Nationals Arm Race

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

Ladson’s Inbox 6/24/13


What a week!  Both Bill Ladson and Tom Boswell doing chats/email inboxes!  As I sit here as my flight has been delayed a second time, I find myself with the time to bang out Ladson’s latest inbox.

As always, I write my response here before reading Ladson’s and edit questions as needed for clarity.

Q: With right-hander Dan Haren going on the disabled list, is it possible the Nationals will try and trade for left-hander Cliff Lee or another top-of-the-rotation pitcher near the Trade Deadline?

A: Rumors on the street are that Mike Rizzo is working the phones, hard.  That sounds to me like he’s looking for serious reinforcements to try to salvage this “go for broke” season.  But somehow I seriously doubt it’ll be Cliff Lee.  Lee is owed too much money, he’s already 34, and the likelihood of Philadelphia dealing intra-division seems remote.  There’s plenty of other pundits out there reviewing the likely pitchers on the Trade market and there’s some intriguing names out there.  But it’ll be a sellers market and the Nats farm system has already been thinned recently.  Will they thin it even more in a desperate attempt to keep the 2013 dream alive?  I hope not; we’re already seeing how poorly thought out trades by other teams in similar positions have backfired and cost their teams significant prospect depth.  As others have noted, Ladson predicts the callup of Taylor Jordan for the time being.  Lets hope he comes out of no where and pitches 6 shutout innings.

Q: Does Wilson Ramos remind you a bit of Jesus Flores — a promising young catcher who can’t seem to stay off the disabled list?

A: Yeah, except that Ramos is twice the size of Flores and still can’t stay healthy.  That Kurt Suzuki move is looking better and better.  Derek Norris has yet to really pan out in the majors for Oakland (hitting below .200 this year and for his career), and Suzuki is holding down the fort for now.  That being said, we need Ramos back to spell Suzuki, who seems to be tiring as he catches the large majority of the innings.  Ladson doesn’t say much … but says the Nats miss Ramos.  Duh.

Q: Is there any chance we might see Ryan Zimmerman at second base?

A: Zero chance.  He’s a big dude; he’s not a 2nd baseman.  Now, Anthony Rendon looks like a 2-bagger to me.  Shorter guy, agile, quick arm, good glove.   Ladson agrees.

Q: What do you think of the Nats’ start this year, compared to last? Are they a stronger team?

A: Lots of injuries, lots of under-performing on the offense, and a couple of depressing pitching issues.  They’re better than a .500 team but they need to have at least a league-average offense (not one of the worst).  Ladson says they need Harper back.  Duh.




2 Responses to 'Ladson’s Inbox 6/24/13'

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  1. I find the Cliff Lee questions kind of funny. Maybe I am all wet, but that seems amongst the least-likely of the rumors. I just can’t see them taking on a salary like that when they already have Werth and Zim on long term deals, plus Harper, Stras, Zimm and Desi looming out there for extensions too. Plus, the only way Philly does that is if they get some high end guys back, which I think Rizzo is very reluctant to do (and as you said, we don’t have a lot of them).

    I could see a rental kind of guy like Nolasco or Garza if the price isn’t too high, but my guess is that they don’t trade for a starter. I’d prefer that they get a hitter or two, although the problem with this lineup is that they don’t have a lot of places to play someone. They are sorted of locked in at most line up spots when players are healthy. I continue to think it would be worthwhile to unload Werth to free up the ability to add a big bopper, but best case, even if they can do it, that is an offseason kind of move.


    27 Jun 13 at 8:43 am

  2. Whoever gets Cliff Lee is a fool if they don’t get the Phillies to cover a huge portion of his salary. Which lends me to believe he’s not going anywhere. Rizzo loves power arms and covets Garza; that move wouldn’t surprise me. However, the cubs are run by a young, aggressive group and they’re going to demand upper level prospects in trade. I like it better when Rizzo trades with idiot GMs like the guys in Minnesota, or with swashbuckling GMs who aren’t afraid to wheel and deal (like Billy Beane in Oakland). In fact I don’t think its a coincidence that we’ve done multiple deals with those two teams recently whereas we havn’t touched a transaction with a “new-school” organization (Tampa especially, but also clubs like Houston, Cubs, Boston, Arizona, etc).

    The thing is; even with a black hole in Haren’s spot, this team still is at .500. They need offense. Rizzo was quoted as saying (in response to a trade question) that he seeked a left-handed power hitter (Bryce Harper) and right-handed power hitting catcher depth (Wilson Ramos). I’d have laughed if he left the names out and created a firestorm on the internet.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jun 13 at 11:21 am

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