Nationals Arm Race

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

Jimmy Rollins; time for Philadelphia to sleep in the bed they’ve made.


Courtesy of Nat Enquirer; this video of Jimmy Rollins classlessly giving the Nats zero credit for having the best record in the majors in 2012.

Specifically, “With us healthy, they’re a second-place team. But we weren’t.”

But that’s the problem that Rollins needs to understand; when you build your team on the backs of aging players … you’re NEVER going to be as healthy as you expect to be.  There’s a reason the Nats didn’t lose ONE start to injury all year; our pitchers are younger and healthier.  Philadelphia has built a rotation of aging stars and free agents.  Cliff Lee missed 3 starts this year, Cole Hamels missed a couple, and Roy Halladay missed 7 or 8.  Those guys are 33, 28 and 35 this year.  They’re not getting any younger and likely will miss starts again in 2013.

How about Philadelphia’s positional players?  Ryan Howard only played 71 games.  Chase Utley only 83.  Placido Polanco just 90.   Carlos Ruiz missed all of August.  Maybe you can argue that the two big names from this list should start 2013 healthy and that may make a difference.  Fair enough, except that Howard is 32, Utley is 33, and both now have a slew of injuries on their resume.  Nobody should assuming those guys are playing 150+ next year.

Meanwhile, Washington had a TON of time lost to injuries in its offense.   Desmond missed a month.  Morse missed two.  Werth missed half the season.  Zimmerman lost a few weeks.  And we went through no less than SIX catchers on the season.  And the team persevered, struggled offensively most of the early part of the year, and maintained its lead.

Philadelphia made its choices, signing major dollar contracts to extend its own guys and to buy its rotation and its key bullpen members.  And now you have to live with those decisions, which leave you with an aging roster overpaying for the decline years of your players.  Meanwhile Washington rode the wave of 100-loss seasons, committed to building its farm system, didn’t overpay for Free Agents, and now sits with one of the youngest teams in baseball (3rd youngest pitching staff and youngest on-field staff), with a below-average payroll and the best record in the majors.

Sour Grapes Jimmy Rollins.  You should get used to 3rd place because its probably where the Phillies reside for the next several years, until you can jettison your ill-signed contracts and start over.

4 Responses to 'Jimmy Rollins; time for Philadelphia to sleep in the bed they’ve made.'

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  1. Great post. In fact, Zimmerman was really lost for more than just the couple of weeks he didn’t play. He battled that shoulder injury for most of the first part of the season, and he was batting around .200 with no power. Most of that should rightfully be considered injury time, because he was a liability in the lineup until that cortisone shot. So both sides were gutted by injuries, but the Nats had depth that the Phillies lacked, and that made all the difference.

    I don’t feel bad for Rollins, but he isn’t used to losing. Like you said, though, he’d better get used to it quick, because they’ve got losing seasons in their immediate future, and the Nats and Braves should be good for years to come.


    4 Oct 12 at 2:13 pm

  2. Rollins was being a total douchebag on this one. If you want to look beyond the Nats, how about the A’s? Lost their two veteran starters down the stretch (albeit one to suspension rather than injury) and they didn’t miss a beat. The Reds lost Joey Votto for a couple of months and marched right on. Melky Cabrera’s suspension didn’t slow the Giants down.

    Bottom line is good teams with a deep talent pool persevere and overcome injuries.


    4 Oct 12 at 2:49 pm

  3. It all comes down to starting pitcher health. We had it, they really didn’t. If we had lost 3 Gonzalez starts, 5 Zimmermann starts and a handful of other starts I’m sure we’d have struggled too. We went into this season pretty thin at starter depth in AAA but never had to use it.

    Todd Boss

    4 Oct 12 at 3:29 pm

  4. Agree; team game, team accomplishment. That’s why even excellent WARs are only in the 5-6 range. One player just can’t “win” that many games by himself.

    Todd Boss

    4 Oct 12 at 3:30 pm

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