Here’s Tom Boswell‘ weekly Monday chat on 12/19/11. Of the baseball questions he took, here’s how I’d have answered them. With a Redskins unexpected win, I’d think this will be heavy on football, but I thought the same about last week as well. There were a TON of baseball questions. Maybe the town is tiring of Redskins coverage, now that they’re eliminated from the playoffs.
As always, questions are edited for clarity and I write my own answer prior to reading his.
Q: Have you heard anything about the possibility of Da Meathook (Dmitri Young) returning to the Nats to be a role player and mentor?
A: No chance. Dmitri Young was a Jim Bowden reclamation project and no matter how that story may play in the “feel good” category, Rizzo has gone to great pains to rid most of this roster of Bowden players. It is good to see Young losing weight and looking better though. Boswell says little chance, that Young really is a DH/PH now and we’re in the wrong league.
Q: Should the Nats consider Carlos Beltran?
A: Again, hard to see. Beltran was decent in 2011, his first healthy season since 2008. Ironic that it happened in his walk year. But he’s already been moved out of CF, and was not really that good defensively in RF. He’ll want a longer term deal … but we have a certain upper-end RF prospect named Harper coming up who would be blocked. Beltran makes no sense for us. Boswell says no chance, then opines on the lack of movement out of the Nats front office.
Q: What do you make of the Nats (non) moves? Are the Lerners still “cheap?”
A: It was always going to be a weak FA market, and with the Marlins suddenly throwing ridiculous money around and outbidding the team for its targets, it does look as if the team isn’t doing much. The price of #1/#2 starters has just gotten out of control this off-season (see the unbelievable haul that a low-end #1 guy in Mat Latos just got), so I sense the team is re-evaluating. Boswell says you can’t be “cheap” after signing a guy to $126M contract.
Q: Does Rizzo deserve an F for the off-season so far? Missed out on Buerle and no CF either.
A: Man, people are impatient. Maybe the team underbid on Buehrle, but they were NEVER going to go 4yrs and $56M dollars on the guy. I’m sorry; he’s a #3 pitcher, a soft-tossing lefty who never gets hurt. That’s NOT an ace, that’s not worth $13M a year. As for CF, there’s no good FAs out there, so it was always going to be a trade. Last time i checked its only December and the off-season is only half-way done. I’d rather stand pat than make a panic buy. Boswell says Rizzo needs to be judged 5 years down the road on his 2011 draft signings.
Q: Have we seen the last off-season addition?
A: I don’t think so, but the likelihood of seeing a “major” acquisition now seems thin. It is what it is; 2012’s FA crop was weak and everyone got bid up. Notice how the Yankees and Red Sox didn’t get anyone either, and BOTH those teams desperately need starting pitching. Boswell takes his third question on the same topic and just says that if the team hits better they’ll be better next year. duh
Q: Do you think Endy Chavez could be a decent short-term filler for the Nats in centerfield, or maybe resigning Rick Ankiel, who played pretty well turing the final two months of last season?
A: Well, its too late for Chavez, who signed a deal over the weekend with Baltimore. I wouldn’t be opposed to re-signing Ankiel but ONLY as a 4th outfielder. Boswell agrees.
Q: Who’s going to spend the most time in center for the Nats this year? 1. Werth, 2.Cespedes, 3. Ankiel (if he returns), 4. Bernadina (ugh) or 5. someone else?
A: I’ll go with Werth first, but say “someone else” if Rizzo makes his desired trade. Holding out hope for Upton or Bourjos or someone like that. Boswell exactly writes what I wrote.
Q: If the Nats are able to sign or trade for a CFer and they bring up Bryce Harper during the season, does Adam LaRoche become the odd man out this season?
A: If Nats get a CFer, then yes eventually it will come down to either Morse or LaRoche making way. As of now, its hard to see Morse leaving, but you never know in this game. Morse could break a leg and LaRoche could come back 110% in his walk year, and in June we’ll be singing a different tune. Boswell thinks LaRoche is mr. comeback in 2012 and will “make the team glad they have a club option.” Wow, that’s a statement.
Q: Should the Nats really wait til NEXT off-season to hit the FA market?
A: Yes. Yes. Yes. The 2013 FA pool is so much better than this years, that it almost doesn’t make sense to compete and over-pay. As a longer term fan of this team, I would support and argue for such a move. Play the kids in 2012 and figure out what you have, then go on a spending spree to make a pennant-contender in 2013. Boswell says this is exactly what Davey Johnson is advocating.
Q: What are the odds that the Nats do right by the fans and sign Zimm to a Tulo type deal before Spring Training? After watching the Pujols intro in LA, if we have to endure a similar scene w/ Ryan I plan on marching to Nats Park and burn my jersey at the main gate.
A: Lots of repeat questions today. This question was the Question #1 from last week’s boswell Chat. Short answer; Nats don’t pursue long term deal with Zimmerman til after next season. Boswell changes his stance from last week and says the team MUST get it done before the 2012 all-star break. Why? Still disagree here.
Q: Is the reluctance to sign Fielder just about money? He is clearly an upgrade over LaRoche at the plate and would instantly upgrade the offense.
A: I’d be reluctant for several reasons. Money (its a lot), wasted money (on LaRoche), his conditioning (abhorrent for an athlete) and his defensive inadequacies. He does mash though. Boswell likes Laroche, says Morse is a good 1B as well, and doesn’t advocate spending $200M on one position.
Q: Remember the knock on Mike Rizzo was that he would have trouble with some of the non-baseball aspects of a GM job (i.e. media)? We’re a few years in and while the Nats are greatly improved, I’m skeptical of Rizzo. He seems like he’s playing out of position — strong on scouting, not so much on other stuff. Does it even matter given the ownership?
A: I still think Rizzo was partly responsible for the Riggleman situation, and should have done a better “people management” job than he did. But otherwise I don’t have an issue with Rizzo’s performance. The team has completely turned around in just 2 years under his command; what else do you want out of a GM? 3 great drafts, a 20game improvement on the field? Are we getting spoiled here? Boswell agrees, and says that the Werth contract still weighs on him.
Q: Thoughts on the Mat Latos trade? Seems the cost of quality SP is especially high this year—whether you’re Roy Oswalt or the ChiSox looking to trade Danks, the Nats are going to have to spend or give up real value to add that piece to their rotation. Any new developments?
A: The Latos deal is shocking; he’s not exactly a Cy Young candidate in my mind; just a very good, young pitcher. The Reds gave up two developed #1 draft picks (including a very quick to the majors guy in Yonder Alonso), plus an established (albeit injured) Volquez and another guy for Latos. That’s a really expensive trade. Latos better work. How does that affect the Nats? It probably scares the crap out of them. Boswell quotes Jim Bowden’s analysis (?!) and says the Padres may have swindled the Reds here.
Q: Would you be interested in Adam Jones if you were the Nats and who would you be willing to give up?
A: Jones is an interesting candidate. Good bat but not the best in the field. I didn’t even consider him a trade candidate in my CF analysis piece but maybe he is. O’s need pitching, so maybe there’s a fit there. But, the O’s may not have a ready-made replacement for Jones, who is 25 and still under club control for 2 more years. So he won’t be cheap. I’d give up a Detwiler or a Milone but not much more. Boswell agrees with the trade needs, but says Angelos would never trade with Washington on the off-chance that the Nats looked like they “took” him in a deal.
Q: It’s Opening Day 2012 in DC. Sellout crowd, beautiful weather. Perfect day for baseball. Who’s playing CF for the Nats, & who’s hitting leadoff. For that matter, since I’ve asked you to consult your crystal ball, what’s the pitching rotation?
A: Another repeat question. Your CF is Werth, with a yet-to-be named 1-yr FA playing in RF. Rotation is Stras-Zimmerman-Lannan-Wang-Detwiler. Leadoff is (still) Desmond, because the team hasn’t done anything to replace him. But i’m still holding out hope that the team a) signs Oswalt and b) trades for Upton. So we’ll see. Boswell thinks Harper’s making the opening day roster, and Milone is #5 starter. I wouldn’t be surprised.