Nationals Arm Race

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

A tale of Three Trades


Melancon takes over for the beleagured Papelbon. Photo via

Melancon takes over for the beleagured Papelbon. Photo via

At the trade deadline, we saw three significant closer-quality arms moved.

  • Cubs acquire Aroldis Chapman for Rashad Crawford, Billy McKinney, Gleyber Torres, and Adam Warren.
  • Nationals acquire Mark Melancon for Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn.
  • Indians acquire Andrew Miller for Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen.

Chapman fetches the Cubs #1 prospect in Torres (he immediately becomes the Yankees’ #1 prospect) in addition to a more marginal (but still ranked) prospect in McKinney, a lottery ticket in Crawford AND the return of their former 8th inning guy Warren.  This in return for perhaps the premier closer in the game for a 2 month rental.

Melancon fetched a solid, young lefty reliever in Rivero (whose peripherals counter his currently poor-looking 2016 ERA) plus a 2nd tier ranked prospect in Hearn who is probably 3 years away.  This in return for 2 months of an elite but not quite as dominant closer.

Miller fetched the Indians #1, #5, #30th ranked prospects in the Cleveland organization (including two 1st round picks) plus an org-arm.  This in return for one of the best relievers in the game for this year plus two more years at a relatively reasonable price ($9M/per).

Projected WAR for these three guys (using opportunistic estimates based on historical performance);

  • Chapman: 0.8-1.0 bWAR for his 2 month rental (2.7 bWAR in 2015)
  • Melancon: 0.6-0.7 bWAR for his 2 month rental (1.9 bWAR in 2015)
  • Miller: 1.0 bWAR for his 2 month rental plus another 4.5 bWAR for 2017-2018: 5.5 bWAR total.

And then there’s the money factors and the intangibles:

  • Chapman: Domestic Violence suspension earlier this year.   $4.33M of salary due this year.
  • Melancon: Salary relief provided by Pittsburgh (not sure how much, but believed to be all of his 2016 salary)
  • Miller: no salary relief.

Which deal do you like the most?  Miller clearly got the most in terms of value, but he also was the best positioned for the long haul.  But even at best case, Miller’s only going to return 5 and a half war over the next 3 years for Cleveland; that’s about as much bWAR as Anthony Rendon provided in his first big breakout season.  Chapman cost much, much more than Melancon; is he worth that much more?

I hate to sound like a homer, but for what they sought and what they gave up, I completely prefer the Nats deal here.  We gave up none of our top tier of prospects, we didn’t take on cash, and we got precisely what we wanted (closer coverage for 2016) and nothing more.  Keith Law hated the deal of course, but he covets prospects and hates closers so it is no surprise.  I also kind of thought that Mike Rizzo would have learned his lesson after the Papelbon-Drew Storen nightmare (remember; he’s the same GM who flipped 2 months of a FA acquisition Matt Capps for years of Wilson Ramos.

87 Responses to 'A tale of Three Trades'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'A tale of Three Trades'.

  1. Todd, I agree with you on this big time.

    I’m a fan of Keith Law but his big weakness is he can’t understand the ‘stones’ it takes to be a 9th inning guy. Very few pitchers have what it takes to be that guy.

    Rizzo did a great job here. Give him credit. They can trade for a closer in the offseason, they sure do have the chips and the hyperventilating will be much less then.

    Mark L

    31 Jul 16 at 11:45 pm

  2. The Nats made far, far the most efficient deal. And really, they weren’t going to play at the levels the Yanks wanted for Chapman and Miller. Our prospect top-four seemed to be untouchable, and with good reason.

    Obviously we’ll have to see how the three guys pitch before judging that part of the deal. Chapman has already blown a save for the Cubs. Neil Greenberg had a piece on the Post site before the trade in which he argued that Melancon’s peripherals aren’t good. But the Pirates won the last EIGHTY games he entered in a save situation. I’ll take that!

    Hearn was exactly the kind of prospect you give up in a deal like this, not Fedde. Hearn is raw and has a long, long way to go. Even three years to the majors may be optimistic.

    The other unknown is whether the Nats can extend Melancon. It seems likely that Chapman will test the market, leaving Cubs with having paid a high price for two months. With competition on the market from Chapman and Jansen, Melancon might listen to a reasonable offer from the Nats, although it would have to be in the 12M/per range.

    We’ll see. With Pap’s recent struggles, a closer deal became one that the Nats had to make. They got the best value deal by far. We’ll see if it was good enough.


    1 Aug 16 at 5:25 am

  3. Nats score highest on the pure trade value ratio, but the Cubs will likely feel the best about their trade because they increased their WS odds the most. They have the clearest runway to the WS, they filled their biggest need with arguably the most elite guy for their position, and they overpaid from a position of organizational depth to do it. It was certainly an overpay, by quite a bit, but they were on exactly the spot where an overpay makes sense.

    I’d actually put CLE in 2d on that dimension, since they also enhanced their WS odds more than us, and have it through the next two years when they also appear strong.

    If Melancon is as strong as his numbers suggest, we’ll be very happy


    1 Aug 16 at 7:18 am

  4. Clearly to me, this closer whirlwind over the past two years should show Rizzo that he needs to focus on growing one. He’s now had to buy three “proven closers” in the last four seasons and so far his purchases havn’t really panned out;
    – Soriano: imploded in the 2nd half of 2014, posting a 6.48 ERA in 25 innings after posting a sizzling 0.97 ERA in the first half.
    – Papelbon: his ERA has risen a point and a half in the last 8 weeks (which included a DL trip) and he’s given up 7 earned runs in his last three appearances (totaling a combined 1ip).

    Hope Melancon fares better 🙂

    Todd Boss

    1 Aug 16 at 9:44 am

  5. Personally, of all the trades Rizzo’s made dealing prospects, I think this is the one most likely to bite him. I think in a year or two and with better usage, Rivero could put it all together and be really dominant.

    That said, something had to be done, and even if Rivero turns into a shutdown reliever the cost is so much less that what the Cubs/Cleveland paid that as Todd points out, you have to feel good about this one.

    Todd: I’m not sure this is really a indictment of Rizzo’s closer strategy. The offseason cost for guys of this caliber is also pretty high (see: O’Day and the $31 million contract for his age 33-36 seasons, which may even have been a discount since he wouldn’t consider a number of teams due to location preferences). You sign a contract like that, an elbow blows or somehow he loses his touch, and suddenly you’re sitting on a big contract for no production. Obviously any baseball contract can turn bad (e.g., McLouth, Nate) but with RPs it seems like a much more frequent thing.

    And this way, Rizzo only deals for a guy like this when his patented build-a-bullpen-on-the-cheap strategy fails AND when the team looks likely to go to the postseason where a shutdown bullpen is a much more important thing.


    1 Aug 16 at 11:05 am

  6. Rizzo seems to have a real blind spot when it comes to relievers, especially lefty relievers. Consider that Fernando Abad (1.0 b/WAR), Jerry Blevins (0.9), Ian Krol (0.7) and Xavier Cedeno (0.6) are all providing value for other teams right now, and all except Krol were given away by Rizzo for practically nothing while the Nats are overpaying Perez to be thoroughly mediocre and have only one really good lefty reliever on their roster.

    The other irritation is the inexplicable resistance to converting failed starters to relief. A.J. Cole has no future in the rotation with this team, but maybe he’s the next Tyler Clippard. Why isn’t the organization trying to find that out? Converting Taylor Jordan to relief a year ago might have worked, and might have saved his arm. But now we’ll never know.

    With Ross nearly ready to return and Lopez’s innings limit rapidly approaching, now is the time to have Lopez pitching out of the bullpen at Syracuse so that he could be ready for a September call up as a reliever. Otherwise, one of the team’s best young assets will be shut down and merely watching the playoff run instead of potentially helping where the Nats still need more help.

    Karl Kolchack

    1 Aug 16 at 12:27 pm

  7. Matt, my take on Rivero is more that he is what he is, a high-velo guy, but one too inconsistent to be regularly reliable at the end of games. That said, he was the only established major-leaguer to change hands in the closer trades, basically the only guaranteed piece. It’s not far-fetched to think that he turns out better than at least three of the four in either of the other trades.

    Todd, if developing a closer was easy, everyone would do it! There are fewer quality closers than there are quality NFL QBs. But closers contribute far, far less to the overall production than nearly any other player. It would be like having a QB who only comes in at the two-minute warning of close games. It really is insane to invest so heavily in one . . . at least until you get to the end of crucial games down the stretch and in the playoffs.

    It’s not like the Nats haven’t tried. They insanely spent a 1st round pick on one in 2009 (insert obligatory Trout reference here), and they used their first pick (2d round) on a closer type in Johansen in 2013. As Storen’s time clock ticked down, they took several closers and closer types in 2015 and did again this year. Glover shot rapidly through the system and looks like the best bet. (Why, oh why is Syracuse using him for multiple innings at a time???) Brinley has made AA already (where he has struggled). Andrew Lee, who had closed in college, was moving up as rapidly as those two but got switched to starter (and is currently hurt). Sandman Jr. flailed as a starter and has been up and down in relief.

    Other than Rivera Jr., who seemed like a reach in the 4th round, I like the way the Nats are going about the closer search, drafting big arms well beyond the top five rounds. But there are no guarantees, and they’re up against the wall yet again for 2017, as both Melancon and Pap will be free agents. Melancon will be wanting at least what O’Day got, if not more, and Chapman and Jansen may command more per year than any starter who will be on the market. Think about the insanity of that.


    1 Aug 16 at 12:30 pm

  8. Karl, Perez isn’t the “only one really good lefty reliever.” Solis is better, much better. In fact, I imagine Solis’ emergence contributed a lot to the willingness to part with Rivero. I don’t trust Perez at all and agree that they overpaid for him.

    As I recall, both Cedeno and Abad were caught in no-options/DFA situations. We never understood the Blevins thing, which seemed like retribution for a measly arbitration amount. I think they thought they were in good shape letting him go, though, with Rivero, Solis, and Grace in the wings. Grace is still in the wings, for whatever that’s worth. So is a soft-tosser named Bryan Harper.


    1 Aug 16 at 12:40 pm

  9. +1 on Karl’s last comment; I could not agree more. I do think its “easy” to develop relievers since they’re all failed starters. Karl’s right; why the F is A.J. Cole still starting in AAA? Why aren’t these high velocity 2-pitch guys who are struggling to put it together for 6 innings in the lower minors not being told, “hey, if you can throw max effort with two goodpitches you’re in the majors next week.”

    Also completely agree on his blind spot for lefties. Great observations on both Cedeno and abad; maybe that was part of what Rizzo thought jettissoning Rivero; he looked like he needed some minor league time but couldn’t.

    Todd Boss

    1 Aug 16 at 1:30 pm

  10. In the same vein, the most recent upper-minors conversions from starter to reliever that come to mind are . . . wait for it . . . Rivero and Solis, notably after the Nats traded a number of the aforementioned LH relievers. Both also had trouble staying healthy as starters. They had begun the conversion of Purke as well.

    On the flip side, particularly with the righties, they seem determined to keep them as starters, presumably because value for starters is higher. But it kills me that they let Jordan and Taylor Hill pass peak value, seem to have done so with Cole, and are in danger of doing the same with Voth. I know that every team wants a starter or two in reserve at AAA, but the Nats have let a good number rot on the vine there in recent years.


    1 Aug 16 at 2:50 pm

  11. Will Smith to the Giants.


    1 Aug 16 at 2:55 pm

  12. Matt Purke? You mean the guy who couldn’t get out of AA for us but matriculated to the majors as soon as he got out of our organization?

    Hill, Cole and Jordan are worthless right now. Voth is getting there. I mean, I guess I get that Cole was being saved as starter insurance, but the moment they call up Giolito and Lopez overtop of these guys you have to wonder why not try to change things up? Totally agree with you KW.

    Todd Boss

    1 Aug 16 at 2:56 pm

  13. KW – just to clarify, Solis is who I was referring to with my “one good lefty reliever” comment.

    Karl Kolchack

    1 Aug 16 at 3:05 pm

  14. I was hoping all day for news that Zim had a broken wrist so that the team would go get Bruce. All the more once it was clear the Mets were going to get him. Not that I think he will be Cespedes 2.0 for them. But I can’t help but think that come the playoffs our bullpen will struggle and the bats will be silent.

    Here’s what I want to see going forward:
    1) Turner in CF and leading off full time.
    2) Revere on the bench and never batting above 9th again. Werth can lead off when Turner is not.
    3) Glover and Lopez in the bullpen the rest of the way. Cut Paps.
    4) Keep an eye open for a slugger to get on a waiver wire trade.
    5) Roll with Stras, Scherzer, Roark and Gio until you need a 5th starter later this month. Stop calling up the kids that can’t get past 4 innings just to maintain a 5 man rotation when you have plenty of off days.


    1 Aug 16 at 4:18 pm

  15. I sense some frustration with the team direction here MG 🙂

    Todd Boss

    1 Aug 16 at 4:36 pm

  16. Well, the trading deadline has now come and gone, and the Nats are standing pat without adding any payroll again, despite asking Werth to defer half of his salary this year. They apparently are not even going to part ways with Papelbon, who I wouldn’t trust with a five run lead at this point. I really hope we don’t end up looking back on this season as another historic missed opportunity.

    Karl Kolchack

    1 Aug 16 at 4:38 pm

  17. I sense some frustration with the team direction here Karl 🙂

    Todd Boss

    1 Aug 16 at 4:43 pm

  18. I’m realistic to understand that you can’t just wave a wand and make it all better. There wasn’t a perfect upgrade out there for the offense and the most pressing need was addressed in the most practical long term manner as you noted. But Karl nailed it, this just feels like a drawn out set up for another missed opportunity. At some point don’t you have to make the tough win now choices and say that a track record no longer counts when your average is below .230 in August? We’ve seen it before that some of these same track record guys don’t show up when the lights are brightest so why would this year be different?

    Honestly my best hope for the team now is that Stars and Scherzer will dominate and that Murph will hit in the playoffs like last year. Beyond that I’m probably most optimistic that Bryce will hit well given his big stage persona that we’ve seen in previous playoffs, Opening Days, etc. But I think that speaks more to my view of everyone else than my faith in Bryce.


    1 Aug 16 at 5:01 pm

  19. Wait – didn’t the Nats add at least some payroll when they picked up Melancon? And adding Melancon isn’t “standing pat.” If we’re going to be frustrated with the team’s direction, we should at least be frustrated with an accurate assessment of the team’s direction!

    For some fans, if the Nats merely make it to the WS but don’t win, it will be regarded as an “historic missed opportunity.” Not me, but to each their own. I’ve watched too much baseball over the decades to fall into that mindset.

    I’m OK with cutting Paps if he isn’t effective in a setup role. I think it’s pretty silly to blithely assume that Koda Glover is going to be better than Papelbon the rest of this season.

    John C.

    1 Aug 16 at 5:05 pm

  20. I’m not terribly surprised, nor particularly frustrated. The big thing the Nats needed was a closer, and they got a good one for a very realistic price. (I think the Pirates even chipped in all or most of his salary, which is amazing.) The other bullpen piece they need is a recovered and less-used Pap. People can hate on him all they want, but the Nats aren’t going far in the postseason without a contribution from him.

    I’m not surprised at all that they didn’t add an offensive piece. Where would said “bat” play? They’re not moving Bryce to CF, and they’re not benching Werth or Zim. Those are the facts of Nats life. And why give up a package of Fedde ++ to get Eaton or Blackmon when they’ve got Trea? He’s the offensive upgrade, and a potentially game-changing one, if Dusty will let him play.

    As MG indicated, the real “upgrade” they need is for Bryce to find his stroke. I’ll take that over Jay Bruce any day.

    I mostly laugh at the Mets’ activities, as I think they’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I was hoping that they’d part with Nimmo in one of the deals, though. I’m more concerned that the Cubs and Giants upgraded their bullpens. I’m not too worried about Matt Moore and his 4+ ERA, although you have to think they had Bryce and Murph in mind when they made the deal, not to mention Anthony Rizzo.

    Am I convinced that the Nats have a WS-or-bust team? No. But within the bounds of the players and contracts they have, and the ongoing MASN constraints, they’re in good shape to win the division and take their chances in the playoffs.


    1 Aug 16 at 6:55 pm

  21. I should add, as I’ve said all season, that I’m not convinced this is a championship team. But the pieces to get it to the promised land, whatever they may be, weren’t available this week. Charlie Blackmon or Steve Pearce do not get them a title. Jay Bruce makes only slightly more contact than Adam Dunn. Beltran is a DH.

    That said, if Max and Stras are on top of their games, Murph does the postseason like he did in ’15, and Bryce and Rendon have ’14-like playoffs, no one will want to play us. The top of our rotation matches up with anyone else’s, Cubs included. Murph in October is the Cubs’ worst nightmare, which is why they overpaid for Chapman.


    1 Aug 16 at 7:26 pm

  22. John C – it was reported that the Pirates are agreeing to pay Melancon’s salary for the rest of this year. Rizzo must have hypnotized their GM or something.

    Karl Kolchack

    1 Aug 16 at 8:48 pm

  23. I’m not disappointed. A bat or another quality relief arm would have been nice, but there really wasn’t a deal that happened where I wish we paid the comparable price. Maybe Pearce, since they basically gave him away and he could have been Zim insurance or a bench piece. But that’s depth, not a difference maker.

    I’m not against an overpay in the right circumstances, but these aren’t them for the Nats. Their lineup and their pen have enough questions to make them more than one move away from substantially increasing their odds for a WS, while at the same time being a strong seller’s market. And there are the Cubs in the way. For CLE or TEX, there is no super team in their way to worry about.

    So all in all, we aren’t the favorites for the WS, but should be for the division. And once we get there, we have a decent puncher’s chance of pitching, D and some clutch hitting our way to the WS. If we would have given up Robles and Fedde for Miller, I wouldn’t think our chances are materially better, while dramatically hurting our farm.

    By the way, I heard that PIT gave us $500k towards Melancon’s salary, not the full amount.


    1 Aug 16 at 10:18 pm

  24. Okay, Melancon would be owed about $3 million for the rest of the season. Minus $500K from Pittsburgh and minus about $200K for Rivero’s prorated salary, that’s about a $2.3 million increase, or far less than even the amount Werth deferred for this season.

    Would it have been too much to ask to trade maybe Voth, Cole or even Andrew Stevenson for another good middle reliever to replace Papelbon? Because right now they have two guys in Belisle and the DC Strangler whom they don’t (or shouldn’t) trust in tight situations, one true LOOGY, and a setup guy in Kelley they are rightfully afraid to overuse because of his injury history. Doesn’t fill me with confidence, especially given some of Dusty’s head scratching decisions like only using Petit five times the entire month of July when the bullpen was in flux due to injuries to P-bon and Solis.

    Karl Kolchack

    2 Aug 16 at 1:22 am

  25. If that trade was available, I’d have been all for it. Not sure it was – maybe a Tyler Thornburg type? You also have to accept how the market is working, and it was crazy. I thought every deal was a sizable overpay. maybe Will Smith was close to fair value, but only because he hasn’t pitched to his usual standards.

    I do think Dusty is the bigger problem here. He doesn’t have a good feel for using relievers (imo). He finds a guy who is currently hot and runs him into the ground.

    Still a chance something happens in August


    2 Aug 16 at 7:04 am

  26. I wasn’t a fan of Belisle making the team out of the spring, but he’s been very good overall, with a 1.98 ERA. A guy with an ERA like that would have cost a pretty penny on the deadline market. Really, the only guy in the ‘pen I don’t trust is Perez. Pap will get his mojo back with more limited usage.

    Yeah, I would have liked to have had Will Smith to bump Perez, but in a seller’s market, the price would have been high. Rizzo still may be hunting a waiver deal for a lefty. Perez is signed through ’17, though, and they’re not going to eat that $4M.


    2 Aug 16 at 8:23 am

  27. Bullpen note: Trevor Gott is back at Syracuse after some rehab in the lower minors. He’s on the 40-man and could be another big arm called up in Sept. He’s struggled this year but was very good with the Angels in ’15.


    2 Aug 16 at 8:30 am

  28. Absent another pick up or injury, I’ll bet the plan is ‘hold on until Sep, then call up Lopez, Giolito and Glover’ then decide post season rosters depending on match ups and who is currently pitching well. I think that should work.

    Rendon’s hitting is picking up. If Harper can recover, which is the most likely of all the struggling hitters, we have a pretty good post season line up. Most guys don’t hit the elite pitching and very high velocity guys you s in the post season, but that would give us three guys who do.


    2 Aug 16 at 8:54 am

  29. Perhaps we saw a glimpse of Papelbon’s planned usage from last night; 7th inning, low-leverage. Dusty’s no idiot; i’m guessing he uses opportunities like that to build his confidence back up and re-insert him in the 8th inning rotation.

    Todd Boss

    2 Aug 16 at 9:14 am

  30. In trying to make heads or tails of all the deadline deals, one thing that strikes me that no one is commenting on is that no top-tier starting pitchers changed hands. One could argue that no second-tier starters changed hands, either, considering that Matt Moore still hasn’t been good post-TJ and Rich Hill hasn’t been healthy. The non-movement is particularly surprising considering how truly awful the starter FA market will be. Of course that may also be part of the reason, with no big contracts about to expire.

    In fact, at one point, it struck me that Matt Latos might be as good as any of the starters who changed hands, which should be frightening for those teams that just invested in starters.

    The takeaway would seem to be that the teams that were already playing with a short deck starter-wise didn’t make a significant leap forward, despite how much else they may have done (Rangers, Dodgers, maybe Giants). The Indians would seem to have a significant pitching advantage on the Rangers, and that didn’t change. The NL West wasn’t decided by what the Dodgers and Giants did, either. Either will have a hard time matching playoff rotations with the Cubs or Nats, particularly since the Nats don’t fear Cueto at all.

    We’ll see. The most significant upgrades may turn out to be the three closers discussed above.


    2 Aug 16 at 12:52 pm

  31. KW on starters moving at trade deadline: heard other analysts say the same (Hill, Moore). I think its kind of dumb that the Phillies kept Hellickson; that was a dumb move. Likewise, I think a team like Colorado not moving anyone was a failure of the GM. Then again, its not like these guys had the kind of players worthy of trading. Oakland didn’t move Sonny Grey b/c he’s been so awful this year, for example.

    Todd Boss

    2 Aug 16 at 1:02 pm

  32. I’m sympathetic to the argument that the Nats have held on to starting pitching prospects past their peak values, and seem to be slow to convert such prospects to relievers.

    But for the Taylor Jordans/AJ Coles of the world, there are also the Brad Peacoks, Tommy Milones, and Alex Meyers (who the Twins finally gave up on at the deadline), who Rizzo did trade at peak value. So there’s no philosophical opposition to doing it.

    I think the time has come to see if Cole can be a bullpen piece. He’s been passed by the exciting prospects (Giolito, Lopez) Voth as well.

    Also, I’ll be furious if they don’t at least try Lopez out of the MLB bullpen in September. He throws 100 and many think he’ll end up in the pen anyway. There’s no downside to this.


    2 Aug 16 at 1:13 pm

  33. Melancon was a great trade. Rivero was useful but his results never quite matched his supposed great stuff over the larger sample sizes.

    Would be nice if Melancon likes it here to get signed up for a couple more.

    Now we NEED to get Harper fixed. Everything else is good enough to roll with. I’d take it easy with Solis and Kelly usage now as they are very effective when not overused, and will be most valuable to us in playoffs.

    Marty C

    2 Aug 16 at 2:37 pm

  34. I think its safe to say that Rizzo’s trading skills are excellent. You’re right Derek; more often than not his analysis of players has been spot on. This is cherry picking, but these are all Rizzo deals:
    x 2015: Matt den Dekker for Jerry Blevins
    x 2011: Gorzelanny for Morris, Burgess, Hicks
    x 2014: Trea Turner & Joe Ross (from San Diego) for Souza & Ott (who go to Tampa)
    x 2014: Lobaton, Vettleson, Felipe Rivero for Karns
    x 2012: Denard Span for Alex Meyers
    x 2010: Wilson Ramos, Joe Testa for Matt Capps
    x 2013: Doug Fister for Krol, Ray, Lombardozzi
    x 2014: Asdrubal Cabrera for Zach Walters
    x 2010: Tatusko, Roark for Cristian Guzman
    x 2015: Yunel Escobar for Tyler Clippard
    x 2013 AJ Cole, Blake Treinen, ptbnl (turns into Ian Krol) for Michael Morse (who goes to Seattle)
    x 2012: Kurt Suzuki for David Freitas

    I mean, I like every one of those trades for the Nats. I have to look hard at his trade history to find a bummer. I’d probably list these as his 5 worst trades:
    x 2015: Papelbon acquisition
    x 2013: Jerry Blevins for Billy Burns
    x 2013: John Wooten for Fernando Abad
    x 2011: Gomes for Rhinehart/Manno
    x 2009: Bruney for ptbnl (eventually rule5 top pick Jamie Hoffman)

    But the thing is, not all of these were bad because of who we gave up. Pivetta AND money for Papelbon? that’s a win in terms of player talent. Bruney for a rule-5 pick was only “bad” because Bruney was so bad. Gomes was bad for us … but we gave up nothing. I think i’d like back Wooten for Abad given what Abad has done … and I think its safe to say Burns > Blevins.

    Todd Boss

    2 Aug 16 at 2:39 pm

  35. Wasn’t the Abad deal a get-anything-you-can deal after he had been DFA’d? Blevins filled a need, and I didn’t think Burns would ever make the Nat MLB roster, so I thought that was a good deal at the time. Burns’ limited skill set seems to have already run its course in OAK; don’t know what KC will do with him. Pap was a good deal for the price, even if we doubted his sanity (or Storen’s once he arrived).

    The bottom line is that Rizzo won’t overpay in talent value in a trade. He just won’t. He wouldn’t have made deals like the Chapman and Miller ones that were basically overpays for a purpose. If he backs up the truck, it’s for an established starter like Gio or Fister. In a similar manner, he had a price for the FAs he pursued last summer, but he wouldn’t go beyond what he thought the guys were worth. Too bad we “only” ended up with Murph . . .


    2 Aug 16 at 3:15 pm

  36. Abad was a DFA-driven trade, yeah. Can’t disagree with Burns either; completely blocked here, still would be. That’s the context missing from these simplistic trade listings for sure.

    Todd Boss

    2 Aug 16 at 4:51 pm

  37. What deserves mention here is that Abad, Hill, and Cedeno were all waiver pickups by the Nats.

    Blevins is a curious example of talent brought in and then shipped out after arbitration. Ten months ago we loved denDekker.

    Looking back, the big error of all of the above noted was Cedeno being cut loose so abruptly. But I think that was Matt Williams.

    I’m not among those infuriated by a lack of trade beyond Melancon. The assessment of players underperformance, and unnaturally so, is accurate.

    Would the Nats have benefitted by a player coming in to go 3-5 last night? They did – Wilmer Difo. Who was brought up notwithstanding his stat line. Turner is the real deal. And so maybe, considering the value being offered to a team who is in first place and has good chemistry, doing nothing may have been an easier decision than we credit.


    3 Aug 16 at 12:04 pm

  38. Turner is the big “deadline upgrade” aside from Melancon. Those guys, plus Rendon starting to heat up. Now if Bryce would only follow suit . . .


    3 Aug 16 at 12:14 pm

  39. In looking at the standings, it strikes me that the NL wildcard game is shaping up to be a titanic clash. The West figures to provide one of the teams, either the Dodgers, who would start Kershaw, the best pitcher of this generation, or the Giants, who would start Maddy Bum, perhaps the best playoff starter of this generation. If the other wildcard is from the East, the Marlins would counter with Fernandez or the Mets with Thor (if his arm hasn’t fallen off by then) or deGrom. The Cards presumably would go with experience if they make it and trot out Wainwright, but he doesn’t seem to be in that class anymore.

    The Nats presumably would face the NL West winner unless they can make a spurt and catch the Cubs. Whatever they do, the Nats would be well advised to keep their divisional lead and stay out of that wicked wildcard game.

    The AL wildcard, of course, figures to be 8-6, perhaps higher if the O’s are involved.


    3 Aug 16 at 12:28 pm

  40. Well, the noose is tightening, but this year, the Nats seem to be holding the rope, not caught in the loop. They’re +7 on the Fish, 8.5 on the rapidly sinking Mets, and +2.5 on Giants for home field in the first round. Need to extend that edge over the Giants this weekend.

    In general, the team seems to be playing pretty free and easy. Bryce, Zim, and Danny are still trying to find their strokes, but all have made solid contact a few times this week. It’s much easier to work out the kinks when it doesn’t feel like the season is riding on every AB. Meanwhile, Trea is doing everything he can to convince Dusty that he’s got to be in the lineup every day. The beleaguered bullpen has had an easy week to rest up. With three days off over the next eight, you would figure they will just skip Ross’s rotation spot a time or two, then hopefully have him back healthy for the stretch.

    Time to finish strong, get healthy, and have everyone feeling good about their games going into the fall. It’s a testament to the overall strength of the team that it has been able to thrive thus far despite Harper’s struggles. He’s the real key to doing anything in October, though, far more than any other deadline darling could have been.


    4 Aug 16 at 8:44 am

  41. Good stuff, Todd. When you see what an impact Trea is making and even Difo, your point about building from within for the bullpen makes even more sense. AJ Cole seems like a perfect potential bullpen guy and while I’m guessing Rizzo was trying to hold onto his trade value as a starter, nobody was buying that story. With Gott, Cole, Glover, Lopez and Giolito, we can have some serious fireballers vying for innings in September – who knows, maybe one or two can overtake Belisle or Pap on the post season roster – with a nice lead in the standings, we have some cushion to find out. Seeing what the cost was to acquire bullpen guys, I’d rather be sellers than buyers in the offseason. We’re still going to need an outfielder and perhaps a 1B next year.

    Andrew R

    4 Aug 16 at 11:29 am

  42. KW: agree. Season Ends today, here’s what happens:
    – Chicago #1 seed (as they probably should be):
    – 2 of LAD, Mia, NYM, Stl, each of which has a true ace that could make for a pretty darn compelling game.
    – Nats #2 seed, Giants #3 seed.

    Yeah, I like that.

    Todd Boss

    5 Aug 16 at 10:10 am

  43. It seems counterintuitive to say “we want the Giants” in the playoffs, as they never seem to lose in the playoffs, but the Nats have matched up with them well thus far. They’ve now clobbered the Giants’ #3 starter twice in a week.

    Not sure how concerned we’re supposed to be about Joe Ross’s latest setback. The Nats skipped his rotation spot last night and can probably do so again the next time around because of open dates. By my count, they would need a fifth starter again on Aug. 15 or 16 in Colorado. Do they keep giving looks to Giolito or Lopez? (Do you really want either of them pitching a mile high?) Is it time for Cole to get another look? Voth? (Voth would require a 40-man move.) Or . . . Latos? He’s been dominant in two GCL starts (7 IP, 1 hit allowed, 10 Ks), so I would expect to see him parachute into AA or AAA soon to get a more advanced look.

    Mets now -9 in the East, -4 in the wild card, sinking fast. Even Thor didn’t manage to be the stopper for them last night.


    6 Aug 16 at 12:26 pm

  44. I’m confident in our ability to match up with the Giants absolutely. We split in SF 2-2 without them seeing Strasburg and getting to pound on Lopez; of course we also missed their best starter in Bumgarner. So what happens when those two guys are thrown in the mix? we’ll find out today and tomorrow; wish they were going against each other.

    Ross; very, very concerning. I think Lopez and Giolito are not ready; maybe instead we put Petit in the rotation and call up Glover to take his spot as a long-man (replacing him as long man with Oliver Perez, whose season-long stats look just ok but who has been good lately in short stints).

    Todd Boss

    6 Aug 16 at 1:07 pm

  45. I remember wanting the Giants over the Pitates in 2014 because we had played much better against them for two straight years in the regular season. But then they pulled the even year magic and the playoffs were over in a blink. All I’m rooting for this year is to be the #2 seed so they can play a day earlier instead of waiting for the wild card winner. Seemed to really affect them in 2014 at least, coming off Zimmermann’s no no and the bats went cold.


    6 Aug 16 at 1:38 pm

  46. It appears as though Latos was signed to be starter insurance when it became obvious that Arroyo was done. If they think Ross will not be able to come back this season, I’d expect Latos to get the call. If he could give them a good month like he did for the White Sox back in April, that’s all they would really need since he certainly would not be part of the playoff rotation.

    Karl Kolchack

    6 Aug 16 at 2:19 pm

  47. Interesting factoid for what it is worth: of the top 14 players by Nats’ career b/WAR, 10 are currently on the roster, including the entire rotation except Ross. The four players who are no longer with the team are Z-nn, Desmond, Nick Johnson and Clippard.

    Goes to show how far this team has come from the bad ol’ days.

    Karl Kolchack

    6 Aug 16 at 2:33 pm

  48. Count me in as someone who still thinks Rey Lopez may be the best solution if Ross does not return for weeks or more. He may have been rushed, but he is starting pitcher and was dominating AA to a degree that he is not far off. The issue is not that he lacks command. It is that he lacked command in his two starts. A little polish at AAA and he may be ready to assert himself when needed. I would have more confidence in him and Petit than a waiver wire pickup.


    7 Aug 16 at 10:55 am

  49. This is a great team and built well. Voth is worth the 40 man move he would require. denDekker seems like a logical choice to DFA.

    Failing that, and failing Lopez’ readiness, Cole still has some value in the tank as well.


    7 Aug 16 at 11:21 am

  50. Playoffs? Did someone mention playoffs? Sure feels like it, doesn’t it?


    7 Aug 16 at 5:58 pm

  51. I’ve mentioned it before, but why in flip is Syracuse using Glover for multiple innings? Save that arm! He K’d five in two innings on Saturday . . . while Giolito really struggled. It seems safe to say that he won’t be the next call.


    7 Aug 16 at 6:03 pm

  52. The tale of the stats on two pitchers:

    Pitcher A: 12-6, 156.2 IP, 2.87 ERA
    Pitcher B: 12-6, 150.0 IP, 2.88 ERA

    Pitcher A is Max Scherzer, Pitcher B is Tanner Roark.

    Of course, if it was Game 7 of the NLCS and I could choose one or the other to start I’d go with Scherzer. But what Roark continues to accomplish as a former 25th round draft pick is utterly amazing.

    Karl Kolchack

    7 Aug 16 at 7:36 pm

  53. Karl, I love these kinds of player A/player B scenarios. You never have to tell me though about how underrated Roark is: i was trumpeting that in this space as soon as he made his 50-inning amazing debut in 2013.

    But, since we’re playing, here’s an old school one. One that demonstrates just how ridiculous the voting patterns are for the HoFame, especially when considering pitchers from the 80s (all career stats)
    – Player A: 41-42 with 311 saves, 2.67 ERA, 1.092 whip in 789IP, 157 ERA+, 9.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
    – Player B: 68-71 with 300 saves, 2.83 ERA, 1.14 whip in 1042IP, 136 ERA+, 7.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
    – Player C: 124-107 with 310 saves, 3.01 ERA, 1.232 whip in 1809IP, 126 ERA+, 7.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9.

    Two of these players are hall of famers. One got a grand total of *SIX* votes on his one-and-done ballot. Name all three and match them to their stat lines.

    Todd Boss

    8 Aug 16 at 3:58 pm

  54. My next dfa candidate would be Loby. I like the way Severino looks out there and we can always bring Kieboom up for emergency duty on Sept 1 since he’s already on the 40. Loby has done nothing this year.

    Andrew R

    8 Aug 16 at 7:44 pm

  55. Todd, here’s a “Player D” for you, one of my guesses who fits the profile but wasn’t one of the trio:

    -Player D: 73-79 with 367 saves, 3.16 ERA and 1.199 WHIP in 1132.1 IP, 122 ERA+, 7.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 . . . and 24 HOF votes in one year on the ballot.


    8 Aug 16 at 8:15 pm

  56. Andrew, I don’t think they’ll DFA Sheriff Lobo, particularly since the Nats still control him for another season for very little. However, I do think Severino is giving them an interesting decision of who to keep for the postseason roster.

    My lead DFA candidate would be Martin, a 32-year-old AAA reliever with a 4.07 ERA. Folks on Nats Prospects tend to jump to his defense and point out that the ERA ballooned based on a few bad outings, but it hasn’t come back down. And RH relievers grow on trees. Lefties like Matt Grace and his 2.11 ERA will keep getting chances until they’re 40.

    As much as it pains me to do so, I’d also add den Dekker to the DFA watch list, although they’d probably try to move him in a waiver deal first. He’s slashing .210/.295/.332 at Syracuse.

    I do think at least one more DFA/waiver disposal is coming to make room for the next starter candidate, be it Voth or Latos.


    8 Aug 16 at 8:34 pm

  57. AndrewR: not a bad guess. I keep a running “Next person to get DFA’d” and right now it reads: den Dekker, Martin, Goodwin, Grace (though I understand KW’s argument for putting Grace further down).

    I can’t see cutting loose Lobaton until the season is over, simply because we have no other catchers on the 40-man. Ramos or Lobaton hurt? Severino comes up to spell. Another injury? They’re in trouble.

    Not that I’m always studying the catching depth on this team … but damn, if we had two of our three catchers hurt, there’s practically nothing on the farm. ; if we needed a 4th catcher, they’d have to burn a 40-man spot on retread Jhonatan Solano, then past that they’d be looking at either a AAA backup in Jerolman, or the AA backup Nick Rickles (another MLFA).

    Todd Boss

    9 Aug 16 at 8:50 am

  58. KW: player D. How about someone like Jeff Reardon?

    Todd Boss

    9 Aug 16 at 8:52 am

  59. Kieboom is another catcher on the 40-man, although I just looked at his slashes, and they’re even worse than I thought: .228/.314/.313 at AA. And he’s supposed to be the “good-hitting” catching prospect. Looks like another DFA/waiver candidate to me.

    Yes, “D” is Reardon, with very similar numbers to the others but significantly more saves. “B” is Sutter, who I always thought was somewhat overrated, but he got lots of national exposure with the Cubs. My guess for “C” was Eckersley, as it has to be a former starter with all the decisions. Eck had significantly more decisions, however, and more saves, . . . and a higher ERA.


    9 Aug 16 at 9:29 am

  60. A = Tom Henke. Better stats across the board than (specifically) player B.
    B = Bruce Sutter. hall of famer despite being a lesser player stat-wise across the board when compared to Henke.
    C = Gossage; a ton more innings (more than double Henke) and thus a ton more value … but his K/9 was significantly less.

    Not to get on a Hall of Fame rant … but this is a classic example of how a “more famous” player makes the Hall while a less famous one with better numbers does not. Another example of this may well be Bert Blyleven, who was certainly not as “famous” as some of his counter parts but whose body of work became the cause celebre of stat nerds everywhere. Literature from the time shows that the press perceived him to be a mediocre player, and I tend to agree (yes he struck out a ton of guys … as many would if they were completely rubber-armed, never got hurt and threw every 4 days for most of his career). I guess the same thing applied to Henke and Reardon. If you’re putting closers in the Hall … then put the right closers in the hall.

    Todd Boss

    9 Aug 16 at 10:59 am

  61. On DFAs, with just a few weeks to go until 9/1, there is no reason to release a catcher just to have a potential injury leave them dangerously short in September. It goes to show, however, just how valuable Wilson Ramos is to this franchise–a point I’m guessing his agent will be making forcefully at the end of the season.

    With the roster expansion imminent, I would think the only player at risk if they absolutely had to make a move is den Dekker, who has now been passed up on the OF depth chart by Goodwin. Goodwin, BTW, received a LARGER signing bonus ($3 million) than did Giolito or Fedde because of the change in the rules. I believe Goodwin also has one more option year left, and with that much money invested in him they will likely give him every chance to win a 4th outfielder spot next year.

    Martin would seem un likely to be DFA’ed since they are fairly short on relief arms to call up for September mop up duty. If it looks like they are going to clinch the title early, they are going to want to the bullpen mainstays as fresh as possible, which could mean a decent number of late September innings going to Martin, Gott & Grace (I think Glover may get consideration to be on the playoff roster).

    Karl Kolchack

    9 Aug 16 at 3:01 pm

  62. Ramos pending FA: would you pay the man, based on his injury history? Do the nats have any choice? I’m not sure what I think so far; on the one hand, he’s struggled to stay on the field, and on the other hand when he’s healthy he’s clearly one of the best hitting catchers out there. Tough one this coming off-season; i think the team may QO him and really take away his FA market, making it easier to get a more team friendly deal done.

    Completely agree on den Dekker being the first in line to go. When Goodwin (of all people) got the call instead of him … he might as well have asked for his release right then to pursue other opportunities.

    Money invested in Goodwin: I agree with you karl, but i’m sure there are those that would argue against you based on the whole “sunk cost” concept. Someday i’d really like to have a talk with a guy like a Roark, someone who was a low draft pick who made it, to see if our suspicions are true that teams are blinded by money invested instead of being more rational players … and to what extent. I mean, maybe we are seeing it in Jake Johansen right now. maybe it isn’t as murky an issue.

    8th reliever on the playoff roster; yeah has to be Glover.

    Todd Boss

    9 Aug 16 at 4:31 pm

  63. Todd–it is indeed funny that we spend all offseason yapping about which free agent is going to get the biggest contract and how much payroll will increase or decrease, yet when the season starts many fans somehow believe that the amount of money invested in a player doesn’t matter. Does anyone really believe that had Roark been a 1st rounder with a $3 million bonus in his pocket that he would have been moved to the bullpen last year?

    As for Ramos, I think they are going to have to swallow hard and pay him. I noticed on a Braves blog the other day that their fans are already fantasizing about landing him.

    Karl Kolchak

    9 Aug 16 at 4:43 pm

  64. How about Prince Fielder? Medically not cleared to play … he’s owed $24M/year for the next four seasons. Guaranteed. How’s that for some sunk costs? I’m assuming the Rangers will regain some via an insurance claim … but not 100%. Maybe its not guaranteed if he’s forced to retire (seems unlikely).

    Todd Boss

    9 Aug 16 at 5:04 pm

  65. Heck, on our own team Zimmerman is a sunk cost if he never regains his hitting form. Would the Nats not be better off upgrading 1B for next season? Most likely, but it isn’t going to happen because in the real world baseball is a business, and businesses always try to recoup their expenditures as much as they can.

    Karl Kolchak

    9 Aug 16 at 5:46 pm

  66. Relievers and HOF: if you play your prime years in NYC or CHI, it would seem that your odds improve dramatically, although Lee Smith is an obvious exception to that rule.

    Goodwin promotion: it was also over Michael Taylor. The Nats have some interesting OF decisions coming soon, with Werth and Revere up after 2017 and Harper after 2018. Plenty of grist for Hot Stove conversation.

    Catcher: the plan was always for Severino and/or Kieboom to be ready by the time Ramos reached FA. Well, neither of those is an MLB starter, and Ramos is laying out a big career year. The good news for the Nats is that he’s played well enough for a QO. The bad news is that he’s significantly raised his price. Frankly, I’d be more concerned about the length of the deal than the money. I’d be fine with three years plus an option, but catchers can turn into pumpkins (and “sunk costs”) in their 30s without much warning. We’ll see.

    Relievers in Sept.: Gott and Glover give them plenty of cover to DFA Martin. Gott has been a forgotten man all season, but the Nats gave up a .300 hitter for him. He’s still just 23. They also have Pap to mop up . . . Seriously, though, in the postseason, they need a tuned in Pap for the 7th or 8th. He’s no Barrett, deer in the headlights. He’s been there, done that, got the ring.


    9 Aug 16 at 8:46 pm

  67. KW: great points all.

    Option status this coming off-season: we are early of course, but here’s who faces the options crunch this coming off-season: den Dekker, Solis, Lobaton and Clint Robinson. Lobaton will have 5 years service time by the end of 2016 so it won’t matter. So really we’re talking den Dekker, Solis and Robinson. As mentioned before, this is all the more reason why den Dekker is probably a dead man walking at this point; passed on the depth chart by both Taylor and Goodwin apparently; he’s clearly first to go off the 40-man. Solis seems to have more than earned his spot in the bullpen and the Nats are facing another season of turnover in the pen this coming off-season (FAs to be: Papelbon, Melancon, Beslile and Petit has a club option that likely gets picked up at $3m or something similar). Lobaton … tougher question. Never a true alternative to be optoined really; he’s 4th year arb eligible and plays a necessary role and still is rather cheap ($1.8M this year).

    Todd Boss

    10 Aug 16 at 8:44 am

  68. Instead of water-boarding the CIA should consider forcing their prisoners to listen to Johnny Holiday call a baseball game. I can think of no worse torture.

    Marty C

    10 Aug 16 at 6:56 pm

  69. Hey Marty!

    Still want to sit Anthony Rendon?? (poking the bear) 🙂

    Todd Boss

    11 Aug 16 at 10:52 am

  70. I didn’t want to sit him. I wanted to trade him for a huge haul to those like you who think he is MVP caliber. Anthony has hit better… gotta give him credit. So now I’m ready for his 1 for 15 that will get him back to his ,258

    That seems to be the pattern. And I would have liked to see him not flunk out of the #2 hole this year. He’s been coddled at #7 with the full healthy lineup. But my main point with him is that he was touted as the best pure hitting prospect in years. And somehow he’s never sniffed .300 Not sure he jumps over Ramos for the big money. We only have so many big contracts to go around.

    I hope he gets there. Defense has been A + too.

    Do you think Skole is worth a call up in Sept? He’s improved this year and is a more legitimate pure power threat than Robinson or Heisey at this point. People laud our bench but Drew as the only one who has really delivered value and clutch. If Robinson and Heisey are going to hit .210 with horrid defense, might as well give the young guys the chance they’ve been working hard for.

    I like seeing Goodwin out there. Good thing we didn’t DFA him. He might have some value if given a chance. Difo looks better than expected given his so so year at AA. Was probably just bored with another year at AA.

    Somebody please agree with me on Johnny Holliday? I have a weeklong headache from listening to him. Forgot he was that bad with his non stop stat book rambling.

    Marty C

    11 Aug 16 at 11:20 am

  71. Marty, Rendon OPS+’d 125 in 2014 and even with the slow start has OPS+’d 110 this season. His wRC+ is even better (130 in 2014, 113 in 2016). Don’t get hung up on batting average, there’s a lot more to his game.

    Skole, OTOH, is only a “pure power threat” in the sense that he doesn’t have any other tools (except a solid OBP). He is “resurrecting” his career with an OPS of .756 in AAA at the age of 26. That’s really not very impressive. In Robinson’s age 26 season he OPS’d .932 in AAA. Even allowing for the fact that the PCL is more of a hitter’s league, that’s a big difference. So despite Robinson’s struggles, I think it’s more likely that he improves than it is that Skole beats Robinson’s current numbers at the MLB level this year.

    OTOH, Johnny is terrible. He’s a local institution, but suffice it to say that he’s past his prime and was never really a baseball PBP guy. He not only rolls out any stat that someone pushes in front of him, but he will often flatly miscall the action.

    John C.

    11 Aug 16 at 12:05 pm

  72. Skole call-up: agree with JohnC’s thoughts; he’s got power … but if you add Skole, you have to drop someone from the 40-man roster. Assuming that our 15-day D/L guys are not candidates to move to 60-day d/l (Ross, Drew, Lobaton, Zimmerman), who do you drop? Per earlier conversations I think we’re all on-board with den Dekker as the current “first guy to get DFA’d if we need a slot.”

    Who would you rather have on an expanded roster? Den Dekker or Matt Skole?

    honestly, i think you have to say den Dekker. He plays a more coveted position and offers the kind of expanded roster skills that Skole does not. Yes Robinson has struggled this year, but pinch hitting is tough. Remember when Tyler Moore had an awesome year pinch hitting … and now he’s a MLFA.

    Todd Boss

    11 Aug 16 at 3:14 pm

  73. I’m thinking Nat’s should play it safe and DL Ross for the rest of the year.

    His shoulder issues are worrisome and best not to push the limit or else risk the rest of his career. If it’s not at risk already. Bad sign that he could not come back at first attempt.

    I’m aware of Skole’s limitations. But he’s about the only guy we have left in the system capable of the big Hail Mary HR we might need at some point. I’d like to see how he looks against ML pitching soon. And giving him a few AB’s in September in place of Robinson or Heisey is low risk look. Especially if we’re coasting in 1st place. That’s what September call ups are for. Heisey has maybe 1 HR in 3 months and I’m surprised Robinson doesn’t really have that big bopper power stroke for such a big guy.

    Marty C

    11 Aug 16 at 6:00 pm

  74. Ross; i’d tend to agree if we weren’t planning on a deep playoff run … but we NEEED Ross over Gio as the 4th starter. I love lining up Scherzer-Strasburg-Roark against practically anyone but that 4th starter could be key, especially if we get out of order and are forced to start our #4 guy twice in a 7-game series. Certainly Lopez and Giolito have not grabbed the reigns and, as we’ve already learned, Gio isn’t up to the challenge of post-season baseball (14ip, 12 walks, 10 hits, and only 5 earned runs by the grace of complete luck).

    Heisey is what he is; 25th guy off the bench. I’m still kinda surprised the team took him over some of hte other options they had in spring training (Sizemore in particular). I know Robinson’s numbers are down, but he was so good last year I wonder if the team isn’t giving him benefit of the doubt.

    I’ve always been a Skole defender … and I have a hard time thinking he “needs” a look. They’ve had him in Major League camp 2 or 3 times now … though to be fair this is a new regime. I dunno. If the team is 10 games up in mid-september and they’re looking at season-ending DL trips to open spots what the heck.

    Todd Boss

    11 Aug 16 at 8:40 pm

  75. Rotations of NL playoff teams right now:
    – Washington: Scherzer-Strasburg-Roark-Gonzalez
    – SF Giants: Bumgarner-Cueto-Samardzija-Moore
    – Chicago: Arrieta-Lester-Hendricks-Hammel
    – Dodgers: Maeda in the WC, then Kazmir, Stripling and McCarthy (ugh)
    – STL: Wainwright in the WC, then Martinez, Garcia, Leake

    I know the Cubs rotation has been awesome, but I like our top 3.

    Todd Boss

    11 Aug 16 at 9:28 pm

  76. Here are a few OPS numbers from Nats’ players at Syracuse:

    Tyler Moore (2012, age 25): 1.027
    Corey Brown (2012, age 26): .888
    Steven Souza (2014, age 25): 1.022
    Zach Walters (2014, age 24): .965
    Destin Hood (2014, age 24): .827
    Brian Goodwin (2016, age 25): .784
    Matt Skole (2016, age 27): .756

    Note that Skole is about 2-3 years older than the others except Brown. Absent someone going on the 60-day DL and freeing up a spot, Skole is hardly worth DFA’ing anyone, even den Dekker who is at least a decent defender.

    Incidentally, I read today that the Nats are number 1 in all MLB in defense this year, which is a huge difference from when Desmond was booting the ball all over the infield and idiot Williams kept trotting the execrable Escobar out to 3B even when Rendon was healthy. It seems that after last year’s debacle both Rizzo and Dusty have been putting a premium on being able to catch the damn ball, and it’s really paying off.

    Karl Kolchack

    11 Aug 16 at 9:35 pm

  77. Defense: its amazing what happens when you put players in the right spots, eh? I still cannot believe Williams continued to play Escobar at 3B when Rendon returned. Still.

    I’d also like to point out that more than a few pundits maintained that “Danny Espinosa was not a major league SS.” As we stand, DRS of 6, UZR/150 of 7.0; those put him in the 8-11 range of shortstops in the majors. Behind guys who we knew were fantastic defenders (Crawford, Lindor, Simmons, etc) but certainly holding his own. Its like people forgot who he was coming out of college; a grade-A defensive SS with a gun for an arm; that never left him; he was just playing 2B in deferene to Desmond all these years.

    Todd Boss

    12 Aug 16 at 9:08 am

  78. In support of DFA Loby –
    1) Severino is better
    2) Kieboom is already on the 40 in case of emergency
    3) Solano is equivalent and can be added if needed
    4) Weak hitting emergency catchers grow on trees more than RH relievers
    5) If Ramos gets hurt, nobody wants Loby or any of these guys playing, but I’d choose Severino

    I like Martin and MdD and think both have potential value to the team ahead of keeping Loby around.

    Andrew R

    12 Aug 16 at 9:19 am

  79. Regarding Espy being a MLB-caliber SS. Sure he can play the position well, but he is an awful hitter. Besides a few magical weeks, he’s been at or below Mendoza levels. There are plenty of good field, no-hit SS always available and there is no good reason to pay Espy $7-8mm next year. I also think it’s foolish to prioritize Espy over TT at SS, when TT is a potential cornerstone player – they should be moving Espy around the field instead (if they are desperate to get his bat into the lineup).

    Andrew R

    12 Aug 16 at 9:23 am

  80. Yes the healthy version of Ross would be the pick for #4 in playoffs, but I’m not sure we’re going to see him again this year. I thought his DL at first was a little breather and innings management, but something does seem wrong with that shoulder now. And the calendar is flipping fast now against his comeback.

    Gio is still capable of throwing a gem. When he’s off he’s terrible , but when he’s good he can hold a team to a hit or two in 6 innings with his effective wildness. I think it’s going to be Gio with a quick hook at the ready.

    Marty C

    12 Aug 16 at 10:17 am

  81. I would be hesitant to medically diagnose and then prescribe based on inference, speculation and guesswork. Maybe I’m not doing the internet right.

    John C.

    12 Aug 16 at 11:33 am

  82. I still like Martin and so should you. He was closing, not Gott. He can tolerate a lot of use.

    DDekker is more valuable on.aSeptember roster than Skole. He is a proven pinch hitter and has game experience. Unless Skole gets really hot, and he has had a “nice” few games, he is a spring invite if he is around at all in the org next year.

    But is there any interest in Carlos Gomez?


    12 Aug 16 at 11:45 am

  83. Espinosa vs Turner for 2017: don’t get me wrong; based on what we’ve seen out of Turner I think we know the answer. Turner at SS, Murphy at 2B, Espinosa seems likely to be a trade candidate over the winter. He’s at $2.8M this year in 2nd arb year, can’t possibly go up to much more than $4-$4.5M next year … that’s still a great price for a guy who brings what he brings to the table.

    Todd Boss

    12 Aug 16 at 4:31 pm

  84. You’re correct John…Nothing wrong with Ross at all. That’s why he’s been in the lineup his last 7 starts and didn’t have to get shut down a second time. Nothing to see here. Just crazy of me to speculate that he might be injured and possibly can’t be counted on him for the stretch run. Everybody on the disabled list is not actually injured. Bizarro world.

    Of course there’s no need to look out for the future health of a 23 year old star pitcher with an achy shoulder. Just trade him to the Met’s and let them finish him off.

    The internet is certainly not a place to speculate or offer an opinion on something as trivial as sports without 100% factual medical records and x-rays in hand.

    Marty C

    12 Aug 16 at 7:17 pm

  85. Having just returned from a fairly miserable night at the park (gads, the heat was awful), I refer back to my comment back on 8/2 questioning why another trade wasn’t made for a middle reliever. Tonight, Dusty uses Belisle for the second time in two games, only to watch him give up the two-run dinger that essentially ended the game. Meanwhile, Papelbon has been used exactly TWICE in the past 15 days!

    Talk about a team unwilling to accept a sunk cost. The couple of million they still owe the P-douche is as sunk as a cost gets. Even bringing back the inexperienced Glover would be a better option at this point.

    Karl Kolchack

    12 Aug 16 at 11:26 pm

  86. Dusty and his Veterans!

    Todd Boss

    13 Aug 16 at 8:21 am

  87. new posted; Karl may be getting his wish with Papelbon supposedly asking for his release.

    Todd Boss

    13 Aug 16 at 10:40 am

Leave a Reply