Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats Off-season News Items Wrap-up 12/16/11 edition

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I wonder if Harper would be "tebowing" if he knew it was now a beer logo? Photo via mr irrelevant blog

This is your semi-weekly/periodic wrap-up of Nats and other baseball news that caught my eye.

Nationals In General

Free Agents/Player Transaction News

  • We hear from Albert Pujol‘s wife Dierdre, who says she was “mad at God” for having to leave St. Louis.  I’m sorry; if you are “forced” to leave St. Louis so that you can earn $254M dollars instead of $210M, you don’t get to invoke “God” or any self-pity whatsoever.  Is Pujol’s wife as out-of-touch as most modern athletes are?  This almost reminds me of the infamous line from Latrell Sprewell, who turned down a $21M contract extension by saying that “I’ve got my family to feed.”
  • DC-area native Joe Saunders was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks after failing to reach a multi-year deal.  There were plenty of other non-tenders to talk about, but the West Springfield graduate immediately becomes a rather high-end FA starting pitcher when compared to the rest of the market.  I don’t think he’s worth pursuing necessarily; he isn’t going to give us anything that we probably couldn’t expect to get out of Ross Detwiler at a fraction of the cost, and perhaps this is just a negotiating ploy by the Arizona GM.  But its definitely fair to say that his arbitration cost would have probably been more than his actual worth on an annual salary basis.
  • The Yu Darvish deadline passed on 5pm Wednesday, and all we know is that someone actually bid, and that there were a number of serious bidders.  The NPB has four days to formally “accept” the offer, so will not know til next tuesday who “won.”  I heard on SportsTalk 980 that the Nationals did not submit a bid, and here’s Adam Kilgore confirming in print.  I’ve posted my opinion on Darvish in the past; i’m sure he’s talented, but don’t think he’s a 9-figure risk.  Unsubstantiated early rumors list the Toronto Blue Jays as the posting winners.
  • Good for Josh Willingham, signing a 3yr deal in Minnesota.  Yes we could have used his offense in 2011.  Willingham’s 2011 bWAR?  1.8 hitting in a horribly bad pitcher’s stadium.  The players we got for him?  Henry Rodriguez‘s 0.2 and Corey Brown‘s 0 (and subsequent removal from the 40-man roster).  That was a good piece of business!

General Baseball News

  • I kind of agree with Phil Wood‘s take on Ryan Braun‘s positive test, as printed here.  If a player has been tested again and again, and then (say) gets a test mixed up or hits a false positive, and that test is leaked to the world, wouldn’t you be pretty pissed as well?  I’m not saying that’s what happened here (since I have no involvement whatsoever), but such a scenario would play out pretty unfairly to the athlete in question.  One can only hope that the “insanely high” levels of testosterone were either a testing mistake or a flawed test.   Or possibly that Braun was surprised by the timing of the test and was doing what Victor Conte describes as a “truck sized loop hole” in the baseball drug testing.
  • This story cracks me up: Derek Jeter sends the same “break-up present” consisting of a gift-basket with a hand-signed baseball to all his “conquests.”  How did we find this out?  Because he had a repeat hookup and apparently forgot that he had already sent one to her.  Oops.  Here’s the question: how do these women certify the signed baseball?  Does it also come with a certificate of authenticity?  :-)
  • The title of this article says it all: “MLB increasingly concerned about Mets’ financing.”  Yeah, I would be too.  Another excellent hand-picked owner from your commissioner Bud Selig

General News; other

  • The verb “Tebowing” is now being recognized as an official word.  At least its not ebonics.  At least not everyone is taking this thing seriously; see here for a fantastic new Tebowing-themed beer label.
  • Thank god for this clause in the new CBA: players are going to be banned from getting corporate logo tattoos.  Its too bad; I’m pretty sure I just heard that Stephen Strasburg is getting the Dairy Queen logo tattooed on the small of his back, tramp-stamp style.

2 Responses to 'Nats Off-season News Items Wrap-up 12/16/11 edition'

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  1. Thanks for the hilarious Jeter link, that’s the kind of story that has you smiling all day.

    I just love all this ‘buyers remorse’ coming from the Pujols camp, he’s already said twice that it was “not about the money”. I’m sure all us working stiffs can relate to him.
    BTW, Sprewell never did sign another contract.

    I agree with you on Saunders, unfortunately, as that would be a great story of local boy coming home. We could have used him big time in previous years, just not anymore.

    I’m getting increasingly pissed at the Nats not signing Ankiel by now. Yes, he’s only a 4th outfielder but has the best outfield arm in all of baseball and is your perfect late inning replacement. Mike Cameron?? He’s very old.

    Mark L

    17 Dec 11 at 9:00 am

  2. Ankiel is a Boras client right? Yes he is: https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0Ah4PW47PiAi-dDdfMjIxSE9MY2tnSzZUeTVKYUVncWc&output=html. Boras clients just don’t sign early. So, while I agree that Ankiel makes the most sense as a plus-plus defensive 4th OF, my guess is that 1) he’s probably looking for a starting gig somewhere before he 2) signs later in the off-season. Cameron’s advanced stats were still amazingly good … i wonder if the Nats involvement there is just Rizzo kicking the tires on everything out there…

    Todd Boss

    17 Dec 11 at 9:39 am

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