Nationals Arm Race

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

Papelbon asks out? May be the simplest solution

74 comments

Papelbon can do this for any team. Photo via usatoday.com

Papelbon can do this for any team. Photo via usatoday.com

Rumors started getting published early saturday morning: embattled, demoted and struggling former Nats closer Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly asked for his release.

He’s appeared in precisely two games since he was replaced as closer by the newly acquired Mark Melancon.   Both appearances can be generously characterized as “mop up duty.”  He’s gone from highest leverage closer to 8th guy in an 8-man pen in less than two weeks, and it seems he’s reading the tea leaves.

The Nats need a move today to call up their starter Reynaldo Lopez; could a DFA or release of Papelbon be the solution?

We’ve talked in this space about playoff rosters a bit, about how we all are kind of thinking we could use Koda Glover on that roster.  Well, when we dump the 5th starter and expand the bullpen to 8 … not having to worry about Papelbon’s reaction could be a benefit.  I’d gladly take this bullpen construction into a short series:

  • Closer: Melancon
  • 8th inning guys: Treinen, Kelley
  • 7th inning guys: Belisle, Glover
  • Lefties: Perez, Solis
  • Long-man: Petit

That looks strong enough to me.  If Papelbon was still in the picture, you’d face a tough decision on who to drop.  Belisle has more than earned his spot, and there’s nobody else in that list who can really make way thanks to the trade of Rivero.

Thoughts?  Is this a blessing in disguise (if its true?)  Or do you think we should hang on to him and give him a Qualifying Offer?  (sarcasm).

74 Responses to 'Papelbon asks out? May be the simplest solution'

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  1. The latest version is that the Nats were going to DFA him, and when they told him, he asked for his release so that he didn’t lose a bunch of days in limbo.

    I dunno that I think it’s the right call. He seemed like he could be effective with a lot of rest, and with expanded rosters coming soon, they could probably have made it work. And he honestly seems to have been a pretty good teammate this year and his experience could probably help in the playoffs. But I also don’t think it’s terrible call either, so I Don’t care too much.

    I am not crazy about your post season pen. I’d at least add one of Lopez or Giolito for Belisle, and maybe the other for Perez. And I’m still hoping Ross is back in some capacity.

    Wally

    13 Aug 16 at 12:46 pm

  2. Seems fair on the DFA versus release; its what’s better for the player as opposed to the team, but is a classier move by the Nats. Now whether you think Papelbon “deserves” a classier move is… well up for “debate.”

    I’ve begrudgingly come to accept Belisle given what he’s done for the team this year; 2.10 ERA, great K/BB ratio. Honestly i’d rather dump someone like Oliver Perez for a Reynaldo Lopez in the pen, but then we’re down to one near rookie lefty.

    Todd Boss

    13 Aug 16 at 1:02 pm

  3. I’m pretty much on record as to where I stand. :)

    Seriously, Perez has looked awful of late, Solis is inconsistent and Glover is very inexperienced. The lefty aspect of the pen looks shaky, which goes back to my comment of about a week ago listing all the decent lefty relievers Rizzo has let go for nothing or next to it.

    If they consistently get solid starts from the rotation, they should be fine. If not, middle relief could well be their Achilles heel come playoff time.

    BTW – I believe Rivero was out of options, which is why trading him made a lot of sense. They couldn’t send him back to AAA, so his departure automatically made room for Melancon.

    Karl Kolchack

    13 Aug 16 at 5:09 pm

  4. Just noted that Papelbon had a career Nats’ b/WAR of -0.1. If I remember correctly, the Phillies picked up all or most of what he was owed last year, but the Nats were on the hook for $11 million this season for a below replacement level player. Meanwhile Nick Pivetta just got promoted to AAA by the Phillies, though despite decent numbers he still looks like his future will be as a reliever.

    Karl Kolchack

    13 Aug 16 at 5:41 pm

  5. Gee Karl, it’s too bad he’s gone because it would have been fun to keep working with that P-douche moniker! :)

    Oliver Perez is not good enough for October baseball right now,

    Mark L

    13 Aug 16 at 10:58 pm

  6. There is still plenty of baseball before September and for someone to get a hot hand.

    I would not trust Giolito with playoff innings right now. While I think Lopez is the best prospect in the Nats system (with Turner graduated), he has to show more for that consideration.

    Grace is a logical choice for lefty reinforcement from the 40 man. Maybe it’s time to give Harper a LOOGY look in September. Otherwise, Glover is throwing lots of strikes and seems like an obvious reinforcement. Do they stretch him out to create a new Petit? Also worth keeping an eye on Gott, given that he has very little mileage this year and has strung a few effective outings together.

    Lastly, Martin may not be a postseason answer (yet), but he is certainly more valuable to the team in September than credited here. It was he who stayed on the roster instead of Papelbon.

    Hate Pap if you wish, but someone in the pennant race is going to pick him up and we will see him again, pitching against the Nationals this year. That will tell you all you need to know about what people think he has left, and what kind of teammate he is.

    forensicane

    14 Aug 16 at 6:50 am

  7. Glover, with Melancon on the roster, is starting to look like Ken Giles fire to Melancon’s ice to me. I think we will be talking a lot about Glover in September. The guy is really picking up steam, with nearly 90% strikes over his last seven innings.

    forensicane

    14 Aug 16 at 6:55 am

  8. I think that we will certainly see Glover soon, but it remains an open question how effective he will be. It is the rare rookie that hits the ground running, especially in a pennant race. And I am not sure that it is a good thing to throw 90% strikes. Its nice that he has the control to do it, but there is a benefit to avoiding batters feeling very comfortable against you, something that affects Stras, imo. ‘Effectively wild’ has its virtues.

    I don’t share the view that Lopez is the top prospect. I have Giolito and Robles in a tie, with Lopez third. I like him but wasn’t terribly impressed with yesterday’s start, headline numbers not withstanding. He gives up a lot of hard contact and doesn’t get enough swinging strikes, and that has to be some combination of movement and deception.

    But i’d like to find a way for the Nats to have him and Giolito up here for the RoS, and then see how they adjust and acclimate before making any post season decisions. It would also fit with my hope that they take the big lead and use it to dial back starter innings, esp Max and Roark, so they feel rested going into the playoffs. They are going to need a lot of innings from the top 3 to go deep. Right now, I primarily only trust them plus Melancon and Kelley to get outs in the playoffs. Ross too, if he comes back healthy.

    Wally

    14 Aug 16 at 9:01 am

  9. Back from vacation and all choked up about Pap’s release (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    I was actually one who was hoping that Pap would embrace a 7th/8th inning role, as the Nats are still searching for some setup consistency. We’ll probably never know whether he resisted the demotion in duty, or whether he was just truly done. Either way, the closer trade had to be made, and was.

    Just a quick point that there’s now a 40-man opening. My money is still on Latos eventually filling it. He’s now had three “rehab” starts with the GCL Nats, although I never saw anything about what he was rehabbing (or why he didn’t pitch for a month after signing). He’s struck out 18 in 11 innings . . . facing mostly teenagers.

    Fore, Bryan Harper is currently on the DL at Syracuse, although I don’t know the reason. I’d certainly like to see him or Grace over Perez, but the Nats still owe Perez $4M for 2017, so we may be stuck with him.

    On the bright side, Lopez finally looked like an MLB starter, albeit against a AAA lineup. He mixed up his pitches a lot better, though. He’s learning. He’s also at 118 IP after 99 last year. He may have had some instructional league innings that the Nats will count (as they’ve said they’re doing for Giolito), but Lopez is basically already at 120% of his 2015 regulation innings.

    On the brighter side, +8.5 games on the Fish and +10.5 over the Mets.

    KW

    14 Aug 16 at 9:07 am

  10. I was posting at the same time as Wally. I agree that Sept. will probably be open audition for the postseason bullpen. Glover, Gott, Giolito, Grace (anyone else with a “G”?), Martin, Cole, maybe Lopez if he’s still got the innings, Latos, Ross (for the postseason), maybe Voth or Bryan Harper if they’re added to the 40-man. That’s a lot of good arms from which to find one or two “hot” ones for Oct. if Perez or Belisle aren’t on top of their games.

    KW

    14 Aug 16 at 9:13 am

  11. Lopez: my takeaway from yesterday’s start is similar to Wallys: good velocity, difficulty locating it, and his secondary pitches are all over the map. And he threw a TON of them; nearly a 50/50 split between his 4-seamer and his off-speed offerings curve and change. Here’s pitch fx: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?month=8&day=13&year=2016&game=gid_2016_08_13_atlmlb_wasmlb_1%2F&pitchSel=625643&prevGame=gid_2016_08_13_atlmlb_wasmlb_1%2F&prevDate=813&league=mlb … his curve was only over 60% of the time. And he was getting some pretty low whiff rate: just 2 of 26 swings against his fastball were swing and miss.

    Post Season Bullpen considerations: I like the idea of filling the open 40-man slot with Harper, given the issues we’re seeing with existing lefties. 9/1 should also see Grace and Martin return for 30-day post-season roster tryouts. It seems to me we also may see some 40-man slots freed up with either Ross or Drew making way; i am really worrying about both. It seems like Lobaton and Zimmerman will be back soon enough.

    Todd Boss

    14 Aug 16 at 9:59 am

  12. Lopez may not have as good an outing as his statistical line suggests, but that he won doing so, and with seven innings pitched and only one earned run allowed, is plenty telling about how well he does when he is not at his best. And he was not at his best. We praise Tanner Roark for the same thing – keeping teams off the scoreboard when not at his best.

    My great confidence in Lopez stems from the fact that he was dominating at AA at a level that league has not seen in a while. And also dominating from a standpoint of Ks. If striking folks out is your benchmark, he struck out nine Dodgers in his first outing of less than five innings. Yes, in that same vein as the corollary above, it was a better outing than the line indicated.

    His Ks will absolutely come. He followed a game plan to the letter last night that was laid out by his pitching coach and catcher, and so he is eminently coachable.

    Lopez did not start A+ dominant, nor did he start AA dominant at all. But he continued to develop and when he did, he pulled it all together and left AA in the dust. And he has performed well, quite well, at AAA.

    There are two Lopez’. One that has full command and one that does not. We have not yet seen him on top of his game but he is just getting his feel wet and has little AAA experience. He is my top prospect because of the level of dominance he has shown himself capable of having from start to start, and even at the AAA level. Last night was a step in the right direction.

    The ongoing discussion about innings is quite overrated. Joan Baez and Pedro Avila, two of the most prized arms in the system, have thrown 50% more innings this year than ever before. Rizzo has said they shut pitchers down based on the eye test of fatigue, not a number. Lopez went 100 pitches last night and seven innings. His one run was a home run to Freddy freeman. Who hasn’t done that? He ended the game with a strikeout and double play. He’s not fatigued.

    And I would respectfully dispute the “Braves are a AAA team” idea. They have been playing better lately and theirs is not a AAA lineup. The same lineup scored five runs on Nats pitching, including Melancon, after Lopez left the game.

    On Glover: The importance of throwing strikes, certainly as a reliever and closer in particular, is the need to be able to come in with people on base and just shut shayt down. Glover throwing strikes, with an array of pitches, and getting his strikeouts, just reflects that he has movement in addition to velocity, which adds to his promise.

    As for order of prospects and Giolito, Giolito may have a higher potential ceiling, but he has NEVER shown the ability to dominate as a starter the way Lopez has. That does not mean he will not get there, and he is younger, but none of us needs a pundit to tells us that a pitcher (like Lopez) who DEMONSTRABLY can give you outing after outing of 0-2 walk, 10+ strikeout, 6+ inning stuff is a potential staff ace. Ace. And that is why I am that high on Lopez.

    As for Robles, we all love him, but he will not get to the top of my prospect list over someone with a proven level of dominance at a higher level. And, he has to show his dominance post-injury and prove he can play aggressively without turning himself into an HBP pincushion who misses time with wrist and hand injuries that sap his power. But we are getting to a point where he will be the top prospect in the system, over Giolito, if he continues the pace of his ascent. He will obviously position himself to start AA next year if he ignites over the next few weeks, and he is hard to bet against – even if the Nats need not rush him. Robles has more than talent, he has the intangibles to make him a team leader. If you think the Nats are special now, with Turner at the top, wait till Robles brings his intensity to town.

    forensicane

    14 Aug 16 at 12:01 pm

  13. Final note on Papelbon. Kerr has an article today of Scherzer paying homage to him as a teammate. It’s impressive. Again demonstrating that what we read in the Washington Post (about his impact on fee agent signings, etc) is not reliable data and oriented toward getting page views – yes, they bottom feed even at the proverbial top.

    forensicane

    14 Aug 16 at 12:03 pm

  14. I find the “debate” of Lopez vs. Giolito curious because the Nats have both of them. Unless they’re going to trade one or the other, it’s not going to matter. They’re both above-average, very young pitching prospects, both with a lot to learn about game management, spotting their pitches, mixing their stuff. The only real question on the immediate horizon is whether the Nats trust their futures enough to consider moving one of the current starters in the offseason . . . or if Ross actually has a serious injury. We don’t know. The Nats would be insane not to pick up Gio’s option, even if they’re going to trade him.

    The Nats count instructional league innings in their innings limits. Rizzo has recently said as much about Giolito. Guys like Avila and Tyler Watson who barely pitched in real games last year probably got a lot of instructional innings. Baez probably got some, although he’s only at 133% of his 2015 game innings, not 150%. I’m still failing to see the excitement about him myself. He’s got a big arm, along with a big ERA and big WHIP. Not giving up on him, just not seeing him advancing much yet.

    Anyway, the Nats most clearly do adhere to innings limits with young arms, but we don’t have visibility on what numbers of innings they’re using. I’m merely pointing out that Lopez is up to basically 120% of his game innings in 2015, so it’s something to watch about how much more they’re going to use him. I’m thinking that Rizzo indicated that Giolito had 25-30 innings more than his game innings for 2015 would indicate, so the same may be true for Lopez.

    KW

    14 Aug 16 at 12:45 pm

  15. On a different topic, the “passing” of Pap got me thinking about how much to Nats have invested over the years in trying to find an enduring closer. Forwarding past the formative years, I’ll start with the investment of a first-round pick on Storen. There was also the second-round pick of Johanssen along with the surrendered first-rounder (and $30M) for Soriano. Pap cost Pivetta, and they gave up Rivero and Hearn for what could be only a couple of months of Melancon. On the flip side, they did get Revere for Storen at a time when he wasn’t worth much, and of course Ramos for Capps. If you consider Alex Meyer a reliever, they got Span for him, but of course Meyer was also another high draft pick.

    And if Melancon doesn’t re-sign, the search will continue . . .

    KW

    14 Aug 16 at 1:08 pm

  16. So, after last night is everybody STILL feeling confident about the lefty/middle relief? We better hope that last year’s 8th round pick, who has thrown less than 100 professional innings, is the second coming of Bobby Jenks for the ChiSox in late 2005.

    On Lopez’s start, I was actually impressed. In his first two games, he tried to whiff everybody and got hit hard. Last night he adjusted by keeping the ball down and inducing tons of grounders. To me that shows a lot of maturity for a young kid.

    And I wouldn’t call Atlanta’s lineup “AAA.” They’ve got plenty of pop. What they DON’T have is pitching, save for a certain former Nat lefty reliever in Ian Krol who is pitching better than any of ours.

    Karl Kolchack

    14 Aug 16 at 1:56 pm

  17. I am with you on that, KW. For years, we had no leadoff hitter and then had Span and did not worry for awhile afterward.

    And so it is with Melancon. The opportunity to have full confidence in a closer has intangible value added.

    As for the above, we all have different ways of valuing prospects. I appreciate Baez (he’s low 30’s on my prospect list), beyond a fastball that touched 100 last winter, because he has had a couple of outings this summer that were quite dominant. The ability to dominate – be it as a pitcher or as a position player — means a lot to me as a key quality that separates one’s ceiling from a AAAA like a Caleb Clay, a bench player, or a guy who makes it as a starting cog for a team like the Nationals. It’s why I was always so high on Turner — his catalytic effect has a dominant effect on a game. It’s part of what makes Scherzer special.

    So of course it’s all arbitrary, but that carries weight with me. Give me players who can demonstrably dominate with their talent and coach them up. Another reason why, come the offseason, if the nats have to bundle talent to get a potentially dominant player at a position of need (Freeman), I’m all for it.

    I also would expect them to handle innings with Gio as a post-TJ a little different from Lopez. (And yes, the Baez numbers say 2015 70.1 innings, 2016 104.1 innings, so just under 50% more).

    A final note on Avila. A TB scout I spoke to recently in general about the Nats talent (he scouts the minors exclusively) pointed out Avila as a guy who was really on his radar. Says his curve command is way ahead of his age. FWIW.

    forensicane

    14 Aug 16 at 2:04 pm

  18. I see the value in stretches of dominance when evaluating prospects, especially at the higher levels. It doesn’t trump everything else for me, but it’s a strong factor. i assume Fedde has shot up your rankings? As I’ve said, the thing that has held me back a bit on him is the hard contact. Even when he had the high Ks, he got hit hard often. I’d like to understand that better, but there is no doubt that he is a promising pitcher.

    As for Robles, I do think he’ll be atop most Nats prospect lists this offseason. His hype train is in full motion, but he also is dominating at the levels he’s played so far at a very young age, so I think we’ll see him as our #1, and also top 10 league wide.

    It’s a good point on closers, although in some way it’s a microcosm of the team. Going back to the Chief, they’ve had several closers post high save totals, but you go away feeling like its a disappointment. Kind of like the team overall. I’ve concluded that Nats fans have a high anxiety complex, and anything with even a little stress gets viewed as a failure. :-)

    Here is a somewhat hidden, but positive aspect to this season: the Nats have had the ability to mix in quite a few young kids/rookies and get their feet wet at the major league level while not over exposing them to pennant races. Turner, Difo, Severino, Goodwin, Giolito, Lopez, Glover have all seen time and advanced their development. The only one that they exposed too much was Giolito: first start against the defending NL champions, 2d one too on 9 days rest in NY. They could have figured out a way to break him in a little easier.

    Wally

    14 Aug 16 at 2:46 pm

  19. Wally – I pretty much agree with everthing you say, including the stretches vs. one hit wonder. When Baez had a five inning, one hit, zero walk, and ten K outing, I wondered whether he turned the corner. Well, that was not sustained, even though he is certainly well improved from last year. With that said, Lopez did it again and again. Beast!

    Yes, I have Fedde at #6. And yes, I had him much lower earlier, because I stay away from hype like bonus payments and draft level. They paid Johannsen a lot, too. So he shot up — though my fastest riser is Juan Soto. What he is doing this year is amazing.

    By the way, if you want torment, try being an Expos fan. The worst torment!!! And we had shutdown guys like Reardon and Wetteland, and Felipe Alou, whom we used to call GOM (Grumpy Old Man).

    The youth movement this year has been so opportune. I expect Turner to be the SS next year, and youth movement has enabled Taylor to go to AAA to sort it out. I am still on the Taylor bandwagon, and the guy needed to go down and play every day and that is that.

    Robles got hit by a pitch AGAIN today — and stole second and scored. What an animal! Like Ron f’in Hunt. When we get a closer we can love, we’ll just have to hold our breath while he stands on top of the plate facing Chapman.

    forensicane

    14 Aug 16 at 4:16 pm

  20. Fedde: do we think he’s turned a corner? Arbitrary endpoints, but here’s the # of ER he’s given up by start since a 5-run blowup on 5/15/16: 0,0,1,1,0,1,0,0,1,0,0,1 . A couple of those were abbreviated starts and shouldn’t count, but that’s 12 straight appearances giving up 0 or 1 earned run.

    http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=607200#/gamelogs/R/pitching/2016/MINORS

    I really like what we’re seeing here, and I’m wondering if he’s finally coming back into form as the “potential upper 1st rounder” he was billed at prior to his arm injury in college. I’m beginning to think he could be a sneaky good Roark-type middle rotation guy that serves as an under-rated stopper. Imagine where the big league team would be with two more “Roarks” instead of blow-up starts from the kids and from Gio.

    Todd Boss

    15 Aug 16 at 9:58 am

  21. Fedde’s emergence, along with Lopez and Giolito (and maybe Voth and Cole), make me feel very confident that we can handle the 5th spot in the rotation internally next year and can trade GioG for a bat. That $12MM salary would be better spent on some muscle for the lineup IMO.

    Andrew R

    15 Aug 16 at 11:40 am

  22. I’ll admit, I’ve been a Fedde skeptic since (draft) day one. But he’s clearly figured things out, and perhaps needed an extra year to get stronger after TJ.

    Is he a future arm for the rotation, or a trade chip? As Andrew indicates, sooner or later, the Nats are going to need some bats to replace the ones who are aging out or potentially leaving via FA. Then there are sticky problems like Zimmerman, who seems to have been Pipped by Turner (with Murphy at 1B). The Nats owe Zim a minimum of $48K over three years (including the 4th-year buyout). I’ve always insisted that no other team would take on that contract, but a weekend looking at Kemp and his even worse contract gives me hope. Zim would have 10/5 trade refusal rights, though. So I don’t know what could be done.

    (For the record, I’m a Zim fan and would love nothing better for him to have a resurgence. But he’s been scuffling mightily for a long time now.)

    Anyway, the Nats have a real shortage of prospects with power. Drew Ward has had an encouraging year on that front and may be a 3B/1B option in a couple of years. But we’re still waiting on the OFs, beyond what Taylor still may or may not offer. Goodwin had 11 HRs at Syracuse but is 25 and probably fully developed power-wise. Robles has 8 HRs this year after four last season and is barely 19, so there’s still hope for his power to develop. Rhett Wiseman has 10 HRs at Hagerstown but is three years older than Robles. Nick Banks has yet to homer in 41 games with Auburn.

    KW

    15 Aug 16 at 12:31 pm

  23. Cubs now said to be considering Pap. There may be hope in the playoffs against them after all!

    KW

    15 Aug 16 at 1:59 pm

  24. Fedde thoughts: well, if you look at the projected rotation for the nats for 2017:
    – Scherzer (signed through 2021), Strasburg (2023), Roark (Controlled through 2019), Gio (options through 2018), Ross (controlled through at least 2020).

    So, someone has to go in order for anyone of Lopez, Giolito, Cole, Voth or Fedde to break through. So yeah I think Fedde may end up being trade chip.

    Would I like to see Gio moved? Sure ;… but what is he these days? Who is trading something of value for him based on his performance this year? Likewise, Ross’ DL trip has really hurt his trade value, were we to cash him in and make room for one of the rising kids. We may be standing pat on the rotation, keeping some of these arms in AAA for safe keeping and trading from depth.

    Todd Boss

    15 Aug 16 at 2:20 pm

  25. Papelbon: I have no doubt he’ll get picked up by somebody looking for a flier; why not? He costs nothing, he has experience. If he doesn’t work out just cut him and all you’re out is his per diems.

    I wonder how p*ssed his wife is; they (inexplicably) bought a house in Alexandria … AFTER his choking incident (http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2015/09/nationals-closer-papelbon-buys-alexandria-home.html). Maybe its no big deal; when you can buy a $2.9M house and its about a quarter of your annual earnings … that’s like making $100k salary and buying a $30k hours to us normal folk … you just turn into a real estate maven.

    Todd Boss

    15 Aug 16 at 2:46 pm

  26. Zim doesn’t need 10/5 rights, his contract has a full no trade clause.

    On Papelbon’s house, the ever-reliable internet scuttlebutt (reported as being from “a friend who lives in the same neighborhood where the Papelbons bought their house) had it that the house was emptied shortly after the choking incident. FWIW – which is practically nothing.

    John C.

    15 Aug 16 at 3:18 pm

  27. Papelbon’s house: excellent reporting JohnC; that’s the kind of information we need about our Nats players :-)

    Todd Boss

    15 Aug 16 at 3:59 pm

  28. As maddening as Gio is, I think he still has some decent value as a trade candidate. Look at the wacky pitcher contracts given out last offseason:

    Samardzija – 5yrs/$90MM
    Chen – 5yrs/$80MM
    Leake – 5yrs/$80MM
    Kennedy – 5yrs/$70MM
    Kazmir – 3yrs/$48MM
    Happ – 3yrs/$36MM
    Gallardo – 2yrs/$22MM

    Those are all mediocre pitchers, and arguably none are much better than Gio. Add in that most of those guys also cost a 1st round draft pick, and Gio is theoretically tradeable for a decent prospect given that his contract is only 2yrs/$24MM.

    Given that we have many arms and few bats coming up in the system, I think it’s an easy decision to shop Gio and re-invest that cash.

    Andrew R

    15 Aug 16 at 9:09 pm

  29. He certainly has value, in a trade or to keep. He has become an average big league starter, and a lefty, and those guys get more than 2/$24m. But I wouldn’t just trade him to just to create room for a rookie, because I think he is likely to produce more than any of our young guns next year, which is how they should think about it.

    If you could get a major league piece that fills a need, like a CF (Eaton), then that’s a different story, but I don’t think he has that value alone.

    Wally

    16 Aug 16 at 6:52 am

  30. Wally, why do we need a CF? We have Trea turner! 2017: Turner in CF, Danny at Short, Murphy at second. What, what?

    Todd Boss

    16 Aug 16 at 9:31 am

  31. If you think Andrew’s list of questionable contracts is bad, look at the collection of stiffs that comprise the free agent starter market:

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/03/2016-17-mlb-free-agents.html

    With that lack of decent options, trade value of starters in the offseason should be strong. I’m not advocating for it, but I wouldn’t rule out the thought that the Nats might listen to offers for Ross, who would have tremendous value because of his years of control. They may listen even harder if they have long-term doubts about his shoulder.

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 9:33 am

  32. Great point KW: if we can get something we need, flipping Ross or Gio would be great. But what do we need?
    – 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF and RF all spoken for. Whether you like it or not, the team is going to play Zim, going to play Werth.
    – C: a hole. But i’m thinking more and more the team gives Ramos a QO and that kills his market and they get him for like 3/45 or something.
    – CF: yup.
    – Relievers: you don’t trade a cost controlled starter for a reliever.

    So i’m guessing the team says: hey; if you have a quality C or a CF, lets talk. How about a deal centered around Gio for Lucroy?

    Todd Boss

    16 Aug 16 at 10:18 am

  33. Latos scheduled to make his first AAA start for Syracuse tonight.

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 10:18 am

  34. Todd, you’re hitting the same point that I’ve been making: a theoretical bat would be great, but you’ve got to have a place to play him.

    And yes, Zim will very likely be at 1B (when healthy) for the next three years, although it will be interesting to see how things shake out over the next couple of months when he comes back. Turner seems to have proven that he has to play, either at 2B or in CF. He’s been better than Revere, and at relative current levels, he’s better than Zim. So things seem to shake out to Zim vs. Revere for the short term.

    Two potential holes for 2017: catcher and closer, plus various bench spots and bullpen improvement. I don’t have the list in front of me, but off the top of my head, Werth, Revere, and Espinosa are FAs after next season, so that’s the next step in the regeneration. Do they re-sign Espinosa and commit to Turner in CF? Is there a way to get another bat into the offense in the meantime? If so, where would he play? Or is Turner that “other bat”?

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 10:27 am

  35. Zim vs. Revere: Turner plays CF if Zim plays; Turner plays 2B if Revere plays. But either way, Turner plays!

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 10:29 am

  36. 2017 holes: catcher, closer, CF. Here’s a question: does this team commit to Turner at SS, Murphy at 2B and attempt to move Espinosa? Despite all his limitations (as well argued in this space), he’s still a top 10 SS in the league by fWAR. Man that’s hard to say and believe it but look at his ranks by fWAR for SS right now: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2016&month=0&season1=2016&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0 . Numbers don’t lie right? He’s ranked 12th by fWAR and two guys ahead of him shouldn’t be there (machado b/c he’s primarily a 3B and Story b/c he’ll fall off the qualified list soon) shouldn’t count.

    Or, do you KEEP Espinosa, keep him at SS, put turner in CF and then if there’s an injury you have Turner who can be like Ben Zobrist flexible and play 2B, SS, CF, 3B, a corner OF spot, anything? I like that configuration honestly. Then you can focus less on finding a quality starting CF (no mean feat in this league) and focus instead on backups.

    Todd Boss

    16 Aug 16 at 10:43 am

  37. You always make room for a superstar.

    And Rizzo has taken that approach in offseasons past, especially in assessing the security of contracts past. How else to explain the serious pursuit of Cespedes and Heyward with Taylor and Werth in place? How else to explain the huge investment in Scherzer, a year before JZimmerman left?

    We are one year further, and OF is more depleted than it was at this time last year. Taylor’s star has dimmed, Revere is exposed for his flaws (as well as his potentials). And we are one year closer to a decision of whether Harper stays or goes. There is no star OF solution in AAA or AA. My personal feeling is that Turner is a stopgap in CF, but he is destined for SS. I also think that like many rushed talents, Taylor will get another chance to start in the Nationals OF, because he has the defensive range, the arm, and the stealing speed and great power which the team still lacks. I still believe in Taylor as a player who can be a star in the majors. And I would not trade him, especially as controllable as he is (unless the team signed a FA and the target was Trout). Now, if Taylor does not take the next step through this fall and through winter ball, that is another story. For me, Werth has proven that he is a real contributor here, and if he should stay healthy, a healthy leader like Werth will produce enough to man the ship in 2017 and transition into Victor Robles or Taylor (should the Nats acquire a superstar in the OF). Here we are in August and Werth’s high level of play reflects on what the Nats did with their medical team, which is one of the best things they did in the offseason and a great tribute to Rizzo and the Lerners as executives.

    3B is Rendon, barring injury, and Murphy if he gets hurt. Matt Skole is making a run to remain relevant in organizational plans, and is one of the August story lines (will he save his future in the Nats plans?), and is a capable and underrated third baseman. We are all waiting for Drew Ward to blow up, and at least he showed a lot of improvement on both offense and defense this year. But he does not look like a 2017 consideration without a developmental leap. However, given the positional flexibility of Murphy, that need not prompt a trade. But Rendon makes this a salary controllable position.

    SS – I’m one of those who feels this is Espinosa’s last year in DC, barring a big run by him through the rest of the year. He does not inspire confidence in me for the post-season based on his miserable stat line in 2012 and 2015. I think Turner is the SS in waiting, the long term anchor. Difo is demonstrating that he can be thought of as a future ML talent and the Nats have not been afraid to play him most of this year at SS. So he has had to make his adjustment. But Difo is an underrated talent with an energy that helps a championship team. Having him play SS at AAA next year, knowing he has the athleticism to play more than one position and can ably play 2B, is good depth for the organization. Espinosa is a trade chip, or will slide back into an expensive (post-arbitration) utility IF role if he continues to eke his way to the Mendoza line. Turner makes this a salary controllable position.

    2B – Manned by Murphy for at least the next two years, though a case could be made to extend him this winter. He is the team MVP and has elevated his game and given so much derivative stability to the team. So much for the pundits obsessing over homosexuality (useless). Difo in the organization gives this position depth. Max Schrock has a bat that will not be stopped, and 2B is his best position. He will be part of the discussion here next year, as in, what to do with his bat, especially as his power continues to develop. I would expect fall league play for Schrock, even though it might be too late to test him at Harrisburg this year. But there is every reason to expect Schrock to unleash at Harrisburg right out of the gate in 2017.

    1B – Zimmerman has the huge contract and can turn it on for stretches. He gets a lot of slack because of his FOF bonafides and the Lerners are loyal. But 1B is the big hole. Someone who buys low on Zimmerman in a package can do well. Worse players with worse contracts get moved. If he plays like he is capable of offensively and defensively, the market would quickly see his as a team friendly contract. And, power does have a saleability. There is no depth to replace Zim as a starting player; even if Skole has more than just a few weeks left with the Nats, the team will never chance a starting role for him unless he does far better and comes back to AAA next year and tears it up. Which he could. Here is the spot for picking up a superstar like Freeman.

    C – I will operate under the presumption that they will sign Ramos and live happily ever after. Severino is the depth and after that, nobody until Jakson Reetz emerges, which I believe will eventually happen, but certainly with no relevance to 2017. The Nats stocked the lower inors pond with catching this summer, because they know they are thin. I cannot see Ramos getting away, even if the price is high.

    SP – I’m with folks above. But the team could benefit from a star lefthanded starter. This is where the chips come in handy.

    RP – The die cast of dominant closer types for the late innings is still a consideration. I hope the Nats sign Melancon — let’s make him feel welcome — but expect the search to continue for an under the radar dominant lefthanded reliever. No, Rivero is too Henry to me that guy.Glover continues to inch toward the majors (shut down a bases loaded two out last night) and is exciting. He’s my #4 prospect in the whole system (yes, I think higher of him than Fedde, which one should considering he has fitched at four levels this year).

    forensicane

    16 Aug 16 at 11:24 am

  38. Someone who buys low on Zimmerman in a package can do well. Worse players with worse contracts get moved.

    Don’t forget Zim’s full no trade clause, and his deep roots in the area.

    Fedde has quietly had an excellent season, and has restored his status as worthy of a first round pick. As much as I like Glover (and I do), it’s tough for me to put any relief pitcher ahead of someone who projects as at least a solid starter at the MLB level. But of course prospect evaluation – particularly evaluation based on reading box scores and online sources – is very imprecise. Suffice it to say I’m glad that both are in the system.

    John C.

    16 Aug 16 at 11:49 am

  39. Just cannot believe Ryan Zimmerman is going anywhere, ever. Agree with JohnC; no trade, 10&5, virginia guy, house purchased, lives in DC in off-season, wife and kids here now.

    Anyway. You know what makes a lot of sense from a trade perspective right now? A trade with Oakland where we shed some of our starter depth. Oakland just went through a stretch where they threw 8 different starts in 8 straight games and their current rotation per BP depth charts is: Graveman, Neal, Detwiler (yes that Detwiler), Triggs and Manaea. Three of those guys were MLFA or waiver claims. They’ve used 12 different starters already and the rosters havn’t even opened up. Oakland could really use some starters. We have some spare starters. But what does Oakland have to trade? Not much. They have practically no good position players. Vogt is their C and he’s ok .. but he’s 31. They have some good prospects but a team like Oakland should be looking to KEEP its prospects, not shed them.

    Ok scratch that :-)

    Todd Boss

    16 Aug 16 at 12:03 pm

  40. Everything you say is correct.

    Now, what if Zimmerman comes back and hits .215 the rest of the way?

    Tulowitzki had a 5+ million dollar house in Colorado. Neil Walker was a Pittsburgh native and popular and not underperforming. Clippard loved it here. Desmond was a very popular player.

    And so, it is still a business and comes down to whether the Nats appraise his decline to be irreversible by probability.

    forensicane

    16 Aug 16 at 12:17 pm

  41. John,

    I’m looking to see more performance from Fedde at higher levels than one AA start. Glover is clearly able to master AAA and has shown dominance at three levels in his first pro season. For me, and your point is well taken, it’s the unobstructed ascent and organizational opportunity rather than the position per se.

    Glover has amped it up more since being in DC, and the exposure helped, in an organization that has a clear need for a closer who truly blows away his innings.

    forensicane

    16 Aug 16 at 12:20 pm

  42. I don’t have an answer for the Zim conundrum. As John points out, he’s very likely not going anywhere, and it’s going to be very hard to explain to the Lerners if you don’t play a guy who is making so much . . . for the next three years . . . I fear he is becoming a Dale Murphy/Ryan Howard type, though, a guy who loses the magic at a relatively young age. (Of course between Murphy and Howard, guys just found the Fountain of Youth in a vile, but that’s another story.)

    With Glover, I’m sure the front office is very interested to see how he looks in the majors in Sept. It’s tantalizing to think that the Nats might be able to avoid the premium for Melancon or Chapman in the offseason for a guy making the minimum. Considering the “window,” though, I think they’re going to pursue an established guy. I doubt it will be Jansen since he’d have the QO attached. Theo will probably do everything he can to keep Chapman, so Melancon once again may be the option who makes the most sense.

    Heck, closers about the only quality product on the upcoming FA market. The starters are awful. Unless Cespedes opts out, I’m not sure who the best hitter would be. Neil Walker, maybe? The broader point, though, is that with so little quality on the FA market, I think some bigger trades are going to be in play. The Nats have a lot of chips, particularly pitching ones.

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 12:24 pm

  43. Ramos: I think they make him a reasonable offer, something like 3/$50M, take it or leave it. You never want to buy a lot of years for a catcher in his 30s, particularly one who has been ridden hard this year. It would certainly be a big step down offensively for the team to go with Severino as a starter, but neither does it make a lot of sense to overpay for some other mediocre catcher. I assume the Rangers would want a lot for just one year of Lucroy. Two years of Gio for one of Lucroy? I doubt the Rangers would do that without another minor-league starter included, though.

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 12:43 pm

  44. Mike Rizzo is not Ruben Amaro.

    Rizzo is also the same guy who was unafraid to displace Werth by getting Cespedes, and unafraid to displace Storen by getting Papelbon. He is a gentleman in how he handles things publicly, but he makes tough decisions for the long term god of the team without the warm fuzzies. And, he was sniffing around Jay Bruce just a few weeks ago.

    forensicane

    16 Aug 16 at 12:47 pm

  45. On Zimmerman, in the past couple of months my wife has gotten to know his wife and has actually chatted with him a couple of times. She would never be so crass as to bring up the subject up, but from she has said about the conversations it seems far more likely that if he could not get it done on the field anymore that the Nats would have to buy him out. His roots are indeed very deep in this area, and he seems to have little desire to play elsewhere, even if it would extend his career.

    Karl Kolchack

    16 Aug 16 at 8:57 pm

  46. FWIW, F.P. said on the radio this afternoon that he thinks Zim will go back in the lineup when he comes up from Syracuse, Turner will go to CF, and Revere will go to the bench.

    I agree that I can’t see Zim willingly leaving the area, but I also think it would be a long shot for the Nats to buy him out. Obviously it would be best for all if he can find his mojo, or at least 80 percent of it.

    KW

    16 Aug 16 at 9:08 pm

  47. I agree Zim will continue to get a long leash and will be the 1B in 2017, BUT he was arguably the worst player in baseball this year. He is getting a pass because the team has done so well, but if he puts up another season like this in 2017 but this time the team struggles or is in a dogfight, and he is clearly the area where it’s easiest to improve, I think Rizzo is driven enough to make the case to dump him.

    If they had bench option, a Pearce type or a rookie, they could possibly try to DL him or bench him in spots to see if he gets hot, but They don’t have anyone like that.

    Said differently, if the facts break a certain way, I don’t think Rizzo let’s Zim be reason that they aren’t winning.

    Wally

    17 Aug 16 at 6:46 am

  48. Wally: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2016-value-batting.shtml#players_value_batting::15

    There’s a whole slew of guys who have been worse than Zimmerman this year, come on! Where’s the love for Ryan Howard, Gerardo Parra, our own Ben Revere (who despite his offensive spurt lately is still at -1.0 bWAR for the year).

    :-)

    Todd Boss

    17 Aug 16 at 10:29 am

  49. Glover back up after 4 hitless outings. Don’t look back kid.

    A remarkable rise on a first place team. Other than Taylor Jordan, who in recent memory went a+ to MLB Nats in the same year?

    forensicane

    17 Aug 16 at 10:39 am

  50. Anyone remember way back when Yankees fans taunted Nats fans by saying how good Zim would look in pinstripes after he hit free agency? Extending him obviously hasn’t worked out, but by sticking around through the bad years he did more to help legitimize the Nats as a franchise than any other player.

    I really hope he comes back and hits well down the stretch and into the playoffs. Maybe a title would convince him it is time to retire and go out on top. :)

    Karl Kolchak

    17 Aug 16 at 12:19 pm

  51. Glover–what 8th round draft pick has ever become a potential impact player on a first place team the year after being drafted?

    Karl Kolchak

    17 Aug 16 at 12:21 pm

  52. Hmm, following Todd’s link, I see that Zim is tied in oWAR with Scott Kazmir and Tom Koehler, never a good sign . . . and also Michael A. Taylor.

    On a more positive note, Zim had three hits for Syracuse last night, including a triple. I assume Dusty will give him every chance to get his stroke back with the big club, albeit from probably the 7th spot in the order.

    An interesting roster move is ahead when Glover arrives, assuming that Lopez is staying to stay in the rotation. Who goes? Do they go with a short bench and send out Goodwin or Difo? Or do they put Perez on the DL with strained credulity? He’s really not looking good . . . and is owed $4M next year.

    KW

    17 Aug 16 at 12:37 pm

  53. On a macro level, Oliver Perez has struggled. Here’s his splits for 2016: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=perezol01&year=&t=p

    lefty split: .215/.316/.338.

    so, maybe if we just used Oliver Perez as a true LOOGY he’d be ok.

    Todd Boss

    17 Aug 16 at 1:55 pm

  54. I think you send Goodwin back and keep Glover and Solis. harper is back, goodwin is not needed.

    Todd Boss

    17 Aug 16 at 2:00 pm

  55. Uh oh, Solis sent for MRI.

    Todd Boss

    17 Aug 16 at 3:44 pm

  56. Todd – re Zim as worst, relative to pre season expectations, maybe only Revere is comparable? There is no easy answer, which is why I said it is arguable, but Zim was expected to be clean up or #5 coming into the year and he has just been horrible. What did anyone expect from Ryan Howard?

    Wally

    17 Aug 16 at 4:31 pm

  57. And Perez throws gas on the fire. Paging Matt Grace (Bryan Harper is on the DL).

    KW

    17 Aug 16 at 6:41 pm

  58. Perez is a disaster area and now Solis has a shoulder injury? At the risk of repeating myself, Rizzo has really shot himself in the foot when it comes to lefty relievers. Now we’re down to Grace, who has a WHIP of 1.314 and a SO/9 of 5.8 at AAA. Maybe they need to get on the horn to Matt Thorton’s agent, as he was released by the Padres on 8/11.

    Also of note, Felipe Rivero has not given up an earned run in 8 appearances since the trade, and his SO/9 with the Pirates stands at an astonishing 17.6. Looks like Rizzo plugged one major hole just open up another.

    Karl Kolchack

    17 Aug 16 at 8:13 pm

  59. Thinking more about it, expecting a guy who has spent most of his professional career injured, has only thrown more than 60 innings ONCE (back in 2011) and was already on the DL earlier this year to carry a big part of the lefty load after Rivero’s departure was pretty insane. Even though Rizzo didn’t give up top prospects to acquire Melancon, that trade could really turn out to be another boneheaded move.

    Karl Kolchack

    17 Aug 16 at 8:29 pm

  60. The Nats had a gaping hole at closer. It had to be addressed, and it was. There was a price, but it had to be paid. No reason to look bad there.

    Yes, Rizzo may need to be shopping for a waiver trade for a loogy or two. As for Thornton specifically, his SD stats were awful. Perhaps you give him a AAA look for old-time sake, but I certainly wouldn’t sign him to an MLB contract.

    KW

    18 Aug 16 at 7:20 am

  61. Err, “no reason to look BACK there,” referring to the Melancon trade.

    KW

    18 Aug 16 at 7:21 am

  62. Heh – “Rivero has been great since the trade, Rizzo’s move was boneheaded!”

    And if Rizzo doesn’t make the trade and Papelbon coughs up key games to put the division in jeopardy: “Rizzo needed to replace Papelbon, not making a move was boneheaded!”

    Rivero has only pitched 8 2/3 innings since going over, and has struck out 16 (!). He’s always been a high-K pitcher, but that level is not going to last. He has also walked six batters in those 8+ innings, which is why his WHIP is actually worse than it was for the Nats (from a solid 1.168 in DC to an almost Lannan-esque 1.385 in Pit). He’s only given up two runs, but that’s mostly because he’s K’d a bunch and also won the SSS roulette wheel so far. He’s a promising young arm with consistency issues, which is what he was before the trade.

    And of course Melancon is really good, and closers are always at a premium at the deadline (look at what the Orioles gave up to get Miller a couple of years ago, much less what Chapman and Miller garnered the Yankees this year). The Nats did give up value for Melancon, even though not as high a price compared to those other deals. Yeah, there’s a risk that Perez can’t right the ship, Solis gets hurt and the other LHRP options (Grace, Harper) don’t rise up. IMHO that risk was not as high as the risk that having Paps as closer would hurt the team. it’s a balancing act.

    FWIW, if one’s concern is getting tough lefties out in crucial situations, I’ll note that for whatever reason Rivero has actually been bloody awful against LH batters this year: .324/.427/.432/.859 vs. lefties. Ouch. Just imagine how we would fry Rizzo if he had KEPT Rivero and Rivero got tattooed (again) by lefties in a crucial situation in the pennant race or playoffs.

    John C.

    18 Aug 16 at 9:24 am

  63. Rivero was not the solution and was never going to be the solution. It’s surprising the team got Melancon with him as a centerpiece.

    The Pirates have a terrific pitching coach and perhaps his problems were mechanical, but when it comes time for high leverage pitching, Rivero just struck me as a guy who would choke. We need ice on this team. Melancon is ice.

    With that said, the Strasburg outing (and situation) only renders the immediate term bullpen situation more acute. And then there is the problem of Strasburg losing his edge. Not opportune.

    We all agree that Perez is not the solution, be it health or fatigue or decline. Burnett is in the Twins chain and has not made it to the bigs, though had he not opted out earlier, he might be. And Rizzo does what he needs to do to meet those needs – the Suzuki acquisition comes to mind. Thornton may have as much in the tank as Tom Gorzellany, for all we know.

    Beyond lefties, the team does need bullpen help – as do so many teams that have had real injury problems. The easiest and still possibly best solutions for inning eating may be in our own farm system – getting long relief innings out of Cole and Voth. Giolito’s outing was encouraging, for sure — maybe he is a 2016 bullpen option after all. Latos is going to a shot to be the guy, but he was cut this year for a reason.

    I still think we are going to see a return of Rafael Martin, who has shown more than Gott. But once we hit September, it’s no longer either/or.

    If the team had to add someone else internally to the 40 man (is Drew ever coming back?), and Lopez were ticketed for the rotation because Ross is mending, perhaps the best in house option not on the 40 man right now, to me, is John Simms, right hander who has fared well in long relief in AA, has relatively low mileage on his arm this year and who is mature enough to use his pitches well.

    forensicane

    18 Aug 16 at 9:57 am

  64. Another guy to watch is Andrew Robinson, a AA all star this year who dominated two levels after getting picked up off the MLFA scrap heap. But he has never shown the ability to play at AAA, and Simms is an unknown quantity.

    I’m glad Martin is still around.

    forensicane

    18 Aug 16 at 10:00 am

  65. Rivero: middle relief electric but unreliable arm. No offense but they’re a dime a dozen. Yes he was lefty and that hurts (as does losing the promise of Hearn and his size 20 shoes or whatever) but that’s why we drafted dozens of college arms over the last few years. Certainly somewhere in there we can find another guy who can get lefties out once every few days.

    Strasburg blasting: remember, its Colorado. You’re not going to play many 12-9 games in San Francisco or St. Louis.

    JohnC is right; you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t in this game on the internet when considering moves. We weren’t getting Melancon for free; we had a need and we cashed in some chips. I wish we could have just sent cast-offs or guys who are under performing (hey, how about Oliver Perez, Taylor Hill and Jake Johansen for your sub 2.00 ERA closer Pittsburgh? what? what?) but GMs for other teams are smart too (well, as long as we’re not talking about Arizona).

    :-)

    Todd Boss

    18 Aug 16 at 10:50 am

  66. http://m.nationals.mlb.com/news/article/196331572/nationals-recall-right-hander-aj-cole/

    Interesting move: Cole up, Goodwin down. Maybe, finally are we seeing if Cole can be a serviceable reliever?

    Todd Boss

    18 Aug 16 at 4:52 pm

  67. Cole is probably just insurance for the worn-out bullpen. He was scheduled to start today so is on full rest if Lopez doesn’t make it far. With Zim probably due to be activated soon, Cole may only be around for a couple of days. They don’t figure to go with a short bench for long.

    Re Rivero: he had an ERA of 4.53 when he was dealt, down from a peak of 6.82. He had struggled at times. Yes, he’s a good young arm, but a lefty who can’t get out lefties becomes a liability quickly. I never saw the consistency from him to be a closer. If he becomes one, good for him. But the Nats got a legit one, the biggest piece they needed. They paid a price, but not nearly what the Cubs or Indians did.

    KW

    18 Aug 16 at 5:35 pm

  68. To everyone who is defending the Rivero for Melancon trade, what are they going to do for lefty relief pitching in the playoffs if Solis really is done for the season? Are you confident having Perez pitch to Adrian Gonzales, Brandon Belt or Anthony Rizzo in a key 7th inning postseason situation? Relievers like Rivero may be “a dime a dozen,” but they don’t even have one good one right now when they desperately need one.

    Additionally, they do not have any halfway decent looking lefties pitching above Short Season ball, so this problem is going to linger for at least a couple of years. Ultimately, they are going to have to either trade some prospects or open their wallets and pay some sizable free agent contracts. They also better hope Gio doesn’t implode during that time, or they’ll need another lefty starter as well.

    Karl Kolchack

    18 Aug 16 at 6:20 pm

  69. Fun to see dominance in a young player. Lopez showed up last night and let us know what the fuss is about.

    forensicane

    19 Aug 16 at 4:15 am

  70. Perez vs. LHB: .217/.321/.377 (very good). Rivero vs. LHB: .324/.427/.432 (awful). It’s not like we traded Cy Young.

    KW

    19 Aug 16 at 7:13 am

  71. More importantly, Nats +9.5 over Marlins. It seems dangerous to say it’s over with a quarter of the season to go, but it sure feels like. The Mets are now below .500 at 60-61.

    KW

    19 Aug 16 at 7:34 am

  72. To add to the loogy discussion, I do agree with Karl that Rizzo may be shopping for one, particularly if the news isn’t good on Solis (a dominant .200/.279/.273 vs. LHB, far better than Rivero). We’ll see, and perhaps find out if they are indeed a dime a dozen. The Nats can rest Solis for a month or more right now. Joe Ross as well. (I’m more worried about Ross than Solis.)

    KW

    19 Aug 16 at 8:29 am

  73. As for the rhetorical “What are the Nats going to do for a LOOGY?”

    Fortunately we do not have a GM who is a panic buyer. It is 8/19 and teams are rotating players in and out of the 40 Man. If there were someone Rizzo wanted who had cleared waivers, he would know that by now.

    The concept of a LOOGY is overrated when you have a reliever who can get both lefties and righties out. It’s a nice refinement to have for a heavy righty lineup, but not one you give up Fedde for.

    As for Grace, it’s about how hot a guy is rather than his overall line. I don;t know the answer to that right now, but a phone call to Billy Gardner already happened, and Glover>Cole came the reinforcements, not Grace.

    Difo’s numbers were not overall impressive, but since he has come up, he has stayed on the island while an older and more experienced AAA product (Goodwin) was shipped back. Difo has returned from prospect purgatory with a performance better than expected. That is worth keeping in mind for Mark Grace, if he is a sensible answer and adding Bryan Harper to the 40 man is not.

    forensicane

    19 Aug 16 at 9:43 am

  74. sorry, heavy lefty. you know what I mean

    forensicane

    19 Aug 16 at 9:44 am

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