Nationals Arm Race

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

My Answers to Boswell’s Chat questions 9/12/11 edition

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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.

4 Responses to 'My Answers to Boswell’s Chat questions 9/12/11 edition'

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  1. I heard Nyger on the MLB network saying Alberta… I would have loved seeing him say that to Albert’s face. Than again Albert be the upstanding guy he is probably would have walked away. Nyjer shows classic symtoms of being bi-polar. I should know trust me.

    Bernie

    14 Sep 11 at 11:59 am

  2. I tend to think that Strasburg’s “loss of velocity” was overblown. After a 30+ pitch first inning and virtually no rest in the dugout as the Nats went 1-2-3 on about 8 pitches, he fell off a bit in the second inning. By the third inning he was back to hitting 97 mph on several pitches. If he had stayed at 92-93 in the third inning I’d be a lot more worried, but this season is about shaking off the rust and getting his stamina back.

    And maybe next time he has a long inning, the Nationals will try to prolong their next at bat to give him a breather. Sheesh.

    John C.

    14 Sep 11 at 12:14 pm

  3. I dunno man. His first pitch of the night was 94mph. He averaged 95, only hit 97 twice. This was at least 2mph slower than what he showed just 5 days ago. And its undoubtedly off of his speeds from 2010. This is a guy who doesn’t “just hit 97″ … this is a guy who should be AVERAGING 97.

    If it was truly a mechanics or rust thing, so be it. If its part of his new approach, pitching to contact that’s fine. But sudden velocity drops in power pitchers are historically indicators of bad news. So the reporting on it and worry expressed is expected.

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 11 at 2:23 pm

  4. As far as his velocity, it was the first day start he made and it was hot and humid compared to pitching at night in Harrisburg and Syracuse. He also is basically still on REHAB for the injury. Maybe he dialed it back to go with the pitch to contact formula just to try and get back in shape. I would only be alarmed if he drops down another mile per hour on Saturday.

    PDOWDY83

    16 Sep 11 at 11:26 am

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