Nationals Arm Race

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

2 week hiatus

95 comments

Hello all.

I’m traveling out of the country (am already gone) and just wanted to put up a quick post saying that we’ll likely go on a brief hiatus for a couple of weeks.  I return the 19th of May and can’t guarantee the ability to post…

Feel free to use this as a placeholder for the inevitable things to argue about :-)  I can probably pipe in here and there in comments.

Todd

Written by Todd Boss

May 4th, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Non-Baseball

95 Responses to '2 week hiatus'

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  1. Well, I’m jealous!
    Have fun and we’ll keep the light on for you.

    Mark L

    4 May 17 at 8:48 pm

  2. OK, this calls for a 14-0 run over the next two weeks, with spotless bullpen work!

    KW

    4 May 17 at 8:55 pm

  3. Was at the last two games. Boy, Blanton is some kind of bad right now. That home run by Goldschmidt was hit towards where we were sitting near the left field foul pole. It must have been 300 feet off the ground. Had he hit that thing squarely it would have been a 500 footer, no doubt.

    Interesting fact: Blanton’s ERA is now 10.64 in 11 IP. The very worst mark in a single season in Nats history for a pitcher with at least 10 IP was Claudio Vargas in 2005, who had 12.2 IP and an ERA of 9.27.

    Amazingly, number 2 (and he really WAS a number 2, natch), was Levale Speigner in 2007, who posted an ERA of 8.78 in an amazing 40 IP, including 6 starts. Somehow, Speigner gave up only 4 HRs that year, or 2 fewer than Blanton has already.

    Karl Kolchak

    4 May 17 at 10:11 pm

  4. How much buzz was there in the stands about what Romero was doing? Charlie and Dave were almost beside themselves as Enny was 99-100-101 on nearly every pitch. If he can do that and keep it in the strike zone, he’s going to be a weapon.

    I’m at a loss on Blanton. I was excited about the signing. He was quite effective for the Dodgers last year. Perhaps its time for him to start working on a blister.

    I’m just hoping for a rain-out in Philly so they can skip Cole. The word seems to be that Glover should be ready to come off the DL when they’re ready to send Cole down. Solis isn’t progressing, though.

    KW

    4 May 17 at 10:20 pm

  5. Claudio Vargas? And I thought I knew all these names from the past.
    The scary part of Blanton is all of his pitches are ‘room service’ pitches. Right down the middle of the plate. He was terrific all season last year.

    I’m all for Cole pitching Saturday, smart thinking. It’s looking like the Nats can sleepwalk to the playoffs; let’s see what we have across the board.

    Same thinking on Taylor; he’s been very good so far so lets see what his ceiling really is.

    Mark L

    4 May 17 at 11:49 pm

  6. I suppose this site would not be operating at its expectations were I not to be suggesting that Rafael Martin be brought up to replace Blanton.

    That noted, and I am serious, that Blanton was yanked after 1 pitch brings to mind the castoff the Nats once signed that Rizzo or the manager simply said they could not bear to watch him anymore. A true Nats to oblivion Nate McLouth and Jeremy Guthrie special.

    The awful clutch pitching that Blanton has delivered, and also reflected by Treinen, for that matter, would make me nervous about breaking in a guy with no experience and walking as many as Adams has. He has to work that through.

    Meanwhile, Martin rights the ship again at his end. I do hope we see him. I’d settle for Grace, and if the organization sees fit to add him to the roster, Cotts has been effective and is experienced as well. But Blanton needs to develop a blister, well put.

    The fantastic and well-timed run of Albers — and great work by Turner — should serve as a reminder that the cattle call of castoffs that precedes the spring is not merely to see who emerges from spring training to make the 25 north, and not merely who is the sixth-seventh starter in waiting, but who can hang around in Syracuse who will be an arm that eventually makes it back to the majors. This strategy for roster building is not only proving wise, but may save the Nats from feeling compelled to make a desperation move at a time that some of their fruit on the farm is ripening so impressively.

    Another guy who has to be looking over his shoulder is LOB-a-ton. Severino is not hitting, but he has thrown out 6 of 8 base stealers and his game generalship will always be first rate. He is also not going t be overwhelmed by the stage. I’d like to see the Nats make that move.

    forensicane

    5 May 17 at 4:28 am

  7. OK, 2 pitches. Yeah, you were thinking it.

    forensicane

    5 May 17 at 4:29 am

  8. Martin and Cotts each have seven-game streaks of not being scored upon. There are some options in the bullpen.

    Behind the plate, though, not so much. Severino is only hitting .200. I completely agree that Loby isn’t viable at .069, but there aren’t a lot of options.

    KW

    5 May 17 at 7:10 am

  9. The esteemed Daniel Cabrera was the pitcher Rizzo could no longer bear to watch.

    Blanton’s track record is long enough and good enough that he deserves more time to work things out. But a well-timed blister may do him and the team some good.

    Derek

    5 May 17 at 10:28 am

  10. Here are a couple of bigger-picture appreciations of the Nats that we may miss as we wonder why games can’t just be shortened to seven innings:

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2017/5/1/15500438/nationals-best-team-in-baseball-bryce-harper-ryan-zimmerman-is-good-again-idk

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/shove-the-one-youre-with-max-scherzer-was-simply-dealing-for-the-nationals/2017/05/04/6d14afce-3104-11e7-8674-437ddb6e813e_story.html

    Max’s fWAR with the Nats is 13.0, x $8M per win share = $104M, or right at exactly half his contract value in 2.2 seasons. bWAR has him at 13.8.

    KW

    5 May 17 at 10:45 am

  11. KW — my friends and I were really enjoying Romero’s repeated three digit deliveries, but the stadium was pretty quiet in general. It was half empty during the game, and half of that were gone by the 9th inning.

    It was a terrific tease by Romero, but I’ll wait until he does it a half dozen more times without melting down before I believe it. “Wild Henry” saved 4 games in row back in April 2012 after Brad Lidge imploded, giving up only 3 BBs and 0 hits. He then blew 3 of his next 6 SVOs before getting the boot from the closer’s job in favor of Tyler Clippard.

    forensicane — I’ve always said that the problem with Martin is his lack of velocity (I saw him give up a 440- tater at a game I attended back in 2015. It wasn’t pretty), but I agree that he could hardly be worse than Blanton.

    The Nats should just stay away from former Phillies pitchers altogether. Blanton, Lidge, Cordero and Papelbon have all been disasters and Worley never even got a chance to suck.

    Karl Kolchak

    5 May 17 at 2:28 pm

  12. KW — On Scherzer, not only is he again leading the NL in Ks, right now he is sporting the best WHIP mark of his entire career. Yesterday, he looked so relaxed that it wasn’t until the 7th inning that we noticed he was having yet another double digit strikeout game and that the homer was only his 2nd hit allowed of the game. He is so routinely good that when you’re at the stadium and not listening to Bob & FP fawning all over him you forget that what he doesn’t is just not normal.

    Karl Kolchak

    5 May 17 at 2:36 pm

  13. Well, Romero just did it again tonight. So who had Romero-Albers as the back end of the bullpen by Cinco de Mayo? Anyone? (Yeah, right.)

    Another Curly W, leaving the Nats a franchise-best-ever 20-9 start. Not feeling too confident with Cole going on Saturday, though. We’ve already had one too many awful Saturdays in Philly this year!

    KW

    5 May 17 at 10:36 pm

  14. Karl, was thinking of your nickname for the guy we gave up Pivetta for. The Phillies starting pitching, with one major exception, is so bad they’re forced to bring up Pivetta before he’s reasdy. That said, I saw things I liked from him.
    To think we gave him up for a year plus of ‘Papeldouch’.

    Mark L

    6 May 17 at 9:35 am

  15. Mark–Yep, the Papeldouche trade will forever live in infamy, or at least as long as Rizzo remains the GM. Hopefully, he will never make a worse deal than that one.

    Funny that the Nats faced two of their former prospects in one week. Ray pitched a very good game and was simply the victim of plain bad luck. As for Pivetta, he’s got a great K/BB ratio going for him so far but probably needs to learn to catch less of the plate so he doesn’t get hit quite so hard.

    Karl Kolchak

    6 May 17 at 1:09 pm

  16. If a horse named “Cole Goes 6 Gives Up Only 1” had been running in the Kentucky Derby, his odds would have been 100-1. I didn’t think it would be Guthrie-bad, but I was pretty much expecting the worst. Well, tightrope walk and all, Cole gutted through it, ate some innings for a team that really needed it, and the gloves and bats kept the machine rolling.

    J. Turner was the true confident pitcher out there, though. He’s going to be be the guy going forward. In fact, it looks like he’s going to have to be, as Joe Ross gave up seven runs in five innings for Syracuse tonight.

    I must admit, I’m afraid of jinxing Zim by talking about the amazing things he’s doing. Can it last? Well, we said the same thing about a very similar start to the season last year by that Murphy fella. We’ve been waiting for 1.2 seasons now and he hasn’t cooled off yet. In fact, he’s hitting ridiculous cue shots in every direction.

    The Nats are currently on pace to score 1021 runs this season. Not a bad start . . .

    KW

    6 May 17 at 11:13 pm

  17. I share KW’s sentiment on the bullpen, if you had Turner & Albers as the rocks of the bullpen from day 1……..

    Great stat, Albers has appeared in 481 games in the show and he just had his 1st save. Go figure

    Mark L

    7 May 17 at 12:02 pm

  18. Cole hit 50 IP last night and officially “graduated” from prospect status. He was taken off MLB.com’s Top 30 list almost immediately after the game. That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen that list updated.

    As for Zim, given how hard he has been hitting the ball, I’d say this is for real. He won’t bat .400, obviously, but at this point I think he has a good chance to at least match his fantastic 2009 season. He’s one of those guys that you have to wonder how great his career numbers might have been had he been able to stay healthy.

    Karl Kolchak

    7 May 17 at 12:06 pm

  19. This guy makes a solid argument for converting Ross to relief pitching since throughout his career he has been far more dominant the first time through the order than subsequently. Given the Nats continuing bullpen woes, it sounds like a great idea:

    http://thenatsblog.com/2017/05/joe-ross-bullpen-ace/

    Karl Kolchak

    7 May 17 at 12:34 pm

  20. I had actually argued over the winter that the Nats think about signing Tyson Ross as a potential closer for basically the same reasons. He wanted that “starter money,” though. Anyway, yes, it does seem like the time is approaching to think about Joe in the bullpen.

    However, the Nats’ greater hope is that the commish will just shorten games to seven innings. Regardless, I think I’m just going to have to stop watching after the seventh.

    And speaking of guys we didn’t think would use their remaining options, when is it going to be time for Treinen to try to get his stuff back together in Syracuse?

    KW

    8 May 17 at 7:18 am

  21. Meanwhile, we should all thank Matt Harvey and the Mets for totally punting any opportunity to gain ground on the Nats on Sunday. What insanity they’ve got going on there, and it’s only early May.

    KW

    8 May 17 at 8:33 am

  22. Here’s are some grim factoids. Syracuse is dead last in team ERA in the 14 team International League. Even worse, they are more than a full run worse that the next-to-last team. The staff also has an average age that is 2nd highest in the IL, so it is an older, veteran staff for the most part. Currently, only three pitchers (not counting the recently added Cody Satterwhite) have a WHIP under 1.500, and one of those is Matt AAAA Grace.

    I would guess that the only reason Treinin and Blanton are still on the 25-man roster is that the alternatives are hardly any better. It’s appalling what a bad job Rizzo did this past offseason in ensuring that the team had enough pitching depth at AAA.

    Karl Kolchak

    8 May 17 at 11:20 am

  23. I know we’d all like to forget the Guthrie episode, but this is worth a read, particularly for his comments on the first-class quality of the Nats’ organization:

    http://www.masnsports.com/nationals-pastime/2017/05/one-month-later-guthrie-still-coping-with-career-ending-start.html

    KW

    8 May 17 at 11:21 am

  24. Karl, the Nats brought in an absolute cattle-call of arms. Yeah, I sure wish they had more in reserve at Syracuse, but I’m not sure what more they could have done, particularly with every MLB team desperate for arms. The Nats seem to have unearthed a couple of keepers in Turner and Albers, both of whom seemed like afterthoughts during much of the spring.

    I’m surprised they brought up Grace. I didn’t see anything potentially positive in that move. But as you note, the pickings are slim. They might have brought up Cotts over Grace, but that would have required a 40-man move. Maybe it’s time for CRob to start working on his next career as a mop-up reliever . . .

    KW

    8 May 17 at 11:30 am

  25. Karl… Where are the bright spots in our pitching anywhere in the system, starter or reliever? I scour the minors box scores every day and just see pitching fails at every level. I haven’t researched many of these guys though. is there any hope except Fedde anywhere down there?

    Seems most of our guys in the minors who can get a few outs don’t strike anybody out. Our few higher K guys still give up a lot of runs and walks.

    Any hidden gems of guys in Extended Spring training to keep an eye on?

    I wouldn’t mind giving Martin another look on the big club. When he’s on he is very good. When he’s off he’s really off. But that’s better than Grace who is always throwing BP up there. The only hope for Grace is our guys catching the many rocket line drives he gives up.

    I wish Todd would get back so i could give him a hard time abut his boy Espinosa batting .147 Funny how we score 6 runs a game now with him out of the lineup.

    Otherwise… I hope Turner can take a couple days and get his swing and approach together. He is really struggling even more than his stat line shows. He’s looked bad all year so far except for Colorado, including an iffy Spring training. He looks very frustrated and pressing right how. Hope he can work with Schu (or Murphy) and hit the reset button.

    Speaking of which… how about signing Murphy to a lifetime contract that includes hitting coach after he retires? He’s still raking and he fixed Zimm up pretty nicely too. I’d like Murph to be a Nat for life.

    Marty C

    8 May 17 at 12:26 pm

  26. Marty, alas, we’ve now got Danny 2.0 in the lineup in MAT.

    I share the concerns about Trea at the plate. The guess would be that it’s a similar “sophomore slump” that many have after the league gets a book on them and they have to readjust. He actually seemed more comfortable batting behind Eaton, but that ship has sailed for now. On a very positive note, Trea has looked more than competent in the field at SS. And a struggling Trea still has an OPS+ of 100, compared to Danny’s current 39. I’ll take that level of “struggle” any day over the now-departed version.

    I do think Murph has had a significant impact on what Zim is doing. It’s really hard to predict what they’ll do with a Murphy extension. He’ll turn 34 at the beginning of a subsequent contract. The Nats did spend two of their top three picks in the last draft on infielders, Kieboom and Neuse. Their development will have at least some impact on the Murphy extension consideration, as will the Harper status and potential void in the middle of the lineup.

    KW

    8 May 17 at 2:52 pm

  27. Goodwin called up, Bautista sent down. Taylor going 1-for-Philly got that call made fast. I wonder if they’re going to start looking to try a platoon in CF. Goodwin has raised his average from .231 to .286 over the last 10 games. He only has six extra-base hits this season, though.

    KW

    8 May 17 at 3:03 pm

  28. I have no doubt Trea will make the adjustments in short order.

    That’s good news for Goodwin. Hope he can take advantage of another golden opportunity.

    Marty C

    8 May 17 at 6:12 pm

  29. Martin gets a bum rap. He had thirteen outings in the ML in 2015, a few more in 2016, and in only one (in 2015) was he melted down. That one 4-run outing is nothing like what we have seen from Joe Blanton and co. The guy gets strikeouts and the guy has closing experience. He is the same martin who went into Fenway and struck out five guys in two innings. With his low velocity. I’m not suggesting him as the closer, just someone who can give innings just as Albers has.

    And there is NOBODY right now that can credibly provide quality innings above AA, and I did consider Satterwhite, who is a good pickup as a MLFA released after the spring.

    forensicane

    8 May 17 at 7:18 pm

  30. And Martin is also not scored upon in last several outings. He is trending upward.

    forensicane

    8 May 17 at 7:19 pm

  31. Marty–the only healthy pitching prospect on the Nats’ Top 30 list who hasn’t completely crapped the bed is Tyler Watson, but he has a few years and several additional MPH on his fastball (which they expect to develop) before he’ll even be a relief candidate. Luzardo might be really good, but is also years away from the majors. Lefty McKensie Mills seems to have turned a corner this year, but again is years away from the majors. The biggest culprit in all of this was the 2012-2014 drafts in which the Nats almost completely struck out save Fedde, and two guys they have already traded (Giolito & Pivetta).

    KW — as I keep saying, after they lost out on a top closer, they had plenty of money that could have been used to sign 2-3 quality middle relievers. Mike Dunn, Neftali Feliz, Anthony Swarzak, Brett Cecil, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Smith, Greg Holland, the list goes one. The arms were out there, the willingness to pay them wasn’t. And if they weren’t willing to pay, it made no sense to deplete the system to being nearly completely dry by making the Eaton trade.

    Karl Kolchak

    8 May 17 at 8:48 pm

  32. forensicane–unless Martin’s fastball has trended 2-3 MPH upward, he’s the same AAAA guy he’s always been. He might be better than Blanton or even Treinen right now, but that’s a pretty low bar at the moment.

    Karl Kolchak

    8 May 17 at 8:50 pm

  33. That is the whole point. We are operating at a pretty low bar. That is no excuse to be trotting out Grace as an alternative.

    forensicane

    8 May 17 at 9:29 pm

  34. Marty; are you really intimating that i was a Espinosa defender at the end? I guess I have to explain it again. At the time which I think you’re referring that I was defending Espinosa (mid last season), both Espinosa and Revere were god-awful. My argument then was this: you couldn’t get rid of both, so I defended keeping Espinosa in the order and dumping Revere. Why? Because a) Espinosa is and remains a premiere SS defender while Revere was not and b) Espinosa could actually power the ball out of the park every once in a while while Revere could barely hit it out ofhte infield. And that’s precisely what hte team did by having Turner play CF for half the season.

    thats it. I never, ever defended or supported keeping Espinosa over Turner or a better SS, unless it was to regain Turner’s service time (which is exactly about that and not performance).

    Here’s the last time I discussed Espinosa in this space: : http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=12940 . I could not have been more clear in what I wrote: we need to trade Espinosa. Not sure how you read that i’m still defending him.

    Speaking of defending players Marty … havn’t heard you pipe in about two major developments this year:
    1. Ryan Zimmerman, who you wanted to bury last year claiming that he was done. Do you still feel this way? Seems like what we were saying (that he was hitting the ball hard but was just unlucky last year) is basically true but now he’s finding holes.
    2. Bryce Harper: again, you repeated over and over last year how you thought he was a flash in the pan and that he wasn’t injured last year. He’s basically admitted as m uch already this year (that he was hurt last year), and now he’s back to 2015 levels. Remember my massive post about his performance being injured versus not? Guess what; he’s not injured … and he’s on a pace to actually eclipse his 2015 season.

    where’s your mea culpa?

    Todd Boss

    8 May 17 at 11:29 pm

  35. Todd…

    You have is somewhat backwards…

    I said I thought Zimmerman was hurt (maybe chronically) and Harper was a mechanical mess which I still stand by both those things. Zimmerman looks far different at the plate. He’s not guessing and swinging and missing at balls 3 feet out of the zone. Do you see Harper stepping into the 3rd base dugout on every swing this year? Is that mechanics or pain that made him do that last year.

    While we’re keeping score… your other pet Giolito is 0-5 with a 7+ ERA in AAA for the Sox.

    The one guy I may have been most wrong about is Rendon. he’s playing better this year and more clutch.

    And before your “last” post on Espi, you defended him plenty. We had many arguments about bringing Turner up early.

    Anyway.. dude relax and enjoy your trip… You don’t have to take the bait every time I tease it out there for you. Man you came at me harder than a Giolito 91 mph fastball. (Marty, can all the scouts in MLB be wrong??)

    Marty C

    9 May 17 at 8:27 am

  36. Karl, I’ll concede that the money that the Nats did/didn’t/did have to spend on arms over the winter was a little head-spinning. They danced with both Melancon and Jansen, which would have been $15-18M per year, but then they left a number of good cheaper options who you mention on the table, in addition to Ziegler. Then suddenly they had money to sign Wieters, then even more for Blanton. Truth be told, though, on paper, Blanton looked better than every guy you mentioned. I was thrilled to get him. I had really wanted them to spend on a couple of guys like him instead of a closer. I wasn’t excited that they were signing guys like Worley, Guthrie, and Albers instead.

    We’ll see where they go from here. I don’t have any confidence in Cole or Grace. They’re AAAA guys who don’t belong on this staff. I feel the same way about Martin, although right now he might be better than the other two.

    At the same time, I’m sure the team doesn’t want to make any big moves until they can get everyone healthy and see what they’ve really got. Three of their four projected back-end guys — Kelley, Glover, and Solis — have all ended up on the DL. That’s a big hit for any bullpen to take.

    KW

    9 May 17 at 10:02 am

  37. Actually, I’ll admit that I had even forgotten that they signed Albers until he started appearing in the spring box scores. His signing made that little impression on me.

    KW

    9 May 17 at 10:08 am

  38. KW–as I said way back in ST: Kelley, Solis and Glover were all significant injury risks. As for Blanton, we are now seeing that there is a reason those other free agents got paid well this past offseason and he didn’t. The Nats got hugely unlucky with Treinen’s meltdown, but the other problems were entirely predictable.

    What I really fear is that they are going to be backed into a corner like last year, have to vastly overpay to upgrade the pen, and like last year it still won’t be enough to prevent a playoff meltdown. And all because they wouldn’t spend the money when they had the chance.

    Karl Kolchak

    9 May 17 at 10:51 am

  39. One promising thing for Treinen last outing is that he actually pitched up in the zone for a change. He’s always so low in the zone & never changes the hitters eye level. It must enable the MLB hitters to get some wood on it. Guy gives up an incredible amount of weak contact hits.

    He was letting a few fly last night 99 mph up in the zone. he should rely on that more. And trust it. I know most of our hitters have a hard time catching up to 99 mph up high. Clippard struck out a zillion guys up high. Romero has been good lately too with the high fastball.

    Marty C

    9 May 17 at 12:31 pm

  40. Karl, take solace: the bullpen wasn’t a featured part of last year’s “playoff meltdown.” I’d argue that the starting pitchers (the three non-Scherzer starts only totaled 11.1 innings) and the lineup (1-10 with RISP in Game 5) were much bigger factors than the bullpen. The bullpen gave up five runs over 20.2 innings pitched (2.21 ERA). Melancon did fine. Did the bullpen wobble in games 4 & 5? A bit – but they were brilliant in the first three games despite being leaned on heavily due to the issues of the starters.

    Bottom line: solving the bullpen guarantees nothing. And throwing money at a problem won’t solve it. The Giants threw a big pile of money at Melancon, and he’s already blown two saves in eight chances while pitching to a 1.313 WHIP. Remember when people whinged because the Nats didn’t match Darren O’Day’s offer from the Orioles before last season? Yeah, the Nats didn’t spend the money. Well, O’Day was mediocre last year (3.77 ERA, 1.226 WHIP) and worse this year (5.02 ERA, 1.465 WHIP).

    John C.

    9 May 17 at 3:56 pm

  41. John–I still get back to the fact that the guy they made the late August desperation trade for is the one who took the NLDS ending loss. Let’s not forget that the Yankees were apparently willing to give the Nats Andrew Miller for Giolito straight up, the very same Giolito who was barely worth two boxes of Cracker Jack by the offseason. They knew by the end of July that there was at least a chance Strasburg and/or Ross wouldn’t ready come October, yet they did nothing to bolster the pitching staff at all at the tradijng deadline but replace their douchebag closer because they didn’t have a choice.

    Oh and hey, guess what? Romero isn’t a closer any more than Fatt Albers is. Who knew? And you might want to sit down for this, but J. Turner has a tendency to get knocked around a lot. Who saw that coming? Now we have the 2nd blown save loss in 3 days, squandering a fantastic outing from Scherzer in the process (who was once again left in the game too long no doubt because Dusty doesn’t trust the dumpster fire this team laughably calls a relief corps).

    Karl Kolchak

    9 May 17 at 11:40 pm

  42. I agree with all of the above, but the bottom line is if nothing changes the Nats will still win the division easily.
    They have until mid-August to fix everything and get ready for the playoffs. There’s a good chance that in the end Glover is the answer. If not, Herrera in K.C. will do fine.

    Relax!

    Mark L

    10 May 17 at 9:45 am

  43. Mark, I think you’ve touched on one of the basic points: as messy as things seem to be, there’s not much cause for desperation. Wait and see who and what options become available. And perhaps more importantly, get everybody healthy in-house.

    Karl, I actually bought up the prospective Giolito-for-Miller trade here at the time and got slammed pretty hard for even considering it. Keith Law slammed the idea more publicly. They say that hindsight is 20-20, but it’s really more 20-10, as in much better than it seemed at the time. I’m not sure whether to believe that Miller was actually available for Giolito straight up, though, considering the king’s ransom the Yanks ended up getting for him.

    KW

    10 May 17 at 10:48 am

  44. Mark–that’s where we disagree. This bullpen and the extra pressure it is placing on the starting pitchers (greatly increasing the chances one of them will also get injured) has the potential to sink this club a’la 2015.

    Dusty knows it–his “emotional toll” comment is really telling:

    http://www.masnsports.com/nationals-pastime/2017/05/relief-induced-losses-taking-emotional-toll-on-nationals.html

    Karl Kolchak

    10 May 17 at 11:03 am

  45. KW–the whole baseball world thought Giolito was all that and a can of paint–until they started to get a better look at him down the stretch last year and noted that he wasn’t even good enough to hold down the 5th starter job for a team that was cruising to a division title.

    That trade should have been a no brainer for the Nats. Having both Miller and Melancon would have given them a killer bullpen. Hindsight is indeed 20-20, but when it comes to bullpen moves, Rizzo is blind as a bat.

    Karl Kolchak

    10 May 17 at 11:07 am

  46. The Nats bullpen had the second-best ERA in baseball last year. The “bat” must know something. I don’t blindly believe in everything that Rizzo does, but he’s been right a whole lot more than he’s been wrong.

    Building a bullpen is often throwing darts, and continually having to rebuild it is the same. Most of the guys out there were great last year. As I’ve said, Blanton was BETTER than nearly everyone else you suggested they sign. Several signed for way more than they’re worth, like Dunn and Cecil (who has been crap, and the Cards will still be paying him for two more years). If Blanton continues to suck, the Nats are only paying him for one year and could even DFA him without taking a big hit.

    I HATE losing this way much as much as anyone. But relitigating past moves doesn’t get us anywhere.

    KW

    10 May 17 at 11:38 am

  47. KW — First of all, the Nats’ 2016 bullpen was the tale of two halves. In the first half, Papeldouche, Petit and Perez all somehow held it together. In the second half, they all blew up and Solis got hurt while Rizzo dumped one of the pen’s more effective arms in Rivero. They needed far more help down two starters as they were, and even so people were rending their garments over losing Schrock in the Alphabet trade.

    Secondly, if Blanton was so great, why did all those other guys get paid and he didn’t? I’ll tell you why, scouting and player evaluation, you know that stuff Rizzo is supposedly so good at? The rest of baseball saw something in Blanton they didn’t like, and now we all can see it. Blanton wasn’t signed because he was any good, he was signed because he was CHEAP and Rizzo suddenly realized that the bullpen depth was thinner than wet tissue paper.

    If all this were a matter of several guys with strong track records and no injury histories all going down at once and Rizzo’s track record of building decent bullpens wasn’t so lousy, I would agree with you. But as I keep saying: Solis, Glover and Kelley getting hurt was just as predictable as Perez, Romero and Blanton stinking the joint out. This is all on Rizzo, and if the Nats miss the playoffs this year he should be fired.

    Karl Kolchak

    10 May 17 at 12:19 pm

  48. And about 27 other teams would be in line to hire him . . .

    Let’s move on to something else, please.

    KW

    10 May 17 at 12:42 pm

  49. Let ’em have him. He is rapidly turning into the Marty Schottenheimer of baseball GMs. I’d prefer to have a guy capable of using two “once in a generation” prospects to actually win a World Series, or perhaps maybe even one lousy NLDS.

    Karl Kolchak

    10 May 17 at 12:50 pm

  50. KW, like very much the analogy of throwing darts, such a hit/miss each year.

    Karl, the mere name Papeldouche always puts a big smile on my face. Great moniker!

    Mark L

    10 May 17 at 12:59 pm

  51. Not spending money on proven bullpen arms is a good but frustrating strategy. The reason is because guys that are good relievers don’t STAY good relievers. Relievers break down constantly – it’s why they are relievers. And Blanton didn’t inspire a bidding war because he’s 36 years old, not because scouts across baseball that don’t work for Washington saw something that our scouts didn’t.

    An canning a GM who builds a team that gets to the playoffs because that team does not win in the playoffs is the height of stupidity. I am frustrated by the Nats’ lack of success in the division series, but that frustration doesn’t change the fact that the playoffs are essentially a crapshoot. All eight teams that make the final eight have essentially the same probability of winning the world series. Wanting a GM that “gets it done in the playoffs” is like wanting a guy on the craps table “who’s really good at not rolling 7s.”

    Derek

    10 May 17 at 1:45 pm

  52. How ’bout that bullpen? We can only hope that Treinen has started to turn the corner after giving up the tater. Fat Albers K’d three.

    I never thought I’d say this, but they may well end up extending Werth at least another year, as a starter.

    I was not a big fan of the Wieters signing, even at the reduced rate, but it’s looking good thus far.

    KW

    11 May 17 at 8:00 am

  53. It seems to me that the Nats’ strategy of “buy a brand new pen each year” worked fabulously in 2016 … and has backfired badly so far in 2017. When a NRI is closing for you by the 1st week of May … phew that’s not good.

    So was Rizzo a genius in 2016 but a bum in 2017? Not for me: i think he was lucky as heck last year and his luck has caught up to him this year.

    Luckily … relievers are nothing more than failed starters. If the NRI (aka, the majors’ version of the scrap heap) resulted in Albers and Turner (2/7ths of the bullpen as of this moment), then imagine what would happen if the team trusted some of its 40-man guys. Or the other NRIs still hanging around AAA, both in our system and others. There’s guys out there. Mat Latos was with us last year and just got outrighted to AAA by Toronto; you telling me he can’t be an effective reliever just working on his two best pitches and throwing max effort for one inning?

    Todd Boss

    11 May 17 at 8:54 am

  54. The other problem is that our starters are throwing too many pitches this early in the season. We should back off all these guys like Davey used to and save some arm for the postseason.

    We should keep a few rotating disposable guys like the AJ Cole’s to keep shuffling up and down to AAA to eat some high effort innings. Especially in games we’re losing by 4 or more runs and the starters or key relievers arms are wasted in low probability outcome games.

    Our starters looked overcooked last postseason.

    Marty C

    11 May 17 at 11:04 am

  55. I feel like bullpen resolution plans are premature. There are two key players on the DL, and injuries have a way of making decision-makers look bad.

    Let’s see how things look with Glover and Kelley back, and Turner as the fith starter.

    The fact is that Turner and Albers (who has done nothing to deserve being belittled here) have been altogether excellent. No one wanted either of them.

    The team is in first place and so they will have a chance to gel, just as every other team has to work out their difficulties.

    forensicane

    11 May 17 at 11:20 am

  56. Always interesting things going on in the minors.

    Gushue is still getting it done at Potomac, and looks like he has blossomed after a trade from Pittsburgh. Not a moment too soon with Severino off to a slow start and Ready still yet to prove that he masters the tools of ignorance. And Reetz is back on the field.

    Sheldon Neuse is an intriguing player to watch. OK, a second round pick and so hyped. And his body is stocky so people had him pegged at catcher. But he has not only showed significant improvement at the plate this year, but has 9SB already. And is playing SS again today.

    One can expect Kieboom to be promoted before too long. When that happens, and if that gets Franco back to 3B, I wonder whether we will see more looks from Neuse at SS. Hagerstown is such an interesting team. Both Kieboom and Neuse as heart of the order hitters.

    And the other position player talents that has clearly a higher ceiling, of course. FOr all the grousing that I know I have done here over lack of bats and boppers in the system, help is clearly on the way.

    forensicane

    11 May 17 at 11:32 am

  57. A part of the new-bullpen-every-year issue is the same one that has to do with why they have to buy a new bench every year. We’ve discussed it during the draft review discussions. By and large, the Nats have done well in either hitting on their big picks (Harper, Rendon, Stras, Storen) or trading for some great young talent (Ramos, Trea, Ross). But it’s the misses on the subsequent picks that have left them scrambling for bench and bullpen help. (Giolito may have been a miss as well, but at least they got something for him.)

    The Nats did lose one homegrown reliever in the devastating injury/reinjury to Barrett. Grace at least made it to AAAA status, and Solis finally made the bigs but can’t stay healthy (the problem he and Purke had throughout their minor-league time as starters). But many, MANY others have flamed out along the way. They’re still giving chances to Johansen, but he’s been a spectacular miss as a second-rounder.

    Meanwhile, the non-deal with Melancon is looking better all the time. He’s struggled, blown two saves, and is now on the DL. I knew the warranty would run out on him before his four-year contract does, but I thought he was good for at least a couple of seasons. So did an organization that has three rings this decade.

    Glover and Kelley are nearly ready to come back, and Albers is looking like a glue guy. Maybe Treinen is turning a corner. We’ll see. I hope Cole is getting rained out tonight. He doesn’t need to be in the rotation. I’m still thinking that Turner will be the fifth starter going forward, but they’ve had a hard time getting him lined up with the rotation spot because he’s had to be used out of the ‘pen.

    KW

    11 May 17 at 2:14 pm

  58. Fore, I don’t think they’ll be rushing to promote C. Kieboom. They did move the teenaged Robles up to Potomac from Hags last year, but it was later in the season. It is good to see Kieboom sustaining his success thus far while some others there have eased up a bit.

    Few are talking about Nick Banks, but he’s quietly eased up to .291. He’s not showing the power he would need to make it as a corner OF yet, but based on what he did in college, it could appear.

    Robles, meanwhile, has struggled since returning from the DL, and Soto is now on the DL, so things have slowed on those fronts.

    Gushue is a big topic of discussion on Luke’s site today after his two HRs yesterday, taking to 10 in 23 games.

    KW

    11 May 17 at 2:20 pm

  59. I don’t use Robles as a measuring stick because he was a player coming over from DR and adjusting to full season ball up north. The Nats had no problem advancing Harper, and Kieboom is a first round pick. If he continues to show as he has, I can see him rising, and it’s no rush if he is dominating the level. It also helps to inform the placements after the June draft — which is just weeks away.

    Robles came back well, and ran aggressively. But he is 2 for his last 26, so that will hurt a BA. He will rebound quickly enough and show he is ready for AA. Stevenson’s departure opens the door for him in Harrisburg. He has already shown dominance in A+ and won’t take long to get back there.

    forensicane

    12 May 17 at 5:46 am

  60. As a follow-up to some of the discussion above, Chelsea Janes says in the story posted this morning that the Nats aren’t currently considering moving Joe Ross to the bullpen.

    KW

    12 May 17 at 7:34 am

  61. Here’s sort of an insider look at the stunning collapse of the Giants:

    http://www.sbnation.com/2017/5/8/15578886/sf-giants-rebuilding-trade-deadline-creeping-death-plague-locusts

    Really, about the only reliever there who might interest the Nats would be Hunter Strickland. I didn’t know that Melancon (now on the DL) had a full no-trade.

    What a mess they’ve got. Much like the Phillies, they invested too much in trying to keep the old gang together as it got older, together. It emphasizes how smart the Nats have been to let guys like Desi, JZim, Danny, and Ramos move on down the line.

    I’ve said before that I’d be tempted in making an offer for MadBum if he comes back healthy. I know he would cost a pretty penny, but he’s THE playoff stud of this generation. And yes, he can close!

    KW

    12 May 17 at 8:58 am

  62. I can’t open SB Nation at work, but if that’s from Grant Brisbee he’s one of my favorite baseball writers.

    I don’t think the Giants would move Melancon anyway, because I think (from things that their GM has said in interviews) that they are planning at least one more charge up the hill in 2018 with the current core before blowing it up. If they stumble out of the gate in 2018, that’s when you’ll see wholesale changes.

    John C.

    12 May 17 at 9:16 am

  63. Yes, it’s by Brisbee, who I also really enjoy but forget to check often enough. He essentially says what you say, that the front office won’t admit failure and start the rebuild. But they’ve got nothing on the farm to trade for reinforcements.

    KW

    12 May 17 at 9:28 am

  64. Speaking of whiff machine Espinosa, I read where he is 2 for his last 50 AB’s.
    I’m sure he’s still ignoring any advice.

    Mark L

    12 May 17 at 3:17 pm

  65. But he’s glad to be home . . . and we’re glad he’s there!

    KW

    12 May 17 at 3:28 pm

  66. Giants are an interesting test case for judging the capabilities and approach of the GM. Sabean is the longest tenured GM in the game (more than 20 years now, just ahead of Cashman and Beane), has struggled to keep a solid farm system for years mostly because he’s had a ton of success on the field and has used his depth in trade; 3 WS titles in the last 7 years, 8 playoff trips in his 20 years in charge. He’s been criticized badly for a lot of his FA moves over the years yet he keeps winning.

    So is Sabean a “good” GM or a bad one?

    Todd Boss

    12 May 17 at 7:56 pm

  67. The 1 common denominator for all 3 titles— Buster Posey!
    Having a great catcher covers up a lot of things.

    Mark L

    12 May 17 at 8:54 pm

  68. By almost every measure, the Nats have been better than the Giants 2012-16. The Nats have more wins, more division titles, and the same number of playoff appearances. And yet there’s a huge disparity in rings . . .

    I still can’t believe the Giants won it all with that 2014 team, particularly with Peavy, Hudson, and Vogelsong as three of the four playoff starters. That example speaks to how much of a crap-shoot (to quote Billy Beane) the playoffs really are. The Royals have been much worse over that same 2012-16 period, winning more than 90 games only once, yet they have a ring and another WS appearance. Neither 2014 WS team had won 90 that year.

    It seems that a definition of a “good” GM, then, is one who can get his team to the playoffs regularly, where anything can happen. The Giants had a good run of six or seven years but have now fallen off a cliff. The Royals’ run looks to have been only two seasons, and they’re now equally bad. But their flag will fly forever . . .

    KW

    13 May 17 at 8:05 am

  69. Harper signs for final arb year in 2018 . . . in May 2017. Obviously there’s some talking going on. Talking is good!

    KW

    13 May 17 at 4:50 pm

  70. KW’s favorite player saved the Nats bacon tonight.
    We’re just going to have to accept that Michael Taylor is Rob Deer with great defense. I don’t think Deer could bunt either!

    Was thinking of Karl’s term ‘dumpster fire’ today.
    BUT, the Nats have the best record in the N.L
    If you want perfection, look away!

    Mark L

    15 May 17 at 1:31 am

  71. OK, I’m finally ready to cry “uncle” on the bullpen. I’ve preached patience all year, but I give up. That said, though, there’s no reason for the Nats do anything drastic. They’re +7.5 on the self-destructing Mets. Heck, they’re +6 on the Cubs (who are in 4th place!). There’s no help in Syracuse, whose bullpen gave up four in the 9th (albeit three unearned).

    I’ve said before that I think the Nats can carry Taylor OK for this season. They’ve scored 21 more runs than any other MLB team. With Stevenson hitting .128 at AAA, there’s no other option unless Goodwin suddenly gets hot. But do I think Taylor is an option to replace Werth as a starter after this season? No. There’s nothing in his track record to indicate that he won’t revert to his high-K, low-OBP MO.

    I’m still thrilled at the Harper news. They’re talking, and they’re talking early. Who knows whether they’ll get an extension done, but at least they’re trying. (On the MLBTR announcement of the Harper deal, most of the comments were by Yankee trolls already projecting him in their lineup.)

    KW

    15 May 17 at 7:55 am

  72. I’m pretty pessimistic on the bullpen. Granted, it’s been tough to watch it and virtually everyone but albers is performing to The worst that could have been reasonably expected. That still suggests patience but now it looks to be in their heads, which patience may not address.

    But the problem, as I see it, isn’t just a closer. To materially increase their playoff odds, I think they need three elite pen arms and they have none. How do you get three? So unfortunately I think this is going to lead to a significantly bad decision this year. I think they’ll go out and get a decent closer like Robertson or Maurer, and maybe a Scrabble type guy. But they will be forced to give up at least one of Robles, Soto or Kieboom, maybe two. So they won’t materially increase their playoff odds but materially weaken an already sparse farm.

    I guess that begs the question of what WOULD I do. I don’t know, to be honest. Not a lot of good options.

    Wally

    15 May 17 at 10:00 am

  73. Maybe they can get a group rate on lobotomies . . .

    There aren’t going to be trades available right now, not until more teams are truly out of it. Fans don’t like it when you give up in mid-May. So patience may be enforced, like it or not.

    Even when trades are available, I’m not thrilled by options like Robertson, Watson, and Herrera. Half a season of Watson wouldn’t cost a top prospect, though.

    Adams and Cotts both struggled yesterday but generally have been the best Syracuse has to offer. Gott might be worth a look, and even Nathan and Martin. Adams, Gott, and Martin are on the 40-man, although a single 40-man move would be easy since Eaton has yet to be moved to the 60-day DL. (Of course Marmolejos will need to come off the 60-day soon.)

    Of course Blanton, Perez, and Kelley can’t be optioned. Glover could be, be but too much rides on him coming around. (Same with Kelley.) They’ve been treating Treinen with kids gloves, with a little improvement showing. Romero is a roller-coaster ride, just like his stats indicated he would be.

    I don’t like any of the Syracuse answers better than I do Glover and Treinen, so I wouldn’t send them down. What Blanton and Kelley did last year give basis for holding out hope that they’ll come around (same for Treinen), so they’ll get a little more rope. To me, the most expendable right now is Perez, who they didn’t trust enough to use at any point over the weekend.

    But really, I don’t have the answer, other than to score 10 every night!

    KW

    15 May 17 at 10:47 am

  74. KW

    15 May 17 at 10:59 am

  75. At some point, they are going to need to try some of those AAA guys just to give the existing guys some time away. But I have little reason to think they’ll be any better other than luck.

    And Cameron captures some of what I’m saying. My more pessimistic addition is that it won’t materially change anything on the playoffs anyway, but how do you sell us fans that it’s not even worth trying?

    Wally

    15 May 17 at 11:40 am

  76. Maybe Ross can be part of the answer. Their lead is big enough that they can cobble together a 5th starter without much impact to playoff chances and you don’t need them for the playoffs anyway, so maybe get him acclimated to the pen now?

    Wally

    15 May 17 at 11:41 am

  77. I’m 100% confident the existing bullpen will improve, unless there are injuries. Treinen and Kelley are going to be better. I suspect Treinen will improve to “above average” and Kelley will improve to “very good,” unless he’s hurt (which is a real possibility with him). Blanton I’m very worried about. I’m optimistic about Glover, but he’s unproven, so who knows. Everybody else is middling and will have hot streaks and cold streaks.

    Even though I’m 100% confident the bullpen will be better, I’m not very confident the bullpen will end up good (defined by being in the top half of baseball). Unless the forced waiting period from now until July brings about excellent performances by the guys currently stinking up the joint, the Nats will be trading for a reliever. This makes sense, but it worries me.

    Since 2010, here is the league rank of the World Series winner’s bullpen (by Fangraphs WAR): 2010 (4), 2011 (24), 2012 (26), 2013 (13), 2014 (24), 2015 (3), 2016 (19). The average World Series winning bullpen over the last seven years ranked as the 16th best bullpen in the sport over the regular season.

    Now, this is not a perfect analysis. If you look at ERA or FIP rather than WAR you might get something different because maybe more successful teams pitch fewer innings out of the pen and accumulate less WAR. But I think it convincingly shows a team does NOT need an excellent bullpen to win a world series.

    My view is that a this is because there is no magic ingredient for winning a world series. It is impossible to overstate how random outcomes in the playoffs are.

    So, trading a prospect like Robles for bullpen help that is probably not going to improve the team’s chances of advancing in the almost random MLB playoff tournament is a mistake. I’d rather take my chances with the random playoff and get Robles’s 7 years of value in the future. The calculus is entirely different – in my view – when the prospect is someone like Max Schrock or even Felipe Rivero.

    Derek

    15 May 17 at 11:42 am

  78. Well, thinking outside the box, maybe they could sign Robert, the Cuban OF prospect, and then use Robles in a trade. Roughly the same ETA. But they’d have to get a colome, or someone that’s around for a few years, to have any chance of being ok with the trade in a year or two.

    Wally

    15 May 17 at 1:27 pm

  79. I’m with Derek on this.

    That said, one option is also a quick to the majors arm at #25.

    May not be quick enough

    forensicane

    15 May 17 at 6:53 pm

  80. I pretty much agree with Derek as well. I don’t think there’s a reliever out there who is worth a top 10 prospect (Robles). You’d have to be getting a top-level guy who is signed for multiple years. If you go to the relievers tab on the Fangraphs leaderboard, Robertson isn’t even on the first page. He’s #33 by fWAR. That’s probably an accurate reflection of where he falls in the reliever universe. In 2016, he finished #41 by fWAR. And they want us to give up a top 10 prospect for him???

    Meanwhile, Herrera has been worse. He got the save on Sunday but gave up three hits and a run in one inning. He’d fit right in! He’s currently #164 on the Fangraphs reliever leaderboard, sporting a -0.3 fWAR. His FIP is 5.20!

    These points made, I wouldn’t mind trading Robles if the Nats could get a stud in return who is controlled/signed for several years. I still haven’t seen the power from Robles to think that he can truly be star level in the majors, and his HBP fetish is going to catch up with him at some point with a broken hand/wrist that is going to set him back as much as it did Werth and Zim. As noted, though, I don’t think a potential stud bullpen guy will be available in return . . . so just double down on offense and trade for an OF!

    KW

    16 May 17 at 8:56 am

  81. I hear you on not trading Robles: I wasn’t suggesting to do it, just commenting that I think it is becoming increasingly likely that they will. But if you go that route, given Robles’ status in the game, I think any reliever outside the top 3 or 4 is fair game, and they should target Osuna, Colome, maybe even Edwin Diaz (although he is having a bad year so far) or Maurer. Might even be able to get another arm. Would you trade Robles for Osuna and Biagini if the Blue jays sell? At some point it becomes more palatable.

    But Robles for Robertson would be terrible, even if they threw in Kahnle or Jones.

    Wally

    16 May 17 at 10:44 am

  82. As I said somewhere above, I think patience will have to be the order of the day whether we like it or not. The first reason is that no team is going to want to “give up” and start selling this early in the season. The second is that everyone is going to be asking for Robles/Fedde/Soto/Kieboom.

    Of course part of the issue with the Nats’ system is that it’s pretty all or nothing. There’s not even a Schrock comp right now unless you point to Gushue. Stevenson has made AAA and might be considered a mid-level prospect. Tyler Watson is probably on people’s radar by now, but he’s a long way from the majors and doesn’t throw that hard. Anyway, my point is that if they don’t want to trade from their Big 4, they don’t have a lot that teams might want.

    Wally, yeah, I’d probably do Robles for Osuna AND Biagini, but I don’t know that the Jays would. Biagini would seem to be the heir apparent if they trade Osuna. And Osuna’s only 22 and long controlled, so he may still be viable after a rebuild. The Nats have dabbled with the Rays about Colome for a long time, but he strikes me as somewhat of a loose cannon. Haven’t we already surpassed our quota of those in the ‘pen?! Based on what Maurer and Diaz are doing right now, it’s hard to think either of those guys would be an improvement on what we’ve already got.

    KW

    16 May 17 at 2:20 pm

  83. From Fangraphs prospect chat today:

    Andrew
    2:51
    Who in the Nats organization has opened the most eyes in the early going?
    Eric A Longenhagen
    2:52
    I had someone (not in Nats org) slap a Tulo comp on Carter Kieboom.

    Derek

    16 May 17 at 3:36 pm

  84. Derek: wow! I thought Soto would be attracting more attention. Of course both of them currently are on the DL. Of course such talk will also elevate trade interest in Kieboom.

    Fedde made a relief appearance yesterday (and got knocked around a bit), starting a fair amount of speculation that the Nats might be grooming him for a look in the ‘pen.

    Also on the farm, the ax finally fell on Jake Johansen, one in a long line of awful 2d-round picks (and the first pick the Nats had in the 2013 draft after signing Soriano).

    Meanwhile, with the big club, Bryce “Insurance Runs” Harper is the bullpen’s new best friend. There were some wobbles last night, but what Treinen did was really encouraging.

    Nats lead the division by nine. Mets have lost six in a row and are sinking fast, and they have a harder schedule in the coming weeks than the Nats do.

    KW

    17 May 17 at 8:56 am

  85. Trading Robles now would be a huge mistake. For anyone. His power will improve, and his numbers will significantly improve with more reps. If he goes to AA (and he will soon enough) and shows up well there, he will add that much more value.

    forensicane

    17 May 17 at 11:10 am

  86. Blanton to DL. That was a long time coming and I can’t argue with the move, even if it’s made up. Sometimes guys just need some time away.

    But Grace? I’ve seen enough to think he isn’t a quality big league pitcher. I wish they took a flier on Gott or even Martin. I’m ready to see someone new.

    With such a big lead, I’d be fine mixing and matching for the 5th starter and put Ross in the pen with Fedde. And if Treinen is back ….?

    Wally

    17 May 17 at 8:07 pm

  87. According to Chelsea Janes, Dusty said that Blanton has had some physical issue all year and has tried to pitch through it. That might explain some things.

    Grace hasn’t been good for the Nats this year or at AAA. Gott and Martin haven’t been lights out, but they’ve been better than Grace. Adams is on the DL, and Cotts or Nathan would require a 40-man move and couldn’t be optioned.

    Through five innings, Jacob Turner looks fantastic, although the Pirates don’t hit much. Time for the Nats to put a dent or two in Gerrit Cole.

    KW

    17 May 17 at 8:30 pm

  88. I’m with Derek & Wally on the above.
    If you have relievers on the 40 man, bring them up so you can see what they can do.
    If they’re not good enough, jettison them and move on. NEXT!

    We are now at the 1/4 pole. The Nats are on pace for 100+ wins.
    Let’s enjoy the ride and not stress over bullpen follies until August.

    Mark L

    17 May 17 at 11:41 pm

  89. If we’re throwing guys overboard, I’d start with Perez. Cotts couldn’t be any worse. They flashed Perez’s splits when he came in the game, and RHB are hitting .412 against him!

    Meanwhile, the Mets lost their seventh in a row. The Mets, Phils, and Fish are all 2-8 in their last 10. Even while stumbling through 5-5, the Nats have gained three games on all of them.

    KW

    18 May 17 at 5:16 am

  90. Plus ATL now has a potential big injury to Freeman. So yeah, the Nats have almost everything breaking their way externally, giving them time to figure out a lot of options.

    Has anyone heard the severity of Kieboom and Soto’s leg injuries? How much longer are they expected to be out?

    Wally

    18 May 17 at 6:36 am

  91. Someone reported on Nats Prospects yesterday that his understanding was that neither Kieboom nor Soto was dinged too badly. I don’t know what his source was.

    KW

    18 May 17 at 8:09 am

  92. Freddie Freeman confirmed with a broken wrist, out for at least two months. Victor Robles, please take note!

    KW

    18 May 17 at 3:01 pm

  93. The Nats are about to play the Braves without Freeman, the Mariners without Cano, and the Padres without, well, any real major-leaguers except Myers. This at a time when the rest of the NL East is reeling.

    This is really a drive-a-stake opportunity for the Nats before they head out on a West Coast excursion. Can they get it done? Or will they keep tripping over their own feet like they’ve been doing the last couple of weeks? Yes, I know the bullpen sucks, but the Nats have their top three starters up this weekend. No excuses. Get it done.

    KW

    19 May 17 at 10:09 am

  94. Nothing has been released about Soto other than his being out “indefinitely” when the injury happened. That doesn’t sound minor. Kieboom reportedly has a hamstring strain.

    You can never have too much pitching, and you can;t give it all away department: Paolo Espino, who left as a minor league free agent (when a 40 man spot would have kept him, promoted (finally!) to the Brewers and starting today. Ouch.

    forensicane

    19 May 17 at 3:29 pm

  95. We only give 40-man spots to guys who throw 100, even if they can’t hit the broad side of a barn.

    Interesting deep dive into the sordid lack of institutional control on the medical side of the Mets:

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19404194/new-york-mets-injury-issues-go-far-disabled-list

    In short, it’s just as bad as we suspected. I do feel sorry for the players, even with the ones with egos larger than the Apple.

    KW

    19 May 17 at 3:39 pm

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