Nationals Arm Race

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

Statistics and Rentention rates of Arbitration case players

23 comments

Remember when the team took this guy to Arbitration?  Photo: Nats official photo day via deadspin.com

Remember when the team took this guy to Arbitration? Photo: Nats official photo day via deadspin.com

Just as the optimism of the new baseball season begins to flourish every February, as pitchers and catchers report and fans start to get excited for the newseason, some teams and players get to experience one of the more unpleasant realities of the modern baseball game; Arbitration hearings.

The 2013 “arbitration season” was the first since 1974 that didn’t feature a single case of player versus club, perhaps a sign that teams are finally understanding just how damaging these cases can be.  Players are forced to sit and listen to their clubs argue just how mediocore or awful they are just to save (in some cases) a few hundred thousand dollars.  The teams use whatever statistical slant they need to prove or disprove their points, depend heavily on out-dated/old school stats (Wins, Saves, RBI) to make their cases, and generally speaking do their best to save a buck.  I read an example of a catcher who was in the top 10 in the league in batting and mentioned that as a stat in his favor, only to watch the team pull out a COMPLETE list of catchers (including guys who had like 10 at-bats) and show that the player wasn’t even in the top HALF of hitting for catchers.  And the team representative stated it with a straight face.  Meanwhile, these same teams generally have no issues signing veteran guys to multi-million dollar salaries to serve as middle relievers, backup outfields or 5th starters.  It seems like a completely demoralizing process and I’m surprised teams even come close to arguing with their players any longer.

However, as it stands now there’s a whole slew of potential cases out there where players and clubs couldn’t come to an agreement ahead of the Jan 17th 2014 deadline.  None more important than the Nats two open cases with Tyler Clippard and newly acquired Doug Fister.

Thanks to Maury Brown of the bizofbaseball.com blog, who keeps fantastic notes on Arbitration case results over the years for the core of the data that I used to make this post.  This link shows all the argued cases from 2005 to 2012 and this link shows the settled cases to 2011 (needs updating; mlbtraderumors also keeps similar information that is up-to-date for 20122013 and 2014).

Commenter Luke S. asked whether there was a relationship between teams who took their players to arguments and eventual retention.  I thought that was a fascinating question, so I did some digging.  Borrowing from Brown’s aforementioned links and then adding in some “player disposition” information, I’ve created an XLS (uploaded to Google Docs here and added to the NAR creation links to the right) that tracks all arbitration cases going back to 2005 with the disposition results.  I’ve cut and pasted the core of the data here (leaving out the salaries and the description of what happened to the player).

Year Team Player Delta Winner Still with club? Depart club THAT year?
2012 Miami Anibal Sanchez $1,100,000 Player No Yes
2012 Washington John Lannan $700,000 Club No Yes
2012 Milwaukee Jose Veras $375,000 Club No Yes
2012 Miami Emilio Bonifacio $250,000 Player No Yes
2012 Baltimore Brad Bergesen $400,000 Club No Yes
2012 Tampa Bay Jeff Niemann $450,000 Club No No
2012 Pittsburgh Garrett Jones $250,000 Club No No
2011 Houston Hunter Pence $1,750,000 Player No Yes
2011 Pittsburgh Ross Ohlendorf $625,000 Player No Yes
2011 Los Angeles Angels Jered Weaver $1,435,000 Club Yes No
2010 Miami Cody Ross $250,000 Player No Yes
2010 Chicago Cubs Ryan Theriot $800,000 Club No Yes
2010 Washington Brian Bruney $350,000 Club No Yes
2010 Houston Wandy Rodriguez $2,000,000 Club No No
2010 Milwaukee Corey Hart $650,000 Player No No
2010 Tampa Bay BJ Upton $300,000 Club No No
2010 Los Angeles Angels Jeff Mathis $600,000 Player No No
2010 Washington Sean Burnett $150,000 Club No No
2009 Washington Shawn Hill $275,000 Player No Yes
2009 Miami Dan Uggla $950,000 Player No No
2009 Tampa Bay Dioner Navarro $400,000 Club No No
2008 Los Angeles Angels Francisco Rodriguez $2,500,000 Club No Yes
2008 Colorado Brian Fuentes $1,450,000 Club No Yes
2008 Washington Felipe Lopez $300,000 Club No Yes
2008 Houston Mark Lorretta $2,150,000 Club No Yes
2008 Philadelphia Ryan Howard $3,000,000 Player Yes No
2008 New York Mets Oliver Perez $1,775,000 Player No No
2008 Houston Jose Valverde $1,500,000 Club No No
2008 New York Yankees Chien-Ming Wang $600,000 Club No No
2007 Miami Miguel Cabrera $700,000 Player No Yes
2007 San Diego Todd Walker $1,200,000 Player No Yes
2007 Washington John Patterson $1,000,000 Club No Yes
2007 Washington Chad Cordero $500,000 Player No No
2007 Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Beimel $337,500 Club No No
2007 Tampa Bay Josh Paul $315,000 Club No No
2007 Miami Kevin Gregg $125,000 Club No No
2006 Washington Alfonso Soriano $2,000,000 Club No Yes
2006 Baltimore Rodrigo Lopez $750,000 Club No Yes
2006 Minnesota Kyle Lohse $550,000 Player No Yes
2006 Colorado Sun-Woo “Sunny” Kim $200,000 Club No Yes
2006 Kansas City Emil Brown $375,000 Player No No
2006 Tampa Bay Josh Paul $275,000 Club No No
2005 Oakland Juan Cruz $260,000 Club No Yes
2005 Minnesota Kyle Lohse $250,000 Player No No
2005 Kansas City Jeremy Affeldt $250,000 Club No No

Now, thanks to some pivot table work in XLS and some other interesting analysis, here’s what we can glean from the 45 cases that have been argued going back to 2005:

  • Clubs are 28/45 (62%), players are 17/45 (38%) in the last nine years of cases.  Per Brown’s overall stats, Clubs hold a 291-214 lead in these cases  historically, a 57% success rate, meaning the clubs are getting better at these hearings over the past decade or so.
  • Washington is the  leading “arguing” club with 8 of 45 cases since 2005.  This is not a category with which we want to be a leader.  I attribute a lot of these cases to an antagonistic former GM (Jim Bowden) who had no issues going to war over relatively small amounts, coupled with a new owner who had a very bad reputation for penny pinching in the early years of his tenure.  That doesn’t absolve Mike Rizzo though; he’s already had 3 cases argued in his four seasons of management.
  • 42% of all cases since 2005 by just 3 clubs (Washington, Miami and Tampa).   The two Florida clubs are both notorious for squeezing money, albeit for different alleged reasons.  Miami because their owner is well established as being in the game for the money, and Tampa because they’ve long since established the revenue issues their stadium situation places on the franchise.
  • 12 of 30 clubs in the game have not had an arb argument/case dating to 2005.  To me, this means 12 of the 30 clubs have figured out that $200,000 isn’t worth destroying a player’s ego.
  • Smallest amount argued over: $125k by Miami in 2007 and $150K by Wash in 2010 w/ Sean Burnett.   Again, no real surprise here that Miami went to arguments over $125k.
  • Largest amount argued over: $3M by Philadelphia w/ Ryan Howard (player won)
  • Biggest player demand: Francisco Rodriguez $12,500,000 (player lost).
  • Biggest club offer ($10M twice; both club wins).  One of these was Washington’s Alfonso Soriano case in 2006.

So, based on these numbers, lets think about the two cases Washington may have pending.  The amount delta with Washington’s two 2014 cases is $3M with Fister and $1.9M with Clippard.  So for comparison purposes, the $3M delta with Fister would tie the largest ever delta argued before the court.   The $1.9M delta with Clippard is large as well, in the top 5 deltas ever taken to arbitration.  Clearly, the team and these players have some serious work to do.  Clippard is seemingly in more jeopardy of losing an arbitration case, thanks to his “demotion” and sudden lack of save opportunities.  The fact that he is easily argued as our best reliever and has some of the best BAA/BABIP stats in the league is meaningless; no saves means less money in front of the panel.   And what a welcome to the organization it would be for Fister to arrive and before throwing a pitch in anger having to hear how crummy a pitcher he is.  I feel its vital to clear these cases up, extend the guys, do whatever you have to do in order to avoid the arbitration hearing.

Lastly, here’s a couple of interesting player retention stats related to those who go to arbitration:

  • Just 2 of 45 players who have argued arb cases remain with their teams to this day; Jered Weaver and Ryan Howard.  That seems like an awfully small number until you consider the nature of player movement in the game.  The fact of the matter is this; players are constantly on the move in baseball, especially once they hit arbitration age where their salaries quickly overshadow their value.  Teams have no issues employing pre-arb guys who are replacement level players.  But once their salaries start jumping up and you have ready made replacements in AAA who cost 1/3rd or 1/4th as much as a 2nd or 3rd year arbitration player, it becomes pretty easy to trade, non-tender or DFA the near replacement level guy.  So while it seems natural to think that players who argue with their teams are more apt to leave … I think perhaps its more common for guys to just end up leaving thanks to the huge churn and burn that exists at the back end of rosters.That being said, I’m sure something could be gleaned by doing this same “disposition analysis” for the 100s of players who settled their arbitration cases without hearings … but that’s just far too large a project for today’s little blog entry.
  • Here is something rather interesting though: 23 of 45 players who argued w/ their clubs were traded or released THAT same season.  Including a number of the Nationals argued cases.  John Lannan lost his arb case in 2012, was relegated to AAA and was non-tendered.  Bruney was released just two months into the 2010 season.  Both Shawn Hill and John Patterson were cut in spring training before their salaries could even kick in.  Felipe Lopez moped his way into a July release the summer after his hearing.   And generally speaking about half of all players who had arguments ended up in new organizations either during or just after the season in which they argued with their teams.  Is this a statement about player-club relations?

Anyway; just some interesting Arbitration Case stuff for you this cold January friday day.  Extend Fister!  Sign Clippard!  Don’t go to hearings!

23 Responses to 'Statistics and Rentention rates of Arbitration case players'

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  1. Good stuff, Todd. At the root of this discussion is a fundamental question: what in the heck do the Nats want to do with their bullpen? I don’t think they know. Why else would they be chasing after seemingly every stray reliever on the market when their ‘pen already looks full? Are they just bargain hunting? Are they setting up to trade someone? Did Matty W. express a desire for a different makeup in the ‘pen? What gives? (And did Billy sign Eric O’Flaherty just to hold him for us? Ha!)

    As for Clippard, it may sound strange, but the Nats may be just trying to find a way to keep him by keeping his number low. He’s the best reliever the Nats have, but relievers as a general rule are the most overpaid players in baseball. Is Clippard worth more than Strasburg? Of course not. Is Soriano worth more than Stras and Zimmermann put together? Don’t think about that one too hard.

    I don’t know what to think about the Fister situation. The glass-half-full hope would be that team and rep are just staking out positions for a Gio-type arb-years buyout/extension. They should be able to get a Fister deal done on much better terms in money and years than they can Zimmermann. But the glass-half-empty would say that this is why the Tigers unloaded him.

    KW

    24 Jan 14 at 4:04 pm

  2. Why upgrade the bullpen? Because their bullpen by most measures was pretty crummy last year. Check it out on fangraphs team Reliever split for 2013: 17th in ERA, 9th in FIP, 19th in xFIP, 18th in SIERA. That’s not that good.

    Now, like you i dunno where the heck they’re going to PUT another reliever; I mean basically if they were to sign Balfour or Rodney or whoever else they’re chasing … that likely means that either Ohlendorf or Roark is in AAA … and that’s if Detwiler makes the rotation. I already have Mattheus and Garcia starting in AAA too. Maybe what really is happening is this: behind the scenes they’re looking at moving Clippard or Storen to a team needing a closer, and want some cover. I could see that; get a backup middle infielder and a prospect back for a MLB-quality closer who (even if Clippard wins his arbitration at $6.2) is relatively cheap. Moreso if they move Storen.

    Soriano and his salary; *sigh*. Have to think that was a Boras-calling-the-owner move the more you look at it.

    I postulated before that maybe Rizzo just ran out of time to negotiate with all 8 of the guys on the same day. Maybe he’s called Fister and just said “hey lets make a deal.” Buy out 2 arb years and a FA year for something like 6,10 and 14? 3 for 30? would he do that? I dunno.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jan 14 at 4:34 pm

  3. I would do 3 for $30M for Fister in a heartbeat, or preferably 4 for $45M (or even $50M, in line with Garza’s 4/$52M), perhaps with an option for a fifth year. That would give the Nats two established starters (along with Gio) for the foreseeable future at a good price and leave them with more latitude in dealing with Zimmermann and Strasburg. (Plus Detwiler’s contract is up after 2015 as well.)

    Along similar lines, I’m a little surprised that we’re not hearing more about Rizzo trolling among the remaining starters. Jurrjens might be worth a minor-league contract as another rehab project, for example.

    KW

    24 Jan 14 at 9:43 pm

  4. With the relievers, I agree that a bigger-ticket bullpen signing would signal a trade of someone, either Storen or Clippard. Clippard likely would bring more in return, but he would also leave a bigger hole. Who knows whether the Nats still see Storen as the closer for 2015 and beyond.

    I’m not as anti-Soriano as many are. Considering the implosions from HRod, Duke, Mattheus, and Storen in 2013, it would have been really ugly without him early on. But he did come at a steep price, basically as a luxury item, and he wasn’t as lights-out as many hoped. That said, it’s very unlikely that he’s going anywhere, so Nats fans would do well to get behind him. We have no idea about the clubhouse cancer stuff. The only sign I saw was that his compadres stopped untucking with him at a certain point, but that may have been due more to a recognition of their place in the standings.

    KW

    24 Jan 14 at 9:47 pm

  5. 3/30, 4/45, 4/52 yeah I agree, that’d be a steal. Which is likely why Fister hasn’t done it yet. He knows how good he’s been and is clearly fighting for his cash.

    MLFA starter depth: Maybe Rizzo is having a tough time getting one of these guys to come here, given the strength of the rotation as it stands now (most pundits put us in the top 3 rotations in the game) and the depth we’ve acquired or grown in the last year. I could see that. If i’m a down on my luck starter i’m probably thinking about going to a crummy team like Houston or Chicago, where i’ve got a better shot at making the rotation and getting my value back.

    Storen as future closer: I think Rizzo thinks expensive closers/relievers are useless. I think that’s why Storen is constantly in trade talks. I kind of agree; I’ll bet dollars to donuts we could take a guy like Nathan karns and get 2-3 more MPH out of him as a late inning reliever and he’d be a fantastic closer. For mlb minimum.

    Soriano in for the long run (well at least 2014): yeah totally agree. If the Phillies can’t move Papelbon (a much better closer for just slightly more money) Soriano isn’t goign anywhere. My only, only hope is that the team doesn’t vest his d*mn option.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jan 14 at 11:37 am

  6. At Nats Fest today a fan who was clearly a Drew Storen fan asked some of the Nats’ analysts why they kept being linked to closers when they already had Storen and Clippard (oddly, she didn’t mention Soriano ;-). The guy’s reply was: “we like good players.”

    John C.

    25 Jan 14 at 7:28 pm

  7. Karns isn’t the only power reliever possibility. If Garcia is finally healthy, he could very quickly get into the mix, and into the story line for a potential reliever trade (Storen or Clippard). That would be a big gamble, though, on a guy with very little MLB experience and a long injury history if they quickly promote him into the 7th/8th inning mix. Of course it would be with Karns as well.

    If Karns doesn’t win or show highly in the competition for the 5th starter spot, it would become an interesting question of whether he is most valuable to the Nats as a 7th or 8th starter option held in reserve; as a reliever; or to trade as a starter. Right now, he hasn’t shown enough quality pitches to be a starter for a contender. But there are plenty of MLB teams for whom he could start. As you note, though, he could also be a power arm from the Nationals’ pen for almost nothing.

    Of course similar things could be said of Dewiler if he don’t win the 5th starter spot, although he could still have considerable use to the Nats as a power lefty reliever and spot starter. Rizzo has also talked of advancing Solis quickly for a similar role.

    So save the millions from a guy the level of a Rodney or a Balfour and spend it on an extension or a quality bench guy. Of course Espinoza seems to have disavowed any memory of last season and declared himself the 2B starter, so I guess we’re good with Rendon as the INF reserve. Glad to see that Danny’s still got his confidence, but, uh . . .

    KW

    26 Jan 14 at 9:23 pm

  8. Well consider this. What’s a better bullpen: Soriano, Clippard, Storen, Stammen, Balfor, Blevins, Roark or replacing Balfor with Ohlendorf or even Mattheus at this point? Hell yeah i’d like to have had Balfour in there. I like “good players” too :-)

    Todd Boss

    27 Jan 14 at 3:51 pm

  9. Garcia: i’ve given up all hope of him contributing unfortunately. Maybe if he can show he can stay healthy and put up some Zeros in Syracuse.

    Karns: you have to think he’s starter #1 (or #1A to Jordan) in Syracuse for now. Maybe in september if the Nats are looking like they’re gearing up for a big playoff run they bring him up and “shorten” him up for October. I guess you’d wait to see what kind of injuries the team sustains over the course of the year.

    Espinosa; he’s one infield injury away from a starting job so … we’ll see.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jan 14 at 3:55 pm

  10. All this talk of Espinosa the last week here and at Natsfest makes me wonder if everyone forgot he couldn’t even hit AAA pitching last year, much less the majors.

    Mark L

    27 Jan 14 at 7:26 pm

  11. Espinoza is the Nats’ Bobby Ewing. He’s coming out of the shower and hoping that we will suspend all belief and forget that the last season ever happened.

    Hey, it would be great for him and for the team if he makes it all the way back, but there are more issues than just the injuries. The league has his number, and he’s really going to have to change his approach to hitting.

    KW

    27 Jan 14 at 8:12 pm

  12. I’m beginning to slightly buy the backstory on Espinosa. Yes he hit .150 last year … playing through a broken bone and the torn rotator cuff. I’d like to see what he can do when he’s healthy. I’ll take a 20 homer guy hitting .240 and playing great defense. I’d also like to see him consider giving up the switch hitting. but that’s another conversation.

    Think of it this way; if he can rebound, then the Nats have a ready made replacement for 2015 when Zim->1B and Rendon->3B.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jan 14 at 8:29 pm

  13. I was thoroughly enjoying this thread in silence, but can I just jump in to offer mad props to KW for dropping a 30 year old “Dallas” reference? Well played, sir.

    FWIW, I just find Espinosa to be obnoxious at this point. As poorly as he’s played since the second half of his rookie season, I’d say a little humility is in order. If nothing else, it might at least gain him some fan sympathy.

    clark17

    28 Jan 14 at 10:45 am

  14. Mark Zuckerman from Nats Insider says some of the words coming from the coaches regarding Espinosa’s attitude are ‘stubborn’ & ‘delusional’.

    I do hope he turns it around; that benefits everybody across the board. It’s just that he doesn’t really deserve the benefit of the doubt at this point.
    His defense is gold glove quality but he was missing pitches last year by 5-6 feet.

    Mark L

    28 Jan 14 at 12:50 pm

  15. Espinosa as “Stubborn and Delusional.” Wow. That’s pretty bad. I did not see that, but if that’s the case that doesn’t bode well for Espinosa’s time in this organization at all. No wonder he didn’t get a callup at 9/1.

    Todd Boss

    28 Jan 14 at 4:02 pm

  16. Clark – thanks for the props.

    Mark & Todd – I agree. I can’t see anyone with an attitude like that playing for Matt Williams. Maybe the talk from Rizzo about Espinoza being part of an open competition at 2B was more for the benefit of potential suitors than internal consumption.

    I did think it was telling that the Tigers, who lost both their 2B and SS, asked for Lombo in the Fister trade over Danny. Signing Carroll, Fontenot, Burriss, and Rhymes was also not exactly a vote of confidence in the INF situation, either.

    KW

    28 Jan 14 at 7:37 pm

  17. Considering our other discussions around here (above) about the length of prospective free agent contracts, I wanted to link to Dave Cameron’s Fangraphs piece on the Tanaka signing, which contains this great paragraph:

    “In general, most free agent deals are not that difficult to evaluate. The majority of free agents are already on the downside of their career, so there’s a tension in the negotiations between the player trying to get as many years as possible and the team trying to limit their obligations to an aging player who is expected to be get worse in every subsequent season. In recent years, it seems that negotiations have mostly shifted away from bidding in annual average value into almost entirely bidding on years, where the signing team is the one who guarantees one year more than the rest of the bidders. Negotiations for free agents can be pretty accurately described as a push and pull between teams and players over the number of guaranteed years the player is going to receive, with most everything else being secondary to that agreement.”

    KW

    28 Jan 14 at 8:12 pm

  18. Tigers asking for Lombardozzi over Espinosa; yeah that’s a good point. I hadn’t considered that. Honestly I still think Espinosa has the potential to be a better player than Lombardozzi (he’s got that power component and I think he’s better defensively). But i cannot argue against what Detroit “asked” for.

    Of the INF signings, Burriss and Rhymes to me are clear AAA-depth signings. Especially Burriss, whose a DC resident and whose MLB numbers are just abhorrent. Rhymes is a local guy too (W&M) and that may have factored into it. Now as for Carroll/Fontenot, man it’d be pretty embarassing for Espinosa to lose out to one of these two guys. I wrote a long missive about what I think Espinosa needs to do to salvage his career at this point in this space in a mailbag a whi le back and nothing has changed; no matter where he plays, no matter what his role, if he wants to regain a starting job in the majors somewhere he needs to swallow his pride and produce.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jan 14 at 8:14 am

  19. On espinosa, from GammonsDaily:

    Danny Espinosa will only be 27 in April. He’s hit 21 and 17 homers in Washington and played the middle infield. But coming off a season that was slowed by shoulder surgery and ruined by being hit by a pitch and not finding out for months that his wrist was broken, he finds himself the third man with Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon at short and second. So Matt Williams will have to figure out how to use all three, or when the Nationals have a need, there may be a lot of teams like the Yankees, Blue Jays and Mets who come June may be knocking on Mike Rizzo’s door. He could be a central figure on mlbtradetrumors.com.

    Good points; but you have to wonder if the Nats would move him if they’re in first place and looking like a lock for the playoffs. Why disrupt a good situation? That being said the Yankees especially could have a gaping need for middle infielders; their opening day projected infield goes Teixeira, Roberts, Jeter and Kelly Johnson. That’s not exactly a paragon of good health. :-)

    Todd Boss

    29 Jan 14 at 8:59 am

  20. Tanaka: Baseball America guys on their podcast were talking about the Tanaka signing and noting how the rules are just completely out of whack. By changing the posting system to cap the fee they’re basically screwing the small teams again, because now the acquisition of these types of players all comes down to market clout. So it really shouldn’t have been a surprise Tanaka went to one of the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers. Just as the next big-time Japanese FA will do. How is this progress?

    Todd Boss

    29 Jan 14 at 11:24 am

  21. I am going to be a contrarian on Espy: I think that he has a lot more value than the fans of the Nats assign him. I think the Nats themselves and other teams give him a lot more value than we do. (1) He is a quality defensive MI, and look no further than Brendan Ryan to see how long a quality MI defender with absolutely zero bat can last. (2) he has had a decent bat in the past, so he immediately becomes a notch above the Ryan/Kozma types because you can ‘dream’ on fixing his O back to previous levels. and (3) he is young, cheap and controllable for 4 more years, so he could be a guy that, if fixed, creates a few years of real surplus value.

    So I doubt that DET asked for Lombo over him, but rather WAS wouldn’t put him in the deal. Think about it: Rizzo realizes more than most that Espy can be a productive player, because he did it here, under Rizzo’s watch. He is paying, at worst (or best, depending how you look at it), pre-arb rates for another year to see if he gets it back together. Honestly, why would Rizzo give away a lottery ticket, unless he got real value back. I just don’t see him going anywhere for at least another year unless someone gives us something we really need.

    Wally

    29 Jan 14 at 12:37 pm

  22. At the risk of beating a dead thread, I do want to make a couple of more points here. First, I’ll reiterate what I said above – that it would be great for both Danny and the Nats if he makes it all the way back. It would certainly give them more options of how to fill out the infield next year when LaRoche clicks his heels and goes back to Kansas.

    But I increasingly think that if it’s going to happen for Danny, it’s going to happen elsewhere. The Gammons comment had to be prompted/planted by Boras. Danny’s comments at Nats Fest seemed a bit scripted, too, in a way angling to get him out of town. And who knows, Rizzo might even be complicit in this: “You know, Scott, I’d like to help you out, but you’re going to have to do something to remind folks that Danny has some value. Right now, all I could get for him would be a busted fungo bat.”

    Anyway, another point I wanted to make in this discussion is that Rendon still has a chance to be a heck of a hitter. He had to be promoted last season after almost no time in the minors. But he’s a guy who was once considered a possible 1/1 pick. He’s capable of being an 800+ OPS guy on a regular basis (he averaged nearly 1200 at Rice), which would put him in elite company very quickly at 2B and not make him an offensive liability at 3B. We’ll see.

    As for Espinoza, who knows? Until he shows up somewhere and starts putting a bat on a ball on a consistent basis, there’s not much to discuss.

    KW

    31 Jan 14 at 4:45 pm

  23. Ken’s thoughts on Espinosa’s current state: can’t argue.

    Rendon’s future capabilities: also can’t argue; the Nats got Rendon in a huge surprise when it happened; I remember being absolutely ecstatic when I heard we got him. We’re talking about a college player of the year as a sophomore and absolutely someone who a lot of pundits thought was a 1/1 talent. I mean, how many teams have as many #1 overall class talents as the Nats right now? Stras, Harper, Rendon, and then both Purke and Giolito clearly were upper first round talents as well. This has and will continue to pay off.

    I can see Rendon settling into a classic #2 hitter profile; high average, good eye, good bat control, can go opposite field to move a runner, some power. If he doesn’t develop quite that well, there’s no shame in being a solid #7 hitter either.

    Todd Boss

    1 Feb 14 at 8:59 am

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