Nationals Arm Race

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

Updated Nats Resource Links and their impact


With the slew of off-season activity nearly complete, I’ve updated some of the tracking worksheets that I maintain related to the Nats roster.  From non-tenders, FA signings and re-signings, trades and Arbitration settlements a lot has changed in terms of the Nats payroll, expected WAR estimates and 40-man options statuses.  All these resources are now updated in Google Docs.  Links (which should also be along the right-hand side of the page):

Here’s the implications that the last few months have had in each case:

Nats WAR Estimate Impact: We last visited this topic on 1/3/13 and I had a 2013 fWAR best case estimate of 57.6, equating to a 103 win season.  Now we’ve replaced Michael Morse‘s 3-win estimate with Adam LaRoche‘s 3.5 win estimate and added in Rafael Soriano‘s 1.2 fWAR estimate and are looking at a fWAR estimate of 59.1 and a 105 win capable team.  As with before, this doesn’t mean i’m predicting 105 wins; i’m saying that if everyone plays to their potential and nobody gets hurt, its hard not to see this being a 105 win team as constructed.

Nats 2013 Payroll Impact: When we last visited this topic on 12/3/12, we were sitting on a 2013 estimated payroll of just $88M.  Since then, we re-signed LaRoche, signed Dan Haren, stunningly signed Soriano and settled a slew of pre-arbitration settlements (most of which seemed to trend higher than MLB’s estimates for the players).  I’m now estimating the Nats 2013 payroll to be $121,823,500 (but see the caveat in the next paragraph).  There are still two payroll figures to be announced/decided: Zach Duke‘s 2013 pay has yet to be disclosed (I’m using an estimate of $1.5M) and Jordan Zimmermann was not able to settle with the team ahead of the filing deadline (i’m using an estimate of $4.9M for him).  The team filed at $4.6M while Zimmermann filed at $5.8M, meaning they’re $1.2M apart at current.  The midpoint would be $5.2M, meaning that the overall payroll could creep even higher and hit $122M.

Coincidentally, I’m not sure how to treat Soriano’s deal from a payroll perspective.  2 years, $28M but as we’ve learned half that money is deferred.  The spreadsheet shows it as a $14M aav contract but he’s only being paid $7M this year.  With the deferred money, the calculated AAV of the contract is only in the $11M/year range.  Cots shows $14M/year right now on its main page, but it hasn’t fixed its internal google XLS’s yet.  I think the right way to go would be to show $7M being paid this year and next, and then when the deferred payments kick in show them as the annual $2M payments that they’ll be.  So maybe the current payroll isn’t $121M but closer to $114M.  I’ll be curious to see how the sites like Cots and Usatoday (the two main sites that publish team payroll figures) treat this contract going forward.

Option Status: We last visited this topic on 11/14/12, before the non-tenders of Flores, Lannan and Gorzelanny, before the Rule-5 additions and before all the signings.   New signings Haren and Soriano are both 5+ year vets so Options don’t matter.  Interestingly, Duke has 6+ years of service time and signed a MLB deal, meaning he cannot be assigned to AAA withouth is consent and/or passing through waivers; the team is clearly counting on him to be in the MLB bullpen the whole year.  The most interesting options cases now belong to Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen, both of whom have options and both of whom (despite Stammen’s new 2 year deal) could be affected by the crowded bullpen.  I think we’re all under the assumption that Christian Garcia is starting the year in AAA; he has 3 options to use and may be on the train back and forth often in 2013.  I remain curious as to what the team will do with Carlos Rivero, who hit well in AAA and even better in winter ball, but has no options remaining and doesn’t have a single day of MLB service time.

Lastly (unrelated to the Nats), I’ve updated somewhat my “Best versus Winner” xls with the results from the NFL playoffs over the weekend.  For the 9th straight year in the NFL, the Superbowl winner will NOT be the team that also had the best regular season record.  This year, Denver and Atlanta shared the best regular season record and both were eliminated before reaching the Superbowl.  I keep track of this particular finding for all four major sports and generally have found that very infrequently does the team with the best record in any sport actually take the year end title any more.  Baseball has only seen it a few times in the last 20 years.

I’ve got a draft post that has an overview of all the random documents and spreadsheets that I’ve uploaded to Google Docs over the years (including the 4 discussed in this post).  I”ll publish it during a slow period this winter.

11 Responses to 'Updated Nats Resource Links and their impact'

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  1. Thanks for the update. One note: Ryan Mattheus, not Tom 😀

    John C.

    23 Jan 13 at 10:21 am

  2. i’m firing my editor. just fixed. I do that all the time as i type believe it or not; i used to work with a guy named Tom Matthews and every time i go to type Mattheus i hear in my head “matthews” and have to stop myself.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jan 13 at 10:44 am

  3. Hi Todd:

    Do Ryan Perry and Corey Brown still have options??


    SJM 308

    23 Jan 13 at 10:53 am

  4. I belive they both have one option left. Brown was optioned in 2011 and 2012. Perry’s situation is a bit more convoluted and brings into play the whole “4th option” rules. He also was sent down in 2010 but apparently not long enough to earn an option (again stressing one of the more obscure rules in determining who burns an option). We had an in-depth discussion in about this a while ago where I showed the proof. I can’t find it right quick here but that’s what I think.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jan 13 at 1:02 pm

  5. It does seem a little surprising that there have been no rumors of a possible trade for Rivero. Is it just the case that AAAA players have so little trade value that a contending team like the Nats will value him more as insurance until they make it through ST without injuries? .. or do they think he might actually compete for a slot on the 25 man?


    23 Jan 13 at 3:51 pm

  6. Beats me. Zuckerman’s post just listed him on the depth chart for both 3B and SS. Shortstop?? He’s 6’3″ 215 listed. that’s a big shortstop. Though Desmond is listed as 6-2 210, so maybe I’m wrong. I thought he was a 3rd baseman.

    Perhaps the Nats are counting on him being a good bet to pass through waivers? He’s got zero service time; if someone claimed him they’d have to put him on their 40-man roster and deal with the options issue themselves right? More likely is what you pointed out: insurance against injuries in ST. There’s zero room for him; your bench is all but already set. Because the team is carrying 2 backup outfielders (Bernadina and Moore) they only get 2 backup infielders (Tracy and Lombardozzi). That’s it.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jan 13 at 4:02 pm

  7. Injuries are so much a part of the season, a guy like Rivero could be all over the map from with the club all year to waived before the season starts. I’m sure other teams have noticed his play the last 6-8 months.

    Talking about options officially makes all of us seamheads. :)

    Maerk L

    23 Jan 13 at 5:21 pm

  8. Rivero could provide some useful depth if they can figure out how to stash him at Syracuse again. Some teams lately have given an out of options guy a comparatively large minor league deal to avoid a claim ( like $700k). I think Boston did it with Andrew Miller a couple of years ago. Could be money well spent. I think that he gets snapped up if exposed to waivers. Phillies would have to be interested.


    23 Jan 13 at 6:49 pm

  9. Hmm. An interesting idea. I know many people are big fans of his. I look at him differently; why hasn’t he pushed his way into a mlb appearance yet? I mean, he just finished his seventh minor league season. That’s a lot.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jan 13 at 8:27 pm

  10. Rivero is an interesting guy. He has played more shortstop in the minors than any other position. He played more 3b last season but still played 17 games at SS as well as 16 at 1B. In his career he has played 514 games at SS but has made a good number of errors at the position. Last year was the first time he really saw action at 1B

    While yes he has been in the minors for 7 seasons he didn’t really start to make progress offensively until he was moved from SS to 3B in 2011. Since then his offensive numbers have come up. He still doesn’t seem to hit for enough power (although he did hit for a good deal of power in winter ball) to really be a major league 3B but he also only also just had a pretty solid first year at AAA and is 24. I don’t see how he would go unclaimed with some teams like Houston, Minnesota, Miami and others needing reserve infield depth.

    Wally, Andrew Miller was non-tendered when the Sox did that with him. That wouldn’t work with Rivero


    23 Jan 13 at 9:19 pm

  11. PDowdy – why, what is the procedural difference?

    By the way, glad to see Perry has another option. I think he conversion has some potential as well, but I thought that we lost him this year.


    23 Jan 13 at 9:52 pm

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