Nationals Arm Race

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

So…. what the heck do we talk about?


Its been a whirlwind few weeks, I tell you.

With today’s announcement that Virginia schools are now closed for the rest of the school year, I thought i’d chime in.  Virginia was not the first state to take such drastic measures, but certainly won’t be the last.

We’ve already had the NCAA shutter all spring sports, including baseball and the far-too-early-but-now-seemingly-sensible cancellation of the College World Series in June.

We’re also basically at a point where its likely that all prep sports around the country will be cancelled as well.

Its amazing.

I’ve covered the CWS for years, covering prep baseball in the DC/MD/VA areas is an annual tradition; not in 2020.  There’s nothing.

My son’s little league?  Probably gone.  He’s in a critical development year in the 7-8yr old range; this will set back his class for years to come.

So, now the question is … when do you think MLB will return?  Will it?  Do you think we’ll be past this crisis by the all Star Break in mid July?

If this stretches into August … and the players need a 4-week spring training … what time is left?  Would you run a season for a month and a half?

There’s all sorts of articles about service time, negotiations ongoing, etc.  To take a simple example: what would you do with Mookie Betts and the Dodgers if the season goes poof?  Both sides have pretty decent arguments:

  • Betts would argue he was blocked from fulfilling his end of the contract and should be a free agent.
  • Dodgers would argue that they traded assets to acquire  him and never got a day of playing time out of him so he should play another season for htem.

What a mess.

Any predictions out there?

My hope is for a mid-July restart, then a two month sprint of a season Aug and Sept (60 games or there abouts), maybe entirely within division, to determine the conventional playoff slat of 5 teams/league.  It will be an entirely unbalanced schedule but so be it.  I’d exactly pro-rate a “year” of service time to the actual days played (meaning if they do a 60-day season that’s the new 182-day “service year prorated so that each 2020 day is worth 3 non-2020 service days).  Yeah the teams like the Dodgers that acquired players get screwed, but they’re also paying pro-rated salaries thanks to natioanl emergency clauses and force majeure clauses in contracts.  Not fair to all players … but everyone takes a hit.

Written by Todd Boss

March 23rd, 2020 at 8:33 pm

9 Responses to 'So…. what the heck do we talk about?'

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  1. A good question Todd.
    A friend has a son who pitches for William & Mary, they played 17 games out of 56. Then they were granted another year of eligibility which really felt right.
    I hope your son gets to go to school for the whole summer.

    Mark L

    24 Mar 20 at 4:15 pm

  2. Yeah I feel like the NCAA did the right thing. I read that VHSL is considering a summer HS season for its spring teams. that’d be awesome.

    Todd Boss

    25 Mar 20 at 9:25 am

  3. Byron Kerr is using the time to catch us up on pitching prospects, as he sometimes does well, and better than most. I love how he draws from the coaches and instructors, who always have more to offer than the pundits (who half the time are getting second hand data from their unnamed sources).

    Reading the tea leaves, the team certainly looks hopeful on the Seth Romero front. I’d say that’s good news.


    31 Mar 20 at 10:49 am

  4. fore, I was mentioning this on Luke’s site, but the 2-3 years since we last followed Romero he has to have grown up some. That would help a lot, along with getting in shape.

    When the season starts I’m looking forward to following 5-6 arms in the system.

    Todd, this is right up your alley but I heard when major league baseball finally does start they’re going to have 29-30 players on the roster. Who would you bring up for the Nats?

    Mark L

    31 Mar 20 at 12:06 pm

  5. If i had 3-4 more roster spots from the planned 26, if I was this team i’d probably augment with a 3rd catcher, another bench bat and two more arms. So looking at who we have/had in camp:
    – add Wellington Castillo to roster as 3rd catcher
    – add Brandon Snyder as a bench bat and see if he’s got anything left
    – i’d bring in another lefty reliever; probably Fernando Abad
    – I’d bring in antoher rightly reliever: probably javy Guerra

    Todd Boss

    11 Apr 20 at 11:11 am

  6. It was interesting to read about Cody Wilson on MASN this AM. I remember, and posted here as well, how last spring there were a number of people on the team who were very high on him and expected him to advance quickly. His batting numbers were poor and I always wondered why.

    These kinds of articles show that technical limitations can really impede the progress of even well-developed tools. We understand that on the pitching side, but the article does get you thinking on the hitting side as well.


    19 Apr 20 at 11:17 am

  7. I have to admit, until that article ran, that I didn’t know him at all. A good technical look at a swing.

    Mark L

    20 Apr 20 at 2:42 pm

  8. I remember being intrigued by Wilson when he was drafted, particularly with 14 homers his last college season. He played pretty well at Auburn the rest of that summer, but his power completely dried up. Sounds like the Nats still have good hopes for him, though.

    However . . . he’ll turn 24 on the 4th of July (a Yankee Doodle Dandy), almost surely still without playing a game at the A+ level at that point. That leads to a question I’ve been meaning to pose, probably on Luke’s site, but I’ll at least hint at it here: since so much prospect evaluation is SO tied to age, where does that leave us with essentially a missed season? Wil Crowe will turn 26 in September. Seth Romero, who has a grand total of 47.1 pro innings, turned 24 yesterday. Mason Denaburg turns 21 in August, so any perceived benefit of drafting him out of high school is gone. The Nats already had a lot of guys on their prospect list were already long in the tooth to still be considered “prospects,” and now they’ll be even older. But so will everyone else’s prospects . . .

    And of course the Nat MLB roster also has quite a number of guys well into their 30s. Are they a year closer to the strap heap from missing most or all of a season, or do their bodies get a little reinvigoration from a break from the grind? Make this would be grist for a new post for Todd.


    20 Apr 20 at 3:06 pm

  9. For those desperate for a few good Nats’ stories, there are several in Boz’s chat from yesterday, once you scroll past all the hand-wringing about how the worst team in town is about to blow another draft:


    21 Apr 20 at 1:04 pm

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