Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nationals Arm Race Best Stories for 2014; Happy New Year!


With little baseball news to report on this week, and clearly with us tired of arguing about Danny Espinosa :-), here’s a quick recap of the year in stories on this blog.  From each month, I’ve grabbed a couple of the more interesting or unique posts I did, with thoughts and follow-on.

(Here’s 2013’s review as well, to see how far we have or have not evolved…)

Jan 2014:

Feb 2014

  • The Phillies are purposely sabotaging college player eligibility; a shockingly petty story at the time; it has more or less faded after nothing much happened after the 2014 draft.
  • Ranking Baseball’s General Managers: it was hard to do then, and after this off-season’s GM shuffle its even harder to do now.  Looking back, I ranked Sabean #11; his team has only won 3 of the last 7 World Series.  I ranked Daniels 4th, Cherington 6th and both their teams finished in last place in 2014.  I had Wren 8th and he was fired before 2014 even ended.  Tough ranking to really do well.

Mar 2014

Apr 2014

  • Qualifying Offers; are they working?  Short answer: I don’t think so.  We’ll revisit this topic once the last two guys with Q.O.s sign this off-season (Shields and Scherzer).
  • Law trashes Williams and their handling of Harper: Law posts in late April the same criticisms of Williams we had all year; bullpen management, lineup construction, handling of vets versus youngsters.  Your 2014 manager of the year!  Still incredibly bitter about the Zimmermann yanking in the NLDS (see below).

May 2014

  • TJ Surgery epidemic: upbringing, showcases and mechanics.  I eventually published a second post with a ton of TJ material for those interested in deep dives into the topic.
  • DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report; for some reason I really got into following the local high school baseball tournaments in 2014.  I definitely will do this again in 2015.  Even though these local baseball posts don’t get much commenting (nothing to really argue about I guess), I feel like there’s almost nobody else out there doing the same work.

June 2014

July 2014

Aug 2014; a job switch made the pickings and postings a bit light in Aug and Sept of 2014.

Sept 2014

  • Rotation Reviews of your 2014 Playoff Teams; I didn’t get enough time to do the typical playoff team analysis I do; i missed out on roster construction this year, one of my favorite posts to do.  We’ll hope for more time next year.

Oct 2014

  • Would you have pulled Zimmermann?  A classic second-guessing blog post, questioning a manager move that back fired.  I wish I had a time-stamped video of my reaction at the moment of the event so that people would know I wasn’t back-seat driving.  Still irked about this, still convinced this changed the course of the post-season.
  • World Series Pitching Matchups & Predictions (that you should laugh at); I finish off an abhorrent prediction season with an equally bad (and eventually wrong) WS prediction.
  • Nats Payroll Projections for 2015: where we hear the bad news … that we’re close to $150M on a team where $135M was “beyond the budget” for 2014…

Nov 2014

Dec 2014

I only posted 130 posts this year, down significantly from 2013 (237 posts).  But I feel like we have a ton more commentary now.  There were 75 comments on the Detwiler post earlier this month!  That’s great.  I’m glad we have a great place to discuss and argue about stuff.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading in 2014.

Written by Todd Boss

December 31st, 2014 at 8:35 pm

43 Responses to 'Nationals Arm Race Best Stories for 2014; Happy New Year!'

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  1. Yes, Happy New Year to Todd and all the Usual Suspects around here. Todd, thanks for your efforts to provide a spot for serious (or at least somewhat serious!) discussion of the Nats and baseball.

    As for 2015, this is THE year, right? Right? It also likely will be the last season we see some DC institutions in Nat uniforms, so it will be an interesting ride.


    1 Jan 15 at 7:25 am

  2. Todd – happy new year, as well. Thanks for providing such an informative site and, as you said, a place to have a discussion that goes beyond the normal 5-second -internet-reaction-world.

    And KW, yes it is THE year. Here’s to hoping for 600 PAs for Harp, Rendon, Desi, Zim and Ramos.


    1 Jan 15 at 2:25 pm

  3. Happy New Year to Todd and the merry NAR crew! 2015 will be a big season for the Nationals, but it’s not THE year, in that the team is likely to be very good for the next 2-3 seasons.

    But first things first: 49 days until P&C report, and just 95 days until Opening Day!

    John C.

    1 Jan 15 at 4:09 pm

  4. Happy New Year to all. And thanks to each for taking the time to stir the pot. I enjoy reading and learning from you.

    Todd, thank you so much for the time you put into these posts and to maintaining this site. And for being so gracious and welcoming to us all.


    2 Jan 15 at 2:42 pm

  5. John, obviously the hope is that the Nats can stay in contention for at least 2-3 years, if not longer. It’s very tricky to do, as Rizzo should know from his time with the D-Backs, who won only 51 games just two years after winning 98. That’s the problem I have with the folks who want the Nats to go “all in” for 2015, with little thought for the future.

    At the same time, if a team plays too much for long-term viability, it risks never getting the big prize in the first place. That’s the problem I have with those who say the Nats should take advantage of the weakened division to divest some now.

    The middle ground between the two is a narrow path. I suspect that Rizzo has dangled at least some of the one-year guys but hasn’t liked the potential return. There has been very little buzz on extensions. Meanwhile, the deal for Turner is obviously aimed at a potential void at SS, and young arms abound.

    I don’t have the answers. In general, though, I agree with the approach of not trying to over-fix at this point. Everyone saw Billy Beane screw up what looked like the best team in baseball by actually trying to go all in for once with several short-term rentals in 2014.

    What do the Nats REALLY need, beyond a better option at 2B? Health is an obvious answer. The Giants and Cards would say cajones, but I’m not sure how you acquire those. The bench still seems pretty lame considering the all-around quality of the starting eight. I think the bullpen is fine and don’t understand those who see the need for another lefty. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clippard is dealt, though, or Cedeno, since he is out of options.

    Anyway, here’s hoping that 2015 is indeed THE year, followed by at least a few more on down the road.


    2 Jan 15 at 11:03 pm

  6. My remaining offseason wish is the bench, too. Let’s just assume Espy is the 2B, and that his defense makes him average or slightly below overall. That is still a very good overall lineup, assuming health.

    But then you have these big injury scenarios:
    If Deso or Rendon is hurt, Frandsen gets 400 PAs.
    If Zim is hurt, TMo gets 400 PAs.
    If an OF is hurt, McLouth gets 400 PAs, or maybe Taylor who I don’t think is ready yet.

    No team can plan for every injury, but as things currently stand, any injury results in a poor player getting a large amount of PT, and I do think they can do better than that. Right now, their lineup banks on no significant injury for anyone, and that isn’t realistic.

    But there is still plenty of time. I’m expecting to see Rizzo make at least 1, maybe 2, bench additions. Right now, a corner IF backup seems like the biggest concern.


    3 Jan 15 at 9:50 am

  7. Todd, Happy New Year, and thanks for the posts. I agree that we have so much good pitching that trading one won’t likely cost us the playoffs. But the injury bug is always lurking. And, too much pitching? Poppycock!

    If we solve the problem at 2b, we look really good. Even if we don’t, we look pretty good. No team in the division scares me right now, because they all have so many unknowns. Everything about the Nats is a known quantity, at least for 2015.


    3 Jan 15 at 12:40 pm

  8. Hey there Ehay! I don’t necessarily disagree with you on having enough pitching. But having 5 excellent pitchers who more or less were injury free the bulk of 2014 didn’t help us in the playoffs. And it doesn’t help us past 2016 when huge chunks of this team hit FA. I think its a worthwhile gamble to take (flipping either Zimmermann or Fister) in order to get players who can help out in the nearer term. If you trade Zimmermann and then (say) Strasburg gets hurt, yes you take a hit but you still have more than enough arms to get by.

    I think its just indicative of the modern GM problem in baseball; you can’t afford to keep everyone, and you don’t want to land with a huge thud in 2017 once your core is gone (ala what has happened in Philly).

    Someone proposed this hypothetical; would you rather be a fan of a team that was mostly terrible for a decade but did have one championship, or would you rather be a fan of a team that was competitive year after year but never reached the summit? I’m not sure what are good baseball examples: perhaps the White Sox as the former (championship in 2005 but mostly mediocre since) versus Detroit as an example of the latter (lots of playoff appearances lately, no title).

    Todd Boss

    5 Jan 15 at 9:16 am

  9. It’s not just the top five arms. Few organizations have the starter depth to also include Treinen, Jordan, Cole, and Hill, all of whom are good enough to start for many of MLB teams in 2015.

    I’m still trying to get a handle on Treinen as a potential long-term starter for the Nats. He went into his last 2014 start, a meaningless game, with a 1.94 ERA, but he gave up four runs that kicked him up to 2.49. If he had ended the season with an ERA under 2.00, there might be more buzz about him. He throws very hard. That said, he doesn’t strike out as many as he should with that stuff, only 5.3 per 9, while giving up 10.1 hits per 9, leading me to think that he doesn’t have a lot of movement with his power. Those type of guys tend to get “figured out” pretty quickly.

    As for Zimmermann and Fister, we perpetually wonder about how seriously they’ll be pursued for extensions. They really could get lost in the shuffle on the FA market next year, though, as it likely will include Price, Greinke, and Cueto, all of whom would expect to command larger contracts than Zimmermann. At the Fister level, he’d be up against Samardzija, Porcello, Latos, Leake, Buchholz, Kazmir, et al. It’s a much better and much more crowded field than this year. The two sides of this are that perhaps the Zimmermann and Fister reps should push a little harder toward extensions to avoid that competition, while the Nats can take some comfort in knowing that there will be good quality on the market besides the guys they have who might be departing.

    Lester got 6/155, and Shields is said to want 5/100-110. Zimmerman’s value is somewhere between those two, so let’s say his market value is 5-6 years at $23-24M per. He’d probably be worth that to the Nats in 2016 and 2017, but beyond that, he may fade quickly. It’s a tough call.


    5 Jan 15 at 11:21 am

  10. Oakland is also an example of a perpetual playoff team with no recent title. Philly only got one out of its recent run, and the Braves only got one out of their long, long run, although they made several WS and were close several times.

    It’s a tough call. It does seem like with the NL East so diluted right now, the Nats could play out the string with everyone in 2015, have a quarter of the team walk, and still be able to contend in 2016-17. But they’ve got Strasburg, Ramos, and Storen following (potentially) out the door after 2016 as well. It doesn’t make sense to lose a third of the team without trading at least some of those guys for something in return. Of all the guys with one or two years remaining, the one who would have the most value, by far, is Stras.


    5 Jan 15 at 11:33 am

  11. The one rumor I read here and there is that the Nats will trade Zimmermann and then sign Scherzer at $25M/year for 6 years.

    And I say, “why would they possibly do that?” Why wouldn’t they instead lock up their own home grown guy who is a year younger and has less miles on his arm and probably gets paid less than what Scherzer wants? Yeah he’s had TJ; so far so good eh?

    Todd Boss

    5 Jan 15 at 12:12 pm

  12. I think Hill is just a AAAA guy, despite his nice stats in AAA. He didn’t impress me that much in his cup of coffee.

    I have been thinking about the pitcher extensions, and here is where I currently come out. I think they’d like one of JZ or Stras to anchor the staff as it remodels itself over the next few years, with a preference for Stras. But given the size and risk of contracts for top pitchers, the Nats can (or are willing to) only extend one of them. They know what it will take to extend JZ (6/$140m, give or take a little), but they don’t what it will take for Stras. So maybe what they really are doing right now is trying to engage Boras and Stras now, because they know if they ink JZ to an extension, it means that they have to let Stras walk.

    As for Fister, I think they like, not love him, and are willing to let things play out with him. If they can’t extend either JZ or Stras, they may look to extend him, but ultimately I think they see Treinen, Jordan, Cole as able to fill his slot.


    5 Jan 15 at 12:17 pm

  13. I think the theory behind that JZ idea is that they get the ‘best of both worlds’ by getting a long term piece in return for trading JZ, while replacing his production with money + a supp pick.

    I don’t think it is a crazy idea, but it underestimates a team’s attachment to its own (as you say), plus the market is showing that 1 year control pitchers are bringing back core pieces, so I think it is very unlikely to happen.

    Plus, signing Scherzer may doom their chance (or willingness) to resign Stras, which I have come to think as their primary motive right now. Many people may think JZ is their best starter, but I don’t think Rizzo and the Lerners see it that way.


    5 Jan 15 at 12:22 pm

  14. Wally, I agree with the assessment of Hill, at least for the Nats’ purposes. But considering how much money other teams have wasted to fill out the back ends of their rotations with gosh-awful guys, Hill could do at least as well for a lot less for a number of clubs. He seems like the Karns no-brainer trade piece of this offseason.

    Picking between Stras and J-Zim would be one of those classic head vs. heart exercises. By most advanced metrics, Stras is better, plus he’s two years younger. But if you asked Nats fans who they’d want on the mound with the season on the line – the cajones question – I’d say that J-Zim would win by a substantial margin. Plus with Stras, you’re dealing with Boras, so you know he’s going to go on the FA market, and you know he isn’t going to sign until late, when your other good options have dried up.

    With Fister, I think the Nats hoped that they would have another Gio, a quality upper-mid-level guy they could lock up at a reasonable rate. Fister screwed that scenario, however, by being too good.


    5 Jan 15 at 2:47 pm

  15. One thing to consider; while we all seem to agree that Zimmermann has outperformed Strasburg on the field over the last few years …. ownership is valuing the players slightly differently. Strasburg is a “name” player, thus is a box office draw, gets national attention, etc. That counts when it comes to valuing players, you’d have to think.

    Todd Boss

    5 Jan 15 at 2:49 pm

  16. KW – I think that’s an accurate assessment of Stras v JZ. And as you said, Stras has a big advantage in the fancy stats, but also, you could look at them and think maybe last year was JZ’s career year, rather than him reaching a new plateau. He had never been higher than mid 3 WAR before jumping to over 5 last year. By FIP, JZ had historically been a mid 3’s FIP guy until last year, whereas Stras has only had 1 year above 3. So maybe the Nats feel like he really is more of a 2 that is going to get paid like a 1. But I think the fan base clearly prefers JZ. As for me, I am probably a Stras guy (although even I have to admit that JZ is more relaxing to watch; Stras is exciting but also gives me a clenched stomach from time to time). But I would be happy with either fronting the rotation, I just hope that one of them is.

    As for Fister, I still think his market is between Santana as a floor, and Shields as a ceiling, but whereas I think JZ ends up closer to Lester, I think Fister will be closer to Santana’s contract. If his two trades are any indication, the market doesn’t value his non-strikeout approach like an elite pitcher, so I am still hopeful they lock him up. 4/$60m with a 5th year vesting option? Maybe that’s a little low, but I think he is in that range, especially if he signs this year, a year out from FA. The Nats probably just want to figure out Stras/JZ first.


    5 Jan 15 at 3:56 pm

  17. The Nats are waiting because they should. They know what they want, and they know the inventory, including the Cubans they are tracking. Their needs are less acutely felt than other organizations, and the closer we get to spring training, the more acute that becomes.

    Rizzo is playing this like LaRoche. Which opposite GM blinks has a lot to do with where Shields and Scherzer go, and the destinations of whatever bullpen moving parts remain.

    I agree strongly with the comment that the Nats have four AAA starters that would end up (if healthy) in a number of 2015 ML rotations. And I include Taylor Hill. The guy won a minor league Golden Glove, is a sinkerball pitcher and knows how to pitch and has excellent control. Plus, he seems to get better every year. Is he THAT different from what Fister once was?

    Better no deal than a bad deal on a team this good. Everyone knows that.

    But Rizzo will get his good deals.


    5 Jan 15 at 4:11 pm

  18. Todd, oh yeah, Stras has been a major face of the franchise since his lights-out debut in 2010, if not all the way back to the draft in 2009. He and Harper have really been put out front. But I think/hope that the TEAM quality and support have matured to the point that winning would be a bigger point than whether or not a star is traded. It’s not with the Redskins, as we know, and there would certainly be some howling, but if the return for the trade was good, I don’t think people would be staying away from Nats Park because they got stuck with a Strasburg jersey.

    Now, would the average fan understand if the Nats traded Stras for players they hadn’t heard of? That’s hard to say. Let’s say Stras would fetch Brian Dozier and Alex Meyer from the Twins. That would be a pretty good return, one that would help the club immediately at 2B and in the near future on the mound. However, fans might accept a Stras-for-Longoria deal better simply because it would be star for star. (I’m not advocating either of those trades, just throwing out examples.)

    We’ll see. They’re not going to re-sign all three of Stras, J-Zim, and Desi. It would be hard to see all of them walk away without any return.


    5 Jan 15 at 4:50 pm

  19. Someone asked what Treinen could be; honestly i think he could be a significant pitcher for this team. He had a 2.49 ERA, inflated by one bad outing, and yes gave up hits… but he had a BABIP of .333 so his numbers should be better. My 2 important metrics for him: his GB % for the year was 59.3% (this would place him 2nd in the majors if it were a qualifying figure) and he gave up just one homer in 50 innings for a HR/9 of 0.18 (the Major league leader in this category was Garrett Richards with 0.27 for the year).

    He throws serious sink, a heavy ball, and if 60% of balls in play are grounders and you have a good defense … you’re going to get outs.

    Todd Boss

    5 Jan 15 at 4:50 pm

  20. Good scoop on Treinen. Of course the Morse trade was an unpopular one with the general fan base, although soon mostly forgiven/forgotten. It may have netted the Nats 40% of their future starting rotation, not to mention a third of the price for Fister. Not bad for a guy with only one year left on his contract and no open position!


    5 Jan 15 at 8:33 pm

  21. I’ll admit it: i loved Morse then, still love the guy. I hope the team finds a way to bring him back as a bench bat maybe for his last hurrah (ala Matt Stairs) at some point. There’s something to be said for “fan relations” with a guy as charismatic and overtly fun as Morse.

    That being said, his trade was exactly in the same vein of moves that Rizzo did to trade away Willingham and not pursue Dunn. Rizzo doesn’t want or like the “immobile slugger clogging up 1B/LF.” He wants athletes, plus defenders, etc.

    Looking back on that trade … what was Oakland thinking?? Treinen, Cole and Krol for Morse … who basically they then traded straight up to Seattle for John Jaso. Three future MLB hurlers for a platoon catcher. Doesn’t make sense.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jan 15 at 8:40 am

  22. And don’t forget, Morse had only one year of control left.

    It was a January deal, borne of other teams urgencies and Other teams’ awareness of what parts they could spare as spring approached. That is exactly where we are now and what is coming.


    6 Jan 15 at 10:21 am

  23. Beane the gambler. Would you look at any of the deals Washington has done with Oakland and say, honestly, that Oakland came out on top? Maybe the first one (Brown and Rodriguez for Willingham) was a bust, but as mentioned many times before, Rizzo never rated guys like Willingham so he was willing to take spare parts. Otherwise, I think Washington came out on top in the Suzuki deal, the Gio deal, the Morse deal, the Blevins deal. I’m ignoring some of the more minor deals (cash for Corey Brown, Bakus for Suzuki back, Wooten for Abad) but my point remains. In nearly every case i’d rather have what we got versus what we gave up.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jan 15 at 10:27 am

  24. And to underscore…in January 2013, only two years ago, none of the three pitchers the Nats acquired had pitched above A ball.

    Now consider the trade for Gilliam, who did not pan out, and Vettelson and Rivero, who have not panned out, and know Bostick and De Los Santos.

    So much of this depends on their talent evaluation of what is happening at the A- and A+ ball level. It’s clear, as well through Turner and Ross and Wooten and Dickson and Spann, that’s where the Nats pan for gems.


    6 Jan 15 at 10:29 am

  25. I don’t think the organization has given up on Dickson (for HRod). We should expect to see him starting in a crowded AA rotation.

    It took awhile for Roark to ignite. Dickson turned it on but good last summer after the ASB.


    6 Jan 15 at 10:44 am

  26. Part of the reason people hated the Morse trade initially was that the return looked like cr@p. Cole in his half season at A+ went 0-7 with a 7.82 ERA and 1.842 WHIP. Treinen on the same A+ roster was 7-7, 4.37, 1.350. Krol between A+ and AA was 2-9, 5.20, 1.361, and seemed to be a head case (although I’ve forgotten what the incidents were). To put it simply, Billy was just cleaning out some guys with shaky careers who would be repeating levels.

    My reaction? I didn’t understand re-signing LaRoche. I would have just rolled with Morse at 1B for 2013 and perhaps tried to extend him, for much less than LaRoche cost. But once LaRoche signed, I was glad to get anything for Morse, and to get Cole back. I considered the trade Morse for Cole, as the other two didn’t look like much on paper. So kudos to the scouts, at least on that one.

    I never hated the return of Corey Brown and H-Rod. In 2012 at Syracuse, Brown posted 285/365/523. He could play; he just never made the final big leap. And we all saw hints of how dominant H-Rod could be. He was just too much Nuke LaLoosh.


    6 Jan 15 at 11:34 am

  27. You know what a lesson learned here is? Stats in some leagues are incredibly suspect. California league especially, but also huge portions of the Pacific Coast League. Cole puts up a 7.82 ERA in the california league in 2012 … then comes back to the Carolina league in 2013 (same affiliation; both are “high-A” leagues and lowers his ERA by 3 points.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jan 15 at 2:41 pm

  28. Part of the excitement about Treinen was that his stats were generated in the California League, a notorious “hitters league.”

    That may be why there is particular interest in Joe Ross, who fared far better in that same league at age 21 (Treinen was 24, though developmentally early).

    Perhaps telling, Ross performed even better when he briefly went up to AA at year’s end.


    6 Jan 15 at 3:12 pm

  29. The AA rotation battle will be one of the big storylines of spring training. Lots of candidates with bonafides:


    and a crowded Harrisburg bullpen as well, even with attrition of minor league free agency:

    de los Santos

    and guys I have missed. There’s only so many arms that can be pushed back to A+, where Giolito, Lopez, and Pivetta are bound to be found, and others like Napoli, MRodriguez, and perhaps even Johansen will be manning the pen.


    6 Jan 15 at 3:18 pm

  30. Yeah you’re right. Usually by now i’ve done the whole rotation review thing for the minors and would have some personal projections. I started the AAA one but those posts take so much darn time … and now that we’re into tax season, i’ve got very little of it.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jan 15 at 4:25 pm

  31. Your rotation reviews are a great treat. So much the better that they are not available yet, because there will be more movement in the organization by opening day.

    I am willing to think there will be a lot, especially among the minor arms, because that is the position of depth. Those arms above will not be given away.

    Nor will the AAA arms, and we have not even considered folks like Danny Rosenbaum and Paolo Espino who have minor league value.


    6 Jan 15 at 5:07 pm

  32. I wonder if some of the guys like Solis, Purke, and Rivero will get pushed on the AAA simply because of age and crowded rotations. But Syracuse is also projected to be crowded with Cole, Jordan, Hill, maybe a stretched-out Treinen, maybe Rosenbaum.

    Also, I would think they’ll try to stick with Purke as a starter.

    As with at the MLB level, there’s no such thing as too many good arms! I do think a few of these guys will have new addressed before pitchers and catchers report, though.


    6 Jan 15 at 5:20 pm

  33. They’ve been pushing Rivero since the AAA playoffs. He was the fair-haired man of many chances in 2014. Of course, as the healthiest of the unhealthy lefty starters at the upper levels, he operated in a competition vaccuum supplemented by Syracuse shutting down Cole and promoting Treinen.

    A good spring and continued slow rehab from the others, as well as a trade at the major league level, will make that more realistic.

    Purke is anybody’s guess. So, too is Solis. They certainly have more value that way.


    6 Jan 15 at 6:10 pm

  34. At this stage of his career, I think Purke has slid to org guy, and they won’t make a special case for him unless/until his performance warrants it. With so many budding starters, I think he goes to the pen. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Rizzo add a Chris Young type on a minor league deal, so I’d expect them to keep a rotation slot open in AAA for that. Rizzo seems to like that security (and I agree).

    Some random Nats stuff from elsewhere:

    Jeff Sullivan from Fangraphs said in a chat yesterday that the Nats have tried to get Miller from SEA multiple times, but have been rebuffed. He used to blog about SEA, and seems to have some insight there (he referred to the supposed JZ/Desi trade before it came out), so keep an eye on that as the winter and spring training progress.

    There is a review of the top 20 Nats prospects by Sickels guy. You can get to it on Luke’s site. I know Forensicane hates these, but as someone who doesn’t otherwise track prospects, I find them interesting reading. The rating systems is a little complicated, but he rates giolito as a superstar, and Taylor and Lopez as near superstars. Goodwin only makes Honorable mention, and Skole is nowhere to be found.


    7 Jan 15 at 10:40 am

  35. Wally, I don’t hate the lists, or the pundits. I hate our tendency (including my own) to overvalue them without thinking for ourselves.

    With that said, it’s obviously interesting, although I reacted differently from it than Luke. The turnover from 2013-14 is undeniable. And it’s interesting to see so many of the higher rated prospects to have come over via trade (Detwiler deal looking better).

    But with that said, a player has to produce on the field at some point, and that’s that. And when a player does, it’s time to acknowledge that the light has gone on. It took Souza winning the IL MVP this year to get his due from the prospect mavens, and I feel like it took even the Trea Turner-Joe Ross deal for that to happen.

    There is always a lot to learn from folks paid to do this. But should we ignore Rafael Martin because he doesn’t get 3 stars? Hector Silvestre does not merit mention, and Neil Holland does? Why, because Holland went to the AFL? puhleeze.

    We know, and the Potomac watchers know, who was the best PNats pitcher in the playoffs. And he is a lefty, and he is only 21, and he is not afraid to throw inside.

    I respect the list more because Goodwin is low. The guy had labrum surgery, and it’s time for him to show up. As for Skole, again, if he produces, he will regain promise. In that regard, lists like that are far more intriguing than promises about Johansen just because the organization bet on him, or Kylin Turnbull sightings. And good for Gil Mendez. About time, with his production, that he got acknowledged instead of the endless Benincasa love. Because of Mendez’ size, he has been marginalized to date.

    Most of all, you see Taylor Hill. In the spirit of the discussion above, why not? The guy gets it done, and he’s going to start on some team in the major leagues, despite not being a first round draft pick who throws in the upper 90’s. Imagine that!?

    Does anyone know who Steven Fuentes is, though? Is he tomorrow’s Rey Lopez?


    7 Jan 15 at 12:04 pm

  36. For the Nats trading partners, I still have my eye on the Cubbies, and the Yankees as well.

    The Yankees have a truckload of international talent that they have already paid out bonus money to. They can;t help their tick of adding veteran high priced talent and can afford to.

    They would take on the salaries and I could see them betting on the 5+ players. Rizzo likes Didi (even if we don’t). Lots to think about there for a “blow the roof off” trade.


    7 Jan 15 at 12:10 pm

  37. Catching up on this thread.

    rotation reviews: maybe after I bang out all the tax stuff I have to do. Maybe i’ll just focus on the starters and not the relievers (which triples the work frankly, mostly for guys who are never going to amount to much; not fair, but also not untrue).

    AAA rotation: seems almost entirely set save a huge trade; and I agree that the 5th starter there likely is Rivero. that leaves a lotta arms still hanging in AA.

    Purke/Solis opinions: I think purke will be re-made as matchup lefty. Solis as a John Lannan/Tom Gorzelanny 5th starter/long man guy?

    Minorleagueball list criticism: I thought 1-10 was decent enough … i think he’s too high on Renda and Self/Holland. How can you mention a guy like Neil Holland (who’s now 26 in AA and has been passed over in rule-5 draft twice) but NOT put in someone like Matt Skole (our ML hitter of the year 2 years ago), Jake Johansen (2nd round draft pick in 2013) or Nick Pivetta (who was in BA’s top 10 for the nats)?

    Fuentes!? a 17yr old DSL guy? Call me when he makes it to an A-ball level. No offense, but I don’t trust anything coming out of those DSL numbers and I barely trust GCL numbers.

    Todd Boss

    7 Jan 15 at 2:43 pm

  38. Saw this trade proposal floated. 3-way trade deal:
    – Zimmermann to Boston
    – Zobrist to Washington
    – prospects from both teams to Tampa

    We’d be trading one year of Zimmermann (2014 bWAR 4.9) and prospects for one year of Zobrist (2014 bWAR of 4.2).

    On the face of it … i don’t know if I like the deal. I’d rather keep Zimmermann and whatever prospects we’d flip rather than go with the 33-yr old Zobrist, even given the cost savings. Now, if it was a different pitcher? Maybe so. But who? Can’t move Strasburg, Roark is cost controlled for years, Fister’s lower salary makes him as valuable as Zimmermann, and even if you think Gio is closer to a #4 starter than a #2 … he’s on a very, very affordable contract too.

    On the other hand, it is the Nats trading from a position of strength (starting pitching) to acquire a position of weakness (2b).

    Todd Boss

    7 Jan 15 at 2:48 pm

  39. Not for only one year. A QO pick and another year of Zimm have more value than Zobrist for one year.


    7 Jan 15 at 3:10 pm

  40. Yeah, I agree with that.

    I think the trade is borne from the fact that the sabr community gets a collective boner everytime Zobrist’s name comes up. I’d rather keep our co-Ace, bat Espinosa 8th and then take my chances with a supp-1st pick than make a move like this.

    Todd Boss

    7 Jan 15 at 4:30 pm

  41. The supp pick is there is either case ( unless Zobrist suffers a horrible year or injury, but JZ has similar risks (more on injury, less on collapse).

    My heart hates it, but my brain says that Zobrist for JZ makes the Nats better next year. The improvement of Zobrist over Espy is > than JZ over Cole/Treinen/Jordan. Not to mention Zobrist’s ability to hedge a Rendon or outfield injury. I guess it depends if we are also giving up meaningful prospects.

    What would bum me the most is facing the reality that we won’t resign JZ. My brains knows that is all but certain, but my heart keeps hoping.


    7 Jan 15 at 5:22 pm

  42. Hate to be piling on the third thread down, but this seems to be where the action is.

    My first reaction to Zimmermann for Zobrist is NO. You can’t trust that any player is going to sustain his WAR level in his age-34 season. I don’t think the offensive boost they would get for him would outweigh the loss at the top of the rotation. We have to remember that we’re trying to fill the #8 spot in the batting order, the #7 if it’s someone really good.

    Also, I don’t understand the Nats’ continuing interest in Brad Miller. He’s got Espy-like numbers over 746 plate appearances. That isn’t a small sample. He is who he is. If we want someone who can play defense, hit with a little pop, and not get on base very often, we’ve already got him.

    Prospects: one thing that jumped out from the list is that this guy doesn’t seem sold on Difo, and he has Cole a little down the list as well. Very high on Lopez, though. We’ll see. If he fills out like Difo, then we’ll talk.


    8 Jan 15 at 5:21 am

  43. I should add that I’m very glad the Yanks spared the Nats of Drew. With the D-Back and Boras connections, that one scared me.


    8 Jan 15 at 5:24 am

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