This week’s chat being the day after an epic Redskins victory, i’d expect it to be football heavy. I’ll parse out the Nats questions.
As always, I edit the “question” for levity and clarity, and write my response before reading Boswell’s.
Q: Did Nyjer Morgan really refer to Albert Pujols as “Alberta?”
A: Not in so many words; i think he just referred to him as “she” in a tweet. I posted my response here, and lots of other pundits have a similar message; par for the course for Morgan. He’s working his way off yet another franchise. Pretty soon he’s gonna run out of chances. Boswell says that Morgan was very quick to be defensive to reporter questions, and notes that an attack on Pujols won’t be forgotten for a while.
Q: What is the future of Chris Marrero?
A: He’s held his own upon being called up, with a .306/.352/.367 line as of monday 9/12/11. Good average yes; where’s the power? I don’t think you can play 1B in this league without being either a .350 hitter or putting up 30homers. He’s relatively weak at 1B, which is the least-challenging defensive position out there. I don’t know what the future holds; but I’m having doubts that he’s a long term major leaguer. Boswell agrees, saying Marrero won’t start over LaRoche and seems to be a weak hitter w/o a positions.
Q: How is it that Clippard is the 8th inning guy and Storen is the 9th inning guy?
A: I’d like to think that the team recognized that Clippard is the more valuable pitcher and therefore needs to pitch in the higher leverage situations as compared to Storen. More likely, the two guys are used to their roles, enjoy them, and don’t want to rock the boat. Boswell agrees with all my points.
Q: Any chance Rizzo leaves for Chicago? If so, who replaces him?
A: I think there’s little chance Rizzo leaves. Why would he leave mid-stream here to go take over a Chicago Cubs team that gutted its farm system to acquire Matt Garza, has $56M still owed to Alfonso Soriano, has a $19M 2012 guaranteed for Carlos Zambrano and (outside of Starlin Castro) seems to have little to no talent on the roster? Maybe this is a challenge, but there’s so much deadweight there you’d have to think the turnaround is going to take a while. That being said, Chicago would give him a payroll at least twice what he has here, and presumably the same draft resources. So perhaps he’s sick of the cheapskate Lerners and will jump ship. Who replaces him? I would think there are plenty of internal candidates; bit name GMs probably don’t want any part of this team based on past history. Boswell says Rizzo’s performance outside of DC is pretty high, and fans should be a bit worried.
Q: If you were planning a trip to Viera for Spring Training, when would you go?
A: I’d want to go early on; perhaps the first or 2nd week, so that you can see more than just the major leaguers. I’d want to see the full experience; the non-roster invitees, the non-40 man guys, the vets on minor league deals just trying to hang on, etc. Boswell agrees; first week.
Q: Are the new wave of kids enough for 2012, or is 2013 the year?
A: I’ve always said 2013 is the year. 2012 will be Strasburg’s come back year, Zimmermann’s “taking the next step” year, an important additional year for Desmond and Espinosa, a calming down year for Werth, and a “was I a flash in the pan year” for Morse. We’ll have more time to try out different arms in the bullpen. We can look to augment in the FA market (but its thin). The post 2012 FA market is massive, and the team will have all of 2012 to evaluate the likes of Milone, Peacock, Lannan, Gorzelanny, and Detwiler to determine who gets replaced with a hired gun. Boswell offered opinions of rookies, but nothing for 2012.
Q: Is there a culture of losing with this team?
A: Perhaps some. But the more rookies rise up who are accustomed to success, replacing veterans who are just happy to have jobs and don’t care about the W/L record, the better the team’s attitude will be. Boswell talks about problems that still exist in the operational staff.
Q: Should we have gone with a managerial “prospect” instead of Davey Johnson?
A: I don’t think so; this season was always a transitional one. It was going to be just as instructive to learn if Johnson can still manage after a 12 year hiatus as it would be to give the job to Bo Porter or someone. Boswell blows more sunshine up Johnson’s ass.
Q: What will Strasburg’s innings limit be next year?
A: Almost identical to Jordan Zimmermann’s this year. 160, give or take. Boswell forgot to answer.
Q: Are we being alarmist with Strasburg’s lack of velocity in start #2?
A: No, I don’t think so. How do you go from 98-99 and then 5 days later be 5mph slower? I just hope its a tired arm and not something more serious. Boswell admits to being a bit alarmist.