Nationals Arm Race

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

Span for Meyer; Understand it but don’t entirely like it

38 comments

The team gets the lead-off hitter it has needed for years in Denard Span. Photo Bruce Kluckhohn/Minnesota Twins via twitter

At least Nats fans can start understanding the team’s off-season plans a little more clearly now.  The first domino has fallen.  The Nats acquired Denard Span from Minnesota for Alex Meyer yesterday.

I’ve argued against a center field acquisition for a while now.  Here’s three primary reasons why:

1. I don’t feel the Nats needed a center fielder.  Bryce Harper put up a 17.6 UZR/150 in 715+ innings while showing a plus-plus arm (both statistically and for any casual observers).   He’s just turning 20.  There is no reason to think he cannot ably patrol center for at least the next few years.  I’ve used this analogy before, but I feel like its the Yankees approaching Mickey Mantle after his first season in center and saying, “Hey Mick, we like you in center but we have this barely above league average guy At least until point #2 possibly comes to play:

2. Brian Goodwin, along with Destin Hood, Eury Perez, Michael Taylor and any other marginal OF prospect the team has is now effectively blocked for at least the next 3 years and possibly longer.  Span is signed through 2014 (with a very affordable 2015 option), Jayson Werth signed through 2017, and Harper is under team control through at least 2017.   There’s your outfield for the next 3 years guaranteed, 2/3rds of which is locked up for the next 5.  I just feel that the better path would have been to let Harper play CF until Goodwin or Perez seems ready (clearly Godwin is an upper-end prospect who has impressed ever since he was drafted, and the team didn’t add Perez to their 40-man roster just to give him the extra salary) and just make do with a slugger in left field.

3. The loss of Alex Meyer represents the best healthy starter arm in the entire system, a system which is becoming thinner and thinner (with this trade on the backs of the Gio trade I’d guess the Nats are now going to be in the bottom 5 farm systems when rankings start coming out).  You can argue whether or not Meyer was going to stick as a starter (see the “bright side” points below), but inarguably this weakens the farm system in general and further weakens a specific problem that may pop up sooner than later; starting pitcher depth.  If one of our big 4 suffers a spring training injury, it is difficult to see who may step up and be counted on for starts.

This move clearly forces the Nationals hand on Michael Morse, and now the team may end up negotiating from a point of weakness if they need to move him.  The decision path for the team now is clearly “Morse or LaRoche” at first base.  If the team does bring back Adam LaRoche suddenly Morse is without a lineup spot and his trade value diminishes quickly.  If the rumors are true that LaRoche is “only” seeking a 3 year deal, the Nats should stumble over themselves to offer him a 3 year deal (3yrs $40M seems more than fair based on what LaRoche did for us last year) and lock up the plus-defender/middle of the order bat.

This move also cannot be a happy day for Tyler Moore; he’s clearly set on being a backup now in 2013 no matter what happens with Morse/LaRoche, despite promising numbers in 2012.   Well, unless the team fails to re-sign LaRoche AND moves Morse (which I suppose is still possible but would make little sense), which would then install Moore as the every day first baseman.  Between Moore, Morse possibly being out of a position and Goodwin being blocked for years to come, you have to think we’re going to see some more moves involving these players (hopefully to acquire a starter, or some starter depth in the minors).


Now, on the bright side (since I’ve been accused of being too negative in my analysis), I will say the following:

1. We did not give up a ton for Span.  I like Meyer, but I’m afraid he may not stick as a starter.  The scouting knock on him has always related to his tall frame and repeatability of his delivery.  He has a funky leg kick and slightly weird mechanics, further muddying the waters.  Lastly he’s a huge guy and he (at first glance in videos) seems to really throw standing up and doesn’t use a ton of his lower body.  All of this spells “reliever” in his future.  If Meyer tops out as a fireballing reliever, this trade looks even better.

2. Span inarguably fills a need; a high OBP leadoff hitter.  He’s a .357 career OBP guy with speed and who hits lefty, a nearly perfect fit for what this lineup needs at the top.  Leadoff hitters generally come from one of three positions: CF, SS and 2B.  If the team decided it NEEDED a leadoff guy, and with Desmond and Espinosa locked into the SS and 2B slots for the time being, clearly the only place the team could go was a center-fielder.  The USAToday article linked at the top said it best (paraphrasing): this move is as if you bought a new chair for your living room, which forced you to have to move around your furniture.  You didn’t necessarily need the new chair, but it certainly makes your living room look better.  This move enables Werth to move further down in the lineup and return to his power stroke.

3. We didn’t spend good money after bad on BJ Upton or Michael Bourn, who’s 5yr/$75M demands would have been a real waste of money.  Span’s contract is great: 5yrs for $16.5M guaranteed plus a $9M option in 2015.   The Nats acquired a desired resource without appreciably increasing payroll, allowing them to focus (perhaps) on a FA starter.

Initial reaction to the trade in the Baseball World seems mixed, which is great since it probably indicates that this is a pretty fair trade all in all.  Keith Law doesn’t like it of  course, but that’s because Law believes every low-minors big arm is turning into Justin Verlander (Law also thought the Gio Gonzalez trade was a “huge win” for Oakland because they got AJ Cole, the same AJ Cole who put up a 7.82 ERA in high-A this year and was forced to repeat Low-A).  Meanwhile Dave Cameron calls this a “huge win” for Washington, focusing on Span’s numbers and mentioning the same concerns about Meyer that I do.  Rob Neyer pays a complement to Mike Rizzo and the Nats and says the team is well-positioned for several years.  Ken Rosenthal talks about the about-face the franchise has done in the last 3 years in the eyes of potential Free Agents, specifically Zack Greinke, who declined the Nats trade offer 2 years ago but now could be the final piece in building a juggernaut.


Coincidentally, those who think this moves Harper to LEFT field may be mistaken.  Werth’s defense in right has inarguably slipped (he posted a -14.2 UZR/150 in right this year, a significant drop from his previous decent-to-good seasons there).  I think Harper should play right field, with his gun for an arm protecting against 1st-to-3rd runners while Werth should immediately put up great UZR numbers in left.  Possible lineup in 2013 (assuming for now that LaRoche is leaving):

  1. Span (L) – CF
  2. Werth (R) -LF
  3. Zimmerman (R) – 3B
  4. Harper (L) – RF
  5. Morse (R) – 1B
  6. Desmond (R) – SS
  7. Espinosa (S) – 2B
  8. Suzuki (R) – C
  9. Pitcher.

L-R-R-L-R-R-S-R for good balance.  I could also see Desmond and Werth switching spots in the lineup.  Harper to cleanup may be a bit early, but without adding another lefty bat the lineup could have too many right-handed hitters in a row.

Now, what if LaRoche re-signs?  Then suddenly this lineup has pretty good balance.  With LaRoche in the fold i’d probably go like this:

  1. Span (L) – CF
  2. Werth (R) -LF
  3. Harper (L) – RF
  4. Zimmerman (R) – 3B
  5. LaRoche (L) – 1B
  6. Desmond (R) – SS
  7. Espinosa (S) – 2B
  8. Suzuki (R) – C
  9. Pitcher.

That’d be a slight modification over where these guys hit last year, but would give nearly perfect lefty-righty balance.


In the end, you have to give up something you value to get something you value.  The Nats made a good trade, despite my thinking they didn’t need to make the trade in the first place.  They’re an improved team on the field for 2013.

38 Responses to 'Span for Meyer; Understand it but don’t entirely like it'

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  1. Overall good post, and I definitely agree to some extent with the argument that Span is not needed in CF. My one point of contention is that this locks up the OF on DC for 2-3 years, not the 5 you mentioned in point 2.

    Paul

    30 Nov 12 at 12:54 pm

  2. Span signed with a friendly option through 2015. Werth contract through 2017, Harper under team control to 2017. Definitly 3 years locked up for all three guys. Odds of the team letting Span walk after 2015? Hard to say. I did clarify the statement in the post though to correct per your suggestion.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 1:24 pm

  3. Completely agree with everything you said in this post.

    Added pressure to hit on first year player draft picks in 2013. Looking forward to seeing what kind of talent Rizzo and co. go after in the next few drafts.

    Follow your blog every day. Thank you for all the insight and opinions!

    Chaz

    30 Nov 12 at 1:24 pm

  4. Todd – good post. I think that you have covered everything. My take is to like the trade, because I see Rizzo maximizing our chances to win over this 4 year window of control that we have with most of our big pieces. I think Span makes the team better during most of that time frame (assuming he stays healthy; I am not sure what vestibular neuritis is and didn’t know that he had it [per Fangraphs article]); if we regret the cost over a longer term, well that is the cost of doing business, I think.

    So here is something to ponder: Rizzo was publicly ‘jones’ing for Span for a while now, and ultimately got him. Ditto for EJax. The guy is like a dog with a bone. There is only one player left that he had a similar, public attraction to: your ‘despised’ Zach Greinke. While I like him more than you, I have to agree that the rumored numbers are going too high for me. But you have to admit, if your goal was to be a WS contender for the next 4-5 years, adding Greinke to what is already here and under control pretty much cements it. Might not play out that way, but I think that we’d enter every season one of the top 5 teams or so.

    Wally

    30 Nov 12 at 1:31 pm

  5. I have to disagree with your analysis on the deal locking up the outfield for 3 years. Span has a team friendly contract and with what Upton and Bourn and even Pagan are going to get in free agency this year Span will always maintain “tradeability” if Goodwin just absolutely terrorizes the minors. His $9 million option for ’15 is likely to be far less than Upton and Bourn contract wise and on par with Pagan. I’d have to think several teams would be willing to take that on in a trade if the Nationals wanted to move him later on.

    The other thing this says is the outfield market in free agency this year is going to be expensive for players who really don’t deserve the big contracts they are going to get (Jonny Gomes got a 2 year deal for $10 mil for pete’s sake!).

    I agree the team could have been fine with Harper in CF and someone else in LF but the relatively small contract on a guy who is good for 3+ WAR a season is a nice upgrade for a team. Not to mention Span doesn’t strike out which is something this team truly needed. They didn’t need another 150 K guy in LF.

    Rizzo is in go for it now mode. The pitching search should be interesting.

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 1:45 pm

  6. I didn’t say this in the post, but others have said it; this is absolutely a win-now kind of approach. We’ve now traded away 5 of best 10 prospects in two off-seasons to acquire the core of what was a 98 win team this year and could (should?) be as good or better next. It will take a while to get these prospects built back up. Which is fine though; very few teams have 90+ win teams on the field AND top 5 farm systems … most leverage picks to get talent and then build back up. I’ve got no problem with the approach. Rizzo’s a draft maven and he has found good talent later in the drafts, just no Harper/Strasburg uber talents for a while. Thanks for the kind words!

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 1:46 pm

  7. I admit, I am lower on Greinke than others. Taking the pessimistic view; he’s a one-season pony, putting up a stellar season then a number of lesser ones. BUT, the scouts and GMs love him. He fits Rizzo’s mold; swing and miss stuff, a big arm. If the team let LaRoche walk ($10M/year or more), non-tendered Lannan ($5M/year), that’s $15M in “savings” towards a $20M/year estimate for greinke. I’d take that. In the National League he’d have improved numbers over his time in Los Angeles. In the NL east (with two severely weakend teams in the Mets and Marlins) he’d probably improve even more.

    What is our payroll limit for 2013? $110M? I havn’t done payroll projections but roughly speaking adding Greinke at 20/per probably puts us at 110m. Not unreasonable, still outside the top 10 in payroll. And it would be inarguably the best rotation in the majors, hands down. You can’t say it wouldn’t be an improvement over last year…..

    I agree with your take on Rizzo. He gets fixated on guys, and as we see, he gets them. Jackson, Span. Lets see if he pulls the trigger for Greinke.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 1:50 pm

  8. I also wonder if it really hurts the trade value of Morse if they resign LaRoche. Just because teams know they want to trade him doesn’t mean they won’t be able to get much. Teams like the Rays, Pirates, Indians, Mariners and some others could use a cost controlled bat. Morse is set to make around $7 mil next year if I recall correctly. Even those teams can afford that.

    I wonder what Morse’s realy value is. He is on a one year deal and coming off an injury riddle, lackluster season. He has huge power potential and can hit for a pretty good average but doesn’t walk much. What do you think his value is?

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 1:52 pm

  9. I’m all in with this trade, even more so because Span seems like a very likable guy. This seems to give them the salary flexibility they need to bring in another top notch starter. If that’s the case, regardless of whether Morse or LaRoche plays first they are going to be scary next year.

    bdrube

    30 Nov 12 at 1:56 pm

  10. I think his value is low, based on opinions of writers closer to the executives. His 2012 injury was really really badly timed for him; if he had another 30 homer season in 2012 his value would be much higher. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment; I still think he’s got value; you don’t just find 30 homer guys who really don’t strike out THAT often (126ks in 575 PAs in 2012 … compared to Adam Dunn’s 222 k’s this year in 649 PAs).

    Basically the team needs to keep a LaRoche signing in their pocket (if it were to happen) and trade Morse while still claiming he’s a part of their future.

    What if the Nats sent Morse and $3M (half his salary) to a team? How cheap would a 30-homer potential bat be at $3m/year? What if the Nats packaged him with a reliever to boot? Morse+money+a reliever should be able to get something good.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 2:05 pm

  11. The one thing I’d regret if Morse moved; I think his clubhouse value is immeasurable. And his walk-up music :-)

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 2:06 pm

  12. As far as Greinke is concerned the low end of his contract is Matt Cain’s deal. You are probably looking at 6 years and about $132 million give or take. That would be a million more per season than Cain. That is a pretty hefty price.

    I think my biggest question is how much more is Greinke really worth over Anibal Sanchez? Sanchez has been worth 9 WAR (BRef) over the last 3 years. Greinke has been worth 7.9 WAR over the same span. Obviously that is a basic metric and Greinke pitches more innings on average and strikes out more batters but is he really worth an extra year and about $50 million more dollars? Sanchez from what I have seen is seeking a 5 year/$80mil deal. They are the same age. Sanchez pitched well in October and he has been consistent 3 years running. I’m just not sure I understand how the perception of the two is that different. Yes Greinke is better, but $50 – 60 million better?

    Last year -

    Greinke – 3.48 ERA, 212 IP, 8.5 K/9, 1.196 WHIP, 3.70 K/BB

    Sanchez – 3.86 ERA, 195.1 IP, 7.7 k/9, 1.267, 3.48 K/BB

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 2:07 pm

  13. Agree. It only helps. You have to improve, even if you’re a 98win team, because everyone else is trying to improve too. This team is still pretty durn good even if Morse plays first and bats 5th, lets face it. BUT, but, Morse has to produce at 2011 level to replace the offense lost if LaRoche leaves. And if LaRoche leaves the team has to do something to find a quality 5th starter.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 2:08 pm

  14. Agree with Todd, Morse’s trade value is not high. 1 year of control, and all bat, no field guys don’t generally have a lot of trade value. Similar to the Hammer: he got traded twice in what looked like lopsided to deals (to us, and then to the A’s). Good player but not worth a lot in trade, seemingly.

    With all that, Tampa does seem like the obvious place for him. No DH or 1B, excellent pitching, an affordable contract and a win-now window. But the thoughts of Hellickson, Moore or Price are non starters (no one here said that, but I have seen it written other places). Maybe Wade Davis, possibly Alex Cobb, more likely two guys off the low A club, is just my guess.

    Wally

    30 Nov 12 at 2:11 pm

  15. The clubhouse presence is what I would miss about LaRoche too. He just always seems so calm. He and Morse are almost polar opposites and it works.

    I agree that a package with cash and Morse + something could bring back something solid. I always whole heartedly agree with they would have to play LaRoche resigning very close to the vest.

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 2:11 pm

  16. Tampa has been listed as a destination for Morse absolutely. I wonder if Tampa would give us more for him if we threw in cash. They want to get rid of Shields and his $7M 2013 salary. What if we offered Morse plus money for Shields; they’d end up saving payroll, getting a player they need. I think we’d need to offer more than just Morse though to get Sheilds. That and Tampa is a tough place to trade with; they want a ton of value for their guys and I think it scuttles trades (just look at the BJ upton situation; they could have traded him for years but ended up with nothing but comp picks).

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 2:17 pm

  17. Wally I take Alex Cobb in a heartbeat for Morse if LaRoche is back. Cobb is a 25 year old pre-arb until 2015 starter who has a solid K rate and pitched pretty effectively last season in the AL east. That would help solve the lack of pitchers coming through the pipe line.

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 2:19 pm

  18. A trade with the Rays just isnt going to happen, imo. That’s the one weakness of their front office: They overvalue their players, as Todd said. In their defense, they don’t have the payroll to add salary, so all their trades have to dump salary, which is limiting (and tough for a contender). The last meaningful Rays trade that comes to mind was Scott Kazmir to the Angels in ’09. Since then, they could have gotten value for Carl Crawford and BJ Upton, but they wouldn’t do it. In short, I’d be surprised if we pull a trade with them.

    clark17

    30 Nov 12 at 3:11 pm

  19. Shouldn’t be any surprise that Nats are taking a ‘win-now’ approach now that they have the basic pieces in place. After all, Ted Lerner is pushing 88, and I’m sure they want to avoid a situation where they don’t hit the jackpot until just after he is gone (see Autry, Gene).

    I understand Todd’s reservations about this deal. But I have to agree with Dave Wallace of MASN (which I don’t do often)–if you can get an established major leaguer for a prospect, you should do it every time (unless maybe the prospect is Strasburg/Harper caliber).

    Important thing is that the Nats are going for it now without trading for or signing veterans who will be through in a year or two, and without mortgaging the future (see Marlins, Florida and Diamondbacks, Arizona).

    Steven J Berke

    30 Nov 12 at 3:12 pm

  20. Agreed, Steven. A few days ago, I was worried about complacence after Boswell’s “standing pat” column. The merits of this trade are arguable (I think it was costly, but a good call), but there’s no question about complacence anymore. Rizzo wants to win now.

    clark17

    30 Nov 12 at 3:21 pm

  21. Sounds like Davey Johnson wants to win now too, so he can retire w/ a ring. A fair goal for 2013.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 3:39 pm

  22. Clark, The Rays traded Garza since the Kazmir trade. They also dealt Jason Hammel away to the Rockies when they had too many starters a couple of seasons ago. They have shown a willingness to trade pitchers when they have a glut of them.

    Their offense is terrible and they have a limited budget. The only way they are getting better offensively is through trades. Whether it is just marginal upgrades by trading Jeff Niemann or whether they decide moving Shields would net them offense AND free up payroll.

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 3:43 pm

  23. I stand corrected, PDowdy. In my mind, I had Garza leaving via free agency, and I forgot about Hammel completely. That I did so is even less excusable because I live in Tampa and my wife is a Rays fan. Looks like the sofa for me tonight…

    clark17

    30 Nov 12 at 3:48 pm

  24. Hahaha you are excused Clark. I would be guessing they deal Neimann if anybody goes. He could get them something from a non-contender for sure. They can always slot Archer back in AAA for depth and go with Shields/Price/Hellickson/Cobb/Moore. Davis excelled in the pen last season and will more than likely stay put too. Neimann appears to be the odd man out. Only problem is he missed a lot of last season and I’m not really sure what his injury was.

    If it is something that is going to cost him time this year too I could see them moving Shields.

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 3:57 pm

  25. Hahah. Hey, we all forget things here and there.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 4:31 pm

  26. I always assume Tampa wants to save a buck, so here’s the salaries of their possible SPs in 2013 (with years of control if all options exercised)
    - Price: $7.8M arbitration estimate (2015)
    - Shields: $9M (2014)
    - Moore: $1M (2019)
    - Niemann: $3.1M arbitration estimate (2014)
    - Davis: $2.8M (2017)
    - Hellickson: $500k/mlb min (2016)
    - Cobb: $500k/mlb min (2018?)
    - Archer: $500k/mlb min (2018?)

    (I included Davis, who was a starter but pitched in relief this year after not making the rotation). Clearly to me the two trade candidates are Shields and Niemann based on their lack of longer term team control and higher salaries.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 4:41 pm

  27. Hey it looks like the Nat’s did pursue a CF’r ;-) .

    Todd nice post and I’m glad you came around on Span. You were correct that Harper could play CF but the team is a little better with a more typical lead-off man. I do agree that Harper may be the better RF’r but Davy might just leave it alone for now. I would not be surprised if Harper still gets a few starts in CF.

    To hard to say how the ALR/Morse situation plays out. Rizzo probably lets ALR make the choice and then moves on. I would guess ALR will most likely get a qualifying offer during the owners meeting and he will have to decide more years or maybe a ring?

    You are probably right that some of the leverage goes away if the Nats sign ALR but I would not be shocked if the Nats came to Spring training still needing to trade someone.

    I like Greinke more than you do but I would not lock up that many contracts at one time because if it didn’t workout it could really hurt the franchise for too many years so we are in agreement there.

    I do like the suggestion of trying to get Shields who the Nats could get for the same amount of money they gave Jackson and Shields has very little down side because he makes all his starts and eats innings even in his bad years and if he has a good year he could be rated as high as a number 2 starter. I’m not sure the Nats have the best players to make the trade and I would not trade Rendon but I sure would like to have Shields.

    I like reading your post and even when I disagree with you I think they are well reasoned and you give good support to your arguments. I would not say that you are negative but maybe a little sensitive when people disagree with you. I could be wrong here it is sometimes difficult to tell how people feel in the blog world.

    I think we all want the same thing a great Washington Nationals baseball team and maybe even a World Series or Two :-) .

    Tegwar

    30 Nov 12 at 4:43 pm

  28. Niemann injury from baseballprospectus: a broken leg early, then a rotator cuff strain for the last month. Hmm. The broken leg isn’t worrisome but the rotator cuff issue is. Maybe based on your projection its Niemann they’re looking to move and not Shields.

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 4:43 pm

  29. I think Niemann is the odd man out in Tampa. His 8 starts were effective and he has been an average to above average starter for a couple seasons but he isn’t worth his projected $3.1mm salary to them. The only problem may be coming off the shoulder injury his trade value may be too low.

    I wouldn’t target him if I were the Nats. For me its Shields or nobody from the Rays. The others are far too expensive prospect wise for us to even dream of pulling off.

    PDowdy

    30 Nov 12 at 4:49 pm

  30. Centerfielder; yeah … for all the times I’ve questioned people who kept saying we were gonna get a CF … i had to eat crow today. I do like the trade though, and agree it makes the team better and absolutely gives Johnson some OF flexibility by now having three guys who in a pinch can each play any of the OF positions. Bernadina too can play any of the OF positions. Only Moore/Morse is “stuck” in LF.

    On blogging in general: It comes with the territory of putting your opinion out there. I like reading columnists and opinion pieces and like to do the same myself. My pet peeve is when someone focuses on one sentence of a large post and kills you for it. I’m not a professional writer, i don’t have an editor, and yes sometimes small mistakes make their way through. Often times i’m writing an entire post on a lunch break just to get it out there. But if it sounds like i’m being defensive/argumentative, then I need to appear less sensitive.

    Speaking of arguing … hall of fame voting coming up!

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 4:54 pm

  31. He could be damaged goods. Injury in Sept listed as a strain … But then the question is, are we better off tendering and paying Lannan $5M versus trading for Shields and paying him $3.1M for that spot?

    More and more I think the team is looking to sign a major FA. And perhaps Morse gets traded for prospects to help rebuild the farm system?

    Todd Boss

    30 Nov 12 at 5:00 pm

  32. I think this was a no brainer for Rizo. GMs will almost always trade a prospect for an every day major leaguer, especially one that that fulfills a need. Further, Meyer has little chance to be a major league contributor for a few years, his upside ceiling has yet to be determined, and like all pitchers is a fragile commodity that at best impacts only one game a week. It’s clear the Nats want/need to made the WS within the next 2 years.

    Myrubberarm

    30 Nov 12 at 5:45 pm

  33. Nice write-up Todd.

    Really like your analyses. Don’t always agree with you, but on the other hand don’t think that you’re negative either.

    Span is, hopefully, a stop-gap for Goodwin. Not sure why Rizzo thinks that he’s ‘years away’. He could well be ready during the 2nd half of 2014. Maybe the Nats will decline Span’s option for ’15.

    And where do we put Rendon??? With his performanc in the AFL, he should be ‘fired up, and ready to go’ in ’14!

    Brandon Davis

    1 Dec 12 at 12:33 am

  34. The more I look at Span, the more he may indeed be a stopgap for Goodwin. Goodwin had a great time in low-A, struggled after (inexplicably?) bypassing high-A and jumping to AA. I can see him playing all of 2013 in AA and starting 2014 in AAA. Exactly as you say. Call him up mid-season, see how he looks and if he’s ready you decline the 2015 option on Span and go with Goodwin. That plan makes a ton of sense.

    Here’s what I’d with Rendon; don’t re-sign LaRoche, keep Morse at first in 2013, have Rendon start in AA in 2013 and look to move up to AAA mid-season, perhaps with a 9/1 call up in 2013 (he’s already on the 40-man so it doesn’t really affect the roster much). Then, if Rendon is ready you install him at 3rd and move Zimmerman to 1st. Zimmerman doesn’t have to make the throw across the diamond anymore, can still play gold glove defense at first and takes a huge load off his obviously frail body. I think that’s a great solution that all fits nicely together.

    Todd Boss

    1 Dec 12 at 10:00 am

  35. You previously mentioned how you saw the LHSPs in the minors (1. Purke, 2. Solis, 3. Ray, 4. Rosenbaum, 5. Monar and 6. Mooneyham). So, with Meyer arguably the top RHSP prior to the trade, how do you see the top righties now in the system?

    Rob

    2 Dec 12 at 9:07 am

  36. Thin. :-)

    I had them like this: Giolito (i), Meyer, Karns, Jordan (i). (i) of course means injury issues in the last year. That was it for the “really good RHSP prospects.” Now, you can throw in Perry somewhere, and if Garcia is converted to a starter and starts in AAA next year I think he’s in this mix too. After this group I’ve got a set of guys that you kinda have to squint at to think they’re prospects: Schwartz, Demny, Pineyro, Self. Demny’s numbers have never been great but he’s always young for the level. The rest are new draftees who dont’ even have full seasons … far too early to project them anywhere.

    Todd Boss

    2 Dec 12 at 11:08 am

  37. Boy I was wrong on the team keeping Gorzelanny, eh? Still a bit shocked at the decision. Should be interesting to see what they do now.

    PDowdy

    3 Dec 12 at 11:51 am

  38. I wonder what the rules are for tenders. Can I tender a contract to an arbitration-eligible player and then release him before the arbitration hearings? I’m guessing not. Otherwise everyone would tender contracts to all these guys and then just cut them/DFA them just ahead of the arbitration hearings. Assuming this is true, then all three non-tenders make total sense. We wouldn’t want to be on the hook for any money owed to any of these guys, given the current roster make up.

    I’m wondering if the team isn’t working a deal w/ Gorzelanny behind the scenes. Johnson loves him, talks about him all the time. He had good numbers last year. But now if I’m gorzelanny i’m seeing the dearth of lefties on the market and i’m selling myself to the highest bidder. If Affeldt can get 18M guaranteed why couldn’t Gorzelanny get at least half that?

    Todd Boss

    3 Dec 12 at 2:42 pm

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