Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Fanboy's Guide to 81 Wins

We've spent the last two weeks looking at what we got from the team last year with a slight nod to what we might be able to expect next year. So how do we go from there to putting a winning team on the field? Damned if I know. The team doesn't pay me enough (Stan, please stop post-dating the checks!). So here goes a fanboy's attempt to bump us up from meh to mediocre.

  • 1) Non-tender Felipe Lopez. I like the guy a lot more than most of you since I don't buy that whole body language crap. The guy had a bad year. It happens. I think he'll rebound nicely, but I don't want to find out if he can do it for $5+ million, and I don't want to see him at shortstop -- nor do the pitchers. See if he's willing to come back for something like 3-$10 (which he won't), otherwise, let him go. We can use that money better in other places.

  • 2) Package up Cordero and Schneider and trade them to, say, the Brewers. Milwaukee needs a closer since their Cordero is fleeing the coop and because they've complained about their previous catcher's defense. It'd be nice if they'd give up David Bush or Chris Capuano. I'm not sure that they would unless we sweetened the pot, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

    They're both ~ league average starters, and both (for the most part) give you innings and starts. Bush probably has a bit of a higher upside, but he'd cost more to acquire since he's got 1 fewer year of service time. For the sake of argument, let's say we acquire Capuano. He'll probably make about the same as Cordero, freeing up $4.9 from Schneider's contract. Capuano had a loooong winless streak, but also battled shoulder problems in his non-throwing shoulder, similar to the injury Shawn Hill faced. He's a good rebound candidate.

  • 3) Sign Andruw Jones to a 5-year Deal. I don't know what the money's going to end up looking like, but I'd probably be willing to go as high as $90 million.

    Why Jones? 1. He won't cost the team a draft pick. 2. He has a MUCH better offensive track record than Rowand or Hunter:
    Runs Created Ave, Last 3 years:
    Jones: 100
    Rowand: 82
    Hunter: 80

    Much of that is because of 3. He has a MUCH better injury history than Rowand or Hunter.

    How many times has Hunter played 150 games? Twice. Last year and back in 2003. Rowand? Twice. Last year and back in '05. Jones? The last time he played fewer than 150 was back in '96 when he got called up late in the year. He's durable, and able to play every day.

    4. He's a better defender. He might not be what he was, but that's not what the defensive stats say. He's still among the elite. Hunter is still an above-average fielder, but he's had consistent leg problems over the last 2-3 years. If his legs go, so does some of his defensive value. (Did you realize -- and this will probably be a holy crap! moment for some of you -- that Jones is YOUNGER than Hunter?)

    Now it's easy to point to his lousy season and say he's not worth it. Whatever. Zimmerman had a lousy season, and we're not going to cut bait with him. The question is, did he decline, or could there have been intervening factors? I vote for the latter.

    I'm really surprised this hasn't been trumpeted more -- maybe a testament to the man's manliness; he's not an excuse-making girl like someof our guys! -- but he played most of the season with a hyper-extended left elbow. Good luck swinging with that.

    Take a look at his monthly splits
    . It flared up in May, and he was in the tank through June. He got a cortisone shot on it, rebounded, then it looks like he started feeling it again. With the Braves in contention and a contract drive ongoing, he played through it, hurting his stats.

    Is it a permanent injury? Not likely. Could it explain his performance? Definitely. Just chalk his bad stats up to an injury, sign the guy, and pencil in the 30+ homers and gold glove defense he'll give you.

    One more note... failing signing Jones, do NOT sign another CFer. Neither Hunter nor Rowand have the track record, and players like Coco Crisp who could be trade targets are NOT going to be a meaningful improvement over just letting Church play, especially if you find a platoon partner -- perhaps even Logan -- for him. Save that money and blow it elsewhere then.

  • 4) Punt catcher. Schneider wasn't giving us anything offensively anyway, so throw out a bunch of 1-year, $1.5 million offers and see who you get. Rod Barajas doesn't get on base, but he slugs the occasional homer. Jason LaRue is a former Red who at least has a glimmer of offense in the not-too distant past. Jason Kendall is washed-up, but has a solid defensive rep (tho he'd probably command a bit more money). Mike Lieberthal can't play defense, and looks like toast, but he used to be able to hit.

    See who the Nats scouts like, offer a deal, and see who takes it. They're the pseudo back-up, giving Flores all the starts against lefties, and 40% or so of the starts against righties. He'll probably struggle with increased exposure, but it's a learning year for him, but we want it to be a year without ALL the weight on his shoulders.

  • 5) Find this year's Jimenez. If that's D'Angelo, great, but I'd prefer someone with a bit of a better glove, someone who could spell Guzman when he gets hurt (or when he starts to suck).

    Here's the full list of minor league FA. Send the scouts loose, check your files, and see who looks passable at short. This guy seems to have a so-so bat. This guy had a rep as a defensive whiz. I'll betcha $100 that this guy ends up in camp.

  • 6)Find an injury-prone starting pitcher. There are a few tempting injury-prone targets on the market. Send your scouts and medical staff over their charts and starts and see who they recommend: Jason Jennings, Bartolo Colon, Kris Benson, Freddy Garcia, Matt Clement. Some of those are probably more injured than others, of course. But check it out. If there's reason to believe that they can give you 25 reasonable starts next year, they're worth the money -- especially Jennings. None of these guys are likely to be dirt cheap, but you've gotta investigate one, and if Jennings, Benson or Colon would sign something like a 1-year $7 million deal with a vesting option, then consider it, if the docs say it's ok.

  • 7) Open auditions in spring. The invite-the-world approach can work, but AS DEPTH to a starting rotation, not as THE PLAN for a rotation. Bacsik's useful if he's coming in for 7 starts in July when Patterson goes down, not when he's starting 25 games. Other names from the minor league FA list to check out: Casey Fossum, Jesse Foppert, Brandon Claussen, Matt Riley -- again, DC's scouts are better than me! See what they've got on these guys and invite 'em -- although NONE of them seem nearly as promising as the haul the Nats got last year.

  • Ok, so where does that leave us?
    1: Guzman, SS
    2: Belliard, 2B
    3: Zimmerman, 3B
    4: Jones, CF
    5: Kearns, RF
    6: Pena, LF
    7: Young, 1B
    8: Flores/Barajas, C

    Guzman's weak up top. And that's a very right-handed lineup, but that's a pretty deep core from 3-7.

    The Nats get slight improvements from 3B and RF because of rebound seasons. And they likely get HUGE upgrades at CF and LF because of previous year's ineffectiveness. Catcher and short probably tread water, as does 2B. Overall, 4 positions would be likely to improve, and it's reasonable to project a 30-40 run improvement offensively (at least) in CF.

    Church, OF
    Flores/Barajas, C
    Jimenez-type, IF
    Johnson, 1B/PH
    Batista-type, Corner IF

    IF NJ and DY are both healthy, that's a solid bench with one of them providing a solid spark, along the lines of what Daryle Ward was able to do in '06. Church is more than capable as a 4th outfielder, playing all positions, providing solid defense, and a decent left-handed bat off the bench. I'd prefer a solid IF glove more than a bat, especially if they're going to carry a 3rd Batista-type bat. The IF, in that case, would mostly be used for his legs.

    Minor League FA for depth

    Rauch, CL
    Ayala, SU
    Rivera, SU
    Colome, MR
    Albadalejo, MR
    Schroder, MR

    IF the starters (HUGE IF!) stay healthy, that's a solid roughly rotation. And there are options to turn to for the inevitable injuries that occur -- whether rookies like Lannan, Balester or Enrique Gonzalez or some of the veteran minor league free agents who the Nats are likely to stash at Columbus.

    Rauch is likely capable of stepping in to Cordero's role without a significant dropoff. The Nats (and Bowden in particular) have always been good about assembling a bullpen on the cheap, and there will likely be plenty of depth possibilities at the back end (see: Colome and Carrasco for two examples of that).

    If we assume $5 million for Capuano, $7 million for the Jennings/Colon type and $18 per for Jones, the team's payroll is right around $73-75 million. That's a bit more than the team said they'd want to spend, but this is also, if things break right, a .500+ team with a deeper offense and "better" starting pitching.

  • How does it look? Am I an idiot? What would you change? Anyone else you think we should target?


    • i think it's a good idea in general, but i think we could get a whole lot more for chad cordero than chris capuano.

      By Anonymous Hoagie, at 11/04/2007 11:29 AM  

    • Kendall might not be a bad option at catcher. In the NL, he might put up a .340-.350 OBP. Post all-star break, he put up a .354 OBP, most of which was in the NL.

      He won't throw out many guys, but I doubt his other catching inangibles are any worse than BS's.

      BTW, Chris, your link to the defensive stats goes to Capauano.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/04/2007 1:11 PM  

    • Hoagie -- possible, I suppose. But Cordero's value is less now than it was at the deadline. He's closer to FA now and his contract has gone up. (or will go up!).

      Anon -- thanks for the link thing. Copying and pasting is hard!

      I like the Kendall idea, but I think he's going to end up making what Schneider's making. The reason I traded Schneider was to save money, more than anything. If there's a deal workable without him, and if they'll bump up payroll to mid-70s, might as well see what happens if you keep him.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 1:15 PM  

    • Overall, it looks great, but I'm still of a mind that it might make more sense to go for a major upgrade at catcher rather than CF because I think that Ryan Church will in fact be more than adequate there. Let's compare some stats.

      Name OBP SLG AVG

      Church .348 .462 .271
      Jones .342 .497 .263
      Hunter .324 .469 .271
      Rowand .343 .462 .286

      The only real advantage the other CFs bring is some increased HR production, but, given that Hunter is entering decline phase, Rowand has had some funky injuries and Jones had an uncharacteristically bad year, they might not be sure things. Oh, and, Church's HR totals were likely suppressed b/c he played 3 out of 4 major league years in RFK. Plus, he's at least a year younger than the others.

      I can see splurging for Jones, but for the Nats to pay money for anyone else would be a colossal waste of cash. Furthermore, if they lose the A.

      Best approach IMO would be to pony up for the best catcher the Nats can get. Offensively, since no shortstops are available, that's the next best position for improvement.

      By Blogger Michael, at 11/04/2007 3:19 PM  

    • Chris- I have to say that I have no emotional need to keep anyone on this tam other than Zimmerman. That is a good thing, really, since I truly do not believe anyone on this team is sacrosanct for Bowden except Zimmerman and Wily Mo, whom he spent so much time trying to acquire. Some of our players will certainly be gone before too long.

      I would love for the Nats to get Andruw Jones, but I see no chance of the team competing for his services, even if they make some offer. I am resigning myself to another year like last year, but with the second half of the season featuring some of our recently drafted pitchers being rushed to the big team.

      If we can pull it off, I'd say the Nats keep Bowden for his thrift store magic one more year, and then hand the reins to Mike Rizzo. The more other teams keep hiring other GMs, the more likely we'll be able to do it.

      In the meantime, you forgot one category of player for next year, which is the player described as a "trading chip" from the moment he he signed. One of them will be Ray King, and he will be traded. Others will not be at the deadline, making us wonder again if Bowden knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

      By Blogger Skedeebs, at 11/04/2007 3:48 PM  

    • I find it interesting that you are not willing to spend an extra $1.7 million to keep Lopez whom you believe will "rebound nicely," but are willing to spend an additional $18 million a year to add Jones. I'm not sure that this is wrong but I don't get the logic here.

      By Anonymous Roberto, at 11/04/2007 4:15 PM  

    • Michael -- I'm with you. It's Jones or bust. Church can come close to what the other guys can do, especially when you factor in contract.

      Jones, though, IS a superior bat to Church, and it's not particularly close -- probably something like 20 runs. And Church's glove is FAR below Jones at CF, probably AT LEAST 20 runs, closer to 30. That's 3-4 wins more for Jones over Church; that's huge.

      Catcher would be a nice place to upgrade, but who? Signing Posada for four years would be crazy. If you could get him for 3/$39, I'd consider it, but he's going to go for more than that (plus he'll want to play for a contender). Same thing at short. I'd LOVE to upgrade there, but who? There just isn't anyone out there who's reasonable priced or easily available with prospects.

      robert -- Lopez is going to make ~5 million this year, if not more. I don't want him anywhere near SS, and Belliard is more than capable of being a stopgap at 2B. In my scenario, that money is FAR more important in upgrading CF and the SP. I suspect the Nats WILL tender him, and that's not really a wrong decision. I just wanted to free up cash.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 5:57 PM  

    • Why not trade Schneider to the Mets for Lastings Milledge? They don't want Lo Duca back and they aren't getting Posada. We get a young OF that fans will want to go see and won't cost much, saving money for pitching.

      By Blogger sid bluntley, at 11/04/2007 6:30 PM  

    • Because the Mets would laugh at you if you offered that deal.

      Schneider has little value to most other teams. And he certainly wouldn't be enough to get a premium prospect.

      They haven't been willing to give Millege up in packages for premium players. I highly doubt they do it for Schneider.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 6:33 PM  

    • i think we could move cordero to a team like the mets after their bullpen debacle in the last few weeks of the regular season for a decent amount. throw in a guy like schneider, and we're good.

      i don't want kendall. da meat hook would go 10/10 in SB against a team with him catching.

      By Anonymous hoagie, at 11/04/2007 8:30 PM  

    • What's Matt LeCroy up to?

      By Blogger Sam, at 11/04/2007 9:14 PM  

    • to steal a line from my old friend, Norm.... his ideal weight if he were 9 feet tall.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 9:30 PM  

    • I believe signing Jones would be a huge mistake. He is only 30 and the Braves don't want him back. Why? Because he is washed up.
      According to those close to the situation, he has serious shoulder problems and as a result he can't hit anymore. Thus, the .220 batting average with no power this past season. Believe me, Braves' management isn't dumb and if they thought this past year was just a fluke they would not have let him go for nothing in return. Signing Andrew Jones would be akin to the old Senators signing a washed up and broken down Curt Flood. If the Nats want to blow money on center field, I would much rather see them sign Aaron Rowland. Frankly, I would rather stick with Ryan Church and spend the money on a starting pitcher to anchor the staff.

      By Anonymous phil dunn, at 11/04/2007 10:00 PM  

    • I'd be interested in a link or two for that Phil. That's not what I've read, but I haven't seen everything.

      Braves management isn't dumb, but they've got new owners, a tighter budget and little patience for Jones' agent. That seems to be driving their lack of interest more than anything.

      But if you've got something else, I'd love to see it.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 10:05 PM  

    • Chris, I am basing my comment on Jones after hearing a beat writer for the Braves on XM 175 talking about Jones the other day. He said the inside skinny is that Jones is damaged goods. Also, I don't believe that the Braves really have new management. Frank Wren was named the GM but John Schuerholz still calls the shots. It's like Bowden and Kasten. Kasten is the GM and Bowden fetches his coffee and kisses the Lerners' asses.

      By Anonymous phil dunn, at 11/04/2007 10:16 PM  

    • I didn't say new management. I said new ownership. The Braves owners aren't nearly as free-spending as the old ones, and they can't meet his contract demands as they once would've.

      Interesting that the beat writer would say that, but not actually write that. I'd be interested to hear the actual thing, too, to hear the tense of things he's saying.

      The shoulder clearly bugged him this year. But is it really a long term injury? Shoulders aren't usually a long-term thing for position players. But ya never know...

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 10:21 PM  

    • Saw your comment Chris.

      I think the major problem for the Nats is their sheer mediocrity. Aside from a few areas, namely SS and C, offensively, they are the perfect picture of average to slightly better than average players who happen to be playing for fairly reasonable salaries.

      In a way, this probably means that we should be thankful for Jimbo's man-crushes, because without them, it would be very difficult to justify taking on the payroll that free agency demands when at most positions you're only going to be improving marginally at best, for a very steep price. I have a feeling too, that this relatively young, slightly above-average mediocrity (Church, 1B, Kearns, Pena, maybe even Belliard) is going to (and already has) caused real headaches for the front office. For instance, we can probably view this mediocrity as the reason behind the team's consistent failure to make trades for prospects, while in the future, it will probably significantly delay the promotion of prospects to the majors unless they are going to be real superstars. Add in the fact that many of these quite decent players may be building fan bases and there may be some real trouble ahead as fans may not like a revolving-door roster that continually upgrades on the margins. "sigh"

      By Blogger Michael, at 11/04/2007 10:50 PM  

    • That's a good insight.

      It's harder to go from average to good than it is from terrible to average.

      And we've got a whole lotta average! If the offense is really going to click, it's going to be with guys like Zimmerman or Kearns taking huge steps forward.

      I'm really interested to see how they do in a different park. They were only about 10-15 runs from being roughly average in the league on the road.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 10:55 PM  

    • (25 runs, actually)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/04/2007 10:55 PM  

    • I'm extremely excited about the new park, but I do have just a small quibble with it though--why is it turned the wrong freakin' way?? From all of the blueprints, it looks as though any balls hit to the river will be foul. While it's nice that the park has a view of the capital building, I can't help but think that they really missed out on an incredible marketing and mystique opportunity vis a vis the sort of experience that San Francisco provides. If they had provided kayaks (maybe through a charity partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation--$1,000 for every ball hit in the river goes toward environmental efforts?) or something to that effect, they really could have leveraged the river location. As it is, the park might well have been built in downtown DC. Seeing as how the water around DC is stunning during the summer it just seems like a waste of just a few degrees in alignment. Still, if we do get the March 30 opening day, I might be able to catch the game while I'm still on Spring Break, although getting tickets are going to be well-nigh impossible I imagine.

      Going back to theme of this post, the one really depressing thought is that we'd have had all that gooey slightly-better-than-average mediocrity this year for LESS than the Marlins if we replaced FLop and Guzman with league-average players. We're paying $7,700,000 for shortstop, $850,000 to Robert Fick, and $3,500,000 to Schneider. That's 1/3 of our total $37m salary basically wasted. When you think about all that averageness DESPITE the waste of 1/3 our payroll, it actually makes you kinda proud.

      By Blogger Michael, at 11/04/2007 11:44 PM  

    • The Nats are mediocre or worse, but they always do better than they seem "on paper."

      Schneider is pointed to by the baseball guys as a big reason for that. And he does keep the pitchers and the game under control in ways that do not always show up in the stats.

      After watching years of Os baseball where a weak catcher changes the whole psychology out there on every pitch, it is good to see this one aspect of the game handled by Schneider. With the Os, it was like the baserunners said, "Oh boy, all these bases are ours"--and the pitchers would get rattled because of this.

      If Schneider brings major talent in a trade--fine, but just to dump him would be a mistake. Would rather see him platooned more until he hits at least as well as he used to.

      By Anonymous EdDC, at 11/05/2007 8:27 AM  

    • Interesting discussion, Chris - Michael, I think, has a good point about the Nats current everyday roster - counting places where they are slightly below average (SS, C, LF), and places where they are slightly above (3B, RF), they end up solidly in the "meh" region. I think the issue I have with the Jones-or-bust pursuit is that it is in pursuit of the wrong goal - no doubt Jones over Church/Logan/Bourn/whoever would be 3-4 wins better next year, but the question is whether it would be 3-4 wins better in 3-4 years, when Jones now has to play a corner spot because his d has degraded, when 29-yo-WMP is up for a contract, when Burgess and/or Marerro are ready to take a corner spot, etc. Pursuing 81 wins now is a good goal, but not at the expense of '09, '10, or '11.

      That said, the one really woeful spot among this sea of "meh"-ness is starting pitching. For the everyday starting 8, I wouldn't mind terribly if they rolled out the same 8 as at the end of last year (with the possibility of a healthy NJ), and hoped that a lessened park effect helped. The place I'd look to help is in the starting pitching. A rotation that begins "Hill-Patterson-Bergmann" can't really be taken seriously, given that all three of them can't seem to survive a full season. That's where I'd look to help, and see if that doesn't get us closer to 81 wins. With the $18m for Jones not spent, it gives you a lot more room to go get help.

      By Anonymous Marc, at 11/05/2007 8:31 AM  

    • Michael -- the reason the park isn't oriented that way is because of the sun. You don't want it in the batters' eyes. It's not especially close to the water anyway. You'd have to hit it 1000 feet, even if it were turned the other way.

      Ed -- That's fine, I guess. It's just that there's not hint of that at all in any of his stats. His backups have consistently had the pitchers they catch have the same ERA. Yes, he shuts down the running game. Yes, that has value. But I'm not sure that that offsets what his bat (and contract) take away.

      Marc -- the Jones or bust thing works precisely because of what you're saying. If you chalk up this year to an injury, he's a superstar-level player. Even if he declines (and he'd have to completely fall off the table to be bad enough defensively to have to move to a corner), he's still AT WORST an average player.

      If he declines for all five years, he'll be Ryan Church.

      Sure, it'd be nice to get some starting pitching, but the point of this exercise wasn't to say "let's get better." it was to point to specifics. Which pitchers would you sign with that $18 million? It's easier to say it than to actually point them out. There just aren't any solid guys freely available and the pitchers worth acquiring via trades would require you to give up a lot.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/05/2007 9:00 AM  

    • Ok, Chris, but there's an important quibble to the "if" clause for Jones - which is, if you chalk this up to injury from which he fully recovers .

      Still, that aside, I think we need to look seriously at pitchers who are available via trade, who might have contracts that have people thinking twice - Burnett, maybe, for example. Now, before you say "and what do we have to give up for him?" I don't rightly know, but I think that's where I'd look - target that kind of guy. If those pitchers aren't out there, then '08 becomes like '07, where we content ourselves with hopefully watching folks develop from within.

      Laying a five year bet that this past year was a year-long, chronic, yet ultimately recoverable injury, and not the end of a really long durability streak, that will lead to more injuries due to a lot of miles put on in his twenties seems too risky to me when I'm not totally convinced that the offense, left alone, would necessarily be as putrid as it was this past year.

      By Anonymous Marc, at 11/05/2007 10:52 AM  

    • So, we have a problem with the injury history of Andruw Jones, who has played 150 games every season since 1997 and not with A.J. Burnett who has had how many Tommy John surgeries?

      Jones is 30. Remember that. At the end of his contract (assuming a 5 year deal) he'll only be 35. And the best part is: Jones has old player skills . . . walking and hitting for power. He's not likely to lose those skills as he ages like players who rely on things like bat speed do.

      There is risk with any big signing, so the best one can do is manage that risk. Give me a 30 year old player, with a long track record of big league success and a skill set not likely to be damaged by age. Jones is almost the ideal FA signing. He's likely to be valuable even in his age 35 season when hopefully, the Nats are on the good side of the winning cycle.

      On the pitching side, the Dodgers just non-tendered Randy Wolf. Lots of injury concerns but if you look at his numbers, he looks darn effective.

      And please make sure someone misplaces Pokey Reese's agents' phone number.

      By Anonymous Kirk, at 11/05/2007 11:04 AM  

    • I'd really like to see the team focus on improving the pitching and the defense. There is no free agent starter we can afford to ignore, but Hernandez, Glavine, and Colon would be my personal favorites if any of them would work cheap. Of course we should trade for pitchers if we can, but it seems incredibly speculative to try and name names.

      I strongly disagree with your plans for the infield. We need someone who can at least play a passable 150 games at SS if Guzman goes down again. I would love to get Eckstein to hit leadoff if he or Guzman would be willing to play 2b. Maybe even start Guzman on the bench this year with Belliard at 2b. Barring that, I'd bring back Lopez.

      At catcher, I'm not ready to just hand the job to Flores, he should have to take it from an average incumbent like Schneider, and he hasn't done that yet. We can always make the move at the deadline if Flores steps up his game in the first half.

      In center field, I agree that it should be Andruw Jones or Ryan Church. But it's not my money, so I'd be willing to match or even exceed the Soriano deal to bring in Jones if he's healthy.

      Jones, Glavine and Eckstein all have the added advantage that they would help sell tickets. Only Kasten knows whether they need to worry about that this year, but I get the sense that they do. I'm not suggesting the Nationals hire all of these guys, but these are the free agents I want them to target.

      By Anonymous steve, at 11/05/2007 11:46 AM  

    • I bet you could count on two hands the number of people who've bought a ticket just to see David Eckstein (and who weren't related to him).

      If they could find a way to jettison Guzman, I could get behind that, I suppose.

      But to sign all three of those guys is going to bump up payroll by almost $40 million. You'd have to subtract somebody.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/05/2007 11:55 AM  

    • I seriously doubt that there is any free agent out there, except for maybe ARod, who if the Nationals signed him it would bump up attendance based on that signing alone. Soriano was a pretty big name when he was traded for in the winter between '05 and '06, and what affect did that have on attendance? Oh, yeah - it went down by several hundred thousand.

      Given that, it would be stupid for the Nationals to consider trading for or signing as a FA anyone just on the grounds that it's needed to bump up attendance. And say what you want about the Lerners/Kasten/Bowden, they're not stupid - or at least not stupid enough to do that kind of thing.

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 11/05/2007 1:23 PM  

    • I expect players' salaries to jump again during this offseason as MLB per team revenues again jumped due to revenues.

      In that context Guzman at $4 million is not a bad deal. Also, I bought that his offensive struggles in 2005 were attibutable to his shoulder, and he is over that now.

      With Belliard signed to a below market deal and productive offensively, it makes sense to non-tender Lopez, and go with a Guzman/Belliard middle infield with a low priced utility player.

      I would be very reluctant to sign Andruw Jones to a long term deal. Even without the mysterious shoulder woes, he has not aged well, and would not be at all surprised to see his decline continue.

      Realize that there are no anchor-type starting pitchers available in FA, so if it takes Cordero (or anyone else on the roster other than Zimmerman), and the Nats to agree to absorb a bad contract to work a deal for a solid MLB starter, I would do that.

      I would rather not dole out the big bucks for any of the elite CFer (Hunter, Jones or Rowan).


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/05/2007 1:33 PM  

    • Chris,

      Maybe this was already mentioned, but don't we need a lefty in the bullpen? Maybe resign King?


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/05/2007 2:06 PM  

    • Do we need one?

      I'd rather have 5 good arms than 4 good ones and a mediocrity.

      I'm sure they'll pick some scrub. I just hope it's not Mr. King. He blows.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/05/2007 2:08 PM  

    • I'd be fine letting Schneider go for an average SP who had injuries and might be good. But I don't think I'd trade Cordero for that. Or Rauch. I know our SP stinks...but is it worth it to give up a commodity for an average SP? Don't you think Chico might be able to fill that role or average, innings-eater pitcher. And he's shown he might be durable.

      As far as a lefty in the bullpen, I don't disagree that it's better to have quality than average. So, why not wait for more quality SP?

      Finally, I'm fully on board with signing A. Jones as a FA, though I don't think they'll do it. But as long as we're FA dreaming, would you save some money this year for a run at Santana next year? Or take a chance and trade for him this year with the hope you can keep him?


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/05/2007 2:22 PM  

    • Would you give Santana 6 years, $120 million? That's going to be the starting bid. It's not inconceivable that he'll end up with 8/$200 in the end.

      I ain't touchin' that.

      Chico in his best years MIGHT be Capuano. Might be. Capuano has better stuff now and Chico would need to work on the quality of his pitches. Right now he throws 3 meh ones. I can't see him being any better than a #3 at this point.

      But, as I frequently I am, I could be wrong!

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/05/2007 2:26 PM  

    • 1) resign ray "buffet" king! the wife loves watching fat guys run.

      2) if we get a new starting OF, i would like to see church play the wilky OF/1B role. can he be any worse at 1B than (take your pick) dmitri young, tony batista, robert fick, etc.?

      3) if we do not get a new starting OF, i presume church starts every day in CF. could we get wilky to play the 4th OF/PH/1B replacement role? if healthy, he would seem to fall into our list of potential bargain basement maneuvers (get him on the cheap after two injury plagued seasons but formerly a good producer).

      By Blogger Bill, at 11/05/2007 5:47 PM  

    • if we dont get to sign Jones why not sign Brad WIlkerson he can still play CF and 1st base and we can trade Ryan Church. then we can use the money that we did not give to Jones and sign Bartolo Colone and Jason Jennings. plus the Soriano trade even looks better we get Josh Smoker Jordan ZImmerman and we still get to keep Wilkerson.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/05/2007 5:54 PM  

    • Brad Wilkerson? A lefty that can't hit righties and strikes out a ton. Plus, he makes more than Church AND he's damaged goods.

      Please, please don't bring back Colome. The half hour innings when he pitches just aren't worth it.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/05/2007 7:35 PM  

    • Ugh, as much as I like Brad Wilkerson, he shouldn't be on our team next year. Chris is right, sign Jones or give the ABs to Church.

      SP is obviously our biggest need. I'd go after Jennings and Colon, Wolf is a viable option. I'd shy away from the now available Pettitte, but that's probably what he says about the Nats too.


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/05/2007 10:10 PM  

    • On the subject of Felipe Lopez, Juan Uribe and his .234 average in 2007 is about to sign for $4.5m in 2008.

      Also Omar Vizquel (.246 in 2007) has signed for the 'youth or bust' Giants for one more year at $5.5m.

      Given those two are considerably better defensively than Lopez, at what point will Bowden breakout laughing when he hears how much arbitration say we should pay him?

      By Anonymous Neil, at 11/07/2007 4:37 PM  

    • Why isn't anyone mentioning Ryan Freel or even Willie Bloomquist? Everyone knows we need some depth in the OF and in middle infield and these two can provide that plus a few stolen bases.

      Freel isn't going to happen directly due to the lake of bad blood between Bowden and Krivsky, but Bloomquist will be cheap and available for maybe prospects and I don't mean a Lannan or Maxwell.

      Kory Casto, Larry Broadway?

      By Anonymous Neil, at 11/07/2007 4:45 PM  

    • Because Bloomquist blows?

      His AVERAGE season is as bad offensively as Lopez' was this year.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/07/2007 5:05 PM  

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