Nationals Arm Race

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

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The Nats Youth Movement is here

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James Wood continues a big youth push in 2024. Photo Nationals ST 2024

I’m not the first one to notice this, but the Nats management has basically gotten fed up with the lack of productivity of its veterans and 1yr/FA/trade bait players, and has made a slew of moves that have turned this team into what has to be the youngest in the majors right now. Gone/demoted are Robles, Senzel, Rosario, and Meneses. In are Yepez, Lipscomb, Young, and Wood, and they seem like they’re here to stay. Next up is probably Gallo and his .174 BA and probably Corbin once we get a healthy guy off the DL, and god knows why Nunez is still here (he’s got ONE HIT all year). Winker and Thomas produce, but they’re more valuable for who they can bring back in trade versus what they give a sub .500 team in 2024. but i digress.

Here’s our current optimal lineup, with age as of this writing and salary (thanks to the Big Board and Cots for the figures). I’m assuming that a lot of these guys are at the MLB minimum, which is $740k for this year

  • C: Ruiz, 25, $6.3M
  • 1B: Yepez, 26, $740k
  • 2B: Garcia, 24, 1.9M
  • SS: Abrams, 23, 752k
  • 3B: Lipscomb, 24, 740k
  • LF: Wood, 21, 740k
  • CF: Young, 24, 740k
  • RF: Thomas, 28, $5.4M
  • DH: Winker, 30, $2M

That’s an average of exactly 25yrs for the lineup. Four guys at or near the league minimum, total payroll for these nine is just $19.3M, or an average of $2.1 each. Thomas’ salary will eventually be replaced by Crews’ MLB min salary, and maybe an eventual addition of House makes it lower too.

How about the rotation? Here’s our current rotation

  • Corbin, 34, $35M
  • Gore, 25, $749k
  • Parker, 24, $740k
  • Irvin, 27, $745k
  • Herz, 23, $740k

From an optimal 2024 stand point, we’re replacing Corbin and Herz with:

  • Williams, 32, $7M
  • Gray, 26, $757k

At least until Williams is traded, by which point cross fingers you replace his $7M with:

  • Cavalli, 25, $740k.

Imagine having your entire rotation be at MLB minimum and an average age of 24. That’d be amazing.

What’s really amazing about it is the financial flexibility it gives the team to buy talent at positions where it makes the most sense, when they need it. Do we think Yepez is the long term solution at 1B? Probably not, not when you can get a big bopper on the FA market for $10M. What if Grey or Cavalli doesn’t come back? We’ll need a starter but can afford to get one. Or, you wait for the likes of Morales (1B) and maybe someone like Pinckney (corner of/DH) to come up and home-grow those guys too.

This team is getting to be fun to watch again. Its “our guys” up there now. A slew of these players were drafted and developed by us (Garcia, Lipscomb, Young, Parker, Irvin, Cavalli). A slew more were prospects we specifically added in trade, setting ourselves up for this exact moment (Ruiz, Abrams, Wood, Gore, and Grey). that’s what the last few years have been about, and more is on the way (Crews, Hassell, Lile maybe, Morales, etc. Susana just got promoted, Sykora looks great so far).

It’s beginning to look good for this team and its future for sure.

Written by Todd Boss

July 7th, 2024 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Is this the Nats new 2011?

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Trevor Williams has been found gold in 2024. Photo via Federal Baseball via USA Today

With a win against arch-rival and 1st place Baltimore on 5/7/24, the Nats have moved above .500 for the first time since 2021. The winning pitcher, fittingly, was Trevor Williams, who has gone from a 5th starter competition in spring training with the typical cattle call of veteran 1yr MLFAs to now sitting in the top 10 of all of baseball for pitchers in various categories (wins, W/L pct, pitcher WAR, ERA, FIP, and ERA+). Yes its SSS for Williams… but he looks great for now.

The team is playing .500 ball so far in 2024 without contributions from the following leading players the team depended on in 2023: Lane Thomas (hurt and ineffective), Josiah Grey (hurt, and ineffective), Jeimer Candelario (traded), and Stone Garrett (60-day DL). That’s 4 of the top 6 WAR producers from the 2023 season.

Instead, they’re getting the found gold of Williams, CJ Abrams stepping up in a massive way (that even MLB-general observers are noticing), Jesse Winker going from MLFA to top performer, Jacob Young shockingly hitting .300 in the majors a year after basically not even being a prospect, and Mitchell Parker more or less dominating in his first few MLB starts. It’s crazy, really. All of these guys could be first month mirages, or they could stick. And we’re now at .500 without Cavalli or any of our 1st round draft picks for the last 5-6 years, without our cache of top prospects, and by limping by on trade acquisitions and FAs.

But, my more salient point of this post is as follows. Here’s the W/L records of the Nats during a period of time more than a decade ago:

  • 2009: 59-103
  • 2010: 69-93
  • 2011: 80-81
  • 2012: 98-64

It doesn’t take that long to go from zero to hero. The team bottoms out in 2008/2009 which gives them top picks to get Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in 2009/2010. They maintain a top10 pick after 2010 which gets them Anthony Rendon in 2011. All of these guys subsequently contribute to the run of success the team had throughout the entire 2010s, culminating with a WS title in 2019. And once the team looked competent enough to compete after 2011, Rizzo felt good enough to start cashing in lesser prospects to get the pieces we needed (think Gio Gonzalez, Adam Eaton, Doug Fister, plus the Trea turner/Joe Ross fleecing) and to start signing FAs to augment as needed (Werth, LaRoche, Haren … and eventually Scherzer).

So, the question is … are we now seeing the same pattern in 2024 that we saw in 2011?

Here’s our last few seasons….

  • 2022: 55-107
  • 2023: 71-91
  • 2024: we’re sitting at 18-17 … can we finish close to .500?

Here we go again. 2020’s poor finish netted us Brady House (oh, and Jacob Young). 2021’s poor finish netted us Elijah Green in the 1st (and Trey Lipscomb later on). 2022’s bottoming out gave us Dylan Crews. And the general post-2019 malaise allowed us to flip expiring contracts for a slew of players who are contributing now (Ruiz, Grey, Gore, Abrams) and a one particular player who will be contributing soon (Wood).

Imagine if this team does the right thing and cashes in on the players it should (i’m talking about every 1yr FA or expiring deal; that means Winker, Williams, Rosario, Robles, and Gallo). I’d move Corbin if we could get anything for him. Don’t make the same mistake they made last year in NOT trading Thomas and Finnegan and Garrett; get prospects now. By this time next year we’ll have an OF consisting of Young, Wood, and Crews, costing like a grand total of $2.6M (which is about how much we paid Corbin for his first three 2024 starts) and we can back them up with Call in the short term. Imagine if we could get a decent SP prospect or a new closer or a AA-level slugger for one of these 2024-one-year-wonders, someone who could contribute soon.

Can 2025 be our return to glory?

i’m just saying …. history repeats itself, and I see some very distinct patterns right now.

Written by Todd Boss

May 8th, 2024 at 9:57 am

Posted in Nats in General

Nats Opening Day Stats and History

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One random little artifact I maintain for some reason is a collection of our Opening Day and Home Opener data. Now that we’re past both, here’s that information for review.

Home Opener Attendances through the years

  • 2024: 40,405 (4:05 tues game, 53, cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2023: 35,756 (105 thurs game, 45 degrees and sunny)
  • 2022: 35,052 (7:05 thurs game (pushed back from 4:05, then delayed to 8:21 weather. 52 degrees, cloudy, rainy)
  • 2021: 4,801 (4:05 tuesday game, 74 degrees, partly cloudy, 5mph wind)
  • 2020: 0 (7:09 thurs game, 90, partly cloudy, 7mph wind)
  • 2019: 42,263 (1:07 thurs game, 56, partly cloudy, no wind)
  • 2018: 42,477 (1:08 thurs game, 42, partly cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2017: 42,744 (1:05 monday game, 66 and cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2016: 41,650 (4:05 thursday game, 60 and 1.5hr rain delay)
  • 2015: 42,295 (4:05 monday game, 75 and gorgeous)
  • 2014: 42,834 (1:05 friday game, 50s and overcast)
  • 2013: 45,274 (1:05 monday game, 60 and beautiful)
  • 2012: 40,907 (1:05 thursday game 56, partly cloudy)
  • 2011: 39,055 (1:05 thursday game, 41 degrees and overcast)
  • 2010: 41,290 (1pm game monday, beautiful weather 80s and sunny): This was Phillies Invasaion
  • 2009: 40,386 (3pm game on a monday, chilly 53degr and overcast).
  • 2008: 39,389 (season and stadium opener), 8pm sunday night, Braves, nat’l tv clear but cold.
  • 2007: 40,389 (in rfk, 1pm game vs Florida, 72degrees
  • 2006: 40,516 (in rfk, tuesday day game vs Mets, 72degr and sunny)
  • 2005: 45,596 (in rfk, debut of entire franchise, 62degr and clear, evening game).

2024 was decent weather, compared to a few of these years. It’s amazing how we’ve had opening day be 41, and one year it was 90. That’s a 50-degree swing. DC Weather. It was good to see a bump up in attendance this year after the last couple of years, but it’s also a bummer to see how little the team has capitalized on its 2019 championship. Look, for example, what happened on Opening Day 2013 the year after the team won 98 games: it was damn near a record for the stadium (which, as far as I can tell, still remains 2012 NLDS Game 5, or the “Storen” game, of 45,966).


Home opener Results and Box Scores

The Nats are just 6-14 all time through 2024 in their home openers.

  • 2024: L 8-4, 40,405. attendance. https://www.mlb.com/gameday/pirates-vs-nationals/2024/04/01/744875/final/box
  • 2023: L 7-2. 35,756 attendance. https://www.mlb.com/gameday/braves-vs-nationals/2023/03/30/718780
  • 2022: L 5-1, 35,052 attendance: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mets-vs-nationals/2022/04/07/662571/final/box
  • 2021: W 6-5: 4,801 attendance: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/braves-vs-nationals/2021/04/06/634624#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=634624
  • 2020: L 4-1: 0 attendance: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/yankees-vs-nationals/2020/07/23/630851#game_state=final,game_tab=,game=630851
  • 2019: L 2-0: 42,263: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mets-vs-nationals/2019/03/28/565895#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=565895
  • 2018: L 8-2 42,477 https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mets-vs-nationals/2018/04/05/529504#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=529504
  • 2017: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201704030.shtml
  • 2016: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2016_04_07_miamlb_wasmlb_1#game=2016_04_07_miamlb_wasmlb_1,game_state=Wrapup,game_tab=box
  • 2015: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_04_06_nynmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box
  • 2014: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_04_04_atlmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box&c_id=was#gid=2014_04_04_atlmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box
  • 2013:
  • http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_01_miamlb_wasmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=was#gid=2013_04_01_miamlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box
  • 2012: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_04_12_cinmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=wrap&c_id=mlb#gid=2012_04_12_cinmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box
  • 2011: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_03_31_atlmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=wrap&c_id=mlb#gid=2011_03_31_atlmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box
  • 2010: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2010_04_05_phimlb_wasmlb_1&mode=wrap
  • 2009: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20090413&content_id=4251894&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=was
  • 2008: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20080330&content_id=2467836&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=was
  • 2007: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20070402&content_id=1874785&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=was
  • 2006: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20060411&content_id=1394878&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=was
  • 2005: http://nationals.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20050414&content_id=1015977&vkey=wrapup2004&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Nats Season Openers.
We are slightly better in Season openers: Record: 8-12. We’ve been home 12 times, away 8 times.

  • 2024: Away: Reds d Nats 8-2. WP: Montas. LP Grey (Starters: Grey, Montes). https://www.mlb.com/gameday/nationals-vs-reds/2024/03/28/746737/final/wrap
  • 2023: Home: Braves d Nationals 7-2. WP: Luetge, LP Corbin (starters: Fried, Corbin): https://www.mlb.com/gameday/braves-vs-nationals/2023/03/30/718780
  • 2022: Home: Mets d Nationals 5-1. WP: Megill, LP Corbin (starters same): https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mets-vs-nationals/2022/04/07/662571/final/box
  • 2021: Home: Nationals d Braves 6-5. WP: Hudson, LP Smith (starters Scherzer v Smyly): https://www.mlb.com/gameday/braves-vs-nationals/2021/04/06/634624#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=634624
  • 2020: Home: Yankees d Nationals 4-1. WP: Cole, LP Scherzer (starters same): https://www.mlb.com/gameday/yankees-vs-nationals/2020/07/23/630851#game_state=final,game_tab=,game=630851
  • 2019: Home: Mets d Nationals 2-0. WP: deGrom, LP Scherzer (starters same): https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mets-vs-nationals/2019/03/28/565895#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=565895
  • 2018: Away: Nats d Reds 2-0. WP Scherzer, LP Bailey (starters same): https://www.mlb.com/gameday/nationals-vs-reds/2018/03/30/529420#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=529420
  • 2017: home: Nats d Marlins 4-2. WP Strasburg, LP Phelps (Starters Strasburg, Volquez): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201704030.shtml
  • 2016: away: Nats d Braves 4-3. WP Treinen, LP O’Flarity (starters Scherzer, Teheran): http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL201604040.shtml
  • 2015: home: Mets d Nats 3-1. WP: Bartolo Colon. LP: Max Scherzer http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201504060.shtml
  • 2014: away: Nats d Mets 9-7. WP Aaron Barrett, LP Familia (starters Strasburg, dillon Gee): http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN201403310.shtml
  • 2013: home: Nats d Marlins 2-0. WP: Stephen Strasburg. LP: Ricky Nolasco. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201304010.shtml
  • 2012: away: Nats d Cubs 2-1. WP Clippard, LP Marmol (starters: Strasburg and Ryan Dempster): http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN201204050.shtml
  • 2011: home: Braves d Nats 2-0. WP: Derek Lowe. LP: Livan Hernandez. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201103310.shtml
  • 2010: home: Phillies d Nats 11-1. WP: Roy Halladay. LP: John Lannan http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201004050.shtml
  • 2009: away: Marlins d Nats 12-6. WP: Nolasco, LP; Lannan http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/FLO/FLO200904060.shtml
  • 2008: home: Nats d Braves 3-2. WP: Jon Rauch. LP: Peter Moylan (Starters: Tim Hudson and Odalis Perez) http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS200803300.shtml
  • 2007: home: Marlins d Nats 9-2. WP: Dontrelle Willis. LP: John Patterson http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS200704020.shtml
  • 2006: away: Mets d Nats 3-2. WP: Glavine, LP: Hernandez. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN200604030.shtml
  • 2005: away: Phillies d Nats 8-4. WP: Lieber, LP: Hernandez. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI200504040.shtml

Written by Todd Boss

April 5th, 2024 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Spring Training 2024 NRI Disposition

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Derek Law was with us so briefly i couldn’t find a picture of him in a nats uniform. Photo via mlbtraderumors.com

In an annual tradition that, unfortunately for the likely record of the team, seems to be pretty popular with the current incarnation of the Nationals, as we approach the end of spring training its time to start naming Non Roster Invitees (NRIs) to the 40-man/26-man active roster because they’ve made the team. This post continues the tradition of looking at the NRIs the team had this year and talking about how they fared.

Here’s past posts on the same topic by year: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015.

So, who were the NRIs this year? We actually didn’t have that many, initially announcing on 2/15/24 a list of just 11 players (as compared to the cattle calls of 30+ NRIs of years’ past). Now, eventually we added a few others of note, as we always do throughout the spring, and apologies if i missed some (I’m not counting the slew of minor leaguers that were temporarily ‘assigned to Washington’ as NRIs), but here was the list of NRIs all told.

By position:

  • Starters: Davies
  • Righty Relievers: Bleier, Gsellman, J.Barnes, M.Barnes, Law, Perdomo
  • Lefty Relievers: La Sorsa
  • Catchers: Lindsley, Pineda
  • Infielders: Yepez, Baker, Diaz, House, Lipscomb
  • Outfielders: Crews, Wood, Hassell, Rutherford, Winker, Rosario, Blankenhorn,

When the Nats announced the 26-man opening day roster, we had a slew of NRIs who made the team.. Here’s the 2024 Opening day NRIs to make roster and the circumstances behind each:

  • Matt Barnes: Signed on 2/17/24, just after the initial Nats announcement, and who outpitched some other Nats relievers during spring and made the team. He was Boston’s closer in 2021, but now will slot in as a 6th/7th inning guy. Not a bad pedigree to have, and could be useful if he can keep his ERA down as a trade piece mid-season.
  • Eddie Rosario earned a spot on the team ahead of Call and Young, somewhat surprisingly, and gets a chance to rebound a little bit. He was basically a starter for Atlanta last year and wasn’t bad; 100 ops figure and 20 homers for a playoff team. How was he a MLFA? crazy. Anyway, he’ll slot in as starting LF, while Young returns to AAA despite his performance last year. Call rockets to the top of my “next guy to get cut” list, now that he’s seemingly 7th out of 7 outfielders on the 40-man with a slew of OF prospects rising fast.
  • Jesse Winker was an all star two years ago when he put up a scathing 143 OPS season, can play a little RF, and probably mixes in with Meneses into the DH. He’s all lefty. I wonder who actually starts between him and Rosario; Winker has better up-side and is younger, but Rosario was better in 2023.
  • Derek Law won the last bullpen spot, beating out a couple of other of NRIs and some of our bullpen holdovers from 2023.

Now for some discussion on a few of the players who did NOT make the team as NRIs ( by category)

  • Starters: Davies: was given full opportunity to go head to head with Trevor Williams for the 5th starter spot and did not earn it. Released on 3/22/24 with a few days to go in Spring when it became clear.
  • Righty Relievers: some of the veteran FA MLFAs/NRIs like Perdomo, Bleier, Gsellman, and Jacob Barnes competed and lost out to others. Perdomo was released on 3/24/24, probably because he was going to refuse the AAA assignment. The others remain to be seen whether or not they take the assignment to AAA. Jacob Barnes in particular pitched really well, but seems to have lost out in a h2h competition with Matt Barnes (no relation).
  • Lefty Relievers: La Sorsa was probably never really in the mix to beat out Robert Garcia, but when Ferrer hurt his back the chance was there. We picked him up on Waivers last year and he’s likely to be a solid option in 2024.
  • Catchers: neither LIndsley or Pineda were really in the mix to make the team, especially Pineda, who we just snuck through waivers and now can keep off the 40-man but in the system. You always need extra catchers in spring training.
  • Infielders: House the obvious top-end prospect, but the Nats MO isn’t to give opening day spots to these guys when you can bury them for a little while to get a year. Repeat this for Wood and Hassell later on. Baker and Lipscomb are lesser heralded prospects, but both seem like they’ve got a future with this team. Lipscomb was the last guy cut, really pushing for a spot at the expense of Rule5 guy Nunez, or maybe even the lackadasical Luis Garcia. So you can put Lipscomb on the short list of guys who are probably coming up soon. Yepez and Diaz were in the category of “big bats off the bench” competition and seem to have lost out to the likes of Rosario and Winker here.
  • Prospects Wood and Hassell probably up to get reps with their very-soon-to-be future teammates. Blankenhorn and Rutherford both hit well last year and re-signed; they’re good corner 1B/LF/DH type reserves to have in AAA.

Which of the rest of the NRIs might we see this year? We probably will see some of the RH relievers who stick around, its likely we get MLB debuts in 2024 from Crews, Wood, Lipscomb, maybe Baker.

Written by Todd Boss

March 27th, 2024 at 9:19 am

Posted in Nats in General

Nationals 2024 Roster Option status

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Kieboom faces a critical spring. Photo via Federal Baseball

Honestly, this option status was more apropos when we talked about non-tenders last fall, or perhaps before thinking about what the team was going to do this off-season w/r/t free agency.

But, here we are. We’re at the beginning of spring training, the team has brought in a slew of players on one year or MLFA/NRI deals (including at least 10 MLFA veteran relievers) and for those on the 40-man right now, options flexibility will be a big factor in what happens this spring.

So, lets do some options analysis to try to couch possible roster decisions that will have to be made by the end of March.

I’m using Roster Resource (now at Fangraphs) to drive this analysis. I used to keep track of options in a private XLS, but it was just way too tedious as compared to the pros at these sites. If they have it wrong, then I’ve got it wrong here. Also, here’s the Big Board which shows all the NRIs who might be pushing these guys for a job.

Current 40-man roster Players with Zero Options remaining

These non-5year veteran players either have to sick on the active roster going forward, or will face the dreaded DFA/outright if they need to be demoted off the active roster. I’ll list them in order of most likely to get DFA’d this spring to least likely:

  • Carter Kieboom. Kieboom’s time with the team seems like it has come to an end. For the second straight off-season, instead of holding 3B empty for their former top prospect to own, the team has bought a one year veteran Free Agent to man the position. Candelario last year and Nick Senzel this year. If you’re an infielder and you’re not starting at the MLB level, then you need to be able to do one of a couple of things: 1) play middle infield (which Kieboom cannot), 2) be good defensively or be a fast runner (which Kieboom isn’t), 3) play outfield as well (which he never has), or hit well enough to man either 1B or DH (which he never has either). The team also bought itself a starting 1B in Joey Gallo and has an established DH in Joey Meneses. On top of THAT, the team has more than a couple big bopper NRI MLFAs who specialize in playing 1B/DH (Yepes, Diaz, Blankenhorn, Winker, Rutherford). None of this leaves Kieboom a ton of roster flexibility. I suppose he could try to play a corner outfield, but we’re set there too, with more OF options than we have positions honestly PLUS a slew of OF prospects coming up. I hate to say it, But Kieboom is in trouble. Save for an injury to Senzel or Gallo, or Kieboom hitting .450 this spring, I think he’s staring at a big career crossroads at the end of March.
  • Joan Adon, thanks to being added to the 40-man In November of 2020 despite only having gotten to Low-A by that point, now faces a pretty predictable situation. He’s 25, clearly needs more time in the minors, but is out of options and faces a pretty obvious roster crunch coming out of spring training. I mean, he was awful in the majors in 2022 and again in 2023. He wasn’t really that great in AAA either. He’s probably 7th on the starter depth chart (if that), and the team would have to dump a reliever they’d rather keep in order to protect him from being exposed to waivers. If there’s an injury to the projected starting 5 (Corbin, Grey, Gore, Williams, Irvin) he’ll be gifted the spot to save him, but it seems like an inevitability he gets DFA’d.
  • Jordan Weems shows what happens when you look slightly deeper into pitching stats. In 2023, his ERA went down to 3.62 but his FIP went way up to 4.90. His Hits/9 went down but his BB/9 went way up. His 2023 was probably smoke and mirrors, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he blew up in April after making the team and got DFA’d.
  • Luis Garcia, who is out of options because he was put on the 40-man way, way too soon and still doesn’t seem like the team is completely convinced he’s their long-term solution at 2B. But, they also seem set to go with him as the starter. But, they sent him down last year for a month for some reason (he was hitting .268 at the time even though he hit mostly .220 the first half of the season). So who knows. They didn’t guy a veteran 2B FA so his spot seems safe.
  • Tanner Rainey, who missed all of 2023 but was our highly effective closer in 2022, seems pretty unlikely to lose his spot if he’s healthy. The thing is, if he struggles in spring, they’ll just DL him and say, “post-TJ surgery recovery” or some nonsense, so he could go to AAA and work things out.
  • Ildemaro Vargas is the kind of utility player every manager wants: can play 6 positions, hits decently enough. His bat fell off a bit in 2023, and the team got itself a middle infielder in Rule5 in Nunez who now occupies one of the sports Vargas would be competing for. MLB benches these days basically are: a Backup C, two middle infielders, one spare outfielder, and one big bat who can rotate into 1B and DH (preferably lefty as well). So Is Vargas set for one of the two middle infield positions right now? Probably. The only other middle infielder NRI is Darren Baker, and i don’t think he’s ready for prime time. Also, not for nothing, the Nats extended Vargas in the middle of September, so clearly they’re not thinking of axing him.
  • Kiebert Ruiz: they gave him 8yrs/$50M and he’s the starting catcher; he’s not in any jeopardy of getting DFA’d irrespective of option status. So he’s least likely of the “zero options” guys.

Current 40-man roster players whose option status may/will impact their making the team.

  • Jake Alu: If Vargas and Nunez are your two middle infielder bench options, that likely shuts the door on Jake Alu being a regular on the active roster for a bit. He’s unable to play SS; he can play 2B, 3B and LF. He also got a long look last year and didn’t really hit (.226/.282/.289). I think he’s the dreaded 4-A guy, who will shuttle back and forth between AAA and MLB to cover in case of an injury to the 2B/3B starters. Maybe Nunez flops as a rule5 pick and gets returned and Alu sticks; we’ll see. That’s what spring training is for.
  • Jake Irvin: i’ll just put this here; if the team convinces themselves they need to keep Adon, Irvin has two options and could get sacrificed. I would be kind of shocked if this happens, since Irvin seems more likely to become a regular 4th/5th starter going forward than Adon, but the team has done something like this before with John Lannan making millions to pitch in Syracuse in 2012.
  • Jackson Rutledge seems like he’s 6th on the pecking order and should be a safe bet for AAA save injury. But, like with Irvin … if the team decides it wants to keep Adon, Rutledge will head north.
  • Cade Cavalli probably starts the year on the 60-day DL and may slot right into the MLB rotation when he’s ready irrespective of option status. But he’s got plenty of options if his rehab goes more slowly than expected and could hang in AAA for a while.
  • Drew Millas has plenty of options, but is 3rd out of 3 on the Catcher pecking order right now, and will be either the MLB backup or the AAA starter.
  • Thad Ward: last year’s rule5 roster gambit, can now safely be sent down since he’s officially “ours.” And he’s got plenty of options. My guess is that he goes to AAA and gets converted back to starting. Which is what the team should do with him, since our starting pitching prospect pipeline is so thin.
  • Alex Call and/or Jacob Young: so, assuming that Stone Garrett and Victor Robles are healthy and able from the get go (which may be a bad assumption given what we’re hearing about Garrett’s recovery from a broken leg last summer) one of these two gets dumped to AAA. Honestly, if they need someone to ride the pine in the majors i’d rather it be Call so that Young can play full time in AAA, but it may be the reverse. Both have options. If Garrett can’t go, look for Young to start in left and Call to be the MLB backup. Yes Davey Martinez said Young was “competing” with Robles for the starting CF job; i don’t believe that. I think the team wants Robles to earn the spot, hit .330 for 3 months, and get flipped to a contender in his walk year.
  • Relievers with options who sucked last year: Jose Ferrer (5.03 ERA), Mason Thompson (5.50 ERA), and Amos Willingham (6.66). They’ll all start in AAA unless someone gets hurt, and given the plethora of MLFA veteran arms the team has signed, these three guys are also at the top of my “next guy off the 40-man to get whacked” list just after the obvious DFA candidates discussed above. Thompson’s situation may work itself out; it seems like he may have a UCL injury that will send him to TJ and the 60-day DL.
  • The four arms just added: Herz, Parker, Henry, Brzycky: no real chance any of these four make the 25-man opening day roster. The AAA staff looks like it’ll be amazing this year.

Predictions:

  • No injuries to projected rotation in spring.
  • Adon waived.
  • Kieboom waived
  • Thompson TJ/60-day dl to open a roster spot
  • Weems makes opening day roster but is on short leash
  • Young makes opening day roster, Call to AAA.
  • At least one NRI bat and maybe two NRI arms make the team.

Written by Todd Boss

February 22nd, 2024 at 11:06 am

Posted in Nats in General

Keith Law’s top 20 for the Nats

4 comments

Everyone loves Lile. photo via Masn

I’m a big Keith Law fan, always have been. But sometimes he zigs when others zag, and I feel like this year’s Nats list is in that category. HIs methodology is not quite as big a focus on the “ceiling” of a prospect, but it creeps in. He really discounts DSL Guys until they show up domestically, and if someone’s ceiling is middle infielder/4th outfielder/middle reliever … they’re not a prospect in his eyes.

Law is the 2nd to last “major pundit” to drop his list. Once the MLBpipeline guys (Callis & Mayo et al) drop their updated ranks, I’ll post my list and declare victory for the season.

Without further ado, here’s Law’s top 20 list, behind a paywall at the Athletic but I subscribe and I find it to be the best value for the money on the internet.

Law RankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
3HouseBradySS/3B
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
5LileDaylenOF (CF)
6MoralesYohandy3B
7VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
8Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
9MadeKevinSS
10SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
11SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
12GreenElijahOF (CF)
13BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
15HenryColeRHP (Starter)
15RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
16HerzDJLHP (Starter)
17YoungJacobOF (CF)
18PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
19QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
20SaenzDustinLHP (Starter)
HMYoungLukeRHP (Starter)
HMLaraAndryRHP (Starter)
HMInfanteSamuelSS
HMBrownMarcusSS/2B

Ok, lets go through it.

  • Same top 4 as practically everyone else. Note: we’ve been discussing in the comments what really makes a rookie and have gone through some interesting scenarios. For me. service time manipulation or roster moves that burn their clock but don’t give ABs or IPs don’t count. So i’ll be including specifically Cade Cavalli and Israel Pineda in my list, and even though a commenter pointed out there’s now others technically eligible i’m not sure who else is worth mentioning.
  • Lile at #5. As in, the next big guy in our entire system after the top 4 guys who all seem to be near-guarantees. McDaniel, Law, and the 1500 guys all have Lile in the 5-6 range. After much discussion and further analysis, i’m coming around to the opinion that LIle and Hassell are basically the same. I now have them side-by-side in my rankings, having elevated LIle a number of spots from where I started. Do I think Lile is the 5th best prospect in the system? Well, no but he’s close, and having him #5 and Morales #6 versus the other way around is splitting hairs.
  • Law is absolute high-man on Kevin Made, having him all the way at #9. By way of comparison, BA had him at #24, in the range of guys who are “lucky if they get to AA.” In his writeup, Law thinks Made is a 12-15 homer guy in the majors who could stick at short and be a regular. Wow. Yeah that is a top 10 guy. I guess we’re all forgetting just how young he has been (20 in highA).
  • Sykora to #10, very high on both him and Susana at #11. All Ceiling. It’s easy to dream on 18yr old live arms. After all our (lack of) success with these guys, its tough to get excited. I guess I have to remind myself that Sykora got a 1st round bonus, and If we had draftee him in the 1st round like we did Giolito … we’d be much higher on him.
  • He has Green all the way down to #12. Law’s take on this ranking was interesting: he says Green is perhaps the best example in all of the minors of a player who is too good for complex ball, but not yet ready for LowA, and is being developmentally crushed by the loss of Short-A. I agree. It really amazes me that the sport in general fails to see the value of Short-A ball, or even another 10 rounds of a draft to fill that team. Just look at the ridiculous number of arms that poured into our Low-A team last year; I have 12 guys listed as “Starters” and another 9 listed as “Long Relievers.” 12 starters! There’s no where near enough innings to go around to try to develop 12 guys at starters. Gee, wouldn’t it be great if there was another low-A level league where you could send the lesser 6 of those starters so they could pitch every five days? So dumb.
  • Cole Henry at #15. What piqued my interest in Law’s write up was this simple line: “his stuff was all the way back” after TOS surgery. But he also said that a guy like Henry is too brittle to start, but could be an awesome reliever (97-100 with two 55 pitches). That’s a drop-dead game ender, and hey, if the guy can’t stay healthy then at least we can use him.
  • Quintana at #19: one of the few who rates this guy. BA and McDaniel didn’t even rank him. What do we have with him at this point? He’s only 21 and seems set to go to HighA, but he’s a corner OF limited guy who has to hit for power to earn a promotion … and that’s gonna be hard in Wilmington.
  • Saenz at #20. Yes! Finally someone ranks this guy. He has been completely absent from every prospect ranking this entire spring, even the Prospect 1500 guys who go 50 deep. Why? He’s a 4th round pick, was 24 in AA last year posting a 3.43 era/1.18 whip in 25 games/23 starts. Uh, yeah, sign me up. Those were significantly better numbers than Parker (who is also a lefty), who got a 40-man roster spot out of his performance. Saenz should be going to AAA, doesn’t turn 25 until June … why is he not a prospect? Maybe its smoke and mirrors, with lesser stuff, but he’s solved every level he’s been presented with so far.

Law then mentions four guys as noteworthy, but there’s no way they’re ranked 21-24. Young, Lara, Infante, and Brown. I think it was more notes out of his many visits to see the Nats play in Wilmington, which is right around the corner from where he lives in Delaware.

So, who’d he miss?

  • No mention of our two 2024 IFAs Hurtado or Felix. Not surprising.
  • No Love for Lipscomb, but that’s really splitting hairs if he’s not in the top 20 but is in his top 25.
  • Nothing on Nasim Nunez. Law’s methodology definitely under-rates role players like backup infielders, 4th outfielders, middle relievers, etc.
  • Nothing for De La Rosa, who is as high as #13 on other lists.

Written by Todd Boss

February 18th, 2024 at 8:37 am

Happy New Year and Nothing to Report

6 comments

Nationals Stadium in the off-season. Photo via Federal Baseball

Hello all.

Coming to you live from Wintergreen Ski Resort, where my son races on the team and we spend every weekend when there’s snow on the ground.

I realized it’s been quite a while since I posted anything here. My last post said “Happy Thanksgiving” on it. That’s not really for lack of wanting to post; its just reality that there hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot to post about for someone like me, given the state of our team and the specific interests I like to write about.

  • The Nats are not spending any money in FA, which indicates another year of lack of competition. It is what it is. I firmly believe the rebuild is on track as compared to the 2009-2012 cycle. From 2009-12 the team went from 59 to 69 to 80 to 98 wins. Compare to where we are now starting from 2022: 55 wins to 71 wins. If 2023 shows this team at .500, look for major spending next off-season to fill in the holes we have and to really make a push.
  • Yes, I’m bullish on our top echelon of prospects. I think Cavalli comes back and makes a new “big 3” along with Grey and Gore. I think Crews and Woods and House are all on track and could form a pretty solid middle of the order for this team for 5-6 years straight. I like the chances of some of the next group of hitters (Green, Morales, Hassell) to get it together and make a name for themselves too. Maybe we can get Bennett or Rutledge to be better than the average bear in the near term. Then suddenly you’re just a couple of major signings away from another 6-year playoff run.
  • The draft lottery was already set; we were always going to be #10, so there was no drama. We found out later that the Nats actually “won” the lottery and would have had the #1 pick, then “won” it again for #3. Figures.
  • Since we’re not spending money, there’s little to do from a payroll analysis to see what money they “have left” to spend.
  • MASN past due money got resolved. Woo hoo. I fully expect another petty lawsuit coming for the next tronche of cash. I still maintain MLB is just waiting out the string on Angelos to die so they can stick the sword to that franchise and basically say to them, “you’ve embarrassed yourselves and this sport for more than a decade whining and fighting me on this damn TV deal, so now the tab comes due: if you want to sell the team or transfer it to your arrogant asshole of a Son, then you’ll divest yourselves of MASN ownership so the Nats aren’t tied to you anymore.” But, since this is baseball we’re talking about, and since reason rarely comes into play with decisions made in this sport … don’t hold your breath.
  • Speaking of selling … the Lerners have had the for sale sign out for a while now with no news, eh? Which is partly one of the reasons there’s little FA spending. Gee, you think this MASN contract is a non-starter for prospective buyers or what? I think if the Nats owned their own RSN outright, Ted Leonsis would have bought the team the NEXT DAY, packed all his other tv contracts into one network, and he’d have a near monopoly on DC sports. Still could happen … though now Leonsis has a shiny new toy coming down in Potomac Yard. By the way, tangent here: for ANYONE who is whining about Leonsis moving his teams out of Chinatown …. you have nowhere to blame at all except the idiots in the DC Mayor’s office. This is modern pro sports; yes its ridiculous to expect a city to finance a stadium for a billionaire …but its also ridiculous to not recognize what a massive positive impact that stadium’s location at 7&H had on that area. DC was nickel and diming Leonsis with police and services and it was having an impact on the game day experience, and now they’ll have nothing in that space for decades. There’s a whole big blog called “Field and Schemes” that basically criticizes every single public financing deal made, without really giving any context for the for-real economic impact these stadiums make (again, look no further than the area around Nationals stadium, which was a frigging demilitarized zone prior to that stadium being built and now looks like Crystal City). I have no sympathy for DC residents, or even for whiny suburban Maryland residents who complain about the extra metro time to get to Potomac Yard … uh, what do you think us residents of Arlington and Fairfax county have been dealing with for decades, with every pro sport in this damn city? Rant over.
  • Our non-tender deadline and arb cases were pretty straight forward; nothing really to even write about.
  • We added a $2m signing in Nick Senzel that seems to be the end of the road for Carter Kieboom. Really amazing if so; Kieboom was a top 20 prospect in all of baseball as a 20yr old in AAA and just basically has disappeared. Otherwise we’ve done very little in terms of signings: a RHP middle reliever to a major league deal in Florio, a bunch of AAA guys, that’s it.

What’s next? We’ll we’re into prospect season, so i’ll start to see the rankings roll out. I love pontificating about lists, so we’ll get more content coming. But otherwise; what’s to talk about? I should probably do an options status post at some point; there are a couple of very notable names out of Options and with question marks surrounding their status on this team.

So, sorry it’s been radio silence for so long. I hope everyone is doing well and is still reading along. It’s an interesting time to be a Nats blogger; i’ve talked about this in the past, but there’s not a ton to analyze/talk about when you know the team isn’t actively trying to win, nor when they’re a perennial playoff contender. So that leads to this middle ground.

Written by Todd Boss

January 13th, 2024 at 8:30 am

Posted in Nats in General

What are the Nats going to do with all these OFs?

10 comments

Crews; does he start in High-A or AA in 2024? Photo via his twitter.

So, heading into the 2023 draft, a slew of the Nats’ top prospect talents were outfielders. Look at any prospect ranking list for our system and you’ll see top 10 players like Wood, Hassell, Green, Vaquero, etc. I was on board early pining for Skenes as our pick at 1-2 instead of Crews, thinking that, “hey we have a lot of top-end OF talent” and, also, “hey we need some starter prospects.” Alas it was not meant to be; Skenes blew up in the CWS and Pittsburgh popped him 1-1.

So we went and drafted Crews in the 1st, plus Pinckney in the 4th and Nunez in the 14th.

Where the heck are all these guys going to play?

Here’s a quick look at the OF depth chart thanks to the Big Board, with what it looks like now and what it may look like in 2024 with this influx of new talent.


Right now, listing guys in order LF/CF/RF and then backups/DHs

  • AAA: Rutherford, Hill, Alu, with Reyes and Blankenhorn as backups.

Most of these guys are MLFAs signed either in 2022 or 2023. Hill just got DFA’d off the 40-man. Alu is kind of a utility guy who’s filling in in the OF right now. Mazara just got released. Rutherford is crushing the ball this season, but I wonder if any of these guys are really in the long term plans for the team. I could see a couple of them getting call-ups post-trade deadline if we move some players and need some bodies (Alu since he’s on the 40-man, probably Rutherford too b/c he’s earned it). But for 2024, lots of room here.

  • AA: Young, Hassell, Wood, with Harris and Casey as backups.

Wood and Hassell are basically our two top prospects right now, but both are struggling in AA. Young got promoted up this year and is hitting .300 in AA so far but has no power. Casey was demoted down to AA and is a backup, and seems like he’s not long for the organization. Harris seems like an undersized backup.

  • High-A: Lile, De La Rosa, McKenzie with Shumpert, Antuna, Wilson as backups.

Antuna is hitting .176 and seems to finally have been taken out of a starting spot; this latest draft class should finally result in his release. Shumpert is a converted SS. Lile just got promoted up to High-A, otherwise nobody here is hitting well. Wilson is 27 and was demoted from AAA for some reason. Its hard to see any of these guys pushing for a promotion the rest of the way.

  • Low-A: Emiliani, Green, De La Cruz, with Quintana, Thomas as backups

Emiliani was a 1B but apparently can lumber around LF now, and just got demoted back to Low-A. Quintana may be permanently moved to 1B and may not count here. Green, for all his prospect starlight, is not hitting well at all. De La Cruz is struggling. So is Thomas. Seems like these guys will be repeating Low-A unless they blow up the rest of the way.

  • FCL: Ochoa Leyva, Vaquero, Cox with Baca and a slew of guys hitting under .200

Vaquero is the big-name here and he’s hitting .300 as an 18yr old so far in Rookie. Ochoa Leyva holding his own. Cox is not and is looking like a huge 4th round bust so far.

  • DSL: Tejada, Acevedo, Batista with Soto and three other 2023 IFAs as backups.

Batista hitting .303, the rest of them hitting like .150. I can’t see any of them getting promoted.


Here’s what we could be looking at as your starting OFs 2024. Maybe it’s not quite as hard as I thought.

  • AAA: Hassell, Wood, Rutherford, with MLFAs (Hill, Blankenhorn, Reyes released or resigned)
  • AA: Young, Harris, McKenzie, Lile (Casey relesaed)
  • High-A: Crews, Pinckney, Green, De la Rosa, Shumpert (Wilson, Antuna released)
  • Low-A: Vaquero, De La Cruz, Nunez, Ochoa Leyva (Thomas, Emiliani released)
  • FCL: Cox, Baca, Batista, Marte, Peoples (Contreras, Ramirez released)
  • DSL: Current crew plus 2024 signees forcing 2023 underperformer relases

This would mean:

  • Aggressively promote Wood in particular to AAA and hope that Hassell continues to develop. Rutherford back in AAA assuming we layer him in the MLB level, otherwise looking at more veteran MLFAs for AAA.
  • Definitely aggressive with promotions of McKenzie and Lile to AA, based on their already being promoted this season. Harris and Young treading water.
  • This would put new draftees Crews and Pinckney at High-A to start 2024. I do not buy that Crews will do the AFL->AA Strasburg path. Maybe he will and you’re seeing Lile or McKenzie back in High A instead.
  • High-A also has too many players … that’s the squeeze. So maybe that does support Crews in AA. this plan has Green promoted (even though he’s not meriting right now) but DLR staying put.
  • Nunez at Low-A. Seems right. He is joined by two guys moving up from rookie ball. But not Cox, who may be a blown 4th rounder.
  • Everyone else in Rookie ball/DSL staying put, or perhaps 1-2 DSL guys moving inland.

So, maybe the crunch isn’t as bad as we thought. Eventually though if these guys all matriculate as expected, we’re going to have some logjams in the MLB outfield, and likely some trades to acquire assets.

Written by Todd Boss

July 26th, 2023 at 11:30 am

2023 Trade Deadline Outlook

7 comments

Now that the draft is over, and it seems like we’ve signed everyone we’re going to sign… lets pivot to the trade deadline, which is racing up to us now (6pm, August 1st).

A rebuilding team like the Nats, who havn’t been playing *that* bad but who have zero chance of getting into the playoffs, are going to be sellers at the deadline. Now, we’ve spent the last two seasons selling off our major assets (Turner, Scherzer, Schwarber, Soto, Bell, etc), so we don’t exactly have massive talent to move, but we do have some spare parts that could back-fill for playoff teams. Here’s a look at who the team might be shopping and what we may get:

Using the Cots page to gauge likely availability, here’s a take.

Expiring Free Agents:

  • Jeimer Candelario, 3B. OPS of .821, good for a 128 OPS+. He leads the NL in WAR in 2023 amazingly for 3B. Could be a nice piece for a team that’s looking to backfill at 3B. Already hearing rumors Miami wants/needs him. Should have been our all-star Likelihood of being moved: Virtually guaranteed. Possible Return: a decent prospect. Candelario just isn’t a sexy trade asset to fetch a major prospect.
  • Carl Edwards Jr. RHP: Might be the Nat’s best reliever, not that that is saying much. FA after 2023, a useful piece for nearly any bullpen. His performance has slipped in the past few weeks though, lowering his trade value. Likelihood of being moved: likely. Possible Return: a back of the top 10 prospect, maybe lower.
  • Corey Dickerson, OF: for years Dickerson was an underrated hitter who kind of snuck under the radar, but it seems like time has caught up to him. He’s hitting .250, but his OBP is under .300 and he’s just not producing anymore. Likelihood of being moved: slim. Possible Return: a lower prospect.
  • Erasmo Ramirez: rhp. 1yr, $1M for 2023 and a FA after the end of the season. Currently sits with a mid 6.00 ERA and is likely not tradeable. Likelihood of being moved: none. Possible Return: none.

Non-Expiring non-long term Pieces

  • Trevor Williams. RHP starter. Signed through 2024 and due $7M next year. Could be a back-of-the-rotation band aid for a team. Likelihood of being moved: maybe. Possible Return: back-of-top10 prospect or a low-A flyer.
  • Victor Robles: after literally years and years of crummy production, Robles is finally hitting in 2023, and combined with his near Gold Glove defense he could be an asset to teams with short memories. He’s got a club option for 2024 at just $3.3M (no mutual option, no buyout, so very team friendly), and if he continues to be a 3 win player, $3.3M is a huge bargain. However, he can’t stay healthy, hitting the DL multiple times, which will lower his trade value and scare teams off. Likelihood of being moved: none while on DL. Possible return: low-level prospect.
  • Dominic Smith, 1B: signed a 1yr $2M deal, has a middling slugging percentage for a 1B and seems highly unlikely to be in demand at the trade deadline. Technically he’s arb eligible for a 4th time but he seems like a non-tender next off-season unless he perks up. Likelihood of being moved: none. Possible Return: none.
  • Hunter Harvey: rhp reliever. He’s only in 1st year of arb so he has two more years of control and is making less than $1M. He’s pitching really well, a solid 8th/9th inning near-closer type with solid wip and ERA figures. However, he’s on the DL, which means its highly unlikely he gets moved. Likelihood of being moved: unlikely. Possible return: low-level prospect.
  • Patrick Corbin: LHP starter. I think its laughable that anyone mentions him in a trade candidate column. He’s still owed most of this season and $35M next year for 5th starter production. I’m not sure who would even want him, and that’s if the Nats paid it all down. Likelihood of being moved: nil. Possible return: bag of baseballs?

Arb-eligible Cost controlled assets that might be moved.

  • Kyle Finnegen. You know what last place teams don’t need? Closers. You know who probably will be at free agency by the time the Nats are decent? Our current closer Finnegan. I’d cash in on him now, except that he’s scuffled in the early season and isn’t looking like the lights-out closer he was in 2022. Likelihood of being moved: lesser. Possible Return: a decent prospect.
  • Lane Thomas has been a find this year, is arb controlled for a couple more years, but is not in the long term plans of the team given that all our top prospects are outfielders. But, he’s been great and would be a solid bridge to 2025 when Green/Hassell/Wood/Crews are expected to be ready. Do you move him now to a team looking for some pop? He’s only at $2.2M this year, meaning his next two arb years are really cost controlled and he’d be a solid find for cost-conscious teams. Or do you keep him until all your prospects show up? Probably. Likelihood of being moved: less this season, higher next season, though Jim Bowden seems to think he’s more likely to get moved this year, especially to a team like the Yankees who are struggling in corner OF spots. Possible Return: a pretty good prospect at this point. Like, top-10 in a system, maybe top-100.
  • Joey Meneses. the WBC star is under control for years and years but hits, and has demonstrated that he hits. Unfortunately he’s been playing mostly DH this year, limiting his positional flexibility. Seems like a long-shot to move. Also, his slugging/power is way down this year for some reason. Likelihood of being moved: slim. Possible Return: middling prospect.
  • Tanner Rainey, RHP reliever. Currently rehabbing from TJ, but is known to be a solid back-end reliever. I’m not sure why anyone would purposely trade for a guy who’s coming off TJ and has nto yet proven he’s healthy, but he’s mentioned in the trades. Likelihood of being moved: none. Possible Return: next to nothing.
  • Jordan Weems, RHP reliever. His ERA might be a mirage (his FIP is 5.89) but he’s got a solid whip and is a decent middle reliever. I don’t see anyone beating down the door for him, but if someone asks, sure. Likelihood of being moved: slim. Possible Return: low-level prospect.
  • Ildemar Vargas, utility. Acceptable at the plate but has positional flexibility. I can’t imagine there’s demand for backup infielders Likelihood of being moved: none. Possible Return: next to nothing.

So, who do I think gets moved? In order of likelihood:

  • Highly Likely: Edwards, Candelario
  • Coin flip: Thomas
  • Less Likely: Meneses, Williams, Finnegan
  • Incredibly unlikely: Smith, Rainey, Robles, Weems, Harvey, Dickerson
  • I wish: Corbin, Vargas, Ramirez

Other analysis of the same from the internet:

Written by Todd Boss

July 25th, 2023 at 9:18 am

Posted in Nats in General

What happens if Pirates go rogue?

14 comments

Could the Nats really get Crews? Photo via Crecent City sports

With the Nats picking #2 overall in a draft that, for months, everyone thought was basically solidified in terms of who was going #1 overall, I’ve not done my typical “Mock draft” analysis/collection work.

But, in the days leading up to the draft, we’re hearing all sorts of crazy rumors and last minute shuffling of names going right ahead of us. So, lets talk about those rumors, talk about what’s going on, and then opine as to what the Nats should do.

Rumors: Dylan Crews has given an 8-figure bonus demand, is advised by Boras, and has told Pittsburgh he doesn’t want to play for them.

Well, I can’t blame him if any of these rumors are true. Crew could very well be pushing for an 8 figure bonus, and its not that much of a reach given that slot for 1-1 this year is $9,721,000. But, we also know that Pittsburgh has in year’s past gone the “under-slot 1-1 deal” route to spread more money around in later rounds. So, there’s definitely a possibility that they could go to a player like Wyatt Langford, who most people think goes 3rd overall (slot value $8,341,700) and say to him, “hey, we’ll give you $8.5M to sign right now) and he’d be ecstatic to take it, and Pittsburg nets more than $1.2M of excess bonus money,

This is essentially what Keith Law think may be going on in his latest mock.

Is Crews being overly demanding? Could he be calling the Nats and say I want $10M and the Nats (who have 1-2 overall for slot value of $8,998,500) would say, “ok we’ll find $1M elsewhere” and Pittsburgh just says knock yourself out? Maybe. But if Crews is doing this, its a dangerous game. If he falls too far down the road with a $10M signing bonus demand, he’ll quickly find himself priced out of the market altogether. The slot for #5 overall, for example, is just $7.1M, and there’s just no way a team like Minnesota blows $3M of surplus dollars on Crews when they can land one of the prep kids Clark or Jenkins there for $3M less. And Crews would be an idiot to go back to school; his value is maxed out right now; there’s no way he gets more next year; you can only go down from 1-1. I’d also point this out; this isn’t the 2010s when you could shop around for bonus dollars with no pools defined; teams have slots, they have penalties for going over, and I don’t really believe any rumor that an agent would advise a player to give up $9.7m in search of $10m.

(full bonus pools and slot values here, by the way)

Now, could Crews be telling Pittsburgh he doesn’t want to play for them? Sure. And I wouldn’t blame him in the least. Pittsburgh is one of the worst run franchises in the sport. They went 20 years without making the playoffs, not even getting to 80 wins, from 1993 to 2013. Then after a brief playoff run, they bottomed out after 2016 and have been basically dead last since. They were the 2nd worst team in the league last year, they never spend money, and they’ve proven to be awful at player development (just look at Gerrit Cole’s numbers in Pitt versus the second he left). The largest FA contract they’ve EVER SIGNED was a 3/yr $39M deal, and the largest contract extension they’ve ever committed to was a shade over $100M. So, yeah, if you’re a generational player, do you really want to go to Pittsburgh and basically play out the string while they bumble around for another 10 years without a winning season?

Maybe Crews is telling Pittsburgh he won’t sign for less than $10M, then calling Washington and saying he’ll sign for slot. That’d be a real “screw you” to Pittsburgh by Crew’s “advisor,” but it’d guarantee that both the player and the Nats get what they want: Crews would still get $9M, he’d be out of Pittsburgh, and the Nats would get the #1 player in the draft.


Rumor: Pittsburgh wants Skenes more than Crews now.

This is what the latest BA mock draft thinks. Pittsburgh may have seen the CWS and seen Skenes’ capabilities and decided to go that way instead of dealing with whatever Crews says. If that’s the case … the Nats take Crews and are ecstatic about it. Its the easiest 1st round prep they’ve ever had to do.

What if both Crews and Skenes are still on the board?

Well, if that’s the case, and the Nats havn’t done some switcheroo promise to Crews, I think (as Law does) that they’ll sign Skenes to slot instead of blowing an extra $1M to give Crews his $10m demand. I mean, you can’t go wrong, but the Nats love the famous guy, Skenes is certainly famous, he’s right in line with our Strasburg pick, and he fits a pretty big need.


Hey, I’ll be happy with either guy. Skenes could be in the majors by June of next year, Crews will be a stud. Can’t go wrong either way .

Written by Todd Boss

July 7th, 2023 at 11:53 am