Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can't A Dude Take A Vacation?

Did I miss anything?

1) Wily Mo for Fruto

Jimmy finally found his grail, Wile E. Pena. We know it's been inevitable for months, since the idea of Pena in the home whites sends a tingle through Jimbo's tight leather pants.

Losing Fruto isn't a big deal. Though the Nats were starting him, his lack of command of more than 2 (if that!) pitches likely made him a reliever in the future. So, we're getting a starting outfielder for a reliever. Sounds familiar? I hope they sent Fruto's medical records along... but then again, AZ's front office isn't as feckin' stupid as Cincinnati's.

2) Adieu to Langerhans
Is he toast, injured, or just having the year from hell? Regardless, he now has the lowest batting average of any outfielder since 1901 who has as many ABs as he has.

Worse, he now has the 8th lowest batting average of ANY position player with as many ABs. The full list is here, and it's dominated by crappy catchers and shortstops.

3) Nook Logan is hotttt

Back in spring training, I said that Logan is probably about as valuable in center as Ryan Church was if he could hit about .280. (I just doubted his ability to hit .280). Since July 31, he's hit .408. Church ain't doing that. No, he won't keep it up, but he's now up to .291/ .335/ .379 over the last calendar year. If he can just learn to call for the feckin' ball, that's a CF you can live with at the bottom of your lineup.

I'm still skeptical. But at a certain point you have to trust your lyin' eyes and not the numbers way back in the past.

4) Nick Johnson's done.
After hip surgery, he's definitely out for the year, but the prognosis used the phrase 'months'. That ain't good. I really do wonder how much of this the Nationals knew when they signed Dmitri. As I said at the time, unless they had suspicions that Nick wasn't going to be back, the deal didn't make a whole helluva lot of sense.

But if they did know? Then it's not so bad.

5) Matt Chico got sent down.

It's hard to argue with it given the results he had over the last few games, yet I feel bad for him in that he's been the loyal soldier -- or at least the healthy one -- going out there every 5 days. I still wish we had more firm knowledge on whether he's fatigued or whether that 12-start stretch in which he excelled was just a hot streak.

6) I'm everywhere!

I contributed to's Face of the Franchise thingee alongside my good friend and now colleagues Jayson Stark and Bill Ladson. I can assure you that messers Stark and Ladson are wrong, wrong, wrong. I can also assure you that the person I picked might be surprising given some of the things I write around here. I know one occasional reader who will be stunned by it.

I'm sure my choice won't win, but that's probably a good thing, especially in the long run.


  • Chris,

    Glad that you are back and giving Nook some props. He has hit LHP very well (.316/.364/.349) looks like his role now is to platoon against lefties and be a defensive and base running replacement.

    Also, Shawn Hill is the real deal. If he can stay healthy, Hill has the stuff to be a dominating MLB pitcher.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/22/2007 1:09 PM  

  • I guess PT couldn’t get Dunn so he settled for Dunn Lite. Well maybe not that light. What a rocket he launched in the first Houston game. The Houston announcers were duly impressed that the wall was able to stop it.

    I suppose it might be easy to be skeptical and write off Logan’s Run as a just a bad hitter getting hot. But there is a bit a wild card in his recent performance in that he gave up switch hitting. That’s a pretty big change so maybe there’s something to it. He’ll always be a slap hitter but PT has been looking for this kind of guy to play CF since the franchise moved to DC. I think he'll hit at the top of line up though if he continues to perform.

    I was wondering if they were ever going to remove the rod NJ’s leg or wait until his career was over. When my daughter had this done, it of course leaves the bone hollow where the rod was. So it takes time, months, for the bone fill in and become solid again. They probably should have done this earlier and just written off the season.

    Kasten was actually a pretty good pick. The entire organization is Kastencentric and everyone from PT to the Lerners dance to his song. I thought the Boswell interview with Kasten was pretty good. He said he knew that the DC market was a great market based on what he saw from the Redskins fan base. He said if the Nats fail it’s the FO’s fault not the market. So be it. Success or failure lies with him though my money is that PT gets the ax first before Kasten if it doesn’t work out.

    By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 8/22/2007 2:04 PM  

  • So does this mean that you are NOW?

    By Blogger John, at 8/22/2007 2:23 PM  

  • I like Stan, but Manny Acta should be the face of the franchise. Once they start winning, I believe that he will be.

    He is widely liked, respected and projects dignity and class.

    By Blogger Joe Riley, at 8/22/2007 2:41 PM  

  • He does.

    But you said it yourself. That would be in the future. When I wrote the thing (back in May or June?), nobody was sticking out who wore a uniform.

    Zimmerman might be there in a year or two. So might Acta.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/22/2007 2:44 PM  

  • I like some of the other choices, like the Phillie Phanatic. But my favorite may be Juan Castro of the Reds.

    By Anonymous dan, at 8/22/2007 3:11 PM  

  • Welcome back. Glad to hear that you didn't have a heart attack immediately following the signings.

    Did Stan nominate you for the position to pick the face of the franchise? How does one get to be a member of such an esteemed collection of individuals?

    I'm glad that we waited until the end of the season to get Pena for Fruto, rather than trying to give up Church and Cordero to get him. If Nook keeps hitting, then Church is expendable -- do we want Farnsworth here?

    And my word verification to post this starts with "pbr".... my favorite.

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 8/22/2007 3:57 PM  

  • re: Anonymous & Shawn Hill

    Sloooow down pardner. I think everyone is getting a little carried away with these pitchers. Shawn Hill has the stuff to be a good ML SP (read: #3 starter, or like a Dave Bush without the K:BB ratio), but I don't suspect we'll ever see dominating and his name in the same sentence.

    Not trying to diss Hill, but I'm getting a little concerned with all this talk about the great young pitchers the Nationals have. The Nationals have some pitchers who have turned into solid prospects, but they still have no one on the roster who will likely ever see the front of a decent rotation. I enjoy seeing Hanrahan et al. pitch well like everyone else, but they are not long-term answers and I don't want the Nationals to try and pass them off as such.

    By Blogger RPS, at 8/22/2007 4:02 PM  

  • Amen, RPS!

    The thing is that the Nationals DON'T HAVE to pass them off for it. They have a chorus of message board posters and blog commenters (everywhere) that do it for them.

    It works in much the same way that those same groups (to include me) have defined THE PLAN! without the team having to even utter the phrase once.

    We do their spin FOR them!

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/22/2007 4:05 PM  

  • If the D-Backs were willing to give up Chris Carter for Fruto, why the heck (besides Bowden's former Red fetish) wouldn't the Nats have just made that swap.

    Besides the lack of playing time Pena was receiving (and the Nats have been talking like they too are planning to platoon Pena), is there any real difference between this trade and last year's Kearpez-Brayjewski Debacle aside from quantity of quality young pitchers the Nats are giving up this time (1/2 instead of last year's 3)?

    By Anonymous Tito, at 8/22/2007 4:21 PM  

  • Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I don't really know why people refer to the Kearns/Lopez deal as a debacle or anything near. I mean, I [i]do[/i] know why, seeing as Kearns would be doing mighty fine to have a .400 SLG at this point and Lopez has generally stunk up the joint. But if it's July 14, 2006, I make that trade again.

    And again. And again.

    By Anonymous Basil, at 8/22/2007 4:26 PM  

  • Amen on that one too!

    This bullpen sure could use a Gary Majewski. We might have even more wins!!11! ;)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/22/2007 4:29 PM  

  • Now what wouldn't be a debacle is making a run at ARod.

    In short:

    (1) The FA market for the next two off seasons is extremely thin. How thin? AJones, Rowand, Hunter, Dunn, Teixeria, and Furcal. On the pitching side, no one this offseason, and Sheets, Sabathia, and Santana next season.

    (2) The Nationals need a star. Plain and simple. Building from the bottom-up is the right thing to do, but sometimes you have to throw that Angel on the top of the tree before it is trimmed (why? Uhh...moving on). Bottomline, how great would it be to open up the new stadium next year with the best player in baseball in uniform? Not to mention the prospects of him breaking Aaron's record in several years.

    (3) Doesn't hinder the Plan; they have the money.

    I don't think they should pay him 8/240 like he wants, but offer him 7/175 (what amounts to a 4yr extension of his current salary), let him play SS, and try and sell him on being the King of D.C., the leader on a young team. I'd much much rather that signing than giving Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter 80-90+ million.

    This all assumes he would even consider coming here, which I doubt, but I'd like the Lerners to at least sit at the table even if they fold immediately.

    By Blogger RPS, at 8/22/2007 4:54 PM  

  • it would likely take more than 7/175.

    Even if they DID offer him that...

    The Yankees would easily match that because they're still getting money from Texas -- a subsidy, if you will -- if he never exercises the out in the first place.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/22/2007 4:59 PM  

  • (whispers)

    C'mon Jim -- there would be no bigger man in this town if you brought in Alex Rodriguez to play short.

    You want to climb into the same league with the Redskins? Do It!!!

    Maybe he'd sign if his President ordered him?

    By Blogger Sam, at 8/22/2007 5:01 PM  

  • I have to brag:

    I called it, I called it! (which isn't actually a good thing) I said Nick's injury might be worse than we know and so that's the reasoning behind Dmitri, and there it is.

    All this really means is Nick won't return till around the all-star break at best, Dmitri will hit .285 with 17 HRs and 88 RBI, but his defense will be much better. Average or even close to above average relative to his peers.

    Can the "Big Donkey" play 1B???

    By Anonymous fa-NATS-ic, at 8/22/2007 11:30 PM  

  • Dmitri Young's defensive numbers haven't improved one bit.

    He's giving back so much on defense, that he's probably below average overall (slightly) relative to other NL 1B.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/22/2007 11:33 PM  

  • Initially it’s a physical set back for NJ. But ultimately it’s better physically for him to not have the rod and screws in there. It’s probably also better for him psychologically to know the bone is healed and like it was before the injury and remove any chance of further complications. I just hope he pushes himself harder this offseason than he did last year to get ready for the season. My impression was from the ST interview he just did soft type training to rehab like swimming which was a bit disappointing.

    Just out of curiosity for the statheads, if Young’s BA falls back to his career norm of .280-.300, how much real statistical difference is there between Church and him? It looks like a whole lot of nothing. I say that not because I’m a big fan of either player but more from the angle of how they’ve been treated/embraced by the FO. And couldn’t Acta’s criticism of Church, that the team needed more offense from a corner OFer also be applied to a corner infielder and Young?

    By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 8/23/2007 8:12 AM  

  • regarding Shawn Hill: I know this is a big IF, but if he ever stays healthy I think he can become as good as Brandon Webb. Hill's sinker is one of the best in the game and his numbers this season (albeit a small sample size) are comparable to Webb's the past two seasons. Again, IF Hill stays healthy and keeps this up, he would be considered a top-of-the rotation pitcher.

    as per a statistical difference between Dmitri and Church if DY goes back to his normal .280 average ... probably not much. But the main difference is attitude. Dmitri seems more like a team player, one that enjoys playing and keeps everyone loose. Church seems much more feeble minded and pouts too much for me. Ideally, a team would want power from 1B and corner OF and I think the Nats will get that in a couple of years from their minors. DY is just a stop gap until these kids make it up to the show (whomever they will be).

    By Anonymous Eric, at 8/23/2007 11:18 AM  

  • What makes Webb so successful isn't just the sinker -- which moves a lot more than Hill's -- but his secondary pitches. The changeup and curve REALLY keep the hitters off balance.

    Take a look at their K rates. Webb gets a lot of groundballs, but he also misses more bats than Hill period.

    Hill COULD have a season like Webb's, but to expect it, especially when he can't stay healthy, is definitely more hope than anything.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/23/2007 11:25 AM  

  • By Blogger Sneakers hobbies, at 10/29/2009 8:57 PM  

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