Nationals Arm Race

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Nats 40-man Option status for 2015


Moore's lack of options puts him in a tough spot for 2015.  Photo unknown via

Moore’s lack of options puts him in a tough spot for 2015. Photo unknown via

A while back, I postulated that the Nats were going to have a “roster crunch” this coming off-season thanks to the litany of new-adds and 60-day DL shuffling.

Now that the rosters have been reset, as of this moment the team has 39 spots of 40 filled.  The FAs are officially cut loose and the 60-day D/L guys have been put back.  The only move of note has been the outrighting of Ross Ohlendorf, who elected free agency.

So, if we’re at 39/40 right now, do we have a roster crunch coming?  Yeah I think we do; a quick look at the Draft Tracker shows quite a few names that we likely have to add this fall in order to keep them away from the Rule 5 draft.  Without doing a huge analysis, college players drafted in 2011 and high schoolers drafted in 2010 will be draftable, and we have more than a few names we might be thinking about keeping (quick high-visibility list includes Brian Goodwin, Matt Skole, and A.J. Cole, along with the likes of Matt Grace and Destin Hood, who faces MLFA this off-season).

So, where’s the space going to come from?  Well, read on.  Lets talk about options.  Here’s a quick run down of the entire 40-man roster right now and their option status:

First, Veterans with more than 5 years experience.  This list swelled significantly for the Nats in 2014, though frankly almost none of these players were really going to be affected.  None of these players can be optioned without their permission at this point.

Player Service Time post 2014 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left?
Zimmerman, Ryan 9.032 Sep 2005 none 3
Werth, Jayson 11.102 Nov 2002 2003, 2004, 2005 0
Span, Denard 6.111 Nov 2006 2007, 2008 1
McLouth, Nate 8.152 Jun 2005 2005, 2010 1
Gonzalez, Gio 5.162 Aug 2008 2009 2
Zimmermann, Jordan 5.154 Apr 2009 2010 2
Desmond, Ian 5.027 Nov 2008 2009 2
Fister, Doug 5.058 Aug 2009 3
Clippard, Tyler 5.148 May 2007 2007, 2008, 2009 0
Thornton, Matt 10.129 Jun 2004 2004 2
Detwiler, Ross 5.002 Sept 2007 2008, 2009, 2011 0
Blevins, Jerry 5.081 Sept 2007 2008, 2009, 2011 0
Frandsen, Kevin 5.151 Apr 2006 2006,2009,2010 0

Most of these guys are entrenched starters who never would have been optioned anyway.  Those that are not in that category (Detwiler, Blevins, Frandsen) were out of options anyway, so they aren’t candidates to stash in AAA next year regardless.  All three are 3rd year arbitration eligible and bit players; for my money I’d not be surprised to see at least one (Detwiler) or more non-tendered at the tender deadline.

This next category I call “Options Avail but are MLB entrenched.”

Player Service Time post 2014 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left?
Strasburg, Stephen 4.118 Aug 2009 2010 2
Storen, Drew 4.140 May 2010 3
Rendon, Anthony 1.130 Aug 2011 2012, 2013 1
Harper, Bryce 2.159 Aug 2010 2011, 2012 1
Ramos, Wilson 4.047 Nov 2008 2009, 2010 1
Stammen, Craig 4.160 May 2009 2009, 2011 1
Roark, Tanner 1.070 Aug 2013 3

As with the likes of Storen a couple years back, these guys could get optioned back to AAA without much to say about it, but the odds seem unlikely.  Maybe someone like Roark could lose out on a rotation spot and head to AAA as a spare part, but that seems incredibly unlikely after his 2014.

This next category I call “Options Available, jeopardizing 25-man roster status.”

Player Service Time post 2014 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left?
Espinosa, Danny 3.113 Sep 2010 2013 2
Souza, Steve 0.089 Oct 2013 2014 2

The way things are playing out, I’d have a hard time seeing Espinosa optioned back.  I think he’ll be on the 25-man roster one way or the other, as the 2B starter or as the middle infielder backup who can cover 2b or SS.  Souza represents a more interesting case; If 2015 started tomorrow I’d have him as the last guy off the bench with Taylor in AAA, by virtue of his power in a pinch-hitting role and his flexibility to play all the outfield positions.  We’ll see.

This next category I call “Options almost guaranteed to be used in 2015.”

Player Service Time post 2014 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left?
Barrett, Aaron 0.142 Nov 2013 2014 2
Davis, Erik 1.045 Nov 2012 2013 2
Hill, Taylor 0.007 June 2014 2014 2
Jordan, Taylor 1.005 June 2013 2014 2
Kobernus, Jeff 1.000 May 2013 2013,2014 1
Rivero, Felipe 0.000 Nov 2012 2013,2014 1
Solis, Sammy 0.000 Nov 2013 2014 2
Taylor, Michael 0.024 Nov 2013 2014 2
Treinen, Blake 0.069 Apr 2014 2014 2
Purke, Matt 0.000 Aug 2011 2012, 2013,2014 1*

All these guys are likely to start the year in AAA.  Or lower; Purke will get a 4th option thanks to his MLB deal and his lack of overall professional experience (the rules are sketchy, but basically if you have less than 5 years of pro experience and get optioned 3 times, you get a fourth).  A better question for this team may well be what to do with Purke after next season; he’s yet to get out of A-ball; unless he makes a meteoric rise in 2015 he’s likely through with the team.

The exception here of course is Barrett.  He made the bullpen last year out of spring training but bounced around.  You can absolutely make the argument that he’ll do the same again in 2015 (my own 25-man projections have him in the majors to start as well).  But something tells me he may do more bouncing around.  Will his performance in the NLDS affect him going forward?  Will he have a short memory?  He probably belongs in the previous category (“options jeopardizing his 25-man spot.”)

Now, to the “meat” of the post.  Here’s our 40-man roster residents who have no more options left:

Player Service Time post 2014 First Added to 40-man Option Years Used Options left?
Lobaton, Jose 3.138 Nov 2008 2010,2011, unk 3rd 0
Mattheus, Ryan 2.149 Nov 2008 2009, 2010, 2014 0
Florimon, Pedro Jr. 1.126 Nov 2009 2010,2011,2014 0
Cedeno, Xavier 1.061 Sept 2011 2012, 2013,2014 0
Moore, Tyler 2.020 Nov 2011 2012, 2013,2014 0
Leon, Sandy 1.050 May 2012 2012, 2013,2014 0
Solano, Jhonatan 1.027 Nov 2011 2012, 2013,2014 0

Wow, that’s a lot of guys facing an option crunch.  Lets go player by player:

  • Lobaton seems certain to make next year’s roster as the backup catcher.  No worries here.  (A note: I cannot figure out when his third option was burned; his transaction log is a complete mess.  But said at one point he was out of options, so i’m going with them).
  • The other two catchers on the 40-man roster (Leon and Solano) seem like they’re dead ducks; they’ve had more than a few opportunities to make an impact in the majors and failed, hence the acquisition of Lobaton in the first place.  Other teams aren’t dummies either; they’re not going to give the Nats much in trade for these guys, knowing they’re both long shots to make 25-man rosters out of spring.  Do the Nats try to sneak them off the 40-man at some point in the fall?  Do they get picked up by someone else if that happens?  Probably; some other team probably would love to have a backup catcher competition with the loser getting DFA’d on March 31st anyway; no big loss.  So what do you do?  I guess you try to package them in trade starting now … or not.  Maybe you keep them both around as bullpen catchers in the spring and DFA them before camp breaks.  Seems harsh but you likely want them around in case Lobaton or Ramos gets hurt in Viera.
  • Mattheus seems like the “first in line for a DFA” at this point.  Awful AAA stats, out of options, wrong side of 30.  Its the harsh tale of middle relievers; he’s not been the same since breaking his hand in a fit of idiocy, punching a wall.
  • We know very little about Florimon, but the team claimed him knowing full well his option status.  Makes me wonder if he’s simply backup middle infielder competition material; make the team or get DFA’d.   Or not; do you break camp in 2015 with a bench like Lobaton, Frandsen, Florimon, McLouth and Souza?  I don’t think Florimon is a starter; his numbers make Espinosa’s look Ruthian.
  • Cedeno has nothing more to prove in AAA; his numbers there were great in 2013 and 2014.  But he’s apparently not as good as Blevins as a one-out lefty.  As with the catchers, i’m guessing he hangs around for spring training in case someone gets hurt, and is designated 3/31.
  • Lastly we come to Tyler Moore.  I think his time with the team is coming to an end.  He’s struggled at the plate two years in a row as a backup player; he’s not going to get starting time for this team.  And if you need a right-handed bat off the bench at this point, wouldn’t you prefer Souza, who clearly has the same kind of power AND can play multiple positions (including center)?   Yes I know Moore is hitting well in winter ball; I hate to sound cynical, but Yunesky Maya was once the MVP of the Dominican Winter League.  We’ve heard rumblings about how Houston may have liked Moore in trade, but that was before they canned former Nats 3rd base coach Bo Porter.

So, if the team needs to shed some space off its roster without consummating a trade … look no further than this last group for the first guys likely to go.  I’d say Mattheus is first to go, followed by Moore and Cedeno.  But these 7 of the current 39 guys are likely to be off this roster by the time opening day rolls around next year.

The end of 2015 spring training could get bloody.  Actually, the end of November just ahead of the Rule 5 draft seems likely to get pretty ugly too.


31 Responses to 'Nats 40-man Option status for 2015'

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  1. Todd, another all star post. Thank you for the effort and the playground.

    Hood is the only one of those mentioned that is a minor league free agent eligible, no? Adding anyone today does not have bearing on the rule 5, necessarily; it’s just a matter of keeping someone from being lost to the organization outright.

    With Ohlendorf, they had a one year contract anyway. Can’t see that they would occupy a roster space by committing a lot of resources to him coming off an injury year. So that is not surprising either.

    Let’s not forget that Fernando Abad, for whom there was no room on the 40 man, fetched this team Wooten, who was the playoff MVP for Potomac, his second level of the season. He may not be that young, but he is a realistic option for AA next year, has positional versatility, and the organization needs power bats. Nice return, he was.

    So Ryan Mattheus appears to be in the bubble, although he performed better in the majors than he did in AAA. Relievers being fungible, per Todd, the return for him may be pretty low.

    Solano may fetch a little more. Catchers do and have.

    I can’t see Leon being the odd man out. He steps into the ML as needed and can handle a major league staff as a backup.

    The Nats just resigned Josh Johnson, who is part of the pool that includes Florimon. Let’s see how long Florimon lasts. He has shown no meaningful bat this winter. But the Nats had a fantastic hitting coach at AAA this year (in fact, the coaching staff upgrade at AAA is one of the most significant organizational plus stories of the year), so his ending may yet to be written.

    I’m a fool for Tyler Moore. If he has to go in order to play every day, so be it. That seems to be the only way he’ll realize his potential. Hopefully if he goes, though, they’ll get the return they should.

    Bats are the hot ticket right now.

    These commodities may be expendable, but so was Nate Karns. Lobaton alone was worth it, in retrospect. Vettleson is one of those players in the Nats system I still believe in (I have him at 41 on my own updated Nats prospect list). If Moore’s future is being flipped like Karns, we’ll hope for the best.


    3 Nov 14 at 12:03 pm

  2. Forensicane; I only mentioned Hood in passing because of his draft status (2nd rounder) and his “step up” this year. I agree with you; he could profile similarly to Souza in that he was a HS pick who blossomed late and could be worth keeping around. I didn’t want to do the full-blown analysis of everyone who is rule-5 eligible, since that would include IFAs and guys we’ve acquired in trade, and that takes a bit more digging than by glancing quickly at the Draft Board.

    Leon; yeah we know what he can do … but he has no more options. And he’s 3rd in line behind two entrenched catchers. I see little recourse for him in general.

    Florimon: we may have a good AAA hitting coach … but Florimon only gets there if he passes through waivers.

    Todd Boss

    3 Nov 14 at 2:05 pm

  3. Understood all around. It’s way too early to play Rule 5. But today is deadline day for the minor league free agents and Hood appears to be the best MLFA that the Nats have. They can add him, get up to 40, and shuffle the deck as need be prior to setting the 40 man in December for the draft.

    I can’t see Solano getting claimed if he is outrighted. Leon, though, I can. But the out of options for both him and Leon is a dilemma almost on par with Moore, since the drop off at catching is meaningful.


    3 Nov 14 at 2:21 pm

  4. So how many options does Fortonato have left? Cedeno may be the first to be outrighted, or perhaps a trade of Det.


    3 Nov 14 at 3:35 pm

  5. Oops. He’s righthanded. So long, Ryan! You’re out of options….


    3 Nov 14 at 3:39 pm

  6. Doesn’t Wilmer Difo need to be added to the 40man as well? I’d keep your 5 guys plus Difo, meaning we need to drop 6 guys off the 40 man:

    Gotta DFA

    Pick 2 from the following:
    New Guy picked up today
    Frandsen (does he really need a spot? Can’t we try to sign him to a minor league contract? I wouldn’t cry if we lost him)

    (My choices would be Purke and Frandsen).

    By 3/31 we’ll clearly have to DFA a few more based on your good work, so we can add a 3rd catcher to the 40 man then.

    Andrew R

    3 Nov 14 at 8:52 pm

  7. Lots of good stuff here. Quick takes:

    –I’d really like to find a way to add Hood to the 40-man. He’s got the all-around skills and seems to be following the late-bloomer path. Does he have any trade value? He does seem to be somewhat blocked.

    –Skole seems likely to be left exposed for Rule 5. He just hasn’t progressed. I don’t think there would be much chance of him sticking with another team at the MLB level.

    –Cole is a mortal lock to be added to the 40-man.

    –Goodwin . . . um, based on his terrible season and injury, would you risk exposing him? Could he really stick with another MLB team all year? I doubt it. I would think they would add him to the 40-man ahead of Hood, although I’m not sure that’s the right call as they stand.

    –Of the guys likely leaving, Det seems to be the one with the most value. Get what you can get. Perhaps T-Mo is helping his value in winter ball, but he seems likely to be a goner, too, and with less trade value without any options.

    –I have no idea why they kept The Onion on the 40-man all through the manipulations this season. He has to be gone. Hate to give up on Leon, and perhaps he could be re-signed. I really felt like they chose to keep Leon over Nieto and now may not end up with either. Leon hit really well in 2012 but hasn’t since. Maybe Severino and Kieboom are ready for some big jumps; they’ll have to be.

    –Mattheus and Florimon would seem to have nowhere to go. Cedeno would be one you would hate to lose, and you know he would sign elsewhere. At the same time, with Thornton and Blevins on board, it’s hard to see a place for Cedeno. He’d have no trade value without an option, either.

    –Erik Davis would be worth a trade dangle with is options, as he’s getting older and the Nats have plenty of better guys in his role.

    –Do Purke and Solis even exist, or were they just sort of like Sidd Finch all along?


    3 Nov 14 at 9:07 pm

  8. Can’t drop Skole at this point. He’s got good value and is the closest lefty power hitter to the majors.

    Andrew R

    3 Nov 14 at 9:09 pm

  9. A few more reflections:

    Closer study of Miller is warranted here. He has a track record of building a farm system up, so he is a baseball and scouting guy, not just a numbers guy. In that regard, he gives the numbers and negotiation to handle Minnitti’s old beat, and the scouts cred to slot in to the Roy Clark perch.

    I am curious as to whether this will match up the Nats with the Reds system. Cincy is looking at a busy trading winter, and he clearly knows their system. Could the Nats have Johnny Cueto in their sights?

    The pickup of the Cardinals righthander is also not a mere filler transaction; there is too little roster flexibility in this organization to do that. So what gives? Either a) trade flexibility with Clippard and Storen, with the rest of the line moving up to respond to the cost saving move, or b) a committment to shave off the lower end of the bullpen (Stammen) and save cost, with more replacements needed for AA-majors pipeline. And then there is a c) possibility, a contemplated trade of Treinen, another hard throwing groundball pitcher who doesn’t strike out many but can translate well into the bullpen.

    One thing is for sure. The team knows whom they want to protect in Rule 5, and they determined that this righthander was a more important asset.

    This brings to mind Scott McGregor. He was signed this summer after having been waived by St. Louis. After getting hammered in AA a couple of times, he settled in and even got promoted to AAA. The thinking in the Nats organization was, “why did the cards give up on this guy?’ And the team has resigned him for next year. So perhaps they feel that there is something to be said for the nearly-ready Cardinals castoff.


    3 Nov 14 at 10:16 pm

  10. I’m with Andrew on Skole. If you drill down on his numbers you see a guy that could well get back on the fast track next year. He has a knack for the late inning extra base hit and long ball. With his level of power, you cannot give up on him bouncing back.


    3 Nov 14 at 10:20 pm

  11. I have been on the Skole bandwagon for the last couple of years, but with the glut of guys who have to be considered for the 40-man, you’ve got to make choices. Skole would have had a shot with the big club last year if he had hit, considering how desperate the Nats were for a LH bat. By all accounts from those who have seen him play regularly, he can’t play 3B, so he’s only a first baseman, limiting his help off the bench.

    If you can only protect two out of three from Goodwin, Hood, and Skole, I’m protecting Hood and Goodwin.


    4 Nov 14 at 5:11 am

  12. Andrew R: Wilfer Difo? Maybe; i cannot remember when he was signed, but he’s like an IFA in terms of service time.

    But w/r/t Difo … you also have to ask; even if he is rule-5 eligible .. does he really have a shot of keeping on a 25-man roster based on the fact that he’s never played above low-A? Doubtful. You have to think he’s at least 2 years away from being in the majors … start 2015 in high-A, earn a promotion to AA, then in 2016 do the AA->AAA and be ready for a MLB apperance.

    We’ll do a full-blown analysis of rule-5 stuff closer to the deadline.

    Todd Boss

    4 Nov 14 at 8:44 am

  13. Excellent post, Todd. Really good work. I’ve linked to it on a couple of other spots on the interNats.

    Mattheus & Solano are clearly gone (a 29yo catcher whose .693 OPS in AAA was a career best in nine minor league seasons? Pass). Nothing personal, Jhonatan, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him brought back in the Maldonado role.

    That makes room for Cole & Goodwin. A couple more slots will have to come from the combination of Davis, Florimon, Frandsen, et al. I would be surprised if Skole got drafted because his skill set is so limited – he can’t PR or be used as a defensive replacement, making him hard to use as the 25th man on a roster.

    John C.

    4 Nov 14 at 8:45 am

  14. Great post, Todd. You do this better than anyone, anywhere. So much to digest.

    Mark L

    4 Nov 14 at 10:06 am

  15. One quick note: MLBTR thinks that Florimon has an option remaining; that could change the balance on him. He does hit RH better than LH, but sadly that means that he was marginally less useless, not that he was actually useful. Maybe the Nats want to see whether the AAA coaching staff can work their magic on him next year as a possible platoon partner with Espi should Desmond leave.

    John C.

    4 Nov 14 at 10:24 am

  16. Flormon and options: definitely changes the analysis. If that’s the case, then yes you stick him in AAA for 2015 to see what can be improved. I will have to revisit why I thought he’d been optioned 3 times.

    Todd Boss

    4 Nov 14 at 12:52 pm

  17. OK, here’s analysis on Flormon’s option status:
    Per Cots, his contract was purchased Nov 2009 (aka, he was added to 40-man).
    1st option in 2010: he had no MLB apperances but was on the 40-man.
    2nd Option in 2011: optioned out of spring training, spent whole minor league season in AAA. He was then recalled on Sept 6, 2011.
    – He was claimed off waivers from Baltimore by Minnesota on 12/5/11. Now he’s with Minnesota.
    – Now here’s where it is confusing: on 3/27/12 he was “reassigned to minor league camp” by Minnesota. Not “optioned.” But … how did he get off the 40-man? Did he pass through waivers after Minnesota’s waiver claim just 3 months prior? I guess so. Actually yes: Cots says he was outrighted to AAA by Minnesota on 12/12/11, just after his waiver claim. So he’s off the 40-man at this point; no option comes into play.
    – Then Minnesota selects his contract (aka, re-adds him to 40-man on 8/15/12.
    – He spends entirety of 2013 on Minnesota’s active roster, no minor league time, appears in 134 games. Still one option left.
    – On 5/8/14, he’s optioned to AAA by Minnesota. 3rd option. But he’s recalled on 6/15/14. But that’s more than 20 days .. so the option should still count.
    – He’s optioned again back down on 7/1/14 and never comes back … he played 85 games in AAA in 2014. That’s the third option.

    I think mlbtraderumors is wrong. I believe he’s exhausted his 3 options.

    Todd Boss

    4 Nov 14 at 1:05 pm

  18. So … net/net it seems from your analysis that it is pretty likely that Solano, Leon, Mattheus, Cedeno, probably Moore & maybe Florimon are all likely to need to be DFA’d at some point. Is there still a roster crunch? Seems like that gives them enough room to cover a good number of Rule V candidates? Is it just a timing thing, although it seems like they could go ahead and make the decision on at least the first 4 any time they need to?


    4 Nov 14 at 7:06 pm

  19. I think the answer to the question, “Is there still a roster crunch” is yes. Because they’d be cutting people that they’d rather keep through spring training to cover for injuries (the catchers, the loogy, the backup infielder, the middle reliever, etc).

    You never cut catchers until you absolutely have to, right?

    Todd Boss

    4 Nov 14 at 8:36 pm

  20. Fyi; new addition Eric Fornataro has an option left and hasn’t reached arbitration; he’s a safe bet to start 2015 in AAA.

    Todd Boss

    4 Nov 14 at 8:43 pm

  21. The 40-man is full with Fornataro. Someone *please* tell me that they cut the Onion or Mattheus and save Hood. Yes, there is a bit of a roster crunch, but yes, they can also create the flexibility they need.

    Of the guys without options, Lobaton is obviously a keeper, and T-Mo seems to be the only one who might have any trade potential. Another team will want Cedeno, and Mattheus will find work somewhere. The catchers might be available to be re-signed. We’ll see.


    4 Nov 14 at 8:51 pm

  22. Fyi, uploaded the Options status worksheet to Google. Link here.

    Todd Boss

    4 Nov 14 at 9:03 pm

  23. I wouldn’t call myself a Frandsen-hater, but I don’t see why he should be given a Major League contract over Skole or Hood.

    Frandsen has zero trade value and is very replaceable should he not pass through waivers (isn’t Espy essentially the same player?). He’s a solid backup, but why not bring him back on a minor league contract and then add him to the 40 man once some of those tough decisions on no-option guys need to be made.

    Same with our #3 and #4 catchers – seems to me that we’d be screwed if they were playing meaningful games, so we could certainly pick up a scrap heap guy or add one/both of those guys back to a Milb deal.

    Mattheus/Davis – limited upside and replaceable. Pass them through waivers then outright them.

    I get that the roster is full, but just don’t see how the above guys are tough decisions to cut. I think we have to keep Skole and Hood and I’m moderately worried about Difo as perhaps he could be a serviceable utility guy for a weak team picking him in the Rule 5.

    Andrew R

    4 Nov 14 at 9:06 pm

  24. AndrewR: cannot disagree with you on Frandsen or the backup catchers. I have been operating under the assumption that the team will tender Frandsen; maybe that’s a bad assumption. But consider this: he’s going to be pretty cheap (only 900k this year, maybe $1.25M next); that’s good value for that kind of guy.

    I think the team keeps Davis at least one more year; why not right? Options available, showed promise before getting hurt.

    rule-5 analysis is coming, since clearly we’ve entered into that discussion phase related to options status and 40-man fullness.

    Todd Boss

    5 Nov 14 at 8:15 am

  25. Thanks Todd. It’s not the money with Frandsen, it’s the roster spot. There are plenty of $1MM utility guys on the market in late March and Espy/Kobernus can fill the role in a pinch.

    Same goes with Davis – he’s fine, but righty relievers are fairly easy to find and he’s like 10th on the bullpen depth chart. There is no way I want to lose Difo and I’d be bummed to lose Hood… those guys have value.

    Thanks again for your hard work on this – it’s fantastic.

    Andrew R

    5 Nov 14 at 10:36 am

  26. It seems pretty clear to me that players are going to be dealt off this roster before the Rule 5 draft. Maybe, Todd, you should hold off on posting before then, especially since we’ve had radio silence on whether Hood is a minor league free agent or not. Perhaps he signed with another club already!

    The first clue appears to be a righty bullpen piece to go.

    Fornotaro is a flexibility piece, be it AAA or allowing for a big spring, more.


    5 Nov 14 at 12:45 pm

  27. Important tea leaves today from James Wagner on Moncada. What caught my eye is the industry perception that he is the best amateur prospect available, period.

    So, if the organization could get Bryce Harper today, what would they pay?

    It is also worth noting that when they lost out to the Reds (and Miller) on Chapman, only four years ago, they bid 20 million dollars and had no limit imposed on them by the Lerners. It was a bar that Rizzo set, and he thought the Nats had the highest offer.

    They thought they had the highest offer on Prince Fielder as well. And it was plenty.

    The Lerners have not suddenly gotten poor. And Chapman would have been worth the 20 million dollars they were going to commit to him, and is every bit worth what Cincinnati has paid.

    So while I never seriously thought they would pursue Darvish, or Abreu, or Tanaka, I think we are looking at a next couple of months in which we are in fact waiting for Moncada. Even if the Nats throw a lot of money at him, it will be a spend low situation if they truly value him as a “top-of-the-draft” prospect. The Angels just threw down the gauntlet with a Cuban pickup and have started very aggressively this offseason.

    But unless the Nats pursue Howie Kendrick, who would require a similar high investment and return with trade, the Nats may be well served by contemplating how to work Moncada into their payroll commitments. I’d love to see them make a play for him if he is all that.


    6 Nov 14 at 11:37 am

  28. If Bryce Harper had hailed from Cuba, and was an unrestricted free agent right now … i think you’d start with Jose Abreu’s contract (6yrs $68M) and go up from there. You’d be paying him based less on what he’s accomplished so far in the majors than on his scouting report. And his 2010 scouting report was ridiculous. More talented than Ken Griffey Jr or Alex Rodriguez at the same age, basically.

    Moncada: I’ll be shocked if the Nats outbid the “rich” teams who salivate over getting an unrestricted FA with no draft compensation. Nats best example of dipping into the Cuban market was not a pleasant one (Yunesky Maya).

    Todd Boss

    6 Nov 14 at 2:01 pm

  29. There is life after Smiley. DiPuglia has done his job.

    And Anderson Franco was their high mark investment and o one is complaining about that foray.

    They knew about Moncada and Cuba before they hired Miller. Cuba sure worked out for him.

    I think the Post is a good source for tipping the hand. They have floated interest before just as has Ladson, and I’ll bet there is smoke there.

    Again, only because he is reputed to be the best amateur player now. This yteam is not going to smell the top pick in the draft for awhile. Why not?


    6 Nov 14 at 2:25 pm

  30. There are extenuating reasons to outbid, of the same variety of Jayson Werth’s outbidding. Latin American talent is the least regulated frontier, and making a statement gets people who prospect gems in the host countries beating a path to their door as well.

    It’s a concept very similar to street agents in college basketball and football in the US. I am not presuming to know the Nats thinking, I am just saying that this may be that rare investment that, from an organizational standpoint, may have derivative benefits attached to the investment. Something else to consider, and why I think that they will be big players if he is as good as they say he is.

    Never mind that he is not ML ready. They have the trade chips for that. He also gives them a stronger hand if they feel more dealing needs to be done.

    They do not have minor league depth in the MI, and he has positional flexibility (part of Rendon’s value). If he needs only a year, does that affect an investment decision re: Desmond? I’m just introducing a few other points to consider.


    6 Nov 14 at 2:32 pm

  31. I’m actually more intrigued by Fernandez, as the Nats need someone who can play right away. He has two things the Nats desperately need – he hits LH, and he gets on base. With his lack of power, one would hope that he would come with a reasonable price tag, under $5M a year.

    There are a couple of real caveats here, though. First, from what I’ve read, by the time Fernandez jumps through all the hoops to be eligible to be signed, it may be January or so, with most of the other good options signed or traded for by that point. Second, do you risk what appears to be a big “win now” moment on an unknown? I don’t know.

    Moncada is interesting simply because the Nats have no middle infielders in the pipeline who appear to be legit MLB prospects other than maybe Difo, who posted his numbers basically repeating low-A. But at age 19 for Moncada, you’re likely looking at a 2017-18 arrival time for him. He’s not immediate help.


    7 Nov 14 at 8:40 am

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