Nationals Arm Race

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

Collier’s Inbox 1/12/17


Holland would look good in a Nats uniform ... for the right price. Photo via

Holland would look good in a Nats uniform … for the right price. Photo via

Looks like Nats beat reporter Jamal Collier will be doing these inboxes weekly!  Great way to generate some content during the dark period prior to the beginning of spring training (as alluded to in the comments by KW)…

Here’s his 1/12/17 inbox and how i’d respond if someone bothered to ask my opinion about stuff like this 🙂

Q: Why have the Nationals been so patient with finding a closer as other teams are signing closers that the Nats might have been interested in?

A: Probably because the price on closers (and relievers in general) is sky high after the industry watched what two dominant lefty arms like Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman can do in a post-season.  And probably because once the big four FAs went out … the drop-off in quality was significant.  The current list of available relievers does not inspire that much confidence; quite a few former closers are out there … and they’re out there for a reason.  Interesting fact; there’s no less than 8 former Nats on the active reliever FA market, perhaps an indication of the churn and burn we’ve been doing with arms lately.  Collier mentions the general transaction slowdown in the industry.

Q: It seems like the Nats still need a right-handed power bat to protect Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper. Banking on Ryan Zimmerman to provide that power appears risky. Any chance they are secretly looking at Jose Bautista?

A: (asked by John C from Vienna …  JohnC is this you? 🙂  I’d love if they were looking at Jose Bautista; its something I suggested prior to the Adam Eaton move.  But now?  The corner positions Bautista can play seem rather filled, unless someone is willing to go to one of the the two most respected/highest paid/long standing players on the team (Jayson Werth and/or Ryan Zimmerman) and tell them they’re riding the pine.  I know there’s lots of pundits/bloggers out there who are ready to take both these guys out into the woods and shoot them … but I don’t see this regime doing that.  Therefore, unless they’re trading Harper, I can’t see where Bautista (or his $20M/year demand) fits in.  Plus Bautista is as we speak reportedly looking at a return to Toronto … yet another example where the QO has stifled the market for a veteran player. Collier says the team has faith in a Zimmerman rebound.

Q: Will the stadium at West Palm Beach be ready by Feb. 14? Will fans be admitted then? Will Zimmerman be ready?

A: I know nothing about the spring training stadium, other than to say that TWO major league franchises are planning on being there, so I’m pretty sure it’ll be ready or heads will roll.

Zimmerman be ready?  Didn’t he play in the playoffs?  Why wouldn’t he be ready for 2/14?  Did I miss an off-season surgery for him?

Collier notes that both the stadium and the player will be ready to go.  I guess I missed something early in the off-season.

Written by Todd Boss

January 16th, 2017 at 9:26 am

6 Responses to 'Collier’s Inbox 1/12/17'

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  1. I’ll move this comment forward from the end of the last post, and also add the observation that I have about as much or more faith in the guys the Nats already have in the ‘pen to close as I do any of the folks still on the market. The one exception is Holland, who was once a top-end closer but probably wouldn’t even have a chance to be one again until the latter part of the season.

    I’ve been negative about Holland in the earlier (and more expensive) signing period, but I wonder where his price is now. I also wonder whether he’s picked up a couple of MPH on his heater since his showcase. I wonder if scouts have been allowed another look. Anyway, if a quality starter like Ross with injury concerns got $6M (plus incentives), the price for a wounded reliever should be less than $6M, right?

    If the price for Holland is getting down to around $5M, I’m starting to get interested. At that price, there also wouldn’t be the pressure to make him the closer right away, which I don’t think he could do anyway. With him, I think the best hope would be that he get healthier through the summer and is getting close to his old self by Aug.-Sept. I wasn’t going to pay 1/$10M for him, but I’d think about 1/$5M, or even 2/$10M. At that rate, they’d still have money for a bench bat or two.

    However, would the money be better spent on a righty like Holland, or a lefty like Logan, who presumably is looking for just about as much? I don’t think the Nats can spend that much apiece on two relievers, so who would you rather have? (FWIW, I think that would be an overpay for Logan, although it would keep us from having to give up another future HOF guy at midseason to rent a loogy.)


    16 Jan 17 at 12:59 pm

  2. I don’t see Holland as a better risk than Feliz, who also has a closer’s history and saw improved arm strength during the season last year. Other than money, I can’t see why they haven’t jumped on him. Rumors are that he’s going to MIL but the need is much bigger here.


    17 Jan 17 at 6:39 am

  3. I’d take a gander on more than a few arms sitting on the FA market right now honestly. Not to be the closer but to compete for it. It seems to me that at this point, the team goes with Kelley as the closer with Treinen and a FA as 8th inning options.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jan 17 at 9:57 am

  4. I wouldn’t hate getting Feliz, who is younger than Holland, presumably has a healthier arm, and has a background with Maddux. If the Brewers do get him, they’ll just be hoping to flip him in July.

    Where Holland would trump Feliz is that Holland has much more recently been an elite closer than Feliz has. The hope in signing Holland would be that he gets back to his Royals peak by the end of the season. It would definitely be a gamble.

    There aren’t too many non-closers still out there who interest me (and a lot of ex-Nats on the list!). Belisle was sneaky-good for the Nats last year and might get a minor-league invite if nothing else. Does Sergio Romo have anything left? I’d like to bag another lefty but think Boone Logan would cost more than what they need to pay. J. P. Howell, maybe? He was very good until last season.

    Meanwhile, the Nats have lined up some serious heat to compete for spots in Cordero and Adams. They also have a couple of minor-league invitee lefties with a chance in Collins and Cotts. Gott struggled with some issues last year but is still young. A. J. Cole presumably will get strong consideration as the long man with the big club as well.


    17 Jan 17 at 12:18 pm

  5. The other question in the grand scheme of things is just how much (or how little) cash Rizzo has left. The Post article yesterday placed the Nats at ~$150M already committed. I can’t see them spending more than $8-10M more, maybe not even that. They’ve still got to get a bench bat or two. I’ve got more confidence in the guys already there in the bullpen than I do in the guys already there on the pine. Really, the only guy in the ‘pen I’m not particularly keen on is Ollie Perez.

    Of course there could still always be a trade . . . I keep hoping one that involves Michael Taylor . . .


    17 Jan 17 at 12:27 pm

  6. Boz on the same things, including Bautista/Trumbo:

    Joey Bats was working out his deal at about the same time Boz was chatting, of course.


    18 Jan 17 at 6:33 am

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