Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 2015 Draft Wrap-up

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Wiseman may be known for his "neck homer" game, but he's raking in short-A.  Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Wiseman may be known for his “neck homer” game, but he’s raking in short-A. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The July 17th signing deadline has come and gone, and the Nats had a relatively quiet signing period.  Little drama, no significant failed signings, no arguing in the press with Scott Boras, etc.   Lets recap our 2015 draft class.

As noted by Chelsea James in this NatsJournal piece, the Nats signed 30 of their 40 picks, including all their top ten and 18 of the top 20 picks.

They saved roughly $700k of their top10-round bonus pool, only having to go over slot for one top-10 round pick (Koda Glover, who perhaps not coincidentally was the first 2015 draftee to be promoted to full season ball), and transferred that bonus savings to two big over-draft picks in later rounds (13th rounder Max Schrock and 34th rounder Tyler Watson).  This essentially meant that they were able to acquire the equivalent of an extra 3rd and an extra 4th rounder thanks to bonus savings.

Here’s a cut-n-paste from my 2015 draft tracker spreadsheet (google link here, which includes more details and twitter accounts for the draftees).  Red == did not sign.  *==lefty, #=switch hitter.

Round Name/Position Col/HS School Signed?
2 Stevenson, Andrew* OF COL jr LSU signed for $750k, $308k under slot
2 Perkins, Blake OF HS Verrado HS (AZ) signed for $800k, $93k underslot.
3 Wiseman, Rhett* OF COL jr Vanderbilt signed for $554k, exactly slot.
4 Rivera, Mariano Jr. RHP COL sr Iona (NY) signed for $410k, exactly slot.
5 Hearn, Taylor LHP COL jr Oklahoma Baptist U. signed for $275k, 37k under slot
6 Crownover, Matt LHP COL jr Clemson signed for $160k, 70k under slot.
7 Borne, Grant LHP COL jr Nicholls State (LA) signed for $150k, 27k under slot.
8 Glover, Koda RHP COL sr Oklahoma State signed for $200k, 34k over slot.
9 Kerian, David# 1B COL sr Illinois signed for $25k, 130k under slot (and, was in the Auburn opening day lineup)
10 Guilbeau, Taylor LHP COL sr Alabama signed for $25k, 124k under slot
11 Lee, Andrew RHP COL jr Tennessee Yes per his twitter
12 Peterson, Tommy RHP COL jr South Florida Yes per his twitter, GCL roster assignment
13 Schrock, Max* 2B COL jr South Carolina signed for $500k, $400k over slot
14 Lemieux, Mack LHP HS Jupiter Community HS (FL) Not likely to sign
15 Mooney, Kevin RHP COL jr Maryland yes per Baltimore sun http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/bs-sp-digest-0623-20150623-story.html
16 Sagdal, Ian* SS COL sr Washington State U. Yes per his twitter
17 Dulin, Dalton# 2B CC Northwest Mississippi CC yes per http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/high-school/dalton-dulin-signs-with-washington-nationals_88617898
18 Rodriguez, Melvin* 2B COL sr Jackson State U. (MS) Yes per Auburn assignment
19 Brandt, Clayton SS COL sr MidAmerica Nazarene U (KS) signed per GCL roster assignment
20 Reeves, John C COL sr Rice (TX) Why didn’t he sign?
21 Pirro, Matt RHP COL sr Wake Forest Yes per his twitter
22 Boghosian, Adam RHP COL 5s North Greenville U. (SC) signed per GCL roster assignment
23 Rash, Alec RHP COL jr Missouri Not likely to sign
24 Smith, Blake RHP COL sr West Virginia Why didn’t he sign?
25 Copping, Calvin RHP COL jr Cal. State Northridge signed per GCL roster assignment
26 Harmening, Russell RHP COL jr Westmont Coll (CA) signed per GCL roster assignment
27 Brinley, Ryan RHP COL jr Sam Houston State U. (TX) signed per GCL roster assignment
28 Van Vossen, Mick RHP COL sr Michigan State U. signed per GCL roster assignment
29 Diedrick, Philip* OF COL sr Western Kentucky U. signed per GCL roster assignment
30 Pantoja, Jorge RHP COL jr Alabama State U. signed per GCL roster assignment
31 Sprengel, Nick LHP HS El Dorado HS (CA) Not likely to sign
32 DiNatale, Dalton* 3B COL jr Arizona State U. signed per GCL roster assignment
33 La Bruna, Angelo SS COL 5S U. Southern California signed per GCL roster assignment
34 Watson, Tyler LHP HS Perry HS (AZ) signed per Jim Callis Tweet
35 Montes, Coco SS HS Coral Gables HS (FL) Not likely to sign
36 Bush, Taylor SS HS The Linfield School (CA) Not likely to sign
37 DiPuglia, Steven SS HS Cooper City HS (FL) Not likely to sign
38 Morales, Matt SS HS Wellington Community HS (FL) Not likely to sign
39 Jefferies, Jake# 2B COL jr Cal. State Fullerton Yes per Auburn assignment
40 Quinn, Parker 1B HS The Benjamin School (FL) Not likely to sign

Review of the 10 who did not sign:

  • 14th rounder Lemieux was a tough sign, committed to Florida Atlantic, probably couldn’t get enough money to make it worth his while to forgo college.
  • 20th rounder Reeves has college eligibility left despite being a senior; I originally had assumed he was signing.  Looks like he returns to Rice and is a 5th year senior.
  • 23rd rounder Rash barely pitched this year and from what I read has really struggled in his college career.  He made sense to go back for his senior year to build value.  Coming out of HS he was a decent talent.
  • 24th rounder Smith was listed in some places as a senior but is listed as a junior on WVU’s website.  It makes sense for him to return for his senior  year and build value.
  • 31st rounder Sprengel is committed to U. San Diego.
  • High Schoolers picked in rounds 35-38 (Montes, Bush, DiPuglia and Morales) are committed to respectively South Florida, Westmont, Western Kentucky and Stetson, all opting to go to school.
  • 40th rounder Quinn is commited to Hofstra.

The big signing surprises for me:

  • Schrock in the 13th round, though he got paid like an early 3rd rounder.  So perhaps it isn’t that big of a surprise.
  • Watson in the 34th round, though again he got paid like a mid 4th rounder, so maybe it isn’t that big of a surprise either.
  • DiNatale and Jefferies both signing despite being such low picks; both were college juniors at big programs who could have gone back to school.  Somewhat surprising picks.  Given that any bonus figure below $100,000 in the 11th round or later does not need to be reported, it is possible that both guys got $100k (which is about equivalent to a 10th round pick) and opted to sign.
  • That the team signed *any* of the guys it picked in rounds 31 and above; they got 4 of the 10.

Was this a “good” or a “bad” draft?

I was on record quite clearly that I thought our 2014 draft was a failure.  This led to my posting a huge missive doing analysis on *every* draft class and determining whether it was a failure or a success.  I’m still not sold on 2014 a year onwards; Fedde is going to have to turn into an all-star to make up for the rest of the deficiencies of the class.

So how does the 2015 draft class look?  Unfortunately, in my mind, probably not too great either.  We had no 1st rounder.  Our two second rounders both project as good field/no hit center fielders (thought to be fair, Stevenson is hitting .360 in Auburn).  I like Wiseman but he has holes in his swing.  Rivera has gotten shelled so far in Auburn.  I think the team got some good deals on Glover, Schrock, and Watson.  Some of the college arms are really looking good at Auburn (Bourne, Peterson, Gilbeau).  So we’ll see.

Good links for the draft: that i’m constantly using.

 

60 Responses to 'Nats 2015 Draft Wrap-up'

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  1. Thanks, Todd. This is really useful.
    I couldn’t figure out why the 2 college seniors didn’t until you wrote that they had eligibility left and at those rounds they usually get a trivial amount like $1,500 or so.

    Watson was the big ‘get’ to me. They need all the lefthanders in the system that can be brought in.

    I think it’s foolish to rate a draft until a minimum of 3 years later.
    Lots of information doesn’t come out for a year or two.

    Mark L

    23 Jul 15 at 5:38 pm

  2. I thought this class was fine, compared to other years where they had no first rounder, or had to go over slot for someone like Giolito. They showed some creativity and there are a few upside guys.

    It’s a long shot if anyone turns into a quality major leaguer but I think that comes with the territory for their drafting position. My guess is that 2014, because of Fedde, generates more WAR, but this one gives more prospects, if that makes sense.

    Wally

    23 Jul 15 at 7:30 pm

  3. Speaking of Fedde, Zuckerman tweeted that two Reds officials are scouting Fedde tonight in Auburn. Fedde + for Chapman, I guess, would be the speculation.

    Funny, I generally hate those kind of trades, but if we are ever going to do it, this would probably be the year. I guess it depends what the ‘+’ is before I decide how much to really choke on it.

    Wally

    23 Jul 15 at 10:05 pm

  4. Let’s start off by acknowledging that the Nats had low picks and no money for what was generally thought to be a poor draft. Indeed, as I’ve said before, I think Bregman, the #2 overall pick, profiles fairly similarly to Difo. It seems like it was a very good year for the Nats to sign a big free agent who is quite likely to be significantly better than anyone they could have gotten late in this first round.

    Being brutally honest, the Nats should be satisfied if anyone from this draft makes the majors. Even if they do, there’s not a huge upside. I didn’t like the Stevenson pick, as I thought they needed someone with more power. Analysts have given his upside as Ben Revere, who doesn’t really have a lot of upside himself. As Todd noted, though, at least Stevenson has hit at Auburn and seems ready to advance.

    Perkins seemed like a reach at the time and has floundered with the GCL Nats. Not sure why they took the flier on him that they did when there were still some good college hitters on the board, and with the similarly profiling Robles already tearing it up (now hitting .500 at Auburn after last night).

    Wiseman, despite the hole in his swing, seemed like a good value pick where the Nats got him. I would comp his potential somewhere between den Dekker and Colby Rasmus.

    Beyond those guys, the potential is mostly the arms. Glover has been the first to advance. They’ve given Rivera and Crownover opportunities to start, and they’ve struggled. Lee, the #11 pick, has yet to allow a run at Auburn. Kerian, the #9, has hit pretty well considering where they got him. He’ll have to show power since he’s stuck at 1B.

    KW

    24 Jul 15 at 7:11 am

  5. I’d actually say that Perkins is the one guy that I’ll hold out hope turns into a quality major leaguer, but I am going to forget about him for a few years and let the normal development process go to work. It took Taylor and Souza that long before they even hit anyone’s radar as a ‘maybe’. Plus, isn’t Perkins being asked to switchhit? If that’s true, don’t we probably have to hold off any kind of judgment even more than would normally be the case for a HS kid?

    Wally

    24 Jul 15 at 8:04 am

  6. Yeah, I think I saw on Luke’s site that they are trying to get three or four of the GCL kids to switch-hit, Perkins among them. Interesting. I haven’t heard of many professional organizations that pushed switch-hitting. Some college programs do, or used to.

    It’s a long slog for many HS kids, and almost impossible to predict, particularly power development. Taylor and Souza both repeated steps, for example. Is it worth the investment, or better to take the products that the colleges have weeded out and refined? Many of the Dominican kids come cheaper. I don’t know what they paid for Robles, but I’m sure it wasn’t much.

    KW

    24 Jul 15 at 9:07 am

  7. Of the draft I could see Andrew Stevenson making the big leagues as a 4th outfielder with fringe starting ability ala Ben Revere. He could also end up as den Dekker pretty easily.

    I do like Koda Glover and Rhett Wiseman a lot. Glover looks like he could move fast and be a solid middle reliever with upside to be a late inning arm. I think Wiseman, if the power continues to develop, could be an every day corner outfielder. If not he has the advantage of being left handed which helps coming off the bench and in platoon situations. He was hitting a lot at Auburn. Not sure why they just dropped him back down to the GCL.

    I think the Nats will also stop experimenting with Rivera as a starter next year. His dad came up as a starter and was not very good. I know you try to maximize value but I’m not sure there is much point to push a small framed pitcher as a starter.

    PDowdy

    24 Jul 15 at 10:46 am

  8. Do we also need to take into consideration that with the small draft bonus pool they also went out and signed Juan Soto for $1.5mm and added Luis Angel Aquino for $200k on the international market? That is the equivalent of signing a player in the competitive balance section (pick 39-42) and an additional 7th rounder.

    They also traded Ramses Rosario to the Red Sox for a slot bonus of $327,000 so I am wondering if there is something else up their sleeves as well. They had $1.98mm in the international pool so that trade gave them $2.3mm to work with. Soto and Aquino only cost $1.7mm. That is a siginificant chunk of change left.

    PDowdy

    24 Jul 15 at 10:55 am

  9. I read about a third guy that they signed, but can’t find it any more. I remember that he wasn’t on Kiley M’s sortable July 2 list of guys, but still, I think they definitely get kudos for upping the expenditures in LA.

    And I keep waiting for Rizzo to sign one of these Cuban guys. Just seems like his MO.

    Wally

    24 Jul 15 at 11:59 am

  10. I was expecting them to go after Andy Ibanez on the cuban market but I also saw a report that they are poised to blow passed their bonus pool next year possibly.

    3rd guy would make a lot of sense with the extra bonus slot acquired.

    PDowdy

    24 Jul 15 at 12:10 pm

  11. Stevenson was sent to GCL because he had an ankle injury.

    Brian

    24 Jul 15 at 3:32 pm

  12. Yeah, he hadn’t played in a week in Auburn; maybe they wanted him back at the mother station to be close to the training staff instead of on a slow bus around New England :-)

    Nats definitely signed 3 marquee IFAs this off-season.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jul 15 at 4:34 pm

  13. i always take a wait and see approach on grading drafts. After all, the 2012 draft looks pretty bleak three years later, but if Giolito indeed does become the next Clayton Kershaw it will look pretty good when all is said and done.

    That said, I agree that this draft appeared to do little to address the organization wide lack of power. When your only two double digit home run hitters are AAAA players and you number 5 guy in home runs in the system abruptly retires, you’ve got a big problem.

    Anonymous

    24 Jul 15 at 5:21 pm

  14. Oops–that last post was me. Just got a new phone.

    Karl Kolchak

    24 Jul 15 at 5:22 pm

  15. PDowdy – the Ibanez market was a real puzzler, and it looks like Texas got him for a song. I never heard what happened there, but I assume there is a story with the agent at the bottom of it. I was particularly hot for him, but at that price, I would have been. Some day maybe we’ll hear it.

    The guy that I was kind of hoping for was Martinez, the CF. seems like he’ll land with the Dodgers for $10-12m, but I thought with our OF scarcity, he’d be a good fit.

    Wally

    24 Jul 15 at 7:49 pm

  16. Also, Mets on the board, with Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Low level, but I think those guys will help them.

    Wally

    24 Jul 15 at 7:51 pm

  17. Waiting to judge draft classes: totally fair. I mean, lets be honest; is the 2010 class a success? There’s still 8 or 9 guys from that class in our minor league rosters, a bunch on the 40-man but only two (well, three as we speak) actively on the MLB roster. Can you really judge this class until we know what AJ Cole is? Until we figure out if Solis or Grace can stick as a loogy in the majors? Until we know if Hague or Martinson could actually contribute?

    But hey, lets also be honest; its the nature of sports. As soon as every draft occurs, there’s a “winners” and “losers” post written.

    Hand it to the Mets for a) calling up Conforto and b) acquiring bats. Watch out if they make a big move.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jul 15 at 11:59 am

  18. –From the 2015 draft: Andrew Lee (#11) became the second player from the draft promoted to Hagerstown. Both are 6’5″ relievers. Also, Mariano Rivera earned his first save last night, making me wonder whether the experiment with him as a starter (which he was in college) is already over.

    –From the rumor wire: Nats considering Papelbon. OK, let’s talk about this. It was hard enough accepting Uggla. Now we’re thinking about adding Papelbon, or Kimbrel? Talk about sleeping with the enemy. . . . Papelbon has a $13M vesting option for next season that he’ll likely reach. He’s been good this year, but that’s a steep price to add for next season for an aging reliever, particularly if he’s more the 8th inning guy anyway. We really need someone more like Clippard. We’ve just got to figure out how to get Kurt Suzuki back to trade for him . . .

    –Lack of power in the system: Karl nailed it. I was moaning about it before the draft, only to see them pick a slap-hitting CF. Martinson has 16 HRs . . . to go with 126 Ks, and probably not much chance of making a contribution to the big club. Skole has 12, to go with a .232 BA in his second year in AA. The longer-term power hope, Drew Ward, has 4.

    Looking out into the distance, Robles has 4 in only 29 games across GCL and Auburn, and Wiseman has 3 in 15 games at Auburn. That’s it right now, the entire power hope of the organization. Wooten, Vettleson, Goodwin, etc., just not much hope to which to cling. And before someone says Kevin Keyes, he has 8 HRs in 93 games, which looks like a big decline from the 20 in 114 he hit last year. He may still have some fringe MLB possibility, like all these guys mentioned, but there’s little reason to think that any of them could hit 20+ in the majors.

    KW

    25 Jul 15 at 1:37 pm

  19. Regarding the power bats….I’m surprised by Clint Robinson’s lack of HR in many AB’s now. Also Moore has forgotten his power stroke. He seems to get 2 strikes on him quickly then spreads out to slap hitter mode.

    Zimm’s the one that is most worrying me now. Hard to judge if his bat slowed last year, but this year he did not hit in Spring Training (which is rare for him), didn’t hit first couple weeks of season, didn’t hit after the PF diagnosis. And isn’t hitting in his rehab stint yet either. We need him back to something close to his old self. Would solve alot of problems if he can put it back together.

    If Desmond can get/keep that tear going would also help cover for our many weaknesses. Span looks so key to this team. Our only real good stretch of baseball was those few weeks he was in the lineup.

    Saw Giolito got promoted. Still looks very very raw to me. Seen him a couple times now and his mechanics look pretty loose. Anybody soon Robles play in person? Intriguing prospect.

    Marty C

    25 Jul 15 at 3:35 pm

  20. Someone on Luke’s site reported a couple of days ago seeing Robles at Auburn. He said he looked like a “five-tool monster” who he thought might be the Nats’ third-best prospect right now. Great news if true! Robles just turned 18. The Auburn site lists him at 185, although at his age, with a little proper nutrition in the U.S., you would think he could still add 20-25 pounds, like Difo did on his smaller frame.

    Marty, have you also seen Lopez at Potomac? If so, what’s your take? What little I have heard is that his velocity is still high but that he’s having to learn how to pitch in this league rather than just blow guys away.

    You know the drumbeat is going to start for bringing Giolito up next year, at least by June. The fact that it took him some time to figure things out at Potomac leads me to believe he’s still got a good bit to learn. Pivetta has a 7.20 ERA after three starts at Harrisburg, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Giolito has a similar learning curve.

    KW

    25 Jul 15 at 8:17 pm

  21. No I haven’t seen Lopez yet. Was surprising to see him get pounded for a couple months after such a great start there. Looks like he’s adjusting back a bit now.
    That’s exciting about Robles. Guy may have the “it’ factor.

    Zimm now hitting .067 at Harrisburg. Would be a mercy call up at this point. Damn, before the season I was so looking forward to getting him back this year healthy at 1b. Could be a big long term mess with him now. As his steep decline may actually have happened last year but no way to tell since he was out basicially all year. And the year before he needed the miracle cortisone shot to salvage his year in the 2nd half. Hope that shoulder didn’t wreck his swing for good.

    Michael Taylor is such an interesting growing pains study of a young guy. Just when you get frustrated with a string of horrendous at bats, he roars back with clutch hits or a monster home run. Think he could get very good in the coming years as he smoothes things out and develops trust in his power swing. I would keep him out of the 8 hole and let him develop as a key piece of the offense.

    Trae Turner I’m excited about like everyone else. He’s starting to pile up the errors at AAA though. 8 already in 24 games. Something to keep an eye on.

    Marty C

    25 Jul 15 at 10:47 pm

  22. Getting back to the original theme of this post, Taylor represents everything frustrating and also potentially wonderful about drafting a HS kid like Perkins. Taylor is in his sixth year in the organization, and we’re still not sure what we’ve got. He hinted at power through the years but didn’t really show it until last season, year 5. He spent two full seasons at Potomac. And while we think of him as the kid, he’s a year and a half older than Bryce, although a couple of years younger than Souza, who is just now making it himself. All in all, I think in this day and age, it’s probably better for some of these things to shake out in college, while letting the colleges foot the developmental bill.

    I share the concerns about RZimm. I had high hopes that 1B would be the key to a revitalization for him this year. Considering Zimm’s issues, McLouth’s complete disappearance, and T-Mo continuing to hit about like he always has, Robinson had turned out to be such a key cog this year. As someone noted above, I wish he would show a little more power, but it’s hard to complain about a 109 OPS+ from a career minor-leaguer off the scrap heap.

    With Robles, I’d love to see them send him to the AZ fall league and see what he’s got against more advanced competition. He hasn’t had much game action this year at all. I can’t see Wiseman or Stevenson going to AZ after such long college seasons. Frankly, there aren’t a lot of other hitters who would get my attention if sent to AZ.

    KW

    26 Jul 15 at 8:04 am

  23. Taylor – he shows promising skills, but would a playoff ready team be willing to give him 650 PAs? Maybe, maybe not, which is why bringing back Span on a 2-3 year deal makes sense to me. Between Taylor’s development and Werth’s age, I see plenty of time for all four of them. As both of you have said, it shows how a HS position player can have a really long development arc, and we should keep that in mind not only with Perkins, but even Robles. He is having success now but he is so young and still learning the culture, etc, that I think we ought not to try to rush him. And I don’t think Rizzo will, I’d be surprised if he goes anywhere there than Auburn. Which reminds me, wasn’t there a bigger IFA signing a few years ago, Franco? Whatever happened to him?

    As for Papelbon, sure I’d take. The guy has been effective. Seems like a jerk but I think the clubhouse could handle it. The only thing would be that he has to accept not being closer, which is unlikely so I don’t see it happening. If I had my druthers, I’d rather see the Nats make a big bullpen deal with a Tampa Bay, for two pieces like Boxberger and McGee, who each have more than this year of control. They would need to start with a package centered around Lopez, I think, and maybe 2-3 other good to decent pieces, but they have the depth to pull it off and it would be huge for them.

    Wally

    26 Jul 15 at 8:46 am

  24. And the kids will lead the way.
    Last October Rendon & Harper were the only ones who hit at all.
    Michael Taylor is hitting .400+ with runners in scoring position and those 3 may be who the team leans on in the playoffs.
    Ryan Zimmerman’s numbers in Harrisburg are depressing, a reminder he wasn’t hitting at all this year before he was hurt.

    Mark L

    26 Jul 15 at 10:52 am

  25. Wally — Anderson Franco is more than holding his own (2 HRs, .705 OPS) as a 17-year old third baseman in the GCL–and it should be noted that he signed for $900K and is already ranked #22 on the Nats prospects list.

    As far as Robles is concerned, you’re assuming that he’s your “average” prospect, when the Nats have already described him as being the equivalent of a 1st round pick. He’s not just hitting well, he is totally raking and it’s just possible that he might be one of those guys who, like Harper, is a special talent who is ready for the bigs by age 20.

    There is also no way I’d re-sign Span for more than one year. He’s an aging speedster (will be 32 next year) who is already having trouble staying on the field due to injury. For comparison, Michael Bourn was a better player in his prime and two years younger heading into free agency, and he immediately fell off the table at age 30. Not to mention that the Nats just got stung big time with the McLouth contract, and he was the same age heading coming to DC as Span will be next year.

    Karl Kolchack

    26 Jul 15 at 5:30 pm

  26. DSpan is a perfect Qualifying Offer candidate – I’d love to have him for one more year and $16MM sounds fine. But if he thinks he can do better, let’s put that first round pick to good use.

    This week also shows why Desi is in the same boat. I’d take him for another year also, or gladly cash in the first round pick.

    Andrew R

    26 Jul 15 at 10:39 pm

  27. I’d be afraid to offer either Span or Fister a QO, mostly because it would represent such a huge $$ raise over what they’re getting now (per Cots Span at $9M this year and Fister at $11.4M).

    There’s a lot of season left. If Span finishes the season healthy and continuing his current trend (an .800 OPS from the leadoff spot) maybe he’s earned himself something like a 3yr/$33 deal. He’s already 31; who is going to give him an AAV of $16M on a longer term deal? Meanwhile Fister is regressing badly from his form the last few years and is looking like a very “old” 31. I wouldn’t want to give him a QO either, choosing to give his spot to Ross at this point. Frankly, Its fister who’s getting left off a playoff roster right now, not exactly someone you want to give a 40% raise to.

    This topic keeps coming up; but its a November conversation.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 15 at 9:34 am

  28. Lopez, Martinson, Taylor Hill and Goodwin for KRod, Smith and Lind. Who says no? I think you could kick and scream on either side of that one, but might be equitable. Lopez is ~ top 50 prospect, the rest admittedly not much but there could be something to wish upon with each.

    In return for two releivers, one pricey, one not but both effective, and an above average platoon bat on an expiring contract. If anything, I’d say we aren’t giving up enough, but MIL gets a chance at a stud in Lopez, who is equal to the best guy in the Cueto deal.

    Would you guys do it?

    Wally

    27 Jul 15 at 9:59 am

  29. I think we’d have to sweeten the offer on our side. You can make the argument that 2 of those 4 prospects (Martinson and Goodwin) are org guys/career minor leaguers, that a third may never be more than a 4-A pitcher (Hill) and Lopez is a lottery ticket; could be awesome, could be a one-inning flamethrower.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 15 at 10:31 am

  30. I think the trade is fair. krod is meh. I want Lucroy and think he could be available.

    Andrew R

    27 Jul 15 at 11:19 am

  31. If we take Milwaukee’s two best closers, and their starting 1B, they’ll want back at least prospects covering what they’re losing. Do we even have upper-end reliever prospects worth of trade? Our 40-man relievers in the minors are Martin, Erik Davis, Blake Treinen, and de Los Santos. Are any of those guys blowing your skirt up in terms of their future right now?

    OUr starters in the minors: Jordan, Cole, Hill. All three have been meh in 2015.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 15 at 11:37 am

  32. I don’t think it would have to be trades for similar positions, just value for value. Weak teams trading relievers is kind of classic, no? I just don’t know how to properly value them. Anywhere from Miller for ERod last year to a bag of balls.

    Lopez is a stud. Of course he has risk to him, as do all pitching prospects, but he probably would be #1/2 in their system, so I thought the rest could be something above org guy but less than prospect level. That might be too light. With Goodwin, I was just figuring that someone would see a former top 100 guy with injuries and value him a little more than his current production.

    I think Taylor Jordan has performed well this year, and is still a SP candidate. If he replaced Hill, I’d probably say it’s an overpay but would likely still do it.

    But the bigger flaw in my thinking is that Lind is controllable through 2016. I thought he was gone this year. I don’t know how much the option is priced at, and it may skew the value.

    Wally

    27 Jul 15 at 11:50 am

  33. Lind has an $8M team option, $500K buyout for 2016.

    KW

    27 Jul 15 at 11:55 am

  34. I’m not expecting a big trade-deadline trade. That hasn’t been Rizzo’s MO in the contenting years. Of course the Nats weren’t this depleted in 2012 or 2014, either. I imagine they will pick up a bullpen arm, but not a closer.

    I’m not particularly advocating for this approach, just saying that it’s what I expect. Despite the recent swoon, I think they can stand pat and still win the division. I have a hard time seeing them making it very far in the playoffs with the current group, though.

    If they do choose to try to make a splash, they’ve got a truckload of second-tier minor-league arms similar to what the Royals dumped on the Reds. (Yeah, I know the Reds got one former first-rounder, although he’s not looking like he’s going to stick as a starter.) We’ll see. Rizzo is running silent, as always.

    KW

    27 Jul 15 at 12:34 pm

  35. I don’t know if I am quite as confident in taking the division. The Mets are pretty good and appear serious about the trade deadline this year. I already like their one trade so far (for them) and it seems like more may be coming, although that is far from certain. But mostly I am not sure what Zim and Werth will provide when they get back. Rendon will be fine in a few weeks, if he is finally past these injuries, and I feel the same about Stras, but the rest are wild cards. And without good production from at least 1 or 2 more, it might not be enough. But I wouldn’t make s horrible panic trade because of it, just trying to be realistic.

    At what point do they consider dropping Fister from the rotation?

    Wally

    27 Jul 15 at 1:59 pm

  36. Clip to the Mets for a low-level arm. As much as the Nats needed someone like what Clip used to be, I’m sort of glad they didn’t do it. I think it would have been very hard for him to come home again and live up to the expectations. We’ll see. It will be hard to learn to root against him.

    The Nats literally have a ton of similar arms to Meisner they could trade. I just very easily listed 15 we would never miss. That’s the C stock, not even counting more valuable guys like Taylors Jordan and Hill, much less Cole. The Reds were rumored to have been scouting Fedde and Phillips Valdez. I consider Fedde higher-level stock, but I’d part with Valdez in a minute. I’d probably do those two for Chapman or Bruce, though. I’ve never known quite how to value Fedde.

    I saw something – interesting if true – that said the Pads have declared Turner the starting point of a conversation about Kimbrel. They have to know that’s laughable, right?

    KW

    27 Jul 15 at 6:49 pm

  37. Yeah, it will be hard to root against him, but also good practice for next year, esp. JZ and Desi. But Clip has been used hard the last few years, and I probably value several others as higher impact pen arms. Would still like to see a two-fer package, somehow.

    I saw the same blurb about the Pods asking for Turner back for Kimbrel. I cannot imagine Rizzo trading Turner, after all this. But I am less bullish on Turner coming up this year as many bloggers; he just got drafted last year, after all, has jumped 4 levels and he had this high profile trade nonsense to deal with. Plus, he has been making errors at a fairly high rate, at least since he got here. Not exactly someone that you throw right into a pennant race, to replace a popular vet.

    But getting back to the trade deadline, I wonder if this is the year that Rizzo finally starts to let some of the pressure show. He took a big gamble this year, keeping all of these guys, and it is hanging on by a slim margin. It’s one thing to cavalierly say ‘wait until our guys get back’, but most of those guys weren’t looking too good, and the Mets are upping the ante. He may feel pressure to make a trade to show some results this year. Imagine the public criticism if they miss the playoffs, and all the vets leave? I hope he stands tall throughout, and sticks to his philosophy. But I think he’ll be tested (tempted?) more this year than ever before to do something big.

    Wally

    27 Jul 15 at 7:26 pm

  38. I’ve been holding the line on Turner not coming up this year as well. The run of errors seems to seal the deal to my mind. But there’s also the clubhouse dynamic with a very popular veteran SS, plus extremely capable backups in Espinosa and Escobar. I think they’ll probably try to push Turner back at least until May 2016 to save the arb time. Turner shouldn’t have a problem with that after all the stuff he’s had to adapt to this year.

    As for this year, Rizzo has to be honest with himself about the medical reports, and about how limited Zimmerman has looked. You can’t count on him. Span has been off the radar so presumably is still several weeks away. Werth seems to be the only one who is close, but I don’t think we can count on him coming back with much power. Maybe he goes more toward the top of the order, perhaps back to “Larry Leadoff” for a while. Werth-Rendon-Harper would be a pretty potent top of the order.

    To me, the key hitting spot under discussion at the trade deadline is 1B. Can Zim be counted on to any degree? Clint Robinson has been great for what he is, and I hope he’s on the Nats’ bench for the next few years. But Lind and his 16 HRs sure would look good batting behind Harper. The Cards apparently have been kicking the tires on him as well. Not sure why the Brewers would do that in their own division, though.

    I think everyone is assuming that the Nats will do something in the bullpen. I will be surprised if they go big for Chapman or Kimbrel. We’ll see. Should be an interesting week. And yes, the Mets are really pushing some buttons, for whatever that’s worth.

    KW

    27 Jul 15 at 9:05 pm

  39. Yeah, we are seeing this similarly. 1B is where I see they could pick up some improvement this year, and they can’t stand on ceremony with Zim. That’s why Lind was an interesting guy to me when I thought he was a rental only, although an option for next year doesn’t change it to much. Maybe a guy like David Murphy could be another option (I think he plays 1st too).

    CRob is a good bench bat, I agree with that too. At least while he is a pre-arb guy. Great story too. Man, does he suck as a 1B though. Adam Dunn bad.

    As for the Brewers trading with the Cards, I don’t think intra-division is so off limits any more, especially if they are going to be down for a while. I think they’ll just take the best deal they get.

    Wally

    27 Jul 15 at 9:33 pm

  40. Zimmerman didn’t even play for Harrisburg last night. Stras is scheduled for a rehab start with Syracuse on Wed., though.

    Tulo to Jays. Wow. Tulo and Donaldson together. All the Yankee fans are going to be cranky today!

    The buzz of Kimbrel to the Nats seems to be getting hotter. He’s signed for three more years at a reasonable rate for a top closer. My one concern with him is that he was used so heavily in Atlanta. He’s heating up after his slow start, though, as he’s only given up one run in six weeks and no hits since July 12. He’d probably cost at least one of the higher tier starters, though, like Fedde or Lopez.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 5:12 am

  41. Kimbrel rumors: you have to think Rizzo is smarter than that right? I don’t think anyone believes that Soriano was Rizzo’s idea.

    Turner has shot up on practically everyone’s ranking sheets and will be the shortstop come mid-April 2016. You have to think so anyway.

    Todd Boss

    28 Jul 15 at 8:57 am

  42. Toronto-Colorado deal; makes no sense to me. Why do the blue Jays need more offense? They’re already the best offense in the league by a fairly wide margin. They’ve scored 75 more runs than the 2nd best run-scoring team in the majors.

    Todd Boss

    28 Jul 15 at 8:57 am

  43. I never understood the folks who wanted Tulo for the Nats. He can’t stay healthy and has a HUGE contract. Basically, they swapped his bad contract for Reyes’s, which is $50M less. And as you sort of note, they didn’t address their real need – pitching. In fact, they traded away arms.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 9:13 am

  44. Here’s my radical thought of the day, considering all the buzz about how the Jays still need arms: Fister and Martin for Encarnación. Fister is actually making more than Edwin this year, so the money works, and EE has a $2M buyout for next year if the Nats don’t want to pay him. The Nats plug 19 HRs in the cleanup hole, albeit with a .234 average. Ross/Roark fill the rotation spot and perhaps even improve it.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 1:02 pm

  45. KW, you are seriously overvaluing the Nats’ pitching prospects and undervaluing the guy Meisner that the A’s picked up. He’s projected as high as a #2 starter (by Keith Law and others). Meisner is already solid at the tender age of 20, and still has some physical development ahead of him as swell as continued coaching/technique improvement.

    The Nats could have beaten that offer, sure – but it would have taken more than an Austin Voth or Nick Pivetta to do it. Giolito, Lopez, Cole or Fedde probably would have done it – but I would be pretty peeved if the Nats traded any of those guys (with their inexpensive years of team control) for two expensive months of a relief pitcher. Even if that relief pitcher had been Tyler Clippard.

    John C.

    28 Jul 15 at 2:16 pm

  46. There seems to be a bit of a debate between Law and the Fangraphs guys on what to make of Meisner. The latter make him out to be maybe a Chris Young type, or at very best a Fister, both of whom took many years to stick in the bigs. But Law was ahead of the curve on Joe Ross, so I’ll give him credit for that. We’ll see. I’m curious about Beane’s kick for really young arms now (including Ott from the Nats) given his preference for college pitchers.

    No, I would not have wanted to give up Voth or Pivetta for half a year of Clippard, much less going any higher up the pitching prospect food chain. I keep hoping they’ll get some return for someone more the Simms level.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 2:43 pm

  47. I’m not sure who I would have been ok with to re-acquire Clippard. I mean, if we were paying his full remaining freight ($4M or so?) I’d likely not want to give up much more than an org guy. That’s what Law’s point was when he lambasted the deal. We got Blevins from Oakland for Burns … so put an incrementally higher value on Clippard, what’s an incrementally higher minor leaguer than Burns? Maybe someone like Taylor Hill? You know, a guy who probably never actually contributes to the Nats in a meaningful way b/c he’s so far down on the depth chart.

    Todd Boss

    28 Jul 15 at 2:48 pm

  48. OK, so if Law says that the Mets gave up their #6 prospect to acquire Clippard, lets play the same game here.

    Right now, our #6 prospect is probably either Reynaldo Lopez or Erick Fedde. Would you give up either of these guys for 20 innings of Clippard??

    (my logic: Giolito, Turner, Ross, Robles probably 1-4, then Lopez and Feddie 5-6. After that probably Difo, Cole and then, i dunno, Voth and Reetz).

    Todd Boss

    28 Jul 15 at 3:41 pm

  49. The Royals just gave up a guy who might comp to Fedde as well, plus a Taylor Jordan type, for Zobrist. Seems like a lot, but then they’re closer to the brass ring than the Mets are.

    It seems like we’re on the verge with Papelbon. Not sure what to think about that. On the field, he’s been solid, but he has a bad rep (deserved or not I don’t know; I haven’t followed it that closely) plus we’re talking A LOT of salary for this season and the likely vesting for next year. It doesn’t seem Rizzo-like to do something like that without something else to offset it.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 5:05 pm

  50. Pivetta. I can live with that. I guess that explains how they make room for three callups last Saturday. I wonder when they pulled this deal together. Starting to sound like Chapman and Kimbrel talk were decoys.

    forensicane

    28 Jul 15 at 6:22 pm

  51. Not sure I can live with souring Storen, though. I hope there is a step 2, seeing that it’s Tuesday.

    forensicane

    28 Jul 15 at 6:25 pm

  52. Pivetta for Pap? Seems like an overpay, but then again, I like Pivetta as a prospect, and I dislike Papelbon. Maybe Philly bought Pivetta by throwing in $$. Also seems like he restructured his contract to make 2016 guaranteed, for less money.

    Have to hear all the details, but if the guy insisted that he close, I would have passed on him. It’s one thing to force your contract to be renegotiated, I can accept a player exercising leverage that way, but on field decisions are made by the manager based on performance, and once the contract was done, closing should no longer be a point of discussion (to me).

    Wally

    28 Jul 15 at 6:42 pm

  53. I’d guess the only thing that now seems a certainty is that Rizzo wasn’t going into another postseason with Storen as his closer. Whether that is fair or not, and I think I am personally split on it- Storen is very good, yet the history doesn’t make me completely comfortable either, it’s clear that Rizzo wasn’t going through it again.

    Papelbon just seems like an ass, though. Same was said about Escobar, but other than the eye black stuff, I hadn’t seen anything first hand with him. With Papelbon, it’s everywhere.

    Ok, go get Lind, at least.

    Wally

    28 Jul 15 at 6:48 pm

  54. Here’s an outside-the-box theory: maybe Papelbon will actually welcome going to a team where he WON’T close, won’t vest, and can be a free agent a year earlier while he’s still got some marketability. We’ll see. It will be a good clubhouse test for Matt W.

    If it’s just Pivetta, that’s a good price for a what in theory is 1.5 years of a top closer. I can live with that as well. He’s probably better than the guy the Mets spent on Clip, but Pap is better than Clip and could be controllable for another year if we want him to be. I wonder if the Nats are getting some cash as well.

    Speaking of the Mets, Mejia just got busted again, out for 162 games! So they may not be stopping at Clip.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 6:56 pm

  55. I have never been more wrong than when I snorted at the Escobar acquisition. The Nats know Pivetta. And they know Papelbon. And they know their clubhouse. Certainly this is a “go for it” move to add payroll and upgrade. He is a six-time all star and would not be the first guy hungry to go from a losing team to a contender. With Rizzo, there is always a lot going on, so…

    …and the organization still has a big surplus of righthanded starters – Giolito, Simms, and Voth all at AA with Lopez and Dickson perhaps headed there before year’s end. Not bad, not bad.

    Still have to figure out what to do with Fister, who may not merit a QO (or Desmond, for that matter).

    forensicane

    28 Jul 15 at 7:22 pm

  56. OK, the Nats agreed to pick up the option for 2016, but at $11M instead of $13M. No wonder it was complicated. Pap will be very tradeable at that price if the Nats want to move his salary. But Pivetta for 1.5 years of an elite closer is a good deal.

    KW

    28 Jul 15 at 7:24 pm

  57. Forget the outside-the-box thought, as Rizzo says Pap will be the ninth-inning guy . . . if the Nats can ever get there with a lead again.

    Sounds like the Nats really finagled the finances, though. If I’m reading things right, Pap will only cost $400K this season (Phils eating the rest) and $8M next year, with $3M deferred and $2M knocked off the contract.

    KW

    29 Jul 15 at 5:01 am

  58. New posted on Papelbon deal.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jul 15 at 9:38 am

  59. Ramos should be benched. Lobaton is a better catcher, is hitting better, can actually field throws from the outfield. and hustles. ramos is lazy.

    Anonymous

    19 Aug 15 at 4:48 pm

  60. Ramos vs Lobaton: I think Williams is on board; Lobaton has clearly been getting more playing time. No comment on the “lazy” part … I just thought he was having an off-year.

    Todd Boss

    19 Aug 15 at 4:59 pm

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