Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Prior Commitment

Ladson sez that the Nats are interested in signing always-injured Mark Prior. (From afar, I thought he was injured more than he was -- save for last year, he's started 20 or more games a season all but his rookie year)

Prior's a mess (and probably not ready at the start of the season), but he's exactly the type of player that the Nats should take a chance on. There's still a world of potential in that arm, and if he ever were able to stay healthy, you'd have a great starter come relatively cheaply. It's a no-risk move in that it wouldn't cost the Nats a thing, other than cash. And with the new revenues from the stadium and the mid-$50s payroll, that's something they're swimming in. Worst case, he breaks down, and Uncle Teddy's out a few million bucks -- bucks that wouldn't be aimed at player development or 'The PLAN!' anyway.

Same articles says they're also interested in Jason Jennings, which we've known for some time. He's in the same boat, even if his upside is that of a #2/3 starter. Still, a #2/3 starter would be our ace! If the Nats got both of them, they'd be better off and even if they got injured, the Nats have a decent depth chart of interchangeable 4th and 5th starters to fill in. This isn't going to be like 2005 where injuries left the Nats with a three-man rotation and some duct tape.

18 Comments:

  • Jennings seems like the way better option. Last year seemed like a lost season for him--battling tendinitis in his shoulder and elbow all year. Seems like the Stros should have just shut him down. Then at the end of the year he tears his flexor tendon. Even still, his ERA was at 4.07 on July 5.

    Before last year he was a real innings eater and was known as a very good athlete--and a #2 pitcher. The question I guess is how bad the flexor tendon injury is. I read it's a 10-month rehab, which means he would miss the first half of 08. But is it an injury you expect to recover from fully? I just don't know.

    Based on what I've seen and read Prior will never be close to the pitcher he was. As you note, he's pitched a significant number of innings the last few years, and the stuff just isn't there.

    By Anonymous Steven on Capitol Hill, at 12/15/2007 8:48 AM  

  • Prior can be had for less than $5 mil, Jennings looks to be worth a little more. both of these guys are perfect for the nats. still, they sign either of these guys their overall depth is far greater than last year

    By Blogger facekdr, at 12/15/2007 8:59 AM  

  • Contracts with either would have to be structured with milestone incentives for innings pitched, etc. Jennings made $5.5 last year. Hard to see how he would command that much after an injury. His snag might be trying to get a multiyear deal, or at least something with a reasonable buyout clause.

    By Anonymous Dick, at 12/15/2007 9:43 AM  

  • This bargain bin shopping sucks. You can get into it if you want, but frankly it just says "loser," to me. I would like to revisit some of your prior posts when you stuck your nose up at the proven outfielders like Hunter and Jones because they were too expensive, too old, had statistical flaws. But you haven't crunched number one on $6.6 million for a 36-year old catcher whose numbers are swirling around in the toilet like a....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/15/2007 9:51 AM  

  • I don't know. I'm all about the bargain bin shopping, especially when both retreads are relatively young. With Prior (27 years old), we'd get at least 4 good years out of him assuming he's healthy. With Jennings, maybe 2-3.

    Yes, anonymous, they'd be cheap, but since when is being cheap a crime? Furthermore, the Nats aren't after them just because they're cheap, they're after them because they have the potential to be the best talent available. Prior, when healthy could absolutely be a bona fide ace, although I'm betting that he won't be quite so good now that he's off the juice. Still, compared to having Tim Redding as maybe your #2 guy, it's probably worth the risk.

    By Blogger Michael, at 12/15/2007 10:20 AM  

  • These two are the best targets for the Nats. We don't have the DBacks farm so we can't go out and get a Haren. The free agent pitchers (i.e. Silva) are way overpriced because they're all that's available. I'd rather take Prior and Jennings at $12-14 million than Silva at $12 for 5 years or whatever ridiculous deal he's going to get. There's really no reason for the Nats not to go after Jennings and Prior, that payroll is absurdly low for a big market team with a new stadium.

    By Anonymous JT, at 12/15/2007 10:55 AM  

  • Agree with Michael. These guys are still young, which means they could rebound from injury. Sign them both!

    With oft-injured Hill, Patterson, Jennings and Prior, maybe you could get a couple of them (at least) to become productive winners.

    The Nats probably do need quantity this year. The first couple years here, they flat ran out of starters before the season's end.

    By Anonymous EdDC, at 12/15/2007 3:05 PM  

  • I see that Carlos Silva and Livan are still not signed yet. You get Silva or Jennings and Livan and we might just have something here. Then again, i could be just talking out of my ass.

    Oh, and sign Prior too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/15/2007 4:55 PM  

  • But then again, as the above poster stated, Silva is going to be way overprieced.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/15/2007 4:57 PM  

  • Nobody said anything about free agent pitchers. Can you spell non sequitur? The question I asked was why we spent $6.6 million on a 36-year old catcher and why you have been so supportive of that move in light of all the prior posts that criticized the overspending on free agents like Hunter--just one that comes to mind. There are no free agent pitchers worth anything. But there weren't any free agent catchers worth squat either and that didn't stop us from throwing a bunch of money at one of them. My point is that if you are going to spend money, at least get something for it. We have a whole lot of bench depth but not much in front of it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/15/2007 5:35 PM  

  • It looks like despite his injury history that Prior isn't going to be hurting for suitors, so we'd have to hope he would choose the Nats over the other teams that are apparently interested. Outside of an immediate spot in the rotation when he is capable of pitching, I'm not sure what would make him come to the Nats over some of the teams that are supposedly interested. There was also a report not to long ago that he wanted to be in SD where he is from and lives.

    RE Lo Duca vs. a signing like Hunter...

    Hunter is locked into a multi-year deal, whereas Lo Duca is only signed for one year. The Nats had to have someone to catch, so the only real alternativ would be to sign a guy like Miller for maybe a little bit less money.

    By Anonymous MF, at 12/15/2007 5:43 PM  

  • I still prefer Livan in this situation. He's a legit #2/#3, which as previously mentioned makes him our 'ace'. He's rarely injured, and he's only 53.
    With some HGH, he's got another 4, maybe 5 solid years left.

    By Blogger Rob B, at 12/15/2007 8:35 PM  

  • Anon -- if you think I've been supportive of Lo Duca, you haven't been reading closely.

    But, it's $5 million. And it's one year. Considering the other FA alternatives, it's not a terrible signing. If he rebounds at all, he's a slightly above average catcher. That's certainly worth $5 million.

    Even if he stinks like last season, $5 million on a one-year deal is a fair price.

    ____

    As far as FA pitchers, Livan's interesting, but is going to want more years than I'd be willing to give. And whoever gives Carlos Silva his contract is going to regret that within two years. He's the definition of 'marginal stuff'.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/15/2007 8:58 PM  

  • Lo Duca a slightly above average catcher?

    I pulled off of ESPN's website the OPS for each catcher to have more than 325 plate appearances over the past 5 years. I figured that'd represent what the primary catchers were doing in healthy seasons. Ranked by OPS, first number is Lo Duca's rank, second is how many cathcers qualified:
    07 - 22/30
    06 - 12/26
    05 - 17/26
    04 - 14/28
    03 - 17/29
    5 yr average - 82/139, or 41st percentile. Throw in his below average caught stealing numbers, I think it is hard to say he is above average, even slightly.

    By the way, isn't '03 about the time the Dodgers thought he had stopped juicing and they needed to dump him?

    By Anonymous jon, at 12/16/2007 12:17 PM  

  • Isn't it obvious? After all the problems the Nats have had with power and offensive production, they hired Lo Duca to hook them up with some juice. I'm betting the Nats' management was even more embarrassed by their lack of offense than by whatever steroid issues might have existed, so they figured they'd grab one of the bigger dealers in the game.

    /sarcasm, but it's still just a little too plausible for comfort

    By Blogger Michael, at 12/16/2007 1:20 PM  

  • Until I purchased Season Tickets in 05 when our Nats came to town, I was a Mets fan. For many years in the 90s, Mets fans lamented the destruction of Generation K (Isringhausen, Pulispher, and Wilson...remember them?) by the big club. Thinking about those days, what if the Nets had brought in FA hurlers like today's Prior, Jennings...even long-past-the-sell-by-date arms like Livan... Might the Mets have had a formidable rotation in the late 90s when Gen K was ready to go, instead of being rushed to the show?

    We have some good, young arms who are gaining experience and are being brought along slowly. To win, and to be contending to win on a yearly basis, bringing replacement value guys in now makes sense to alow the youth to mature.

    Meanwhile, I'll keep my season tickets and upgrade location over the next few years...Nats in '10!

    By Anonymous Nats9, at 12/17/2007 12:41 PM  

  • Until I purchased Season Tickets in 05 when our Nats came to town, I was a Mets fan. For many years in the 90s, Mets fans lamented the destruction of Generation K (Isringhausen, Pulispher, and Wilson...remember them?) by the big club. Thinking about those days, what if the Nets had brought in FA hurlers like today's Prior, Jennings...even long-past-the-sell-by-date arms like Livan... Might the Mets have had a formidable rotation in the late 90s when Gen K was ready to go, instead of being rushed to the show?

    We have some good, young arms who are gaining experience and are being brought along slowly. To win, and to be contending to win on a yearly basis, bringing replacement value guys in now makes sense to alow the youth to mature.

    Meanwhile, I'll keep my season tickets and upgrade location over the next few years...Nats in '10!

    By Anonymous NatsFan9, at 12/17/2007 12:42 PM  

  • The key to signing Prior will be to offer him a player option for 2009.

    Cause he isn't going to be effective in 2008. At least it isn't likely. So, he wants a situation where he can rehab, get some work in the bigs and leave himself open to either getting paid if he pitches well or have in essence a guarantee for 2009 if he is not healthy.

    Mostly, its a chance to acquire a #1 starter without having to give up prospects or make a long term commitment. Why are people opposed to this?

    Do you really believe that this team can contend in 2008? They can be better than 2007 but really, unless al the starters are injury-free and pitch at the top of their projections, they aren't going to be able to hang with the Phillies or the Braves.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/17/2007 2:00 PM  

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