, but Fick will do. And apparently the guy is a positive influence in the clubhouse, in terms of the mood, anyway.

    By Anonymous Tom Servo, at 7/30/2007 4:38 PM  

  • 1) Nick Johnson isn't coming back. If D'Meat plays one game in the OF in his Nats career, i'll eat my St. Patrick's green Nats hat.

    2) Robert Fick is not even replacement level as a major league player.

    3) Everyone's locking up their CFs. Torii Hunter's going to be the only one available. Anyone wanna bet me he doesn't end up in Boston?

    i look at the potential free agents available in the off-season, and just don't see where the Nats are going to get alot of help.

    By Blogger Dave, at 7/30/2007 4:47 PM  

  • did Ayala die?

    By Blogger Stephen, at 7/30/2007 5:07 PM  

  • Nope, but his contract expires at the end of the year.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/30/2007 5:09 PM  

  • I think they bring Ayala back. He will be a bargain signing given his experience and ability. He was out for a long time, but he is a capable bullpen pitcher and we're gonna need him if Cordero or Rauch gets shipped.

    By Blogger Rob B, at 7/30/2007 5:21 PM  

  • chris - the svrblga says ayala is under team control for next year.

    By Blogger Bill, at 7/30/2007 5:26 PM  

  • It's possible if the extension bought out his first two years of arbitration. He'd have a third year then.

    And he'll make a crapload of money.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/30/2007 5:28 PM  

  • per MLB4U on Ayala:

    signed 2-year deal worth 2.2M thru 2007 season on 1/9/06- + he receives salaries of 900K in 2006 and 1.3M in 2007- + 2005 salary: 363K
    Agent: Joe Longo Service Time: 4

    It is odd that they didn't buy out the last arb year but then again the weasels owned the team.

    By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 7/30/2007 5:58 PM  

  • What's A. Jones going to get on the FA market, and why can't the Nats afford a true superstar with all those luxury boxes and Diamond and Presidential seats behind home plate in the new park? I won't be impressed in the offseason unless the Nats pop for a $16-20 mil per year slugger. So what if it's Soriano/Carlos Lee money . . . your post shows that if they pop up to $80-90 mil they can do it no problemo.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/30/2007 7:19 PM  

  • Anonymous^, I totally agree. If your going to make us average joe fans sit 300 feet from home plate so you can jam in 78 odd luxury boxes, you better be spend money and feilding a respectable major league team Dc desveres.

    By Anonymous Natsfan7, at 7/30/2007 7:45 PM  

  • Anonymous 7:19,

    I have to think the floor for Andruw Jones is 5 for 90. Although Soriano and Lee were coming off great years and Jones is stinking up the joint, like last year, there are only going to be a few impact offensive players out there so Jones will still get his big payday.

    I'd like to see the Nationals make a run at Jones. It wouldn't be a great value signing, but they need to do something. If they dropped 20 per year on Jones and another 6-7 on a SP, that would at least create the appearance that respectability is not too far off (while still keeping them below the payroll median).

    And trading Cordero today should be a no-brainer, but I suspect it's not being considered.

    By Blogger RPS, at 7/31/2007 9:24 AM  

  • RPS makes good points. The Nats may THINK they are doing the minimum by resigning Young and Belliard. Surely they plan to make another minimilistic CF deal to keep fans in a tolerable mood.

    Most of the people I talk with want the minimum to be much higher than that. This means Andruw Jones or Adam Dunn or someone like that, plus signing all of their top draftees, even if they have to spend a million or so above slot.

    Then we will know the Nats are trying--for a decent 2008 AND for the long term. Such a new minimum would set the stage for 30,000 and higher for years to come.

    By Anonymous Ed, at 7/31/2007 10:38 AM  

  • abozygThe people who write and read this blog must have very short memories. Patterson made 31 starts in 2005 and was far and away the Nats best pitcher. He was in the top 10 pitchers in the NL in several categories, pitched 198 innings, struck out 185, and pitched 2 complete games, the ONLY Nats pitcher to have a complete game. And you ALL know that the reason he has pitched so few games in 2006 and 2007 has been due to arm injury, which is in no way his fault. (Try pitching with a throbbing arm and then criticize Patterson!) He is in Toronto now trying alternative medicine so that he can return to the rotation this season. He needs and deserves your support rather than nasty and disparaging remarks!

    By Anonymous gilsfan, at 7/31/2007 3:26 PM  

  • I love JPatt but his career is starting to be like Kerry Wood's. Always hurt and unreliable to count in your team's plans.

    By Blogger Mac G, at 7/31/2007 4:14 PM  

  • Chris,

    You missed a lot of arb-eligible guys, and/or underestimated the amount of money that they'll get. By my count, the following Nats are arb-eligible after this season:

    Lopez -~$5M sounds about right
    Cordero ~$6M sounds about right
    Church - he'll start at $2M, has a chance to come close to $3M
    Rauch - $1.5M as a minimum.
    Ayala - probably ~$1.5-2M
    Patterson - probably not much more than he's making this year, but that's still ~$1M (and he's probably worth the risk)
    Colome - probably starts at $2M
    Escobar - should be turfed/minor league deal
    Bowie - hard to project, but probably in the $1.5M range
    Wagner - not worth resigning, I'll assume he won't be back.
    Langerhans - not a very good player, but probably gets ~$1M as a first year arb-eligible player
    Redding - could get $1-1.5M
    Simontacchi - not worth bringing back at above the minimum
    Traber - probably around $0.75M, if brought back

    I get the offense coming in around $38M for the players you listed. Pitching is trickier, but assuming a bullpen of Cordero-Ayala-Rauch-Colome-Rivera-Schroder-Traber , that's about $13M more for the bullpen. Go with a rotation of Hill-Bergmann-Redding-Patterson-Bowie , and that's another $5M or so. Puts the total closer to $56M, which is about $17M higher than this season for the same group of players, and leaves only $14M to get the the $70M payroll figure. $14M isn't going to go far in the free agent market this winter.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/09/2007 8:01 PM  

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