Nationals Arm Race

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

GCL Nats Roster Announced … First look at the Pitchers


2017 3rd rounder Nick Raquet starts in the GCL as one of its most intriguing arms. Photo via State College Pa

2017 3rd rounder Nick Raquet starts in the GCL as one of its most intriguing arms. Photo via State College Pa

They didn’t exactly “announce” the roster, but by virtue of the fact that the first GCL Nats game is today (6/27/17), we can take a look at the roster and see where things are shaking out.

Like we did last week with the Auburn/Short-A roster, lets take a look at who is starting on the named roster in the GCL.

  • Jared Brashner, 22, RHP 2017 8th round pick from Samford.  Senior sign so immediately too old for GCL, hopefully a quick stint before moving up to Short-A.  Also though a very underslot deal, so not a lot of expectations here.
  • Jake Cousins, 22, RHP 2017 20th round pick from Penn.  Also a senior sign, from a non-baseball Ivy league school and with a famous DC-area cousin.
  • Jose De Los Santos, 20, RHP, a 2015 IFA signing (Dominican Republic).  Was a middle reliever for the DSL Nats last year with middling results (4.01 ERA, 23/14 K/BB in 33 innings).
  • Nelson Galindez, 18, LHP 2017 22nd round pick out of a Florida HS.  Signed away from a JuCo commitment for the max allowable non top-10 round bonus ($125,000).  Its rate to see a high schooler picked in the 20th rounds to sign, but Galindez did.  Should be interesting to see what he has.
  • Darly Infante, 20, LHP 2016 IFA signing (Dominican Republic).  Started 12 games for DSL Nats last year with good numbers (2.94 ERA, 52/19 K/BB in 49IP).
  • Jose Jimenez, 20, LHP 2013 IFA signing (Dominican Republic).  Three year veteran of the DSL, working mostly later inning relief but not with the dominant K/9 numbers you’d like to see.
  • Jared  Johnson, 21, LHP 2017 17th rounder out of a Florida Juco.  Old for a Juco guy (he turns 22 in September) , hoping to see him pitch his way out of GCL soon.
  • Kyle Johnston, 20, RHP 2017 6th rounder out of Texas.  Texas’ Sunday starter put up decent numbers his junior year, finished strong (his final college game was a 7ip 3run performance in the regionals) and signed for slot as a 6th rounder.  Like others, probably shouldn’t be in the GCL as a starter from a big12 college.
  • Gabe Klobosits, 22, RHP 2017 36th rounder from Auburn.  Mostly a reliever for Auburn (a handful of mid-week starts), a 36th round senior sign who probably doesn’t have much in the way of expectations.
  • Jesus Luzardo, 19, LHP 2016 3rd rounder.  This is the big name on the roster that everyone is waiting to see.  Luzardo was a HUGE overslot guy in 2016, getting a $1.4M bonus commensurate with the top of the 2nd round and signing him away from a Miami commitment.  He has recovered from his Tommy John surgery and this will be his first test.
  • Jeremy McKinney, 22 RHP 2017 31st rounder from Indiana State.  As with several other senior signs, McKinney likely has the next couple of months to keep his spot.
  • Francys Peguero, 21, RHP 2013 IFA signing (Dominican Republic).  Split time last year between GCL and Short-A, starts the year on the D/L.
  • Nector Ramirez, 20, RHP 2013 IFA signing (Dominican Republic).  Missed all of 2016 with a rotator cuff tear after two so-so seasons in the DSL.  Should be interesting to see if he’s come back from a tough injury.
  • Nick Raquet, 21, LHP 2017 3rd round pick from William & Mary.  Signed slightly underslot deal; i’ve been critical of this pick and am quite curious to see how he does.  The fact that a 3rd round collegiate junior pick is starting in the GCL is already a bad sign for me.
  • David Smith, 22, RHP 2017 25th rounder from Long Beach State.  Good baseball school, good pedigree, but Smith is a 25th round senior sign so expectations are limited.
  • Leif Strom, 20 RHP 2017 21st round out of a Washington JuCo.  Sizeable bonus for the 20th round, should be interesting to see what he has.   Unfortunately his first move is to go onto the D/L, where he starts his pro career.
  • Jackson Tetreault, 21, RHP 2017 7th rounder out of a Florida JuCo.  Took an over-slot deal closer to 5th round money to buy him out of a USF commit.   I’m going to struggle to spell his name correctly in this blog for a while.
  • Alex Troop, 20, LHP 2017 9th round pick out of Michigan State.  Troop was Michigan’s friday starter and signed an overslot deal to come to the Nats.  I look forward to seeing what he has.
  • Trey Turner, 21, RHP 2017 10th rounder out of Missouri State.  Turner was looking like a solid member of Missouri State’s bullpen before heading to TJ surgery; he starts on the D/L and we won’t see him til this time in 2018.
  • Ryan Williamson, 22 LHP 2015 15th rounder from NC State.


Not listed here is Weston Davis, who is on the GCL roster officially doing a rehab assignment.

They don’t really do starters and relievers in the GCL; instead you see a lot of 3 inning stints from multiple arms.  So we won’t try to name a “rotation” here.  But squinting here i’d go with Infante, Johnston, Luzardo, Tetreault, Troop as my rotation.  (note: i’m writing this prior to seeing who pitches in the first game, so apologies if this is already wrong).

Breakdown of Arms:

  • 21 arms; 3 on the D/L, 1 on rehab assignment.
  • Average Age: 20 years, 8 months.  So that’s kind of old, but what are you going to do when you draft a gazillion college arms right?
  • Of the 20 non-rehab/rostered players: 8 lefties, 12 righties
  • Acquisition method breakdown:
    • 13 of the 20 arms are 2017 draftees
    • 2 others are from prior drafts (Luzardo and Williamson)
    • 5 are IFAs; 4 of them are DSL grads from last year, one (Peguero) who has been in-country for a bit but is hurt.

Who is still missing?  Not too many:

  • Jeremy McDonald was at one point on the GCL roster but has been put back into XST as far as I can tell.
  • Some trickling in 2017 signees: Brigham Hill (who was at the CWS) and Jackson Stoeckinger.
  • A few guys that seemed likely to matriculate to the GCL but who seem to be repeating DSL: Amoroso, CFlores, AMartinez.

Who am I really interested in seeing?  Luzardo first and foremost, Raquet, Johnston, Infante, Tetreault and Troop.  Basically all the guys who I think project as starters, plus the controversial 2017 pick Raquet.


49 Responses to 'GCL Nats Roster Announced … First look at the Pitchers'

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  1. Eric Senior (13) and Brigham Hill (5) listed as signed. At slot values.

    The age comparisons are artificial, because the Nats typically move pitchers a lot between GCL and SS as they see whom they have. It will be more illustrative to see who breaks through to Hagerstown, and how fast.

    I think the Nats are slow playing promotions until the trade deadline. Once we get there, unless we see trades among them, there are three starting pitchers who realistically will go right to Potomac (Watson, Mills, Sharp) and that will create opportunity for those below, be they on assignment or kicking at the door.


    28 Jun 17 at 12:11 pm

  2. Davis started yesterday but struggled. Presumably, they will push him back up to Hagerstown ASAP. FWIW, those who also pitched were Infante, Klobosits (who is even bigger than Montes de Oca), and de los Santos.

    A lot of the college pitchers usually just get flight-checked at the GCL level and are pushed on to Auburn after getting 3-5 innings under their belts. Brigham Hill may go straight there, as would Romero and Crowe.

    Eric Senior’s JUCO slash this year was .398/.438/.752. He had 17 HRs (breaking the school record in HRs by three), 15 doubles, and seven triples, along with 12 SBs. I know it’s JUCO, but I’d be excited if a guy had those numbers in HS or Little League. He’s #1 on my “sleeper” list for the draft . . . which probably means he’ll hit about .125 in GCL. I’m excited about Timmy Richards as well, particularly after his two CWS homers. Anyone with pop excites me, as we have so little of it.


    28 Jun 17 at 12:30 pm

  3. Want a catcher who can sorta hit but can’t throw? The Cubs have DFA’s Montero . . . after he apparently called out Arrietta for his terrible job at holding runners. Don’t sleep on this one, as Montero was signed by the Snakes during the time Rizzo was there.


    28 Jun 17 at 12:35 pm

  4. Luzardo gave up one run on four hits in four innings today, with no walks and an impressive seven K’s.


    28 Jun 17 at 2:08 pm

  5. Another ninth inning win for the baby Nats. I am very encouraged by what I see – three lefthanders took the hill today, and in addition to Luzardo’s excellent, excellent post-surgical debut as the young man on the pitching roster, the baby Nats had no errors, and pitchers walked no one to go along with ten Ks.

    The hitters had six walks.

    Another nice showing- and only one draftee in the starting lineup.


    28 Jun 17 at 2:44 pm

  6. KW- Cant be a sleeper when you are a JUCO All-American. 🙂

    But if you want a sleeper who can excite you, how about Kameron Esthay in Round 26? Emerging pop, strong player, and the Nats paid him, as a senior, more than they did their 8th round pick. Considering how many OF were drafted above him, I guess they did not want him going to grad school or to the workforce otherwise.


    28 Jun 17 at 2:58 pm

  7. I know it’s off topic, but Trea Turner is redefining his own ceiling as an offensive force. Watching him steal bases right now is like watching the home runs tally in the years of McGwire and Bonds. They just go up and up.

    We’re are very lucky.


    28 Jun 17 at 3:01 pm

  8. AA all stars announced: John Simms, Raudy Read, Jose Marmolejos. Probably about what was expected.

    Todd Boss

    28 Jun 17 at 3:16 pm

  9. I was at the game last night and I agree on turner quite a bit. I just really enjoy watching him play. The other thing that jumped out at me was that Harper doesn’t look like he is enjoying himself. It’s all body language and I’m probably misreading it anyway, but he rarely smiles any more. Re don, on the other hand, seems very relaxed and happy. And KW’s favorite player ( MAT) hit three shots directly on the nose.

    Anyway, I’m glad these guys are starting off well, but it seems like a very old pitching group. Shouldn’t we be looking for 18-19 yr olds?

    Fore’s explanation on why the delayed promotions is as logical as any that I’ve heard. I would like to see some movement though so I hope it resolves itself soon. As for trades, if A Stevenson has value, he’d be my first choice. It because I’m down on him, the opposite actually, it’s just that they have several guys that profile similarly so they can deal from depth


    28 Jun 17 at 3:19 pm

  10. Good intel on Harper. But any number of things could be going on in his personal world.

    Those of us who stayed on the Taylor bandwagon are vindicated, as are those of us who wanted Goodwin a chance.

    With that said, I think Stevenson’s value is rising at the right time. He is a good trade chip now that Goodwin and Taylor are showing well. he may even make Goodwin expendable if a team with a real high quality asset is turned on by Goodwin’s power show.

    As is Read’s. I think Read is expendable and would be an alluring piece. Seems a couple of players like that (Norris, Freitas) were moved by Rizzo before, and the team has good catching depth.

    However, I think Marmolejos is a rising talent and his numbers will be getting us talking by year’s end. They may move him also, but I sure hope they get Souza valiue for him when it comes, and it’s worth holding onto him for another year to gamble on him continuing to ripen.

    Syracuse must be an awful place to play. We keep seeing players show up better here than they do there, the most recent being Severino and Robinson.


    28 Jun 17 at 3:35 pm

  11. With that noted on Taylor, its also about stamina and adjustments, and he is far from being done passing the test. Just say that there are some of us on this board that are not surprised by what he is doing.


    28 Jun 17 at 3:36 pm

  12. Quick, what Nat position player has the highest bWAR? Wrong. And wrong again. And wrong for the third time. Does the name Rendon ring a bell? And that was before the back-to-back jack as I write. (Harper is 0.1 ahead of Rendon in fWAR.)

    Gee, Joe Maddon doesn’t look happy . . . or like much of a genius.


    28 Jun 17 at 7:44 pm

  13. Top WAR among all 3Bs.

    With Taylor, I love what he’s doing but I’ll need a longer track record of performance before I totally buy in that it’s his new normal. But he hit some rockets yesterday for sure.

    Would love to see video of the gcl kids. Does anyone know if that is available?


    28 Jun 17 at 7:56 pm

  14. The news on Glover sure doesn’t sound good. I think it’s possible he is done for the season, although no one is suggesting that yet. Yeah ok, maybe that’s a drastic overreaction.

    These pitchers are so fragile. It seems that it’s in everyone’s interest for the pitcher to convey every kind of hurt so it can be addressed and treated immediately. Pitching while tired or slightly hurt just never ends well. I respect the Nats org treatment of pitchers as amongst the best in the league but they can’t treat what they don’t know about.

    Plus, at some point, the union should start proposing a quicker path to FA for pitchers. Teams are going to avoid long term deals for them. Just use them during their years of control and move on (is what I think teams will do)


    28 Jun 17 at 8:09 pm

  15. Crowe signed at slot. Choruby also signed.

    Assuming Freeman gets way under slot, I’m starting to grow optimistic that we can pull de Oca, or one of the straggling high schoolers (unless they are all favor drafts and nothing more).

    de Oca is pretty silent about his plans, as opposed to people like Souza, who just shut it down. maybe he sees what’s happening in the bullpen, sees an alum like Max, and buys in.

    Now we are all on a Romero watch (the shoe).

    Boy, it would be great if Miller could pull a draft with the first 25+ picks signed.

    Or, just negotiate a Dusty extension that throws in a bonus for junior.


    29 Jun 17 at 12:42 am

  16. Where’s the signing database?

    Maybe the deal with Romero is something like “we’ll guarantee you $1.5m, with the rest used on Oca, HSers. If not all of them take the deals, then you can have their allotment.’ So Romero waits to sign to see if he gets more than $1.5m.

    Romero, Oca. Who else are interesting draftees that haven’t signed. Not counting the college seniors. I did not think Dusty’s kid was that highly thought of?


    29 Jun 17 at 7:45 am

  17. Ok found one. If it’s accurate, I think the Nats are roughly at slot for all their signings that were announced so far. Meaning Romero or Freeman could lead to signing Oca or the two remaining HSers in the late 30s. I assume the legacy kids (Baker and Boone) are not in play


    29 Jun 17 at 8:21 am

  18. I’ll bet they get Oca signed


    29 Jun 17 at 8:21 am

  19. So, with 9 of the 10 spots that “count” signed, I have the Nats exactly $49,300 under slot. They also have a 5% cushion of the total $5.5M which amounts to $275,275. So I suppose they could offer Romero $49,300 plus $275,275 plus his slot value of $2,530,400 as a max to sign. Or, they could allocate some of that towards Montes de Oca. Slightly surprised they didn’t get more savings on Freeman and Raquet honestly.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 8:25 am

  20. The only reason Raquet and Freeman were picked where they were should have been for slot savings. I’ve been saying since real time during the draft that they were bad picks unless they were for savings. That’s not saying they’re bad players; it’s saying that they were taken ahead of where they should have been taken unless there was going to be significant savings tied to them. People can pump up Raquet all they want, but he’s not going to be the third-best pitcher the Nats took in this draft.

    On the flip side, I’m fine with signing Crowe at slot. He went 30-40 picks lower than projects, so slot is actually a bargain. The only question is that if Boras was going to let him sign for slot, why did it take two weeks to do it?

    I’m assuming Romero gets signed. He has no real leverage without a college to which to return.


    29 Jun 17 at 8:35 am

  21. As I’ve said, I’m not writing off the Cubs, but right now, they’re starting to remind me of the 2015 Nats, a talented club that’s just falling apart. The Nats have hammered every one of their starters (the rockets just didn’t fall on Monday). They’ve had the Montero mess and just lost Bryant. Nearly all of their younger players are struggling. And Maddon isn’t helping any of them by jerking them around to different positions and platooning so much. I’m not going to “blame” him for getting Bryant hurt by playing him at 3B, as the injury was rather fluky. But Bryant sure didn’t look comfortable at 3B when he butchered the Zim grounder. (I also know from personal experience how hard it is to be switched from OF to INF and not overthrow the 1B by 10 feet!)

    As I said, I’m not ready to stick a fork in them, and they’ve got the massive luxury of being in a division where they’re at .500 but only one game back in the standings. But we’re getting a good look at the reasons they’re not happy campers right now.


    29 Jun 17 at 8:46 am

  22. Agree with Crowe signing for slot; that surprised the heck out of me. It also makes you wonder; what was the delay? Why did it take him weeks to sign for slot? Maybe Romero does sign for slot and then they can take all that extra money (about $325k worth) and add it to the $125k to give Montes de Oca a $450k bonus. Or, every dollar they save from Romero is another dollar they could offer him.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 9:05 am

  23. The Nats, meanwhile, seem to be playing pretty free and easy. Zim has started pressing, doubly against the Cubs, but that’s about it. That’s a scary lineup, even without Eaton and Werth. Trea is starting to get on base more, and he’s now on pace for around 70 SBs, more if he gets on base more.

    As noted, Rendon is quietly having a fantastic season in the shadows of Harp/Zim/Murph. Wieters has been on the upper side of what I expected; not great, but very good among catchers.

    I’ve said before that Taylor seems “good enough” for what we need now. Despite his hot streak, his OBP is still only .306, which was always the indicator with Danny. I’ll join all of you in hoping that he’s turning a corner for good, but I’m not betting the mortgage on it.

    I concur in wondering whether the Glover news might spur the bullpen acquisition process a bit.


    29 Jun 17 at 9:17 am

  24. My thoughts on Cubs: everything went right for them in 2016, and they’re now coming back to earth in terms of just what every other team deals with. I mean, they got near-Cy YOung performance out of Kyle frigging Hendricks, a 121 ERA+ from 37-yr old Jon Lackey and a 105 ERA plus from their 5th starter Hammel. Arrieta and Lester were solid as expected. Their rotation missed just 10 starts all year.

    Now cut to 2017: They’ve already had to give 10 starts to alternative rotation guys and its mid june, Hendricks is hurt, their 5th starter Brett Anderson posted an 8+ ERA and is now on the D/L, Lackey has a 4.74 ERA as expected and both Lester and Arrieta have taken a step back.

    I think they obviously have the talent to compete in the playoffs, and their division is weak (two of their divisional rivals are not trying, StL has their own issues and nobody really expects Milwaukee to keep this up). I’d take them in the playoffs right now.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 9:20 am

  25. Todd, I agree on Crowe: what was the delay? Maybe Rizzo actually stood up to a Boras over-slot demand? But Crowe is a “year behind,” so he needs every rep he can get. Of all the draftees, he’s the one we can most hope can make the leap to Hagerstown by the end of the summer.

    One other thought on the GCL arms: there are still a lot of wounded missing persons. I don’t expect to see Nick Lee back this year, since he got injured in the spring, but Andrew Lee had his second TJ last June, Bryan Harper had his first I think in Sept., and Tim Collins and Aaron Barrett have yet to surface, either.

    As for Luzardo, he had the luxury of rehabbing for the year near his home in Miami. It will be interesting to see what the Nats do with him this half-season. They have generally kept the HS draftees in the GCL for the full first season, but since he’s a year older after the TJ recovery, will they be looking to move him up this year, if he’s ready?


    29 Jun 17 at 9:25 am

  26. Don’t forget that Boras is a drama queen. He will want to punctuate the Romero signing as best he can. Remember that Crowe and Romero are both Boras clients, so Rizzo ought to be cool with however things are stage managed.

    On Luke’s board, one of the posters, Melissa, pointed out how the Freeman figure was likely an erroneous notation by mlb, especially because he was still playing as an amateur. So maybe Freeman’s confirmation has something to do with it.

    Keeping Luzardo in FL hurts no one, especially since his family is down there. he is going to be on an innings limit anyway, so why push him unless he is way above his competition level? Impressive to see his first outing at 4 innings. He’s been worked up to this point in the sim games.

    Pitchers like Crowe are still coming off a year full of innings and never having had to throw this many before as the summer approaches (unless they went to Cape Cod). So the Nats need not take chances with the TJ alums.

    I sure hope the Nats invest heavily in extensions for Rendon and Murphy this winter.


    29 Jun 17 at 9:48 am

  27. Put in simple terms, I would posit that the reason the Nats have invested so heavily in infielders over the last couple of drafts and international signings is that they expect to lose Rendon, Murphy, or both. Rendon is a Boras client, so as much as we’d like to see him extended, it’s unlikely.

    On the flip side, Murph seems to value loyalty and stability . . . and is still pissed at the Mets for not offering it. With him, there are the questions of age and position. He would turn 34 at the beginning of the next contract and would probably want at least four years, so he’d be playing the full final season at 37. Are you willing to take the bet that he holds up and keeps hitting for that long? I don’t know. Also, he’s a barely passable 2B now and won’t be getting any better. But the Nats have Zim signed for three more years and likely will extend him beyond that (a sentence I sure didn’t think before this season that I would write!). So 1B is occupied. Rendon has 3B for at least two more years, with Neuse or perhaps Kieboom in trace.

    These are some of the toughest decisions, particularly with a guy like Murph who likely would re-sign. You can’t keep all your stars as they age. It’s the recipe for a Philly-style disaster. If you picked one, you’d rather keep the much younger Rendon, but he’s the one more likely to want to test free agency. So we’ll see.


    29 Jun 17 at 10:11 am

  28. I can’t see Zimm here beyond his contract.

    Murphy does a lot to keep himself in shape. So yes, I would bet on him.

    As for Rendon, you are probably right about his inclination to test the market.

    Somewhere along the line, someone is going to do a study to show that greener pastures are not necessarily that. free agent after free agent is going to a new home at the top of the curve, and underwhelming. People like Kenley Jansen get it.

    If they can sign Bryce, maybe that will help keep some of the key folks together.

    It will be interesting to see what the team does once the TV contract is resolved.


    29 Jun 17 at 10:20 am

  29. Future contract thoughts:
    – Werth: signed through 2017. 38 now, will be 38 turning 39 next year. Tough call; has stayed productive at the plate, not so much in the field even though he’s clearly in shape and has the kind of body style that stays athletic. Can’t see re-signing him since we kind of have a glut of deserving OFers suddenly. Plus, even though he’s played 7 seasons here is he a National at heart? We’re his 5th organization and I think he’s a baseball nomad; he hits FA, perhaps picks up as an AL 4th OF.
    – Murphy: signed through 2018. 32 now, Will be in his age 34 year at start of next deal. Assuming he continues to produce as he has been through next year, i’d feel comfortable signing him to a 3yr/$40M deal or something.
    – Zimmerman: signed through 2019, has 2020 option at $18M. 32 now, Will be 35 if we take the option year, 36 if we resign him. Harder case to evaluate, since he’s been so all-over-the-road. But lets assume his 2017-2019 seasons are good but not MVP calibre 2017 but not 2016 collapse. I’d give him a “retirement contract” that leads into a personal services contract since he is, after all, the face of the franchise. I think there’s a larger issue with Zimmerman given his role and his long service, and I suspect the Lerners will figure out a way to ensure what happened to Ryan Howard doesn’t happen to Zimmerman.
    – Rendon: signed through 2019. 27 now, will be 29 at start of next deal. Quietly having a better year this year than his 5th place MVP season in 2014. Seems like an Adrian Beltre type; good D, underrated bat that won’t be compensated like the splashier players out there. Would he re-sign? Sure; is he wedded to the Nats? Probably not. Since he’ll not have turned 30 before his big FA deal, it seems likely he’ll get overpaid on the market and we will lose him.
    – Gio: signed through 2017, $12M club option for 2018 that seems like a no-brainer to take even before he started 2017 so hot. 31 now, would be 33 as a FA in 2019. I’d go 4 years/$60 on him in 2019; look no further at what Jon Lackey got last year; he got 2yrs/$32M as a lesser, 36yr old AND cost Chicago the 28th overall pick (probably a $10M value or more).

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 10:43 am

  30. I sure think Zim will end up being a career Nat, although how you rationalize that statement with the fact that his next contract would start at age 36, I don’t know.

    I’ve been one of the few who has been holding out hope that Harper might re-sign here, but I’m losing some of that hope. I also have a hard time rationalizing tying up $40-50M per season with one guy. I know the Lerners can afford it, but that’s completely different from saying that they will spend it.

    The Nat relationship with Boras is certainly a plus in the prospect of retaining Harper. Bryce also has the Stras example of choosing stability, and of how much happier Stras has been since doing so. On the flip side, Harper is close to Desi (who was one of his groomsmen). He saw how Desi all but fell apart in his last season with the Nats, then didn’t get what he wanted and has had to move twice. If Boz is to be believed, the Lerner family also loves Bryce. Of course Boz also says that there’s a 0% chance that he’ll stay . . .


    29 Jun 17 at 10:49 am

  31. I was posting at the same time as Todd. It’s funny how opinions on extending Zim and Gio have changed in just half a season, isn’t it? Frankly, the Nats have no LH starters above Hags, so no real prospect of any of them being big-league starters with a contender in 2019. They’ve now got several high-profile ones on the distant horizon, though, in Watson, McKenzie Mills, Luzardo, and Romero. But Gio’s contract is up after next year, and to keep him, you probably have to make the deal this coming offseason. So yeah, I think you have to try to extend him.


    29 Jun 17 at 10:56 am

  32. I remember someone doing analysis that showed that no team with 25% of payroll allocated to one player has ever won a WS. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to do the analysis thanks to Cots. But if they sign Harper to $40M/year and t hey seem set on keeping payroll for the team at or below around $160M … well that’s 25%. I’m resigned to the fact that Harper will be going to one of the handful of wealthy teams that can afford such a huge hit (Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers basically). That’s the shame in the economics of baseball, not to mention the stupidity of the MASN situation lingering as long as it has. I mean, frankly, they’ve basically ridden the entire wave of RSN deals and by the time they resolve it, the bubble will have burst and both teams will have missed the window. dumb.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 11:08 am

  33. Crippling your team for years for Harper makes no sensd to me.
    Harper won’t take discount to stay like Strasburg and it only takes 1 dumb owner for Boras to win.
    You need look no further than the Angels to see what happens when bad contracts pile up.
    My favorite story is the Mariners from 10 years ago. Lost 2 superstars in Johnson & Arod and then went out and won 116 games!

    Mark L

    29 Jun 17 at 11:22 am

  34. if need be, it is not above Rizzo’s paygrade to get a back-up-the-truck return for Harper after this year. We have organizational depth, but the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are all laden with assets that the nats, even if they win the WS this year, can use.

    Robles will be ready for the majors next year. They can bring him along slowly, but he will force the issue early in the year. After that, the OF depends on where Eaton/Taylor/Stevenson/Goodwin are at. No transcendent assets are in the system beyond Soto.

    There is a wave of lefthanded arms, as KW alludes, in the distant horizon. But preparing for life after Gio is a good trade priority as well.

    So is a plan to bring a controllable tip-flight closer.

    Having Harper is amazing, and I will hate to lose him, but if other key parts stick around and the Nats get more than a draft pick, it will soften the flashbacks of the Expos years.


    29 Jun 17 at 11:25 am

  35. Correcting myself: the Nats do have LH starters above Hags, but none I would consider MLB starter prospects.

    There are a lot of points on the Harper issue. The length of the Nat playoff run this year will have an impact, not just on Harper, but perhaps on the Lerners loosening the purse strings. It will also be another notch on Harper’s impression of whether he can win championships here. If the Nats will a WS in ’17 and/or ’18, I would think the combination of circumstances that would keep Harper here would improve. With another first-round flame-out, he’s going to start feeling like Ovi.

    I hate the thoughts of the Nats essentially not getting anything in return for Harper, and of him staying in the NL.

    I guess another (faint) hope would be that the FA market after the 2018 season will be so saturated with so many big names that no team is going to want to pony up $400M on one of them, . . . and that Bryce and Boras would come back to the Nats hat-in-hand (relatively speaking, of course).


    29 Jun 17 at 11:28 am

  36. Robles may turn out to be a good all-around player, but he’s never going to “replace” Harper’s power. Power is an issue with the prospective loss of Harper, Murphy, Rendon, and Werth leaving the scene one way or another.

    We’ll see. No team has repeated as WS champs in almost two decades, and no WS winner has even made the playoffs the following year since the 2011-12 Cards. Keeping a good team together, and not having it collectively age very quickly like the Phils, is hard. Even the Giants and the Cards are on the verge of having to commit to some rebuilding years.


    29 Jun 17 at 11:35 am

  37. Robles dynamism is where you are selling him short. Last year, and you can look it up, folks here were chuckling when I talked about how transformative a player Trea Turner was and the ripple effect he would have on the Nats offense.

    Robles is the same kind of leader/superstar who will transcend the great stats he puts up. It would be amazing for the Nats to have both him and Harper in the same OF. But if not, even if he hits half as many home runs, he will have intangible benefits paired with Trea and whomever else, and Murphy and Rendon are more than just supporting cast.

    If you think the Nats are more fun to watch with Trea on the field, wait till Robles gets here.

    Its hard to sustain a championship caliber team, but the Nats have had that talent level since 2012, and have had transition of key stars like JZimmerman, Clippard, Ramos, and Desmond. Rizzo prides himself on playing the long game and that is where trades like the Turner deal come in.

    We are very lucky to have Rizzo and the Lerners.


    29 Jun 17 at 1:05 pm

  38. When I see Robles, I think of Clemente.


    29 Jun 17 at 1:14 pm

  39. The problem with a Harper trade is this: the Nats owners aren’t trying to appease those hard core fans (most to all of us included) who see the merits of such a trade; they ALREADY HAVE US. They’re trying to sell more tickets to the casual fan. Casual fans are driven by names, and there’s not a bigger name in the game right now than Harper. So how can you trade a guy like that?

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 1:24 pm

  40. You are right.

    Now your answer. Because they will lose him for nothing otherwise.

    And, because they have Trea Turner, who will be the FOF.


    29 Jun 17 at 1:30 pm

  41. Don’t forget, Dan Jennings is part of this front office leadership. He has been there before. Not on the fan-revenue side, but on the return for the superstar side.


    29 Jun 17 at 1:32 pm

  42. Well, to be fair they’ll get FA compensation of course. I’ve made this argument in the past, but a team with playoff aspirations doesn’t trade away its best player; it tries to build around them. You can never get back equal value.

    Find me an example of a team that was winning, making the playoffs, etc who then traded away its best players in an attempt to build for the future. F the future; win now.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 17 at 1:33 pm

  43. Yeah, but the new CBA has significantly decreased the FA compensation.

    And yes, if you were to trade Harper, you’d likely be giving up any real chance at a title in 2018. And yes, with only one year left on his deal, you’d get pennies on the dollar in return. Good luck explaining that to the fan base! The only possible exception would be to take on a big, long contract that a team is looking to dump, like Stanton’s or Cano’s. And if you think Murph torments the Mets, just imagine what Bryce would do to the Nats if they exiled him to Miami!

    So . . . the odds are high that Bryce will still be plying his trade on South Capitol in 2018, but maybe not in 2019.


    29 Jun 17 at 1:54 pm

  44. Compensation for a FA of Harper’s caliber is ridiculous at this point.

    If you trade him, you have control over where he plays, as well. So he goes to the Yankees or even Red Sox – let them overpay with the prospect depth they have.

    If he’s gone in 2019, he beats up on the nationals no matter what. The difference from Murphy is that his demands were not out of reach. Can anyone see the Nats paying him 500 million? I’m sure Boswell will write his share of Lerners are cheap articles, but the MASN issue is not going to be resolved by this fall.


    29 Jun 17 at 2:30 pm

  45. I agree with Todd. Politically speaking, it’s going to be very difficult for the Nats to trade Harper. It’s not just the fans that would go crazy, just think about every national media article slamming the team. I don’t think the Lerners would be willing to put up with that, even though I think Rizzo has the stones for it

    I also think we don’t appreciate how much of a draw Harper is. He’s the one guy who appeals to non baseball fans


    29 Jun 17 at 6:42 pm

  46. Todd, I think it would take at least 3 years / $60MM to get Murph to resign. And he’s certainly earned that.

    Andrew R

    30 Jun 17 at 12:10 am

  47. I can feel a trade coming. It’s the Rizzo radio silence.


    30 Jun 17 at 8:55 am

  48. Since this is the babyNats thread, the team continues, as it has right from the start, to inspire good vibe about what is ahead. Another errorless game (and a win), and an infield that turned 4 double plays with 17 yo Garcia at SS in the middle of them all. The best pitching came from 9th round pick Alex Troop (another lefty!), and they used the eighth round pick, Brasher, to close — and he did.

    The lineup continues to trot out all of the young Latinos, for the most part, rotating in Blash and using Cramer at 1B.

    Auburn started stocking the pond yesterday with draft choices. One overlooked low round draft pick from last year, Branden Bogetto, is getting an opportunity and is showing up well, getting three extra base hits.

    Another guy to keep an eye on (a KW special, as he has pop) is catcher Anthony Peroni, who got his first hit last night. From NJ, he was a polished low college product with power and multiple tools that the Nats said they would draft in round 11, then managed to get him in #14, along with signing picks 11, 12,and 13.

    Lots of catching depth in the organization. I can see someone like Barrera or Reetz being moved in a trade.


    30 Jun 17 at 9:07 am

  49. re Harper: It’s a strong argument you make, the derivative income from Harper that is worth keeping him and just taking the loss after 2018, hoping he aims at a career year that gets the team a WS (or repeat WS) and the financial windfall that comes with that. OK, I’m convinced.

    With that said, when they lose him, the team will be OK if health allows.

    One of the reasons I feel a trade coming is the psychological double blow of the blown game and the loss of Turner. Need something bold to turn the page. Rizzo is good at this. Or, a bit of roster turnover to shake things fresh.


    30 Jun 17 at 9:12 am

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