Nationals Arm Race

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

Missed opportunities result in a Short Series loss; Season over

32 comments

Werth ends his Nats career with a K. Photo via getty images

Werth ends his Nats career with a K in the 9th. Photo via getty images

It was a tough watch, to stay up til nearly 1am watching the inevitable.  And it seemed inevitable to watch this team fritter away another NLDS clinching win through another wild outing from Gio Gonzalez to a rather inexplicable “failed starter giving relief innings attempt” from Max Scherzer.  That was the shocking part to me honestly; how does he give up 4 runs?

Just like in 2012 and in 2016, reliable bullpen guys leaked runs to either cut into hard-earned leads or to drip drip and put the game just slightly out of reach in the end.

The Nats drop a series to Chicago where they hit better (both teams were god-awful at the plate but the Nats only slightly more so), where their team ERA was a full point better than Chicagos, and where they outscored the Cubs 20-17 over five games.  Just as in 2016 when the Nats similarly outscored the Dodgers but dropped the series 3-2.

It was tough watching Ryan Zimmerman flail at a very tough slider from Wade Davis to end the 7th with runners in scoring position.  It was ridiculous to watch the umpires call Jose Lobaton out despite zero “conclusive evidence” that showed that the tag stayed on, killing a rally that looked like it was about to turn the tide of the game.  And it was pretty tough watching both Werth and Harper get punched out by the same uber-reliever Davis to end the game.  All in all, the Nationals batters left an astounding NINETEEN runners on base in this game.  Nineteen.  I guess they left their “clutch” pants at home.

Baseball Playoffs rarely distill down the “right” champion.  In fact, the team that had the best regular season record has subsequently won the World Series just five times since 1990 (the 1998 Yankees super team, the dominant 2007 Boston team, the 2009 A-Rod Yankees team, again with the 2013 Boston team and last year’s Chicago Cubs).   The other 22 champions during that time were not the best teams in their leagues and in some cases weren’t even the best teams in their divisions.  Miami famously has two WS wins but zero divisional titles in their history, which seems kind of ridiculous.  I’m not saying the Nats were necessarily “better” than the Cubs … they were separated by 4 wins over 162 games, but they deserved to win this series.

End of the line for Werth most likely, also for a handful of bit players, but the core of this team gets another shot at it next year.

Shout out to Michael A. Taylor, who may have shared series MVP honors with Strasburg for his exploits in this series (he drove in 8 of the 20 runs we scored in five games).  Between his renaissance this season at the plate and his exploits this series, it has me rethinking what to do with him for next season: I was pro-trade of Taylor and going with FA/Eaton/Harper outfield … but now i’m thinking you put some combination of Eaton/Taylor/Harper in that OF and save your cash for a 5th starter and/or more bullpen help.  But we’ll get into off-season moves later on in depth.

As for the rest of the offense, tts telling that the only  other guys on this team who drove in runs were the “key men” in the lineup: Harper, Rendon, Murphy, Zimmerman.  So our key guys struggled at the plate but still drove in the runs to keep it close.  Turner finishes off a disappointing season with a disappointing series … lets hope an off-season of rest gets him back to his late 2015 days for next year.

One last series stat.  Strasburg’s line: 14 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks, 22 punch-outs, a 0.00 ERA … and a 1-1 record.  He took a loss for his efforts in game 1.  Bully for him for taking his game 4 start and shoving it down every pundit’s throat who questioned him.  He really turned the narrative on his career with this performance … do you believe there’s still people out there who don’t think he’s an “Ace” in this league?  Maybe that nonsense will end, given his dominance down the stretch and in this series.

Next up for me; i’ll do playoff predictions I guess, because i like looking at pitching match-ups and guessing who might win.  Quick predictions: Houston beats over-their-depth Yankees, LA crushes the exhausted Cubs, and LA fulfils their destiny by holding the Houston bats at bay in the WS.  But we’ll dig deeper into it later.

See you 2016.  Another playoff opportunity lost for this team.

 

32 Responses to 'Missed opportunities result in a Short Series loss; Season over'

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  1. It was a brutal loss. I don’t have much to say about the game itself. I felt very similar to the way I felt last year: we lost a very close series to a similarly matched team. It wasn’t a well-played game last night by any stretch of the imagination, but it was exciting. I felt much worse in 2012 (which was a choke job of the highest order) and 2014 (when the Nats and their incompetent manager were beaten by a team that was inferior in almost every conceivable way).

    On to next year. I think MAT has earned a starting job – he who puts up 3.1 WAR in 118 games deserves to start…somewhere. If there’s a “sell high” opportunity out there, I’d consider it because of the internal outfield depth. Barring injury, Robles seems like he’ll be ready by mid-2018, and Goodwin is good enough to start for stretches and looks to be a HQ 4th OF. But I think the best/cheapest outfield for the Nats in 2018 is Eaton in LF, Taylor in CF, and Harper in RF.

    We need a starting pitcher. In a perfect world, Fedde and Ross combine to throw your 200 5th starter innings, but I don’t think either can be counted on. And we have little depth behind that. This team needs an innings-eater John Lackey type and will have to pay for it in $ or in prospects. It doesn’t NEED a better pitcher than that, but if there’s a deal to be made for someone higher-caliber, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if the price is right. I’ll be very disappointed if the five starters on opening day 2018 are all currently on our roster.

    It’s time to end the AJ Cole as a starter experience. He could be a real asset in the bullpen. As KW has pointed out, he kills rightys.

    Catcher is a real problem. I don’t know if there’s a viable solution, though. I’d dump Lobaton and have Severino as the backup; Severino can’t be worse and he’ll save $1-2 million.

    Bench: I’d pony up to get Lind to return. He may have played is way into a starting gig elsewhere, though. Difo’s my backup IF unless someone wants to trade for him as a starting SS and is willing to pay.

    Bullpen: this is tough. Madson and Doolittle are HQ arms. Solis is fine given that he’s free. As I said, I’d give AJ Cole a serious look in the bullpen. Glover and Kelley are both premier arms but are also enormous question marks. I’d pony up for someone like Greg Holland and, in the event Glover and Kelley both turn out to be healthy and pitch well, have an excellent pen. We probably need a LOOGY too.

    The heart of the team (performance wise) is: Harper, Scherzer, Rendon, and Strasburg. I don’t know if there is another team in baseball with a top-four this good. The latter two, in particular, proved quite a bit this year. As long as these four are mostly healthy, the Nats will probably be contenders again next year.

    Derek

    13 Oct 17 at 12:33 pm

  2. Derek; agree, agree, agree.

    I’ve read more than a few scouting reports that say that both Goodwin and Difo could be regulars. I’d flip them both for what we need, go with Stevenson as spare outfielder and maybe get Drew to come back for the infield to cover those spots. Can’t argue with Severino over Lobaton; his prowness on defense is evident every time he plays. Love the “cole to the bullpen” idea, something that probably shoudl have happened 3 years ago before he ballooned his career AAA era 4 points.

    Todd Boss

    13 Oct 17 at 12:44 pm

  3. I didn’t really delve into nitpicking the two questionable calls that went against the Nats, but the Lobaton situation was well summed up by Fangraphs Dave Cameron here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/dear-mlb-please-fix-the-slide-replay/

    I was convinced that a) Lobaton was probably tagged out, but that b) there was no definitive evidence to prove it as both the angles shown on TV were inconclusive. It shocked me that they made that call in that situation, and to that end I agree with Cameron’s take above.

    Todd Boss

    13 Oct 17 at 1:17 pm

  4. Good writeup, Todd.
    The Nays were definitely the better team, I felt they would overcome Dusty’s ineptitude at game management and win anyway.

    They should win the East next year easily, but the excitement will have to be tempered by visions of postseason non-performance again.

    I remember watching Michael Taylor in the minors and thinking his ceiling was that of a superstar, then before this year he scuffled so bad at the plate it looked to never happen. He almost carried the team to victory; as an #8 hitter no less.

    Mark L

    13 Oct 17 at 1:23 pm

  5. How do you get all the way through that write up without mentioning just how AWFUL Wieters was, and that the Nats utterly wasted the money that should have been spent upgrading the bullpen last offseason on the guy who was the biggest single reason they lost the series? All he’s cost them is $21 million for his salary, $600K to buy out Norris, and a pitching prospect who struck out 170 batters in A ball this year. What a fiasco.

    And as long as we are talking team construction mismanagement, two words: Jose Quintana. The Cubs were willing to do what it took to upgrade their rotation last July, even though it wasn’t strictly “necessary” and the Nats weren’t. Quintana should have been a Nat, not a Cub. But that’s the difference between an organization that is sporting a 2016 WS trophy with a chance to earn another and one that is apparently content just flying another pathetic NL East Champs “participation pennant.”

    Season’s over for me. I don’t care who wins after this debacle.

    Karl Kolchak

    13 Oct 17 at 3:13 pm

  6. Wieters. well … if the boss likes his shiny pony, and tells everyone they have to buy the shiny pony … you kinda give up arguing against the shiny pony when it starts sh*tting everywhere :-)

    Todd Boss

    13 Oct 17 at 3:45 pm

  7. Wieters is just evidence #27 of the nose ring that Scott Boras has fitted on the Lerners.

    Mark L

    13 Oct 17 at 4:01 pm

  8. Lots of good thoughts here. I’ve been out and about today and not completely coherent now after crawling in bed at 1 a.m., so I’ll have to think about this more . . . over the next five months. (Sigh.)

    Karl, I had a similar thought about did the Nats miss out by not ponying up for Quintana/Darvish/Verlander? I’ve gone back and forth on that. Quintana or Verlander would have cost Robles and other really good stuff; a Darvish rental maybe not so much. Robles would have been too much to sacrifice. Clearly, Gio, despite being a great regular-season asset, is not a go-to guy in the playoffs. In this series, however, I’ll go to my grave believing that the Nats lost it because they didn’t hit behind Stras and Max in games 1 and 3. There never should have been a game 5.

    Yes, kudos to Taylor for being one of the few hitters to really step up. That said, I’m still in the “sell high” camp on him. He struck out 31.7% of the time this season, which just screams that a regression is coming.

    I think Lind has earned a 3/30 contract somewhere to play every day, and good for him. He took a contract far below what he was worth and went out and had one of the best years of his career in a reserve role.

    Huge positive coming out of this season: the Nats have a closer who is unafraid of the big stage who is signed for three more years for around $17M total. Beats the heck out of being on the hook for the 3/53 remaining for Melancon, doesn’t it?

    KW

    13 Oct 17 at 7:21 pm

  9. Series stats, for those who can bear to look at them:

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/2017_NLDS2.shtml

    KW

    13 Oct 17 at 7:23 pm

  10. Unless I’m misremembering the factoid I saw, Stras was only the second pitcher with two double-digit strikeout games in the same playoff series. The other was a fella named Koufax in the ’65 WS.

    We may lament some other Boras-linked investments, but we’ve also got a heck of a $175M bargain.

    KW

    13 Oct 17 at 7:29 pm

  11. KW, thanks for the link.
    Michael Taylor was the only player who’s OPS in the series was above average. Lind could have if given the chance but no one was smart enough to give him that chance.

    Let’s not forget that Strasburg, who was spectacular in the series, and the whole season for that matter, left $50 million on the table to re-sign with the Nays. As he said “the grass is not always greener on the other side”.

    Advice I doubt Harper will take.

    FWIW, I agree with KK on Wieters.

    Mark L

    13 Oct 17 at 10:59 pm

  12. OK, the mourning period is over. I’m hereby lighting the hot stove.

    Catcher: Assuming that Wieters takes the $11M player option, do you:

    A. Go with Wieters & Severino
    B. Re-sign Lobaton
    C. Sign Avila or Castillo to split time with Wieters

    OF:

    A. Go with Eaton/Taylor/Harper
    B. Sign J. D. Martinez and trade Taylor as part of a deal for a starting pitcher
    C. Trade Taylor as part of a deal for one of the Marlin OFs

    Starters:

    A. Go with what you’ve got, including Cole/Fedde as the #5 and hope that Ross can be back by the end of the season
    B. Sign a low-cost EJax type to eat innings as the fifth starter
    C. Go big for Darvish or Arrieta to give you a solid #3 for the playoffs and fill Gio’s spot after next season
    D. Make a deal for a “name” starter, probably including Taylor, Fedde, and a top prospect or two not named Robles (I still want MadBum!)
    E. Hope the Mets nontender Harvey and use the Boras connection to pick him up

    Bullpen:

    A. Let Albers, Kintzler, Blanton, and Perez walk and go with what you’ve got
    B. Re-sign Albers but stay the course otherwise
    C. Pick up Boras client Greg Holland if he declines his option (hard to see him declining $15M)

    KW

    14 Oct 17 at 7:28 pm

  13. My answers:

    Catcher: C. Gotta get some sort of better-hitting option.

    OF: Conflicted between B and C. Martinez would be a great addition if they could get him for something like 5/$100M and would give them a considerable offensive tool when Harper leaves. If they trade Taylor as part of a deal for one of the Marlin OFs, they wouldn’t have as much value to trade for a starter. And yes, I would consider taking the Stanton contract. Harper is going to want considerably more, so it doesn’t look that bad in comparison. And one year of Harper and Stanton together would be amazing.

    Starters: D. As discussed above in this thread, they currently don’t have that third starter good enough to get them over the playoff hump. I’d consider signing Darvish, but Arrieta’s stats have been trending in the wrong direction.

    Bullpen: B. I think they’re in good shape if Glover and Kelley come back healthy and move Cole to the ‘pen. There will be a lot less pressure on Glover with Madson and Doo around for the late innings.

    KW

    14 Oct 17 at 7:39 pm

  14. Here’s what I think the team will do (not necessarily what i’d want them to do):

    Catcher: A. they’re not lighting $10M on fire, but will part ways with chief cheerleader Lobaton and install the defensive wizard Severino as backup.

    OF: I think they go Taylor/Eaton/Harper. They got 3 wins out of Taylor and his MLB min salary; you can’t get that kind of value on the open market. And he grew up in a big way in the playoffs.

    Starter: I think they’re flipping prospects for an established starter in the hot stove. Don’t think they’re buying another $20M/year guy like DArvish. I think they cash in Difo, Goodwin and maybe even Fedde for a name guy from a rebuilding club.

    Bullpen: some work to be done. I think you let Albers go; we caught his lightening in the bottle year and next year he may regress to his mean. I’d sign up for the Oliver PErez expereince again. Kintzler will get overpaid. F Blanton. I think you buy some guys around the edges like we’ve done in the past and then hope that Kelley and Glover come back strong. I could see this as a bullpen for 2018: Doolittle closing, Madsen/Kelley/Glover as 7th/8th inning righties, Solis/Romero as your lefties, Grace as the long man.

    Todd Boss

    14 Oct 17 at 8:05 pm

  15. Todd, you’re standing pat too much for my take. Now, I would say that the Nats could/should win the division again with no changes. However, Eaton isn’t going to be enough to get them over the hump in the playoffs.

    I’m not buying that the post-Harper OF is Eaton/Taylor/Robles. They’re going to lose too much offense with Harper and Murphy walking out the door after next year. MLB is becoming more and more a HR power game, and they’ve got to come up with another big-power option. They may wait until next offseason to address that issue, or they can leap ahead of the curve, as they did when they signed Scherzer when JZim turned down their offer but still had a year to go.

    KW

    14 Oct 17 at 9:12 pm

  16. Standing Pat yes … but also predicting realism. Do we really think this ownership group is going to “go for it” and blow up payroll more than they already have? I don’t.

    I’m always in favor of buying a LF who can hit. If you have Eaton plus Taylor plus Robles plus Stevenson plus Goodwin well that’s just too many outfielders. So yeah I can see a trade happening.

    Todd Boss

    14 Oct 17 at 9:43 pm

  17. I can’t see Rizzo standing pat. The biggest factors will be:

    1) What is Harper’s $$ demand, and are they willing to meet it when a generational power bat with more controllability like Stanton can be had? Does Dusty Baker make a difference in whether Harper would or would not return?
    2) How badly damaged is Glover?
    3) Are they willing to eat Wieters’ money?
    4) Since they missed on Sale and passed on Verlander, who are the top caliber starters out there?
    5) Can they sign Rendon to an extension now?
    6) Do they load up the bullpen (Kelley is done) or develop from within (Suero, Adams) next spring to back up Doolittle and Madsen?

    forensicane

    14 Oct 17 at 10:05 pm

  18. I had been a big cheerleader for keeping hope alive that the Nats would make a big play to keep Harper. Now, I’m not so sure, either that they’ll make such a bid or that he’s worth it. Of course after game 2, I thought he was, but after he did very little beyond game 2, I’m no longer sure. (In fairness, I’m not sure how much he should be judged by this postseason, considering that he had been hurt and really didn’t have the proper chance to get his timing back.)

    All of that said, they’ve got to get a read this offseason on whether they’re still in play to keep Harper. Stras got his contract done at the start of his final arb year. If the Nats do think Harper is leaving, I could see them going on and investing in his successor, as they did with Max.

    I do think the Nats will bring in at least one big-ticket player this offseason, either an OF or a starter, or both. They’re fooling themselves if they look at what just happened and say “replacing Werth with Eaton will be enough to get us over the hump.” Yeah, money will be an issue. But considering Ted Lerner’s age and Mark Lerner’s health, what’s the use of taking it with you? You’ve got those factors plus the likely last ride with Bryce, Murph, and Gio. Time to go big.

    I would like to extend Rendon, if it’s possible. Now’s the time.

    KW

    14 Oct 17 at 10:58 pm

  19. Wieters: as bad of a deal as it now looks like, I have a real hard time seeing them eat $11M to release him. I sure would like to see them bring in a good-hitting catcher to share time, though. I don’t think Severino is really an heir apparent to play regularly.

    KW

    14 Oct 17 at 11:00 pm

  20. Wieters. Yes i know he struggled this year. HE’s also due a ton of money. And his agent is Boras. Does anyone reading this really think they’ll just cut him and then go spend MORE money on a different catcher to get slightly more production?

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/08/2017-18-mlb-free-agent-list.html is FA list. I see a couple of intriguing names sure. I also see guys who are set to get drastically overpaid.

    Todd Boss

    15 Oct 17 at 1:48 pm

  21. If they traded for Realmuto or a controllable young rising catcher, they could jettison Wieters.

    forensicane

    15 Oct 17 at 3:53 pm

  22. There’s no way to get rid of Wieters. They can’t cut him, and no one would pick up that contract. I’m all in on trying to get Avila or Castillo to split time.

    KW

    15 Oct 17 at 7:37 pm

  23. since we’re already talking about it i may do a “off season plans” kind of post; both Zuckerman and Janes did one last week and they both kinda said the same things…

    Todd Boss

    16 Oct 17 at 9:49 am

  24. I don’t know what they’ll do with the bench. I think they’d be thrilled if Lind took the $5M player option, but I doubt he will. I’d only take Drew for very little and as a NRI. He just hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and he wasn’t very good this year even when healthy.

    The one who interests me for a two-year deal is Kendrick. He has the flexibility to play INF and OF. Also, I could see him starting at 2B in 2019 as a bridge to Carter Kieboom, unless they think Difo could play every day. (I’m not convinced.)

    Difo and Goodwin would seem to be locks for the bench. The catching situation has been discussed. It will be interesting to see whether they think Marmolejos is MLB-ready for the Lind 1B/LF role. He has no time whatsoever at the MLB level, though, so I would think they will probably be looking for a Lind-like vet.

    KW

    16 Oct 17 at 11:02 am

  25. new posted on the topic.

    Todd Boss

    16 Oct 17 at 12:34 pm

  26. I know it’s against conventional wisdom, but I’m in the trade Harper camp. Whatever the return is, and I am sure that some GM will pay dearly for him, the return will be better than it would be for Michael Taylor, who is controllable, has postseason clutch pedigree playing for this team, and who is, in my opinion, still on an upward trajectory. And of course, a lot more than selling on Difo (also not selling high).

    Selling on Taylor is not selling high. Harper is a trade asset that enables the Nats to build with insurance beyond the next wave of free agents (Rendon-Murphy-Gonzalez-Madson). Let’s face it, the Nats won without Harper, too.

    Victor Robles will be a star. So will Trea Turner. and an outfield of Robles-Taylor-Eaton will be stronger defensively. And that OF could be in place by June 2018.

    I don’t even think Difo has hit his ceiling. Having him as a depth piece was pivotal in the Nats winning the division. Can’t blame him for the Nats not hitting in the playoffs. Is he the future, post Murphy? I think Murphy is worth holding on to and agree that a multi-year deal can work. He is a proven playoff performer and a great team leader who will be a good piece in a post-Werth world.

    What should the Nats go out and acquire? What Wilson Ramos, whom they should not have let get away, was. A rising all-star caliber two way talent. Another top flight starter, preferably lefthanded. A closer caliber player to replace Kintzler, unless he can be signed reasonably (he won’t). Sign Albers. Overpay for Lind. His bat was unbelievable.

    In the right package, I would definitely trade Gio Gonzalez as well.

    I don;t buy for a minute that the Nats are merely going to mildly tinker. It’s not in Rizzo’s nature, and he has to keep up with franchises, like the Cubs and Dodgers, that make major changes.

    In my opinion, the Nats have many remaining pieces that will keep them at the top of the East. They can leverage some very high value assets to throw out the mythical Bryce Harper window and extend it for much longer, especially long enough for talents like Soto and Kieboom and maybe even Marmolejos to ripen.

    A team with this much speed and Davey Lopes coaching 1B was exposed as reliant on the longball in the playoffs. Was that a sign of injured legs or bad managing? I don’t know, but the team is better served with the electric, dynamic players in the lineup.

    forensicane

    16 Oct 17 at 4:04 pm

  27. And yes, cut Wieters. His decline is even more pronounced than his stats. They can pay later, like they did by holding onto moldy closers like Soriano and Papelbon, or get in front of his going from Nats to oblivion.

    forensicane

    16 Oct 17 at 4:07 pm

  28. You just don’t trade a generational player unless you’ve bottomed out. You try to WIN and build around that player. And next year, at hte trade deadline, when this time is likely in first place again … they’re not going to move their biggest draw.

    Trading Gio: why would we TRADE a starter when we NEED a starter? Then you’d need TWO starters. No Gio is awesome … but you can’t field an entire rotation of $30M/year cy young types. Philly tried it and they got little closer to a WS than we did. And it helped drive them to the dead last place in the league status they’re in now.

    Something I wonder about; if Eaton had not gotten hurt, would he have been enough to help this team get over the Cubs? Probably not, since Eaton playing means Taylor and half the team’s RBIs is sitting. Just a thought.

    The problem with a “major overhaul” is that there’s really not too many glaring problems on this team. 5th starter, under-performing but expensive catcher, vacant LF.

    Todd Boss

    16 Oct 17 at 4:36 pm

  29. Todd, I know that is your point. I just don’t agree. My point is that there are other players the Nats can build around, and I don’t see the Nats winning the World Series with him, 2012-2017. As for Gio, I think he’s peaked. Since others share your opinion that Bryce is a generational player, and Gio is so amazing, we ought to be able to get a terrific, affordable, controllable starter among other selected pieces that complement team needs. Better a truckload than a first round pick.

    Another point. I know that Bryce jerseys and Bryce stuff is profitable. But I also think that this team has a lot of marquee players and players who can and will be marquee, that it takes care of itself.

    Turner is a charismatic player, and Robles will be as well. Max and Stras and Murphy and Doolittle and yes, MAT and Eaton are plenty reason to enjoy the team.

    So what if Bryce is here for the All-Star game? It only increases his price tag, it will not make the All-Star game any more for the Nats. I think the Nats are better off having the money to keep Rendon and get the upgrades they need as needs arise, rather than getting bogged down paying Harper 45M+ a year when they have excellent depth available to them, and more if they choose to include that as players coming back in. I’m in favor of shopping the overpriced for what they can return, and not at the trading deadline but now. If the Nats get talent that gets them to the level of the teams they are chasing and not good enough to catch (Cubs-Dodgers), and key upper minor starting pitching depth to boot, why not? The team has the talent to win without Bryce.

    I remember how much many of us, myself included, once looked ahead to the departure of Zimmerman, Fister, Span, and Desmond with trepidation. Well, Scherzer replaced Zimm, Roark replaced Fister, Eaton has replaced Span and Turner has replaced Desmond (roughly). We are not worse for the wear and got on first round pick for thew hole caboodle of these players walking – and not a single damn World Series ring, either.

    No one knows what kind of shape Bryce is in, only that Boras will oversell it. So sell high.

    forensicane

    16 Oct 17 at 4:52 pm

  30. The Philles comparison is not apt. They tanked because Ruben Amaro was not Pat Gillick. They won a World Series and played in another. and their decline was in personnel decisions to lock up certain players past their prime. The Nats have succeeded with extensive roster turnover that often (not always) upgraded and got players out by their sell date. I’m not happy with how he underperforms in the playoffs, but Zimmerman’s comeback was foreseen by no one and Rizzo deserves credit for believing in him but hedging with the Lind acquisition. Rizzo can pull off going against convention.

    Be interesting to see what the Nats front office has planned for a succession plan if Doug Harris leaves for Atlanta. Harris’ departure is inevitable, and he has been terrific.

    forensicane

    16 Oct 17 at 5:03 pm

  31. Todd, I erred. Can you please move my comments into the new thread, along with your response? I thought I was posting there and left it here by mistake….thanks!

    forensicane

    16 Oct 17 at 5:33 pm

  32. Forensicane! I’m so confused by the comments at this point that I don’t know what to move :-) I think there’s just been too many since. goodo converersation on this topic.

    Todd Boss

    17 Oct 17 at 1:17 pm

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