Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 2018 #5 Starter competition


Is Cole the 2018 5th starter?  Photo AP

Is Cole the 2018 5th starter? Photo AP

Interesting news on 1/11/18: Edwin Jackson has re-signed a split minor league deal  with decent compensation if he makes the major league team ($1.5M plus another $1.4M in incentives).

Lots of rumors about the team eventually buying a more established 5th starter, either on the open market or in trade.  There’s too many names still out there to even begin to discuss, from marquee 8-figure free agents (Yu Darvish) to Nats-favorite Scott Boras clients he’s likely to go over Rizzo’s head about (Jake Arrieta) to trade candidates from rebuilding teams (Tampa, Miami, Pittsburgh and their  valuable arms like Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer, though inbetween the time I started this post and published it, Cole had already been traded to the keep-getting-richer Astros).  Bur for now, we don’t have any of these guys … so we’re still projected for a fun spring training competition.

So, what does the #5 starter competition look like right now?  Basically there’s four primary candidates now in-house and signed for 2018.  Lets rank them in likely order of winning the job:

#1: A.J. Cole

I think right now Cole has the inside track, even given the Milone and Jackson signings.  Cole’s 2018 numbers were decent at the MLB level: 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA even if his periperhals were bad (5.88 fip, 1.50 whip).  His AAA numbers in 2017 were awful (5.88 ERA in 18 starts), but then again the entire Syracuse rotation was awful in 2018.  But, he did show some promise last  year and he’s out of options, so I can’t help but think that he’ll get a shot to stick on the MLB roster until he proves he’s either staying or going one last time.

#2 : Edwin Jackson:

He made an ok case for the job based on what he was able to do last  year.   No, he wasn’t awesome: in 13 starts he was 5-6 with a 5.07 ERA and even worse peripherals (5.88 FIP, 1.4 whip).  That’s about what he did for San Diego in 2016, so It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.   But he’s a known quantity, he throws hard, he never gets hurt.  He also clearly will work in the minors to get another shot at the majors and didn’t sign back up with this team on a whim, so odds are he could get stashed in Syracuse for a bit and wait out his chance.

#3 Tommy Milone: the prodigal son returns to the fold.  Initially sent away in the Gio Gonzalez trade 7 years ago, he pitched well for both Oakland and Minnesota before falling off a cliff in 2016.  His 2017 was not pretty: a combined 7.63 ERA for two different teams.  He also signed a minor league deal that I suspect may have an opt-out if he fails to make the team.  Hopefully not; he did log some AAA time in the last two seasons and may also opt to stick around.  Is it possible he returns to his career form (a 4.37 ERA and a 91 ERA+ figure)?  Maybe; he’d have to do a lot better though to make his case for t he 5th starter.

#4: Erick Fedde; our top starting pitcher prospect and sole arm in AAA or AA (or perhaps even  high-A at this point) which represents a significant draft investment (outside of Mariano Rivera Jr that is … who is already a reliever).  And he did not look ready in his debut last fall.  3 starts. 9.39 ERA … even if two of those starts were against tough competition (home to Colorado, then away vs the Cubs).  Short Sample Size, yadda-yadda, he got knocked around.  He needs more AAA time and you’d have to think he’s starting the year either in XST (if its too cold in Syracuse) or in upstate NY.

So, what about our minor league depth past these four guys?  Honestly: there’s not a ton of depth we can count on in AAA or AA.  The 40-man names are Fedde, Cole, Voth and Jefry Rodriguez.  That’s it.

Here’s a quick glance at our other minor league starters out there who are more likely to be AA or AAA fodder (in rough order of their consideration for the job/likely 2018 assignments)

AAA projected rotation (over-top of those four names above who miss out and who don’t opt out, that is):

  • Jared Long (he may or may not be a MLFA still; shows him on the Nats roster but shows him as a FA): if he’s still with us, he showed two years running he was better than AA.  I’d like to see him with a long run in AAA to see if he’s a viable candidate to move up.
  • John Simms: this home grown product (2013 11th round draftee) has earned promotion after promotion and should start 2018 in AAA.  He doesn’t have shutdown stuff, but could be a sneaky candidate for spot starts.
  • Logan Darnell; this 2018 MLFA signing from Tampa had good AAA success several years running for other organizations and seems like a clear AAA arm eater for now.  Can he be more?
  • Austin Voth; two years ago looked like he could be the next Tanner Roark, but a brutal 2017 season got him demoted to AA.  He posted a 3.15 ERA in AAA in 2016; can he get back there?   If not, then he’s in clear danger of being first man off the 40-man roster if a spot is needed.
  • Greg Ross: as with Voth, the Greg Ross train got derailed in upstate New York in 2017, also earning him a demotion.  He re-signed though for 2018 to give it another shot and might start in AAA given past success in AA.

Note: at least one of these names likely gets pushed down, especially since Fedde likely isn’t winning the 5th starter job.  Jackson and Milone as veterans may have opt-outs and are not likely to stick around, but you never know.  And if Cole doesn’t make the team, he’s passing through waivers before he gets to AAA and may not make it.  So the AAA rotation will be in flux right up until 4/1/18.

AA projected rotation (on top of whoever above might get pushed down, likely Ross then Voth)

  • Wirkin Estevez had good AA numbers in 2017 (3.63 ERA in 11 starts after promotion from high-A) and re-signed a ML deal to stay with the organization.   He’s probably first AA starter for a need-based promotion.
  • Tyler Mapes missed all of 2017 after a very solid AA 2016 season; if he’s healthy, he starts here looking to repeat his 2016 performance before getting moved up.
  • Kyle McGowin; our trade bounty for Danny Espinosa has shown two years running his inability to succeed in AAA.  He likely starts in AA again in 2018 given the log-jam in Syracuse.
  • Matt Crownover had a 4.50 ERA in a full AA season; nothing to really prove he needs to move up (especially given his weak K/9 rates), so likely starts in AA again looking for a mid-season promotion.
  • Jefry Rodriguez: the newest member of the 40-man roster, Rodriguez will hope to harness his high-A success from last year at the next step up.

Nobody in AA right now who looks like he could help immediately; Rodriguez though may get some spot-start/double header duty since he’s on the 40-man and doesn’t require a corresponding move.


So; are you satisfied with a ST 2018 competition or do you think we need to spend money or prospects on another arm?

Keep in mind; the division is a mess, with Atlanta not really trying, Miami actively getting worse and Philadelphia making curious moves.  Only the Mets will challenge, and their big move this off-season has been to sign Adrian Gonzalez .  So we don’t need a $20M/year 5th starter.  And there’s the luxury tax considerations that keep coming up.


75 Responses to 'Nats 2018 #5 Starter competition'

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  1. It’s interesting to compare Cole and Fedde. Cole threw 98 AAA innings in 2017 and put up a 5.88 ERA. He threw 52 MLB innings and put up a 3.81 ERA. These numbers are significantly different, so which sample is more reliable? The AAA sample is almost twice as big and is 100% starting, whereas some of the 52 MLB innings were out of the bullpen. Here, FIP is helpful. In AAA, Cole’s FIP was 3.87; in MLB it was 5.20. I think Cole is somewhere between a 4.50 and 5.00 ERA pitcher. He’s not an ultra low-K guy, but he’s not a high-K guy either. And he’s not a control artist. He’s probably better than Edwin Jackson at this point in Edwin’s career, but not by much.

    Fedde, on the other hand, actually pitched well in 2017. In 56 AA innings, he ran a 3.04 ERA with a 3.24 FIP, with 8.63 K/9. His AAA numbers in 34 innings were worse – 4.76 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 6.62 K/9 – but half of his appearances were out of the bullpen. His MLB numbers were terrible, but he only threw 15 innings. His MLB K/9 were in line with his minor league numbers, but he ran a .426 Babip and gave up an astonishing 2.93 HR/9 innings. This is how you run a 9.39 ERA in 15 innings despite not pitching that poorly. I thought Fedde pitched well in his first two starts and had poor results. He was flat out bad in his final start, and it turns out he was hurt.

    Based on the stats and on watching them pitch, Fedde is pretty clearly a better pitcher than Cole. If Fedde hadn’t ended the year injured and didn’t have TJS in his background, I would think trying him out as a 5th starter would be a reasonable gamble. But given his history, I don’t know how you can count on him to make 20 starts in MLB, let alone 30+ if Joe Ross doesn’t come back healthy in the second half. Cole’s MLB ceiling at this point is Craig Stammen. I’d be thrilled if he turned into a valuable bullpen piece. He simply is not an MLB-caliber starting pitcher. The Nats could probably trot him out there every fifth day and still win the NL East in 2018, but it will be concerning if he breaks camp as the fifth starter.


    17 Jan 18 at 11:39 am

  2. If we’re already over the tax line, then I’m signing a starter, probably in the Lynn/Cobb range unless the Darvish price falls. I have no interest in Arrieta. (I think he’s going to end up back with the Cubs, who seem slow in filling some gaping rotation holes.)

    Do the Nats have to add another starter to win the division? No. But they also don’t have much of a safety net if/when one of the other four goes down.

    Derek beat me to a deconstruction of Cole. I think he needs to be traded, probably to a second-tier team that can use him as a back-end starter. If he sticks in the Nat bullpen, it’s probably at the expense of Glover, as he’s the only one out there with an option. To me, Glover has a higher upside as a reliever than Cole does.

    I also agree with Derek that of these four, I’d probably give Fedde the first crack. He turns 25 next month. It’s time to find out if he’s a major-leaguer. Also don’t forget how much he was jerked around last year when he spent some time as a reliever.

    To me, the re-signing of EJax was very ominous for Cole. They’re pretty similar numbers-wise, but EJax has more experience and he’s not on the 40-man. Also, remember that at the end of August, EJax was 5-3 with a 3.33 ERA with the Nats. He had given up three runs or less in six of his eight starts. He then hit a wall, and a bad four-game stretch destroyed his ERA.

    I don’t think Milone is even in this conversation at this point. He’s a reclamation project.


    17 Jan 18 at 1:17 pm

  3. This is a pretty difficult offseason to keep interested in, isn’t it? Not just how slow things are, but Nats had only limited issues to begin with.

    I’d like to have a strong opinion on this topic, but unless you told me you knew one of the top 4 was going to miss 15 starts, I just can’t see it being that important. even in the playoffs.

    With the Kendrick resigning, I’m just counting days to Ps and Cs reporting to WPB.


    17 Jan 18 at 2:04 pm

  4. Derek: great analysis of Fedde’s situation. Cannot disagree at all. Maybe what we see happen is this: Cole (thanks to lack of options) is given his one final shot at the bigs (despite all your potnis about his crummy numbers), with the understanding that if he fails, he’s getting DFA’d. They let Fedde get a few starts under his belt in AAA before giving him the 5th starter spot until that point when Ross returns (which … he had surgery on 7/19/17 so it could be at the all-star break).

    Todd Boss

    18 Jan 18 at 10:32 am

  5. The Nats have been EXTREMELY lucky to get 120+ starts from their top four guys over the last several years. It’s not a given to keep happening. Max has been a horse, but at some point he’ll cease to be. Stras is vulnerable to missing a few starts here and there. With the market as it is, there’s going to be a starter bargain out there. I’m still expecting/hoping the Nats pick one up and don’t just rely on this quartet.

    I don’t think the Nats would have brought back EJax if they trusted Cole. I think we’re down to Cole being either trade bait or needing to beat out Glover for a bullpen spot. Among the current crop, I think they would start the season with EJax, with Fedde and Milone at AAA. Fedde only had 105.2 IP in 2017, so he’s only going to be good for 130 or so anyway. Considering Ross’s injury, I would think that he’s a total wild card, and one who can’t be fully counted on. I hope they at least get a good look at him, as they’ll need to know how much they can trust Ross and Fedde for 2019 with Gio’s contract up. But all in all, I’d really rather them add another arm right now and have Fedde and Ross as the safety net.


    18 Jan 18 at 1:08 pm

  6. I totally agree with KW. The Nats’ big problem isn’t just a lack of a fifth starter – they have a few guys from which you might expect ONE to pitch competently as the worst starting pitcher on a good time. The big problem is the lack of depth. If one of the top four goes down for any length of time, you’re looking at Fedde AND Cole making 40% of your starts. This is a problem. It’s not my money, but I think it’s worth ~$10 million (what it would cost to buy one of the fifth starter types on a one year deal) to insure against this type of scenario.

    I think this – buying a real MLB pitcher who you can count on to give you ~180 innings of 4-4.50 ERA pitching (aka a “Lackey”) – is must-do for the Nats. My PREFERENCE is different, however. I’d plan for Gio’s 2019 departure by trading Robles for Archer (and simultaneously sign Bryce to an extension). This solves your 2018 fifth starter problem, your 2019 third starter problem, and perhaps most importantly, your Gio-potentially-starting-a-winner-take-all-playoff-game-in-2018 problem.


    18 Jan 18 at 2:11 pm

  7. Cole has passed the eye test and analyzing his AAA stats is meaningless at this point, imo. he can hardly be faulted for pitching without much motivation in Syracuse after he has seen the bright lights in the show. unless he is totally unimpressive in spring training, I put him in the rotation for the first half and trade for an upgrade or promote from within if needed.


    18 Jan 18 at 3:47 pm

  8. Cole wasn’t good in 2016, either.

    I wouldn’t be against Robles for Archer, but I’m not holding my breath for it to happen, either. More likely, I think they’ll sign one of the FA starters, hopefully not Arrieta, and hopefully someone better than Lackey. If they sign another FA starter, then it doesn’t make much sense to keep Cole.


    18 Jan 18 at 9:06 pm

  9. I posted this several weeks ago but will move it forward for reference.

    FA starter stats:

    Darvish: 3.86 ERA, 118 ERA+, 3.83 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 10.1 K9

    Arrieta: 3.53 ERA, 123 ERA+, 4.16 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 8.7 K9

    Lynn: 3.03 ERA, 129 ERA+, 3.44 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 8.6 K9

    Cobb: 3.66 ERA, 113 ERA+, 4.16 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 6.4 K9

    Vargas: 4.16 ERA, 108 ERA+, 4.67 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 6.7 K9

    Cashner: 3.40 ERA, 138 ERA+, 4.61 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 4.6 K9

    Lackey: 4.59 ERA, 95 ERA+, 5.30 FIP, 1.28 WHIP, 7.9 K9

    Dickey: 4.26 ERA, 100 ERA+, 4.72 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 6.7 K9

    Garcia: 4.41 ERA, 99 ERA+, 4.25 FIP, 1.41 WHIP, 7.4 K9

    Volquez: 4.19 ERA, 97 ERA+, 4.35 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, 7.9 K9

    Cahill: 4.93 ERA, 86 ERA+, 5.26 FIP, 1.62 WHIP, 9.3 K9

    Nolasco: 4.92 ERA, 86 ERA+, 5.10 FIP, 1.45 WHIP, 7.1 K9

    These are the only guys I’m finding with ERAs under 5.00, although it’s possible I missed a couple.


    19 Jan 18 at 7:55 am

  10. Milone may be a “reclamation project” but he may have his best year yet. Yes we need a third starter not a fifth. And yes Fedde has talent. Without predicting the future I think the commenters are writing off Milone way too early.

    T B

    19 Jan 18 at 1:48 pm

  11. Heyman And Boras get a lot of criticism but I thought this was a really good article. Say what you want about Boras but he’s pretty smart.


    20 Jan 18 at 8:25 am

  12. I certainly agree with Boras that few contending teams are making moves that make them demonstrably better. The Nats haven’t. They’ve essentially rebuilt the same team, bringing back Kendrick and Kintzler, signing a Lind clone to replace Lind, and at least as of now, having the awful-hitting Severino to replace the awful-hitting Lobaton. They’ve got Eaton healthy to replace Werth, which should be an upgrade, but that’s about it. It’s the same team.

    (I do NOT agree with Heyman that the Nats are among the teams that need Holland. Holland fell apart in the second half last year and has very little leverage.)

    What could the Nats do? We’ve discussed here the benefits of adding another starter. The only addition I could see to the bullpen likely isn’t going to happen — a true shut-down closer at the back end. Holland isn’t that. Wade Davis was the only one of the market, and he has some red flags. Otherwise, they’re fine with Doo and Mad . . . if they stay healthy.

    What else? The catcher situation has been beaten to death. Avila and Lucroy are still out there. The only other thing I see is that they could replace Taylor in the OF with a bigger, less-K-prone bat. But it’s questionable whether such an investment would result in that much improvement. Yelich is supposedly available but likely would cost Robles. J. D. Martinez strikes out almost as much as Taylor and would be a huge step back defensively, not to mention costing a small fortune. It might make more sense to sign Lo Cain and trade Taylor as part of a deal for a starting pitcher . . . although it might be easier to just sign a starting pitcher . . . or trade Robles for Archer.


    20 Jan 18 at 9:54 am

  13. As for the FA market, yes, there is some collusion, no doubt, with the luxury tax as a convenient excuse. But this is also a flawed FA market that doesn’t offer ideal fixes in areas where teams need fixes. The four best starting pitchers all have red flags, and the very best among them has a recent TJ and was awful in the World Series. Martinez strikes out 30% of the time and can’t play defense. Few teams have a need for a bopping 1B/LF/DH, and that market has been repressed for a couple of years. Cozart found so little market for a SS that he signed as a 2B. Lucroy looks like a shell of his former self. Cain may be one of the best all-around players on the market WAR-wise, but he’s not a middle-of-the-order player and can’t command middle-of-the-order numbers.

    It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks, though. We’re less than a month from spring training and more than 100 players are unsigned. Some are going to sign as real bargains. Which ones? Where? If the Cubs sign a couple of the top starters, they would be a considerably better team than they are now. So would the Angels. I’m thinking Rizzo is hoping to get a starter for something like 2/$20M. Lynn or Cobb would be great on a two-year deal, maybe even for three, but it’s a huge risk for any team to give either four or five years.


    20 Jan 18 at 10:09 am

  14. The part that I found interesting was on the overall market. They made a general premise that I agree with. Teams are now getting smart that large dollar contracts to older players are a bad investment. On the flip side, most kids reach the majors at 21-23, and with the current structure, teams have seven years of control and artificially holding down compensation. So most guys reach the free-agent market late 20s – early 30s. If teams are not going to pay those guys, the players (either at the next collective-bargaining agreement or otherwise) are going to have to get really aggressive so that market pay flows to players in their primes, when teams are willing to pay. That either means shortening up years of control, changing or doing away with arbitration so that it pays closer to market in the current arb years, or maybe a salary floor. And the owners will violently oppose it, so work stoppage may result. And the fans will side with the owners. For any of that to happen, though, the union needs better leaders. Tony Clark isn’t up to that.

    It could get interesting.


    20 Jan 18 at 10:42 am

  15. And I don’t think collusion is going on. Collusion usually means that the owners are getting together and deciding they won’t pay more than xxxx for players. I seriously doubt any of that is happening. Not just because it’s easy to get caught, but because they don’t need to. What I think is happening is that everyone has agreed on when players are most valuable and when they become more fungible. And they’re no longer paying for players who don’t have really unique and elite skills


    20 Jan 18 at 10:46 am

  16. Grant Brisbee basically makes both of our points — that this is a suspect FA class, and that teams are worshiping at the altar of cheap young talent:

    Is there organized collusion? Not really, but it sort of comes out that way when a bunch of teams reach the same bottom-line conclusions, for similar reasons.

    Another detail that’s playing into all of this is that a large number of MLB teams aren’t trying right now. They just aren’t. That’s a real problem, one that baseball has refused to address for decades, in part because Bud was a bumbling small-market owner himself. Nearly every NFL team is trying. Most NBA and NHL teams are trying. MLB is the only one of the major pro sports where half the teams aren’t trying. On quick glance, I count 14 of the 30 MLB teams that are trying to compete on a playoff level, seven in each league. There are some teams like the Giants and the Mets that are still trying to field respectable squads, but they’re not close to having playoff rosters. Then there are about 10 teams that are just totally checked out. That’s a third of the league just mailing it in. It’s embarrassing. It also contributes to a very downsized market for free agents. If you’ve got 5-7 teams acting like they’re at their spending limit, 10 totally not trying or buying, and 6 or so that are only sort of trying, there’s not much of a market left.


    20 Jan 18 at 1:56 pm

  17. That’s a good article, I agree with the points. The other thing that occurred to me is that there are a few ways to address this. You can give players freedom earlier, or allow them to access market based pay earlier. As a fan, I prefer the second one. There is value to me as a fan for players staying with a team longer.


    20 Jan 18 at 3:03 pm

  18. The obsession with cheap young talent and the tanking are directly related. The Astros and Cubs pretty openly tanked their way to the last two WS titles. Some would say that the Nats tanked their way to their contending roster, but in their case, it was probably more gross mismanagement by morons like Bowden. (Remember how Elijah, Lastings, and Wily Mo were going to be stars?) It didn’t help that the Lerners pinched every penny until they signed Stras, Werth, and Harper.

    I agree, though — it’s going to be hard to stem the growing obsession with cheap talent. Maybe start arb years sooner and allow for higher arb salaries? Nothing like that would change until a new CBA, though, and the players’ representation is pretty mediocre right now. They got screwed in the last CBA and were too clueless to realize it.


    20 Jan 18 at 11:38 pm

  19. Do you think Theo Epstein peed his pants when he heard that the Brewers have a legit bid in on Darvish? Remember, the Brew Crew was ahead of the Cubs for much of the summer and might have made it really close if Jimmy Nelson hadn’t gone down. Many have forgotten that the Brewers also finished ahead of the Cards. The Cubs have lost a combined 61 starts from Arrieta and Lackey, plus their closer. With the Cards improved and the Brewers trying to get Darvish, it strikes me that Theo is taking a big risk this offseason, I guess hoping that he can get some discount deals on pitching at the last minute. Chatwood and Smyly don’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of teams with guys like Kershaw and Scherzer.


    22 Jan 18 at 2:48 pm

  20. Brewers making a play for Yelich. Man, they’re rattling the Cubs’ cage. I love it!


    23 Jan 18 at 7:26 pm

  21. I’ll throw something out there to see if I can get a rise out of anyone. I’m sure Boras is still looking for four years or more for Arrieta. There’s still a good chance that when Darvish comes off the board, contending teams that need a starter will call about Arrieta.

    However, should he end up needing a landing spot, would the Nats consider something along these lines for Arrieta: 1 yr./$15M, with a $15M mutual option and a buyout in the $3-5M range? That’s similar to the type of pillow contracts Boras found for Holland and Wieters last year. I’d think about it if I were the Nats. Arrieta is probably still going to be good for one more year, although with his regression, no one is going to want to touch him for a longer-term contract. The Nats would certainly have enough scoop on Arrieta, both from Martinez and from Lilliquist, who saw him often in the same division.


    24 Jan 18 at 11:24 am

  22. Wow, it’s looking like Andruw Jones may drop off the ballot in the first year. That’s insane. Rolen isn’t getting much traction, either, but he should stay on the ballot.


    24 Jan 18 at 12:50 pm

  23. Arrieta at 1/$18M would be a screaming buy for the Nats. I think he’ll be a 3 WAR pitcher this year. he’s not what he was, but he is still good. I don’t see him signing that though


    24 Jan 18 at 2:33 pm

  24. Don’t forget the draft pick penalties for signing players with a QO. They go up if the signing team’s payroll is above the cap.

    John C.

    24 Jan 18 at 2:49 pm

  25. I don’t think they lose the first-round pick, though, do they? Frankly, any pick after the first round isn’t that big a deal.

    I’m scared to death of Arrieta for more than anything over two years, maybe even beyond one, but I think he’s got at least one solid year left in him.


    24 Jan 18 at 3:18 pm

  26. I think Arrieta has only one or two good years left in him. But I would fall all over myself to sign him at 1/$18 mil. On a one year deal, he’s a bargain at anything less than $25 million or so.


    24 Jan 18 at 4:45 pm

  27. Whelp, now that was interesting.


    25 Jan 18 at 7:16 pm

  28. Remember what I said a couple of days ago about Theo peeing his pants? The Brewers still need pitching . . . but so do the Cubs. Has the hot stove finally gotten lit?

    The Brewers paid a premium for both Yelich and Cain. Five years for Cain seems like a real gamble. Yelich has a very affordable contract, of course. Good for the Brewers for going for it, though, at a time when so many teams seem to be sitting on their assets.


    25 Jan 18 at 9:05 pm

  29. Nats Talk blowing up with Realmuto chatter. Why, oh why, would you trade Robles, or even Soto, when you can just sign Avila? I just can’t see giving up six-plus seasons of Robles for three of Realmuto.


    26 Jan 18 at 2:22 pm

  30. I definitely would not trade for realmuto given what his price will likely be. Robles and Soto would be off the table completely and I’ve seen one alternative of Fedde, Romero and Crowe. I wouldn’t do that either. I’d give one of them plus some lower guys maybe.


    26 Jan 18 at 2:35 pm

  31. I’ve even thought about Taylor + Cole for Realmuto, which the Marlins probably wouldn’t consider enough. I don’t know that I would do that trade anyway. MAT and Realmuto are similar offensively and in age. I don’t see much gain there, and as I said, the Fish wouldn’t think it was enough anyway. They don’t HAVE to trade Realmuto, as he isn’t costing them much, so they’ll sit on him until they get an over-the-top deal. The Nats have no need to make such a deal, no matter how much Realmuto would be a nice-to-have.

    Now, Robles for Archer is a different story . . .


    26 Jan 18 at 4:30 pm

  32. Yeah, I’d do that for Archer.

    On Realmuto, I think I don’t value him as highly as others, maybe even you. I think he is good, not great. If he was exceptional defensively, it might be a different story but I think he’s just ok there. The Nats have rarely had good C’s, just a few of Ramos’ years really, so it feels more impactful to us. But he’s no Buster Posey. So I’m reluctant to give up anyone that I think is >50% likely to be a good major leaguer, which probably extends to Kieboom. If our system was strong like NYY or HOU, or even if it was our system without all the trades of the last couple of years, i’d probably feel differently about it. But Realmuto just feels like a guy who was below the radar and seemed like a nice under appreciated value, that all of a sudden you become infatuated with and convince yourself that he’s a star, when he isn’t.

    But here’s an interesting question from a trade standpoint, whether it’s Realmuto or anyone else: would you rather trade Soto + someone outside the top 10, or Kieboom and Fedde? Which hurts more?


    26 Jan 18 at 4:51 pm

  33. If you’re asking me, I’m on record (and have had to defend) saying that I’d trade Robles before I’d trade Soto. I’m in the tank for Soto.

    I think Kieboom may be a step below Robles and Soto, but in the grand scheme, the Nats may need him more, as their infield pipeline is terrible right now.

    This thread started with the debate over Fedde. I’m still not sure what to think about him, other than that I’m pretty convinced he’s going to be better than Cole, which is a low bar. As Todd details above, though, they’ve got nuttin’ else as a prospective starter in the upper minors, which is why they’ve brought in EJax and Milone. So . . . trading Fedde and Kieboom would completely deplete areas of the farm that are already hurting.

    I’m eager to trade Seth Romero, though! I’d probably reluctantly part with Fedde for a good return, mainly because I’m not convinced his ceiling is that high.

    I do agree with you about Realmuto, by the way. I’ve never understood the excitement to overpay for him. He’s never stood out in my mind in the games against the Nats. He’s a good-hitting young catcher, and there’s value in that, but I just don’t think he would improve the 2018 Nats enough to warrant giving up 6.5 years of Robles, all the more when you can just pay Avila and give up nothing.


    26 Jan 18 at 5:55 pm

  34. And here’s why — I just looked up Realmuto’s career against the Nats: .239/.271/.359. No wonder I can’t get excited about him! He has only two homers in 54 games against the Nats.


    26 Jan 18 at 5:59 pm

  35. Check out his H/R splits. Notwithstanding his Nats Park experience, he could really benefit from getting out of Miami.

    I might trade Soto, Romero, and Wieters for Realmuto. And make it clear that the salary dump to get under the luxury tax threshold is what puts Soto on the table. The Marlins already did this with Starlin Castro in the Stanton deal, and getting under the threshold really helps the Nats next year dealing with Harper and the other FA.

    John C.

    26 Jan 18 at 8:02 pm

  36. It nets to $5-6m in savings, I think. Would that definitely get them under? I’ve seen conflicting reports of where they are at. There is definitely value in being under, especially with FAs departing, so I could see that, I guess.

    But in pure baseball terms, as for Realmuto, he’s a nice player but he’d be at best, what, their 6th best position player? And that’s only if MAT played over his head last year. And from what I’ve read, I’m the rare person who thinks their lineup and bench is so stacked with hitters, they can afford to go with a weak bat, great D catcher. Like, um, Severino.


    26 Jan 18 at 8:37 pm

  37. John, that’s an interesting trade proposal, basically throwing in Romero to get the Fish to take Wieters. That’s a lot for the Nats to give up, though. But the real reason I don’t think the Nats would do it is that they don’t want to piss off Boras and a Boras client at such a critical time. Can you imagine how pissed you would be to be traded from a playoff team to what’s sure to be a death march in Miami?

    As for the Nats and the luxury tax, I’ll keep saying that if they were really concerned about it, they wouldn’t/shouldn’t have re-signed Kintzler. That was money they didn’t have to spend. They then ponied up for Kendrick, which seemed to indicate that they’re not turning back. I hope not. Now let’s sign Avila and a starter and complete the puzzle.


    26 Jan 18 at 11:17 pm

  38. If the Tax is a problem, it’s the dumb wieters signing that is the problem, and I think that was a Lerner call. Put them over last year, and is the largest disposable salary this year. And I’d say that even if he put up a typical season of 1 WAR, rather than -1. They just didn’t need him. They can carry a good D catcher with this lineup, and that’s a big salary.

    Although this has the feel of Lerner, not Rizzo, you have to lay it at Rizzo’s feet unless you know for sure. And i’d Say the collective 2017/18 catching mess is maybe his worst set of moves ever: trading Avila for Norris, then cutting him, then signing Wieters for 2/$20m. Lost a good asset, punitive financial impact (i’m Considering a dollar that puts you over the Tax as worse than a normal dollar spent) and still getting bad play from C.


    27 Jan 18 at 8:40 am

  39. Avila to D-Backs, with terms not yet disclosed. I would have been willing to go 2/$10-12M for him. It’s hard to see the Nats paying more than that for a platoon player. Avila, as a LHB, was a better platoon option with Wieters, who has better splits as a RHB, than all the other RH catchers still out there. The Nats certainly had the scoop on Avila, though, with Davey M. in the house.

    Nats Talk has been melting down over the last few days with Realmuto chatter. Realmuto is a cheaper, good-hitting catcher who would be nice to have. It just depends how much of your future you’re willing to mortgage to get him. Even if they do reel him in, how much would he play? The pitchers apparently love Wieters, for whatever reason, and everyone’s saying that he’s going to play ~90 games.

    I’m still a lot more interested in getting a better starting pitcher than the options discussed above than I am in landing a platoon catcher, but maybe that’s just me.


    31 Jan 18 at 9:03 am

  40. OK, Avila signed for even less than I thought, a hair more than $4M per for two years. That’s half the 2/$16M MLBTR had projected him to get at the beginning of the offseason. If the Nats really wanted another catcher, it would have made a lot more sense to pay 2/$8.25M for Avila than trade one of your top prospects for Realmuto. Makes me think they’re not really that eager to get another catcher . . .

    And it’s now February! There are still ~130 MLB free agents, including 8 of the top 10 of this class. Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks. There are going to be some bargains to be had.


    1 Feb 18 at 8:32 am

  41. Montero on a minors deal. Not bad for a back up C, although I continue to think (maybe the only one) that Severino’s glove makes him acceptable back there.

    I’ve come around to a Garcia type signing, though, for low base ($2m?) with incentives. Don’t want to pay the picks for any of the others like Lynn, etc

    I really do wonder if this market comes together for all of these big ticket guys. The MLBPA has to be seething.


    1 Feb 18 at 5:07 pm

  42. I laughed out loud when I heard that the Nats signed Montero. I guess they have the inside story on the Cub clubhouse situation. In looking at the stats, Montero actually had several outstanding seasons throwing out runners in AZ, so maybe there is something to the fact of the Cub pitchers being terrible at holding runners.

    Wait, did I just say AZ? That means he was a Rizzo draft pick and knows the secret D-Back handshake.

    Montero had an .805 OPS and 108 OPS+ with the Cubs last year before really struggling in Toronto. He’s got a career OPS of .752. He can hit pretty well for a catcher. He also hits left-handed, which, as I have pointed out, makes him a better platoon partner with Wieters.


    2 Feb 18 at 6:56 am

  43. For reference, Realmuto’s career OPS is .750. Now, Montero doesn’t solve the Nats’ catching issue for 2019/2020 like Realmuto would, but he also doesn’t cost a top prospect or two.


    2 Feb 18 at 7:03 am

  44. Err, Montero would have been a Latin signee, not a draft pick. But he came up in the AZ system during the Rizzo years.

    And yes, I think he can beat out Severino. But if not, nothing ventured, nothing lost on a minor-league deal.


    2 Feb 18 at 7:06 am

  45. According to Nats Talk, Rizzo said at the Nats’ Hot Stove event over the weekend that Cole is the #5 starter. Sigh. Sure wish they were spending all this Realmuto effort on finding another arm.


    5 Feb 18 at 12:28 pm

  46. Fangraphs Top 100 Prospect List:

    Interestingly ranks C. Kieboom above Soto (Kieboom at 40, Soto at 50).


    5 Feb 18 at 2:17 pm

  47. that is pretty interesting about Kieboom v Soto. Not just higher on the list, but a whole grade higher too (55 – 50). Has to be due to positional adjustment. Nice to see, but that hasn’t been supported by any of the other prospect outfits.

    Another interesting article on Fangraphs was the idea that the MLBPA can decertify itself going into the next CBA, which allows them to sue the owners under anti trust laws.


    5 Feb 18 at 3:22 pm

  48. Baseball Prospectus with a very different take on the Nats: Robles #2, Soto #22, Kieboom #71, Romero #76, Fedde #87.

    I’ve been surprised at some of the lists that have left Kieboom out of the top 100, so it’s good to see him getting some love here and particularly by FanGraphs. Even though FG has Robles as “only” #5, they say that “he’s a likely star and arguably the most polished prospect on this list.”


    5 Feb 18 at 3:30 pm

  49. I think the Fangraphs’ ranking is based a lot on positional issues. As a corner OF, Soto just has to rake to be a star. Kieboom’s margin of error with the bat is much higher as a SS (or 3B/2B).

    Also interesting that they call Robles – someone who is 20 years old – the most polished prospect on the list.


    6 Feb 18 at 12:34 pm

  50. Of all their touted guys, I’m most pessimistic on Fedde. His appearances so far don’t give me confidence that he’ll be a quality starter. There just doesn’t seem to be a special pitch, or command, or deception. All the caveats and disclaimers about small sample sizes apply, certainly, but still, that’s my hunch on him. I’d be most willing to trade him of all those mentioned, and probably a few not mentioned.


    6 Feb 18 at 1:48 pm

  51. Wally, I think you have to temper your disappointment on Fedde last year. he was jerked back and forth from starter to relief back to starter. I hope he’s healthy and can make 25 starts in AA this year. if so I’d expect an improvement


    6 Feb 18 at 3:50 pm

  52. I’m going to say some seemingly contradictory things here, so bear with me. First of all, I think Fedde is probably the best option of the four guys discussed in the original post, and that he’s one of the top 100 prospects in baseball . . . unless you dock him for being about to turn 25.

    Those things said, I was never a fan of the pick. The Nats passed on guys like Bradley Zimmer and Matt Chapman to take a wounded Fedde, believing he was a top-10 talent. Was he/is he? We’re still waiting to find out. (I’ll note that the top of this draft class hasn’t been stellar thus far.)

    Would I trade Fedde? That’s complicated. Right now, as discussed above, the Nat starting pitching reserve doesn’t amount to much. If they sign a starter, they’ll likely trade Cole, and we don’t know whether EJax has an opt-out. So Fedde and a recalibrating Milone may be all they have in reserve.

    The Nats bet big on Fedde when they traded Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning. It’s hard to see them giving up on Fedde now, all the more so since his trade value is probably down.


    6 Feb 18 at 8:29 pm

  53. An interesting take from Neil Greenberg:

    In looking through the prospective numbers, the biggest pitching bargain on the board looks like Jaime Garcia, although how a guy coming off a 4.41 ERA and 1.41 WHIP projects to a 2.3 fWAR I haven’t a clue. (I say a bargain because there’s no way Garcia is getting anything close to 5/$72M; probably more like 2/$12M.)


    7 Feb 18 at 1:37 pm

  54. Whelp, Read is out of the picture for a while.

    Finally made my way through all the fangraphs prospect stuff, top 100 and other. I like the FG guys better than some others, like MLB or even BA. And it’s encouraging the Nats have three top 50 guys, although only Luis Garcia gets a future sniff, which makes sense.

    I had expected More traded prospects to show up, but only Avila and Luzardo did. Kind of surprised that Neuse and Hearn, in particular, didn’t even make honorable mentions. That Avila trade still seems like Rizzo’s low water mark. If I could undo one of all his deals, i’d Reverse that one. Even over the Papelbon trade.


    7 Feb 18 at 6:10 pm

  55. They’ve been over a barrel two years in a row with the catcher situation, leading them to a series of questionable deals. Did they overrate what they had in S. Kieboom and Severino? Did they think they would be able to re-sign Ramos, until he got hurt?

    Bad news on Read, although I don’t think he really figured much in the plans with the big club this year, barring injury. He still has a lot of work to do on the defensive side of things, though, and missing the spring and half the season won’t help.

    Here’s a technical question–what happens to Read’s 40-man slot while he’s suspended? Can the Nats fill it during the period when he is out?


    7 Feb 18 at 7:38 pm

  56. Look at that list of 12 pitchers with stats that I posted above on January 19. It’s been three weeks and NONE of them has signed. Spring Training starts in less than a week. EVERY team in baseball needs more starting pitching, including several contenders, and yet there’s no movement whatsoever on the top pitchers.

    Every one of those pitchers has some flaws. Every one of them has an agent who wants too many years. But at some point, the logjam has to break, right?

    I stand by my Arrieta proposal, something like $15-18M for one year, with a mutual $18M option and a $3-5M buyout. Boras gets Arrieta a pillow contract, while the Nats don’t over-commit for the long term with a guy we likely don’t want for the long term.

    (Of course Jeff Sullivan has a new piece up on FanGraphs says that Arrieta has the “problem” of the the perception that the Cubs seem to have little interest in him and might know something. Whatever the Cubs know, Davey Martinez knows it, too.)


    9 Feb 18 at 12:24 pm

  57. Good point about Martinez and Arrieta. I’m not excited about him, but he’s better than the guys he would replace.

    Been thinking more about the overall situation. This is a broken system now that needs fixing. I think that the odds of a strike at the next CBA are very high. Many people are talking about the teams who aren’t trying being the reason, and while that has an impact, it isn’t the real fundamental problem.

    What’s happening now is good business: the older guys haven’t been worth these contracts since the PEDs were largely eliminated, and it is appropriate that teams aren’t engaging on the terms the players want. Yet, the players are under control and their earnings are artificially restrained during the periods when they are the most valuable. That exists in all sports to a degree, however, the disparity is most pronounced right now in baseball.

    the only reason that the players agreed to such long periods of control, and minimum salaries and arbitration, is based on the expectations that teams would value them when they became free, in their 30’s. That’s not happening now, and the players are not going to be willing to make this trade off any longer. And the owners are going to fight tooth and nail to keep it. Enjoy the next three years.

    I wonder what effect all of this is going to have on extensions of players already under control. Players should be more inclined to do it, but will owners be less?

    I also wonder, to break this current impasse, might we see large contracts with both player and owner opt outs? It would give the team some protection in case of declines. If you gave Arrieta a 5/$125m contract with a team opt out after the second year, and let’s say you front load the contract so he gets $30m the first 2 years, a team can see how he does and either opt out, or reevaluate whether he is worth 3/$65m (or maybe that’s a $10m opt out payment)? (I am not suggesting we do it, but another contending team who needs pitching; maybe LAA?).


    9 Feb 18 at 1:43 pm

  58. The CBA runs through 2022, so that part of the system will remain “broken” for the foreseeable future.

    While I don’t think there’s real “collusion,” there’s been a sudden collective rise in intelligence among front offices. No FA on this market is worth five years, much less seven, certainly none of the pitchers. Heck, with his injury issues, even Kershaw isn’t going to be worth seven years next offseason. We all know the wheels likely will fall off with Max at some point as well.

    I’ve been saying for a few years that the contracts should be more front-loaded than back-loaded so the higher salaries correspond with the years when the players likely will be better. I’ve never understood the back-loaded contracts, other than that the teams are willing to mortgage their futures for more payroll flexibility in the present. (That, plus now the expectation that the luxury tax line will rise with the subsequent seasons.)

    I’ve also wondered about the concept of a team option to opt out of a contract. I can’t think of that happening before on a longer-term contract, only with the “mutual option” that some contracts have in the second year of a two-year deal (as we saw with Lind). Yes, in those cases, the players would want most of the money front-loaded before the team to get rid of them (a la NFL contracts).

    I do think we’re going to see some creative things over the next few weeks. The agents have few options other than to get creative. They’re behind the 8-ball right now.


    9 Feb 18 at 2:12 pm

  59. I really don’t think there is collusion. They’ll never prove it any event, but I don’t think its actually happening either. Keep in mind that virtually all of the ‘old school’ GMs are out, in favor of these younger, more analytically driven guys, who tend to think alike and who also ‘grew up’ slamming long term contracts to guys in their 30’s. And it is the right business call.

    I just don’t see the players voluntarily allowing themselves to be locked up through their valuable years and only free when they aren’t valuable.

    So given all this, what would you offer Rendon if you were Rizzo? how about Turner?


    9 Feb 18 at 2:39 pm

  60. I’m 98% for trying a Rendon extension. The other 2% can’t share the thought that his situation looks awfully similar to Zim’s when a Zim extension seemed like a no-brainer. Anyway, I’d offer six years to Rendon, including buying out his last arb year plus five additional. Let’s say 6/$150M for AAV of $25M.

    Trea is a harder call. In 2016, he looked like he could be 6-7 WAR monster, but in 2017 (discounting the injury), he had a bit of a sophomore slump. Still, he posted 3 fWAR in only 98 games and struck out only 18% of the time. Even saying conservatively that he may “only” average 4-5 WAR, that’s going to make him worth ~$40M a year or so for the foreseeable future. What would a deal for Trea look like? Maybe something like what the Braves did with Simmons? Do you think Trea would be willing to sign away some post-arb years now at around $15M per? Maybe 1/2/5/10/12/15/15/15 = 8/$65M, which sounds like an insane bargain, but some teams would balk at it because they’d be paying him more in the pre-arb years. Maybe you’d be willing to go to 8/$80M to pad it a bit more.


    9 Feb 18 at 10:26 pm

  61. That’s too much for Rendon, and not enough for Turner, imo. I would go 6/$110-120m for Rendon. He has to realize that not only doesn’t his well rounded skill set not get completely rewarded in the market, but also there’s a lot of great third baseman. I think that has a chance of getting it done.

    As for Turner if he has five years of control I think you go 7/$75 + one or two option years at 20 mill? $40m to buy out through arb, then a $15m and $20m FA year. Might not be enough still. I think he is a highly valuable guy but hasn’t gotten too much money yet, so something like this could be appealing.


    10 Feb 18 at 10:01 am

  62. Rendon was worth 7 fWAR in 2017, a valuation of $63-70M or so. You don’t think Boras knows that? I would be thrilled if the Nats could extend Two Bags for “only” $25M a year. He’s not a big HR power guy so may not be able to command a higher salary level, but there are few better all-around player in the game.

    My valuation of Trea may seem low because it includes two pre-arb years plus his arb years. He’s less of a power guy than Rendon, so he’s not going to command huge numbers, which is a good thing from the Nats’ perspective.


    12 Feb 18 at 8:35 am

  63. A few thoughts on the Darvish deal: it definitely makes the Cubs better, although how much better remains to be seen. They HAD to add a front-line starter. But none of the guys they’ve got should be the equal of Max or Stras in a short series, the unfortunate data points from last October not withstanding.

    The Cubs mortgaged a bit of their future by going for the fifth and particularly the sixth year for Darvish. That said, they got him for what appears to be a deep discount. Dave Cameron’s prediction at the start of the offseason had Darvish getting six years at a $28M AAV. He got the six years, but only a $21M AAV. (If it were me as a GM, I’d rather give a higher AAV and fewer years.)

    Will the logjam on starters finally break in the Darvish wake? We’ll see.


    12 Feb 18 at 8:43 am

  64. I still don’t see that kind of contract for rendon. 2 of his 5 seasons were average or shortened due to injury, and he’ll hit the market in his age 30 season. The market is just moving away from those guys getting huge payouts. He’s getting $12m this year, and let’s guess its $18m next year. if you added 4/$90m on the back of that, you get to 6/$120m which takes him through his age 34 season. I’d say its pretty tempting.

    As for Turner, are you counting his years right? I thought this was his last pre-arb year? I think my number was even low: $.5/$5/$10/$15/$20/$20/$20 for 7/$90m through age 31, plus two options at $25m? I’d sign that in a heartbeat and Turner might too.

    The issue with doing extensions with either of these guys this year, (I think), is that you have to take the average salary of the extension into account for lux tax purposes. So Rendon adds $8m to the 2018 number, and Turner another $12m or so. Totally sucks but I think that’s how it works


    12 Feb 18 at 11:36 am

  65. According to B-R, Trea isn’t arb-eligible until 2020, not a free agent until 2023. So I’m counting two more seasons of pre-arb, including 2018. Turner will turn 30 during the 2023 season.

    I think the “problem” with valuing Trea — and perhaps an opportunity for the Nats right now — is that he still hasn’t posted a full season, hasn’t blown up with the a 7 WAR. Until he does, it’s hard to put a valuation of him of $20M+. The concern, of course, would be paying for years beyond age 30 for a wheels-first asset.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the luxury tax. Although several teams have used it as an excuse this offseason to not bid on flawed free agents, nearly all the top contending teams (including the Nats) are already hamstrung by it. The tax line doesn’t represent the contract coverage that contending teams need right now, and will need even more during the extravagant offseason to come. It’s only slated to go up to $206M in 2019, then $208 and $210. How do you fit a $30M+ contract into that equation when most of the top teams are already maxed out? It strikes me that something will have to give.

    (And before anyone gets too excited about Harper, Murphy, and Gio coming off the books for the Nats after 2018, take a look at the balloon payments owed Max and Stras in 2019. My understanding is that those two alone will collectively cost the Nats $80 in 2019.)


    12 Feb 18 at 1:02 pm

  66. That’s cash, though. For luxury tax calculations, I am pretty sure that actual cash is irrelevant, and its the average contract value that a team records each year. It gets confusing with deferred money, but Max is something like a $27m hit each year.

    I don’t see the problem with valuing Trea at $20m a year. In each of his two partial seasons, he’s put up 3 WAR, which is worth $24-27m in todays’ dollars, and that’s only going up. Plus I don’t think his injuries are recurring in nature, so betting on a full season isn’t unreasonable. Let’s put it this way, if every position player was a FA right now, Trea would get the second highest contract after Harp. North of $200m.


    12 Feb 18 at 1:30 pm

  67. I think Rendon would get a higher “open market” valuation right now than Turner, at least AAV. Turner might get more years since he’s younger.

    I don’t disagree that Turner is “worth” $20M per. The question is whether the market would support paying a speed-first guy that much. The most notable contract of recent years that paid a premium for WAR value over power stats has been Heyward’s . . . which is probably going to make him the poster child for not paying for WAR.

    I don’t know. I also think the FanGraphs equation that values 1 WAR at $9-10M is flawed (even though I use it). According to FG, the Nats as a team posted 45.9 WAR in 2017. We don’t know how much they exceeded the tax line by, but supposedly just a little, so we’ll say payroll of $196M. Divide that by 45.9 and you get $4.3M per WAR. Maybe FG takes out all the pre-arb and arb guys and only calculates guys paid on the open market. I don’t know. All of that just leads back to the importance of cheap, controllable talent.


    12 Feb 18 at 1:52 pm

  68. Pitchers and catchers report! Only 43 days until Opening Day!

    You may now return to crazy people flipping around several times while three stories high . . .


    14 Feb 18 at 8:43 am

  69. Strike Jaime Garcia as a Nat possibility. $10M seems a bit much for him, though. Maybe the Jays are paying him in Canadian dollars . . .


    15 Feb 18 at 8:24 pm

  70. So I think you’ll disagree, but I think the Mets have a real chance to give the Nats a test this year. It all depends on pitcher health, of course, but their team is solid without a glaring weakness. It’s not exactly the most exciting team, but Bruce and Frazier are competent players, and they have some depth. If Syndergaard, de grom and Matz put up 80 starts, they could be in 85 win territory. Then it’s a crapshoot and within normal performance error bands.


    16 Feb 18 at 8:08 pm

  71. For the Mets to contend, it would take a remarkable confluence of good health plus nearly the entire lineup turning back the clock. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No. I would be surprised if they can even get into the wildcard conversation considering the strength of the D-Backs, Brewers, Rockies, and Cards.

    But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the Mets do make a bit of a run. The Nats do have a potential vulnerability — the one that’s more or less the subject of this thread. It’s not just that they need to find a fifth starter; it’s that they don’t have much starter depth if they lose one or more of the Big 4 for an extended period.


    18 Feb 18 at 8:12 am

  72. Agreed. I’d narrow it down even further to injury to Stras or Max. Can’t replace them in kind and everyone moves up a notch.

    Biggest risk by far.


    18 Feb 18 at 10:48 am

  73. Glover already shut down. Wow. There’s really a spot open in the bullpen now, either for Cole as a long man/swing man if he doesn’t make the rotation, for Grace (also out of options), or for someone like Adams, Gott, Collins, or Suero. The real stud from that crew is Adams, if he can throw strikes. He had an insane 13.9 K/9 at Syracuse last season, but also a 5.6 BB9.


    19 Feb 18 at 9:48 am

  74. Souza is a very nice acquisition for the Snakes, who gave up very little to get a pretty darn good replacement for JDM — 3.7 fWAR of Souza in 2017, 3.8 for Martinez.

    Think Bryce might want to hurt the Marlins this season just a little bit more than usual? Not smart calling him out, Donnie Baseball. I remember Bryce chatting up Yelich in particular, so he seemed to have some friends among the ex-Fish.


    21 Feb 18 at 7:56 am

  75. I don’t think that will register high on Bryce’s attention meter. he’ll probably get excited to face the crappy Marlins pitching, though.

    That was a pretty good trade all around, I thought.

    I wonder where the pitchers end up. I’d guess that the Twins get one of them, even with the Odorizzi trade. And I wouldn’t count out the Angels


    21 Feb 18 at 9:28 am

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