Another week, another Boswell chat (this time 3/10/14). Not much reaction to my big rotation rankings post yesterday; maybe 4800 words is too many Here’s about a 1000 instead about Nats stuff instead of overall baseball stuff.
Q: Interested in your thoughts on the Fister elbow inflammation?
A: I’d say that I’m cautiously concerned about Doug Fister. It wasn’t a grimace-induced injury like what happened to Kris Medlen. You could easily explain this away as a typical spring training injury. I think the best answer is “we just have to wait and see.” If Fister misses his next start … and isn’t throwing between starts, watch out. As we have already learned … he’s already feeling good enough to throw today (Tuesday 3/11/14) so maybe it was just a scare. Boswell accuses the Nats of being “underly worried” about its players’ ST maladies in the past, and then says we’ll have to wait and see. He does also reference Medlen though.
Q: Does Ross Detwiler being the only lefty in the 5th starter competition give him any advantage?
A: Maybe. Maybe a little. I wouldn’t mind having a 2nd lefty starter instead of a 4th righty starter, but the real reason Ross Detwiler will win the 5th starter role will come down more to options and performance versus his handedness. This is well-worn territory though (see previous Boswell chat here and rotation projections here) so we won’t go into it greatly. Boswell has a good point; Detwiler’s being left-handed is a disadvantage b/c the team knows they can stick him in the pen and he’ll instantly be a valuable reliever. And then I believe Boswel predicts that Tanner Roark is winning the 5th starter spot and Detwiler is heading to the pen. Wow.
Q: Is MLB stalling on the MASN issue b/c they’re waiting for Peter Angelos to die?
I didn’t want to phrase this “question” this way, but it was the most succinct. Answer is, “No even the bastards that run MLB aren’t that crass.” At least not overtly. I think the real answer is that Bud Selig realizes just how impossible this situation is (and, frankly, the SF-Oakland-San Jose issue as well) from a legal standpoint and he’s going to just keep on waiting for one side to call out “chicken” and propose something. We talked more at length about this issue a month ago when the Jonah Keri revalation surfaced, and (of course) nothing new has happened since. Boswell does call this an “ultra cynical” view.
Q: Why was Matt Skole cut so quickly?
A: Because he needs at-bats, and he’s not going to get as many of them the further we get into spring training as the veterans want 3ABs/game instead of one. He wasn’t going to make the team; why does anyone care when he was “cut” from the major league squad? I dunno; the whole “cuts issue” in spring training is faintly ridiculous for me anyway; is the guy on the 40-man roster? No? Then he’s not making this team out of Viera. This isn’t the cattle-call that we had for pitchers in 2008 when “cuts” actually meant something closer to when your high school team had cuts. Boswell agrees … and then gushes about Stephen Souza.
Q: Does Strasburg’s new slider put undue stress on the elbow?
A: What google article did this guy find that told him that?? I’ve never bought that argument and here’s why: I never really learned how to throw a curve ball. I didn’t really realize this until I was an adult, but the “curves” I always thought I was throwing as a kid? Yeah; they were sliders. I held the ball with a curve grip and just let it tumble out of my arm, bringing my arm across my body without snapping my wrist. And lemme tell you what: throwing a slider in this fashion was a heck of a lot easier on my arm than it was to violently snap my wrist and throw a curve ball, as I learned later on. Personally I’ve always thought the adage, “sliders hurt your arm” was B.S. Boswell hedges, saying that there’s different ways to throw a slider.
Q: Does it seem to you that Tanner Roark doesn’t get the respect his stats would seem to deserve?
A: Yes, absolutely. I wish I had a nickel every time I heard someone completely discount his 50+ innings of stellar work last September and invent some reason why some minor leaguer with 12 innings of experience (ahem, Christian Garcia) should be in the MLB bullpen instead of Roark. Why does this keep happening? Probably because he was an afte- thought, a lowly right-handed middle reliever without an eye-opening velocity or pitch. All he does is command his fastball, keep it low and earn grounders. Yes Detwiler (his 5th starter competition) was a first rounder … but I think at this point in everyone’s development, the team wants the best 25 guys on the field and aren’t really that concerned about how much bonus money they were paid 8 years ago. I think we should all look up the definition of “sunk cost” and move on. Boswell thinks Roark is a classic late bloomer.
Q: Bryce Harper said that, with a healthy knee, he should be able to stay in on left handed pitching. What type of performance should we expect to see with him against lefties, that will be indicative of a breakout season from him?
A: I hope this is true; he was pretty bad last year against lefties. I couldn’t easily find his lefty splits for just April before his injuries … that’d be an interesting split. I have no idea if this is true; it could be. Something tells me his knee pain was worse than he really let on about, all season. Boswell points out Bryce’s rookie season splits against lefties were better.
Q: What is going to happen with Tyler Moore this year?
A: At this point I have no idea; maybe just PH duties off the bench and occasional mop-up duty? We’ve covered this territory many times before. Does it make sense to keep a third outfielder on the bench over a utility guy? Not to me … if I was constructing this team i’d be sending Moore to AAA or looking for a trade and keeping another guy who can play infield. Boswell thinks a trade to a second division team that can start him is in order.
Q: If “the window” is only open for a short time, how do you justify not finding a way to keep Strasburg going in 2012?
A: (the question was a bit longer but basically calls out Boswell for advising a double standard in terms of approving the Stephen Strasburg shutdown but also urging the Nats to “hurry up” and take advantage of this current “window” of opportunity). Another topic that’s well-oiled; the Strasburg shutdown. Honestly I don’t think the Nats truly feel that they have a finite “window” right now; yes there’s a huge transition year after 2016 … is that the end of a window or merely a way to move onto the next phase? Boswell points out some facts supporting the Nats 2012 shutdown decision … it is nice to hear someone arguing FOR the health of a player.