Nationals Arm Race

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

Who still thinks the Nats will pursue a CF in the off-season?

24 comments

Harper has turned into a very good defensive CF. Photo Gary Vasquez/US Presswire via Natsinsider.com

Jim Bowden was the latest pundit to repeat the often-mentioned mantra “The Nats need a Center Fielder,” but this isn’t entirely a “pick on Jim Bowden” post.  Most pundits think the Nats are still in love with BJ Upton or newly in love with Michael Bourn and will aggressively pursue one or the other this coming off-season.  Now, that tired statement may have been true in the 2011 off-season, but anyone who still prints this now hasn’t been watching what has been going on in the Nats outfield this season.

To put it simply; Bryce Harper has turned into a very good defensive center fielder.  And there’s no reason to move him off the position for a number of years.

It only took about a week for rumors of Harper’s arm to circulate around the league; within a week or so 3rd base coaches were already playing it conservatively and refused to challenge his arm.  It only took a couple of Sportscenter highlight throws from the outfield to earn that praise.  Harper has 3 outfield assists on the year and probably won’t get too many more given the reputation he’s already earned.

But his arm is just one part of the equation.  Click here for the advanced fielding measure “UZR/150” for all 2012 center-fielders with at least 500 innings played.  Harper currently possesses a 28.6 UZR/150, good for 2nd in the league and far above vaunted defensive outfield wizard (and fellow Rookie phenom) Mike Trout.  In fact, he’s just ahead of Bourn and only behind reserve outfielder Craig Gentry.  To put this into english; right now Harper is just about the best defensive center field in the league.  He’s very fast, shows great range on the ball, and his errors have generally been on over-aggressive throws instead of dropped balls.

By way of UZR/150 comparison, Bourne is clearly a top defender, but the other rumored target Upton actually boasts a -1.3 UZR/150 right now, indicating that he’s actually costing his team runs.

The common narrative is that the Nats want a lead-off/center fielder type so they can move Harper to one corner and Jayson Werth the other and have a plus outfield all the way around.  But lets face it; that’d be a monumental waste of Harper’s defensive talents right now.  An .850 OPS hitting center fielder with 30 homer capabilities is one of the rarest commodities in baseball, and usually good ones only come around once in a generation.  We already knew Harper was such a generational talent, but even I was surprised to see just how well statistically he has played CF thus far.  Do the Nats need a prototypical lead-off hitter?  Yes …. but not as long as Werth is willing to be in that role.  Here’s a fact; Werth has an OBP of .426 hitting lead-off this year, which would be the 2nd best OBP in the league (behind the amazing Joey Votto) if he qualified.  When you have almost an entire lineup of guys who have 20-hr power, someone has to bat lead-off.

The other problem with the “Nats get a free agent CF” scenario is that it leaves no room in the outfield for Michael Morse.  Buying another outfielder pushes Morse to 1B, which pushes Adam LaRoche out the door.  Now, this scenario may happen regardless (LaRoche absolutely should parlay his 2012 season into a multi-year FA deal, or at least explore the possibility), but I’d rather have the positional flexibility to give someone like Tyler Moore more starts, or to give the resurgent Roger Bernadina starts against right-handed starters, or even keep LF the rotating door between Moore, Bernadina and Lombardozzi so that all three valuable players can get playing time.  And if you don’t think the team really wants to give Moore playing time, then you havn’t been paying attention to his season.

Lastly there’s this: spending money on an unneeded CF means less money to spend on pieces that we WILL need; money towards either Edwin Jackson or his rotational replacement, money towards some bullpen reinforcements, or perhaps money to extend a trade target that we leverage to free up some positional log-jams (middle infield for example, between our current starters and the upper-end reinforcements on the way in the high minors).

There’s been comparisions of Harper to the vaunted Mickey Mantle in the past; if Harper sticks in CF for the next decade, those comparisons will just be all the more viable.

24 Responses to 'Who still thinks the Nats will pursue a CF in the off-season?'

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  1. Spot-on analysis, Todd. I’m thrilled that Harper’s defense has effectively obviated our need for a FA CF. Bourn or Upton would be a considerable waste of money for a player the Nats no longer need, and I’d prefer they hold on to that money to extend Z’mann, Jackson, or LaRoche. (Off-topic: I’m torn on LaRoche. He’s a great team guy, but we have other talent we need to get on the field. I really want to extend him, but I’m not sure we should…)

    Finally, I never cease to be disappointed by the lazy, group-think mentality of too many sports commentators. It’s almost as if they don’t even try to stay current. Much easier to just recycle stories from last offseason as if this season never happened. A year ago I never thought I’d be typing this, but the Nats should be utterly indifferent to the CF market this offseason. Seriously, Todd, other than extending some of our current guys, do we even have any FA needs?

    clark17

    13 Sep 12 at 11:57 am

  2. LaRoche; is 2012 a contract year performance or is it in line with expectations for the next 3 years? That’s a tough one; he’s aging, already in his decline phase and signing him blocks other moves the team may want to make. I think the decision will make itself honestly; he declines his half of the option and tests the market. There’s going to be a team out there that offers him 3 years and he’ll take it.

    Lazy sports writer mentality: 100% agree. Think about how often you still hear this line: “Bryce Harper is arrogant and brash.” Really?? At what point this entire major league season has he exhibited anything except utter professionalism and maturity beyond his years? At least that common theme has died down. But the problem is that first impressions are tough to beat, and lots of other-market people only know what these lazy national writers tell them, and often times they don’t bother to get the real story. Irritates the hell out of me.

    Our needs this coming off-season: 5th starter, 1st Baseman, Loogy, infield bench depth, rotation depth in AAA, possibly some bullpen depth. Reading left to right, this is replacing Jackson, LaRoche, Gonzalez, DeRosa, Lannan and Burnett/Gorzelanny. Now, some of these guys are re-signing candidates absolutely. Others are going to have to be replaced. Finding a FA loogy and infield guy is easy. Finding a decent, cheap 5th starter is tougher. Luckily we have some depth from which to trade from. I think the team trades either Ramos or Flores and makes Suzuki the starter; a starting C like Ramos should be able to fetch a 5th starter even up. I think we could move someone like Lombardozzi if we needed to. We have a ton of RHP relievers; Mattheus, Garcia, Perry, Clippard, Storen, Stammen, Henry Rodriguez and some of them are option-less. I could see us moving an infielder and a late-inning right-hander for a piece.

    Todd Boss

    13 Sep 12 at 1:03 pm

  3. Don’t forget that they also have Brian Goodwin moving up fast in the minors and who could be ready by Opening Day 2014. The Nats have to consider the salary escalation for their young stars as they hit arbitration (and for Werth as his increases), so they will want to insert every young, cheap player they can into the lineup. For that reason, I expect Tyler Moore to be the starting first baseman next year and Corey Brown to get his shot to join the Shark as a reserve outfielder.

    If the Nats make a free agent splash or another big trade, I expect it to be another starting pitcher since if Jackson and Lannan do not return they will have a rotation spot to fill.

    bdrube

    13 Sep 12 at 1:34 pm

  4. Agree with replacing vets with up-and-comers as a way to mitigate rising salary, thought i’d wonder if the team won’t put Morse at 1B and Moore in LF. Actually, now that I think about it, the team probably does what you say and starts Moore at first, thinking Morse is better in the OF. But also to your point about replacing salary with up and comers, I’m guessing the team will let Morse go after 2013 and look to replace him with either Goodwin, Rendon or someone else.

    I think the Nats are actually in pretty good shape payroll wise. They’re shedding a good portion of payroll. Jackson 11m, LaRoche 8m, Lannan 5, Wang 4. Gorzelanny, Lidge and Ankiel add up to another 5 and change. That’s 34M in salary and (as pointed in in my comment above this one) there’s really not a ton of FA needs to buy. So you can splash on a big FA pitcher (Greinke?) and use the rest of that cash to pay your arbitration guys and the Nats likely have just about the same payroll in 2013 as they did this year. THAT is fantastic.

    Todd Boss

    13 Sep 12 at 1:55 pm

  5. Agree with everything said here.
    Goodwin is a potential superstar who’s a year or two away.
    I’m equally torn on LaRoche, he’s clogging up the system but has been a real asset this year.

    Mark L

    13 Sep 12 at 4:24 pm

  6. Todd – good article, but a couple of counterpoints. Most people I have read feel like the defensive stats like UZR need a few seasons before they are reliable, so Harper’s UZR in CF is a pretty small sample. But I won’t really push that too hard: my eyes think that he has been improving his reads, and as such a hard worker, I do think that he could handle CF for the next couple of seasons. BUT: his all out style makes me think they might do better overall with him in a corner spot and letting his body take less abuse over the course of a season.

    Also, I think Rizzo will choose Morse or ALR this offseason. They are both early 30’s guys who should be at 1B (IMO). The third OF spot can either be a new guy, or a collection of Bernie, Moore, Lombo.

    Payroll: i think that they should have room for an OF and a pitcher like EJax, especially if they get a decent verdict in the MASN deal.

    The biggest problem with an UPton or Bourn is length of contract they’ll likely get. 4-5 years creates a number of problems down the road.

    Wally

    13 Sep 12 at 5:19 pm

  7. If the question is, Do I think the Nats will pursue a CF next year? not should the Nats pursue a CF next year? I would put the odds very high that they will. I don’t think Rizzo will do anything crazy but if he can get the right deal I would not be shocked if Bourn, Justin Upton or even Denard Span are roaming CF for the Nationals next year.

    In the game against St. Louis that was tied 9-9 in the top of the 9th inning Davey took Harper out of CF and moved him to RF and put Eury Perez in CF and this was Eury’s debut in the big leagues. Davey must have thought the Nationals were a better team defensively with the game on the line with Eury in Cf than with Harper in CF. Now I’m not saying Eury is a better CF’r than Harper but it is telling that Davey felt his defense was better with Harper in RF not in CF.

    Can Harper play CF sure and he might turn out to be great but if the right deal presents itself Rizzo won’t have any problem doing what he think will make an immediate improvement to the club while still giving him options for the future.

    Tegwar

    14 Sep 12 at 2:35 am

  8. Tegwar, Davey moved Harper to RF in that game because Werth came up lame. Perez has little to no experience in RF so naturally Davey put him in CF and moved Bryce over. This was not a defensive replacement move though as you are suggesting.

    I do agree that Rizzo may persue a CF and I still think if he does it will be Span. I don’t think Rizzo is really enamored with Upton or Bourn at this point. Span fits the team needs better than either of the other guys.

    I’m hoping the team trades Morse and can reach a 2 year deal with Laroche (I know its wishful thinking on the 2 year part). Laroche is more valuable to the team than Morse is. His defensive skills and calm demeanor on and off the field has been a huge part of the improvement from last season to this season. Werth gets a lot of credit for the attitude adjustment in the locker room but Laroche has been a large part of that too.

    pdowdy83

    14 Sep 12 at 9:24 am

  9. Heard this complaint about UZR/150 … and to that I’ll say this: if a stat needs THREE SEASONS before its meaningful, then it shouldn’t really exist. Honestly, in my opinion with respect to UZR, if you know a guy is healthy (i.e., ignore Zimmerman’s uzr ranks in seasons you know he’s hurt) and you know there’s nothing else preventing a real reading on the stat, then 500 innings to a full season is a good enough sample size to judge. I mean, you could counter argue that you can’t really judge a player’s hitting power until he retires and you look at his career home-run stats, but that’d be ridiculous.

    Power hitting RFs are common. Power hitting CFs are incredibly rare. We should keep Harper in CF until he fills in to the point where he hurts the club there. Its the same reason why teams desperately want to keep SS prospects at short instead of moving them to 3b or 2b, where lesser defensive players abound who can hit with authority.

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 10:52 am

  10. Good theory (Morse trade); he was at peak value last season, but you can’t trade a found-gold 30-home run player right after he hits it can you?

    Keeping LaRoche definitely goes with Rizzos plus-defense theory. A 3-yr $36M deal wouldn’t be crazy expensive and would probably not be considered a FA albatross contract (paying guys 18M in their age 38 year). Good theory; how about if you package Morse and Storen for a mid-rotation starting pitcher? That could be a good trade for both sides. You eliminate a closer controversy before it happens next spring, you trade an over-valued asset (closers) to a GM/team that over-values them (like Minnesota, the last team we traded a closer to), and you clear a slight log-jam in our bullpen that could happen next spring when everyone is healthy (right now, you’re looking at Clippard, Storen, Mattheus, Henry Rodriguez, Stammen, a healthy Kimball and new-found Garcia who all make a statement for inclusion in the bullpen. We’re going to need a lefty, probably two since Davey has 3 of them now, so someone has to make way. Most of these guys are out of options, and the ones who DO have options are not the right guys to send down).

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 10:57 am

  11. pdowdy83, I know that was the explanation given why Harper was moved and Euey does usually play CF but he has occasionally played RF. Don’t want to argue over it and the explanation holds some weight however I find it interesting and combined with Werth still playing CF a position to be kind he should not being playing anymore I would say that Davey and Rizzo would like to see Harper in right at this juncture in his career. This is not to take anything away from Harper who is a once in a generation type player. I think he can learn to play CF and be one of the best in the game at that position, that’s the type of talent and drive the kid has. I think Rizzo mostly thinks it might retard his overall performance keeping him from being possibly the best all around left-handed hitter in the NL quickly.

    Surprised you didn’t bring up my choice of Justin Upton who has never played CF in the ML? Justin is having a down year and the D-backs did shop him. I’m sure they want a lot for him too. The reason I think Rizzo might like Upton is his contract. He is signed through 2015 when he turns 28. If his production levels come back to what they were last year he would be a steal at less than the $13 million average left on his contract. Upton would share CF with Harper until Harper took over. Might be a stretch but Rizzo did scout him and the Nats would have 3 one/one draft picks on their team. He is right-handed which is a slight drawback.

    Bourn is the best fit since he is a FA and if time and money are not a consideration. If you look at his WAR and the hole he fills at both CF and lead-off he instantly makes the Nats the best team in the NL if they aren’t already. The Lerner’s would probably have to take a $30 million dollar loss on the back end of his contract but they might have 2-3 extra WS rings to show for it.

    I too think Span is the likely short term answer mostly because of cost and we know Rizzo has tried to get him before.

    I do agree with you on ALR but if they win the WS ALR might go looking for his final payday. Also I’m not sure he can get comparable value for Morse due to his health and age. When healthy he does change the Nats line-up. Maybe an AL team might give you some value for him.

    Rizzo has a few option which is very good for the Nationals. I don’t think he sits on his hands and only waits for minor league talent to develop when he right now has the best pitching staff in baseball. The tough part is already done now he just needs to improve the club not rebuild it.

    Tegwar

    14 Sep 12 at 11:15 am

  12. Harper moved to a corner would also waste Werth’s adequate defense in RF right now. Justin Upton’s friendly contract and offensive prowness would require a kings ransom of players in return; not sure the Nats are up for that a 2nd off-season in a row.

    The problem with pursuing either BJ Upton/Bourn is the cascading effect it has. Buy Upton/Bourne->Harper has to move to a corner position->Morse has to move to 1B->No more LaRoche, but it also means another year of bench play/pinch hitting for Tyler Moore, who has been hitting at a 30-homer clip for a full-season. If we think the team is keeping LaRoche …. something has to give.

    I’ll say this again; the whole point of the article was showing that Harper has proven himself to be an elite CF. Do you really think the team is going to pursue a crummy hitting CF like Denard Span??

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 11:23 am

  13. Todd, I agree with you on the talent level of Harper okay.

    I also said if the question was “will” the Nationals pursue a CF then yes I think they will. Will they make a stupid trade to get one? No, Rizzo has options and Haper is one of them and that’s a good thing.

    Putting Bourn in CF for 2 years and moving Harper there at the ripe old age of 22 will not destroy the kid. Bourn right now is a better CF, Span right now is a better CF. Harper might become a GG CF but he is not right now. He has come a long way very quickly but it may be retarding his growth in another area, he is just 19.

    Before Werth started batting lead-off the National were one of the worst teams in the NL at that position. I was for Werth batting lead-off when they signed him because they had no one else. You can keep Werth at lead-off but both Bourn and Span would do a better job and batting Werth at the bottom of the line-up would be a luxury few teams have. Saying Span is a crummy hitting CF while he is batting .289 with .350 OBP is not quite fair either.

    Since the Twins have Ben Revere, Span should not be that expensive and his contact is not unreasonable either. He is playing better since his concussion year and there is every reason to believe his numbers now might improve slightly. So as a good lead-off man and a very good CF’r and not having to give up much to get him, both players and money wise, he could fit the bill for maybe 2 years when Ricky Henderson…I mean Brian Goodwin might be the answer or Harper.

    The ALR/Morse debate is a tough one and Rizzo will need to make a decision on that. While T-Mo and maybe Morse can play first neither are the defensive player that ALR is and neither is left-handed which is a problem. ALR may solve this problem by going to get his biggest payday regardless what Rizzo decides.

    Nice article not trying to be combative just If Rizzo can improve the team short term while not giving up any long term pieces I think there is a good chance he will pursue it.

    Tegwar

    14 Sep 12 at 12:09 pm

  14. So, what about the wear and tear argument?

    I look at it as simple as this: is Bourn/Upton (or another FA) a better OF than Morse? If yes, then you sign him if you can get him for a reasonable price, and decide which of Morse/ALR makes sense at 1B. If it happens to be Bourn or Upton, slide Harper to the corner and save the wear and tear. If you sign a corner OF, keep Harper in CF. If you don’t think that you can get someone better than him, then go with essentially what we have now. (Note: I think Goodwin, Perez and Taylor are good prospects, but not so good that you’d pass up a quality guy to avoid blocking them).

    So, for the most part, I am agreeing with your basic premise: Harper has shown that he can handle CF. You seem to feel like they should keep him there regardless of alternatives, and that is where I disagree. They might choose for other reasons to put him in a corner (they get a better player than Morse who happens to play CF, or the wear and tear argument), but they have the option to leave him there. Those are good choices to have.

    Wally

    14 Sep 12 at 12:33 pm

  15. Fair enough. Denard Span: who is he, really? http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/spande01.shtml Is he the hitter he has been this season (.289/.350/.400 for an OPS+ of 109) or is he closer to the 2010 guy (.264/.331/.348 for an OPS+ of 88)? He’s not a power guy, so if a lot of his slugging is due to triples (as it was earlier in his career) then i’d be concerned about how weak a hitter he will become. He’s been a doubles machine this year though (age 28, pretty much his peak or near it). Perhaps “unfair” to say he’s a weak hitter, but he’s certainly no Harper in terms of power capability. I guess my central point is this; with a guy like Werth at leadoff putting up MLB-leading OBP numbers, and a guy like Harper in CF, proving himself to be a MLB above average hitter already at age 19 AND plus-defensively, I think it’d be a mistake to waste FA dollars or waste prospects trading for a CF. It’d be solving a problem the team doesn’t have.

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 12:52 pm

  16. Wear and Tear on a 19 year old? Maybe if Harper was 31 and was slowing down, but he’s not nearly filled in and won’t be for a number of years. The team moved him off catcher inarguably to prevent wear and tear … but roaming around in Center can’t be that tough on a guy can it?

    Lets look at it this way; which would you rather have in terms of a quartet of players: Harper, Morse, LaRoche OR Harper, Span/Upton/Bourn (pick one) and Morse? Me personally, I think you downgrade by replacing LaRoche with any of those guys. And i think this is the decision the team forces upon itself if they force a trade for Span/Bourn/Upton.

    Here’s another scenario: which would you rather have? Harper, Moore, Morse and $10M additional dollars worth of a FA starter OR Harper, Morse and LaRoche? In 153 PAs Moore has a .279/.340/.529 for an OPS of 131, which would basically lead the team. 9 homers in those 150 PAs equates to a 35+ homer season with 600 PAs. That’s some serious pop, and competely in line with what he’s done in the minors the last two seasons. Is it worth letting LaRoche or Morse go and saving that FA money to give Moore a shot? I think it is, given what you can use that money for instead. Why pay 10M for something you can get for $450k?

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 12:59 pm

  17. Even viewed in isolation, I don’t believe Rizzo signs or trades for a starting CF this offseason. Justin Upton would cost too much in trade, BJ Upton is overrated, Span only has value if the Nats have a need (they don’t), and Bourn is going to get a longer and costlier contract than the Nats will be willing to consider. They have outfield options coming through the system (Goodwin, Perez, Brown), and they don’t want to block those players with an overly-expensive FA. I agree that someone is going to be leaving this offseason—either ALR or Morse—because they want to give Moore more playing time, but that won’t create a need at CF.

    The real need is a fifth pitcher, so the focus should be on re-signing Jackson or acquiring Josh Beckett.

    That last part was a joke…

    clark17

    14 Sep 12 at 1:43 pm

  18. Brown just made BA’s all AAA team this year. Not that it means anything … but we did trade for him for a reason a few years back. But, where does Brown fit in? Right now Werth-Harper-Morse across the OF with Bernadina as your obvious 4th. Moore deserves more ABs; he’s probably a 1B but he can play LF. You have Eury Perez in the mix, though he needs another year of seasoning in the minors franky. And you’re right; Goodwin had a great year and our current organizational top 10 also includes rising but raw OFs in Hood and Taylor. If you assume that Werth and Harper are going to be in our outfield in some way or another for at least the next 6-7 years (Werth via contract, Harper via playing out his pre-arb and arb years) we only have room for one other guy out there, for the next 6 years.

    Inre: Beckett. I keep kind of a living document called “Ace Starters” … which I use kind of as a quick way to say who the 10-20 best starters are in the game. Well, Becket used to be in the discussion as being an “Ace.” Then he dropped down to “near ace” status … now he’s dropped off the list completely. I thought perhaps moving back to the NL would help him but I completely agree with Keith Law’s scouting report on him today; he’s messing around with too many different pitches, depending on a cutter that doesn’t really “cut,” and he’s lost a huge chunk of his velocity. I wonder if he’s hurt.

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 1:55 pm

  19. Todd, You asked “Who still thinks the Nats will pursue a CF in the off-season?”

    Apparently almost everyone who has posted thinks so except you.

    As for problem, I don’t think there is a problem. The Nationals have the best record in baseball and almost everyone on the team this year can play for them next year. ALR can play for the Nationals next year if he agrees to the one year option that is already in place. I’m sure Rizzo will agree to the one year at $10 million. As for EJax he throws a lot of innings but he is really a .500 pitcher and at $11 million they can find another pitcher like that. So Todd sure you can play this team that is currently in first place and keep it just like it is. No problems to solve no reason to change.

    I did see an interview last year with Pat Gillick when he was being enshrined into the Baseball HOF. In the interview they asked Pat what was the biggest thing he learned from being a GM with the 4 different clubs all of which he was successful with. His answer….never be afraid to improve you ball club even incrementally, small differences matter.

    Pat knows way more about baseball then I do. I took what he said to heart. I think there is room for improvement on the Nationals and I think it is possible to kill two birds with one stone as long as that stone does not cost us too much in the future. You like everything just as it is, C’est la vie.

    Tegwar

    14 Sep 12 at 2:12 pm

  20. Ok, good to know. I think you’re all wrong :-) There is a difference between those who think Rizzo will pursue his obsession for a leadoff/CF type and those who truly think we “need” to get a CF despite what Harper has shown us this year; maybe i’m missing that distinction in these responses.

    What Gillick told you makes sense, but is also stated in a vacuum. Money matters. Look at the Yankees; they’re struggling to make the playoffs suddenly with the biggest payroll in baseball, they have almost no minor league talent ready to rise, and they face the real possibility of having to pay a severe penalty in payroll tax in order to buy the reinforcements they need. If you can get 90% of the production of a $10M guy with a $450k guy, that goes a long long way towards allowing you the payroll flexibility to buy what you really need.

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 12 at 2:24 pm

  21. Tegwar, I’m one who agrees with Todd that the Nats will not pursue a CF, but I don’t think this is a case of merely liking everything as it is. There is always room for improvement, and certainly no one would disagree with the Gillick quote you cited. In this case, though, the available outfielders are either too costly in trade (Justin Upton), too over-valued as a FA (Bourn), or too mediocre to justify anything more than a minimal trade (Span) or a 2-year contract (BJ Upton). I don’t think Justin is worth the cost in players, or that Bourn is worth the cost in dollars. And BJ and Span aren’t upgrades over Harper and present company.

    clark17

    14 Sep 12 at 2:28 pm

  22. How do you know what the cost is if you don’t pursue them? There is absolutely no question in my mind that the Nationals are a better team next year with Bourn roaming CF. It is not a question of Bourn or Harper you get them both. It is not a question of Bourn or Werth you get them both it may be a question of ALR/Morse or Bourn but they might both leave anyway even if Bourn is not signed. Sure it a lot of money but the opportunity to win 2 or 3 or 4 WS in row is going to cost something. I know you were all against Gio being signed too many prospects and he had no where near the WAR of Bourn. The National have the BEST pitching in baseball that is the hard part. You cannot pick up a player with a 5.8 WAR at bargain basement prices. You cannot compare him to Harper’s WAR next year because you get to keep Harper. The National SB will increase by 33%, balls hit in the gap will be caught and ERA’s will drop and our pitchers will pitch deeper into games. We can win game’s when we barely hit by bunting and stealing bases. The National would be the most complete team in baseball period. We could beat anyone in anyway possible, pitching, power, base stealing, defense.

    I would at least like to know what a player like cost before I did not pursue him.

    If Justin Upton comes back to MVP form the team that gets him will have stole him. Quality almost always beat quantity in a trade. He is 25 years old and cheap. Yes there is a risk welcome to the frey.

    I did say if the Lerner’s sign Bourn they will have to throw away $30 million dollar in the back end of the contract. After the 3 straight WS you can ask me if it was worth it.

    Your against one guy because he cost too much money and the other because he cost too many prospect and you don’t even want to know how much. Incredible.

    Nice discussion sure I didn’t change your minds your opinions are valid.

    Ive got to go now, Ciao.

    Tegwar

    14 Sep 12 at 3:36 pm

  23. Off-topic, but can I just note before tonight’s game starts that this will be a high stress couple of weeks for me. Our opponents for the remainder of the season: 3 against Braves (NL East/wildcard contender); 3 against Dodgers (NL West/wildcard contender); 3 against Cardinals (wildcard contender); 4 against red hot Brewers (wildcard contender); and 6 against red hot Phillies (wildcard contender). Don’t mind me, I’ll just be curled up in a fetal position for the next 2.5 weeks.

    clark17

    14 Sep 12 at 4:47 pm

  24. Don’t worry; the Nats only have to get a handful of wins to actually make the playoffs. Worst case we go .500 and still win the division but just don’t get the #1 seed. Which may be a blessing in disguise; Medlin is basically an automatic win for the Braves right now, meaning whoever plays them is trying to win 3 of 4 instead of 3/5.

    But yeah, a month ago our schedule heading in was looking like a cake walk.

    Todd Boss

    15 Sep 12 at 11:46 am

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