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Friday, February 05, 2016

Stephen Strasburg: This Could Be the Year | FanGraphs Baseball

Tony Blengino’s take.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 05, 2016 at 10:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, sabermetrics, stephen strasburg

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Suddenly Frugal Yankees Playing Long Game With Eye On Bryce Harper

For those who have more than a Passan interest in the Yankees and/or Bryce Harper’s future:

Nobody with the Yankees dared comment on Harper, even off the record, because their future marriage is considered so inevitable by most in the sport that the team dare not trifle with tampering charges. Considering the pains to which the Yankees are going to tighten finances, Harper as the endgame makes worlds of sense.

His age – and the ability to cull prime years from a free agent, a rarity – is as much of a selling point as his ability. And Harper’s transformation from enfant terrible to the most marketable player in baseball by a large margin fits the Yankees’ ethos. Star power matters to the Yankees more than any other team.

How much they’re willing to pay for their ideal fit is the question. Presuming Harper plays at a similar level for the next three years, his contract floor will be $400 million – a number, surely, at which the Washington Nationals won’t balk in their efforts to keep Harper in their uniform for his entire career. Their presence creates the prospect of a bidding war, and the idea that Harper skips $400 million altogether and aims for a half-billion-dollar deal is not altogether far-fetched. If that’s the price it takes to ensure he’s in the same lineup as Greg Bird and Aaron Judge and Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez, the homegrown core that the Yankees hope will have developed by then, it’s just money, something the Yankees in the past have all but printed.

Bote Man sez $/yr not yr/$$ Posted: February 04, 2016 at 07:38 PM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, free agents, nationals, yankees

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Peter Gammons: Old deals forcing Nationals to stay idle in the market - GammonsDaily.com

Sorry, this is just whining.

The Nats complain they’ve barely been paid over the last three years, which is why every deal they offer has to be heavily backloaded with deferrals.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 26, 2016 at 08:57 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Monday, January 25, 2016

Brisbee: Absolutely nothing has gone right for the Nationals this winter

What utter nonsense. Why just the other day, Rizzo signed Billy Joel to perform another midsummer night concert.

The targets that joined

The Nats did add some bullpen arms, though, in Shawn Kelley and Oliver Perez. That allowed them to trade Storen away, and it made it palatable to lose out on O’Day and Aroldis Chapman. Still, there won’t be a lot of Shawn Kelley shirseys at their FanFest, I’m guessing.

No, the big splash was Daniel Murphy, whose best-case scenario is probably something like what Yunel Escobar gave the Nationals last year. They traded Escobar away to make room, exchanging tens of millions after the trade to buy a slightly younger, slightly more consistent second baseman. The move allows them to take their time with prospect Trea Turner, and it gives the lineup a lefty/righty balance it didn’t have before.

It’s not like Murphy is a bad player. On the contrary, he’s been helping the Mets win an extra game or two every season for six years, now. As the face of an entire offseason, especially an offseason that followed the most disappointing regular season in franchise history, he’s completely underwhelming.

Or, to put it another way, have you looked at the Nationals’ projected lineup this year?

  Ben Revere
  Anthony Rendon
  Bryce Harper
  Ryan Zimmerman
  Daniel Murphy
  Jayson Werth
  Danny Espinosa
  Wilson Ramos

For three names, you’re getting excited. Revere doesn’t walk, but he’s one of the few players in baseball you might trust to buoy his OBP with his batting average. Rendon had a disappointing season last year, but he’s still just 26 and preternaturally gifted. Harper stepped out of Baseball Simulator 1.000, and the rest of the league can’t do anything about it.

After that, though, it’s bleak. Zimmerman had a .308 OBP last year, and his body is an old soul. Murphy is a fine complementary player, but he makes you wince as a #5 hitter. Werth is coming off his worst season, and he’s 37. Espinosa is coming off one of his best seasons, but that still makes him a defense-first player you hide at the bottom of the order. Ramos has been a net-negative hitter for two seasons now.

The Nationals probably needed Cespedes more than the Mets did, really.

JEe (Jason) Posted: January 25, 2016 at 12:19 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, mike rizzo, nationals, nats, offseason, sucks, trades

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sources: Yoenis Cespedes torn between five-year offer from Nationals and his desire to stay with Mets, who won’t go beyond three years | FOX Sports

Or, more likely, the Nationals are the only serious bidder and his agents are floating this rumor to extract a larger offer from the Nationals.

By all accounts, he enjoyed his brief stay with the Mets, who acquired him from the Tigers July 31—Cespedes’ third trade in 12 months. Changing teams again might not appeal to him. Joining the Nationals also might concern him, given the number of strong personalities in their clubhouse. The Nats hired Dusty Baker as manager in part to help mold the team into a more cohesive unit.

Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward reportedly rejected superior bids from the Nationals to join the Cubs earlier this offseason. But in the end, Cespedes might act like a more typical free agent and accept the highest offer, be it from the Nationals or another club.

Or maybe not. Maybe he just wants to be a Met.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2016 at 05:28 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, mets, nationals, yoenis cespedes

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Washington Nationals pursuing Yoenis Cespedes after missing out on fellow free-agent outfielder Justin Upton, major-league sources tell Ken Rosenthal | FOX Sports

The Nationals?

Which position would Cespedes play?

The Nats recently acquired Ben Revere, presumably to play center, possibly in tandem with Michael Taylor. Jayson Werth, guaranteed $42 million over the next two seasons with a full no-trade clause, is the left fielder. National League MVP Bryce Harper is in right.

The addition of Cespedes likely would mean that either he or Harper would be in center. The Nats, however, want Revere to play regularly—they acquired him in part to be their leadoff man. Perhaps Revere and Werth could share time in left, with Revere occasionally rotating into center and even right to rest Harper.

A trade of Werth would appear highly unlikely.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2016 at 09:14 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, nationals, yoenis cespedes

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Nationals Acquire Ben Revere From Blue Jays For Drew Storen

The Nationals and Blue Jays have officially struck a deal that will send outfielder Ben Revere to the Washington and reliever Drew Storen to Toronto, as Jon Heyman first reported on Twitter. A player to be named later will also head to D.C., and the Nats will kick in cash sufficient to offset the differences in the players’ anticipated 2016 salaries, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.

Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone Posted: January 09, 2016 at 09:43 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: ben revere, blue jays, drew storen, nationals

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Attorneys for Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Howard send letters to Al Jazeera America demanding retraction - The Washington Post

I didn’t watch the full video. Is this report based entirely on the guy/intern who retracted his claims?

The version of the report on Al Jazeera’s website now contains a correction at the top, dated Monday, that says an earlier version of the written version of the story – not the film – contained references to Zimmerman and Howard using human growth hormone.

“The substance alleged was Delta 2, not HGH,” the correction reads.

The film version of the report contains a conversation between an undercover Al Jazeera reporter and Charles Sly, who Al Jazeera identifies as a pharmacist who once worked at the Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine in Indianapolis, an anti-aging clinic. Sly said in the conversation that Zimmerman used Delta 2. He does not mention HGH.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 30, 2015 at 06:28 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, phillies, ryan howard, ryan zimmerman

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nationals sign veteran infielder Stephen Drew to one-year, $3 million deal

Washington has found its utility middle infielder, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $3 million contract late Tuesday night with Stephen Drew. The agreement was first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who adds that Drew can earn another $1.25 million in performance-based incentives as part of the one-year deal.

Drew has batted just .185/.257/.347 in 728 plate appearances over the last two seasons, but he did manage to slug 17 home runs in 131 games (115 starts) with the Yankees in 2015.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2015 at 10:16 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, nationals, stephen drew

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nationals eye Brandon Phillips, Daniel Murphy | MLB.com

Are the Nationals really interested in Murphy or are they trying to pressure the Reds a little to get them to agree on a Phillips deal?

Jim Furtado Posted: December 17, 2015 at 06:18 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: brandon phillips, daniel murphy, nationals, reds

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Friday, December 11, 2015

MLBTR: Nationals “Serious Threat” To Land Heyward, Who Has $200MM Offer In Hand

So all that $ the Lerners wouldn’t pony up for Black will go toward Heyward instead?

9:46pm: A source tells MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that the Nats are “heavily involved” and are making a “legit” effort to sign the young outfielder. He adds, interestingly, that Taylor “would become expendable” if a deal is struck.

From an analytical perspective, it seems plenty plausible that the team could add Heyward (or another outfielder) and keep Taylor. For one thing, there’s plenty of justification to give him further developmental time at Triple-A. For another, he’d still be an important depth piece in the near term and would have plenty of possibilities for increased playing time with the clock ticking on Werth’s contract (and perhaps also his time as a full-time regular).

JEe (Jason) Posted: December 11, 2015 at 03:57 AM | 221 comment(s)
  Beats: free agent, jason heyward, nationals

Boz: Dusty Baker lets down the Nationals with his words

Next, let’s ask Dusty his thoughts on the Redskins name.

Perhaps Baker is a bit delirious with joy at returning to the game as a manager. At his first news conference in Washington, he charmed many with non-stop stories and quips. It was an “I’m-back” star turn.

But he didn’t just put a foot in his mouth Tuesday. He inserted both of ’em.

“Who’s to say the allegations are true, number one?” Baker said. “And who’s to say what you would have done or what caused the problem?”

Yes, that will make blame-the-victim bells go off. A manager or coach in pro sports needs to understand the whole culture of which his team is a part. Baker has always been attuned to issue of race in baseball — to buzzwords and catchphrases that tip off someone’s true beliefs. Now he should look hard at his own words. To speak judiciously on serious subjects, or else stay silent, is a core managerial competence. Smoking-a-joint-with-Jimi Hendrix stories are amusing, but optional.

Unfortunately, Baker didn’t limit himself Tuesday. For no reason, he tossed himself into another age-old controversy.

“The number-one thing that’s missing in the game is speed,” he said. “With the number of minorities, you can help yourself — you’ve got a better chance of getting some speed with Latin- and African-Americans. I’m not being racist. That’s just how it is.”

Here’s how it really is: Don’t put a “Kick Me” sign on yourself. Baker’s blundering on Chapman now can’t be called a one-off accident.

The day Baker was introduced as manager, he said, “I’d like to think I transcend different generations, like some musicians. I mean, Stevie Wonder still sounds good. And The Doors might sound even better.”

After Tuesday, transcending generations isn’t his issue. Baker, all on his own, now has raised the issue of whether he’s sufficiently in touch with this generation.

JEe (Jason) Posted: December 11, 2015 at 01:56 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dusty baker, nationals

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Angels trade for Yunel Escobar from Nationals | MLB.com

The Angels were on the verge of acquiring veteran infielder Yunel Escobar from the Nationals on Thursday, sources told MLB.com. The move could help the club at second or third base.

In exchange, young hard-throwing reliever Trevor Gott is expected to go to Washington, a source said. The Angels are also expected to include a Minor League player in the deal. The Angels and Nationals have not confirmed reports of the impending trade, which was first mentioned by CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2015 at 04:59 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, nationals, trade

Nats Sign Yusmeiro Petit

1 year $3m, with an option for 2017 that vests with 80 innings pitched

Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: December 10, 2015 at 08:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, nationals

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Jonathan Papelbon files grievance against the Nationals

According to multiple major league sources, the former Red Sox closer has filed a grievance against Washington for failing to pay his salary during the team-imposed four-game suspension at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

Papelbon was suspended by the Nationals after engaging in a dugout altercation with teammate Bryce Harper during a Sept. 23 game against the Orioles.

According to the sources, the player’s stance is that there is no precedent of a player having his salary withdrawn after such a team-issued suspension.

No date for a hearing has been set.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 06, 2015 at 11:05 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: grievances, jonathan papelbon, mlbpa, nationals

Friday, December 04, 2015

Nationals sign veteran left-hander Oliver Perez to two-year deal

The remodeling of the Nationals’ bullpen began Friday afternoon, quietly, with the signing of veteran left-hander Oliver Perez to a two-year, $7 million deal, according to people familiar with the situation.

The Nationals have not announced the deal. While rumblings about all-stars such as Aroldis Chapman or a multi-year deal for coveted late-inning star Darren O’Day swirled all week, the Nationals secured a matchup-ready lefty with 13 years of major league experience and a low 90s fastball who posted a 4.17 ERA in 70 appearances in 2015.

The 34-year-old is poised to slot into the role 39-year-old Matt Thornton filled last season, likely pairing with hard-throwing youngster Felipe Rivero to give the Nationals two lefty relievers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 04, 2015 at 04:46 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, oliver perez

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Notes from the GM meetings: Rizzo, Zobrist, Span, etc. - The Washington Post

How many teams don’t have interest in Zobrist? If he’s not a top priority for a team, a writer is just filling space.

The Nationals have interest in free agent veteran utility man Ben Zobrist, according to people familiar with the situation. Zobrist isn’t believed to a top priority but the Nationals have long been interested in the versatile player. Zobrist, 34, could still command a formidable multi-year deal despite his age.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 12, 2015 at 09:13 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Sullivan: The Worst Division in a Decade

The NL East vexes me … I’m terribly vexed.

If you look at winning percentage outside of the same division, then the NL East slides into fourth-worst. At .428, it’s no match for the 2002 AL Central’s .412, but it does dip past the 1999 AL Central’s .439. I feel like I don’t need to keep hammering this. The division was bad. It was probably the worst in 10 years. In the season ahead, it’s likely the Phillies and Braves will once again struggle. The Nationals will lose some personnel, and the Mets could lose both Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes. It’s way too soon to try to forecast how the division will play in 2016, but the probability is that the best team in it will benefit from a relatively soft schedule.

In case you’re curious about the other side, the NL Central was strong, but it ranks tied for 11th in the interleague era. It was the strongest division in two years, since the 2013 AL East. The No. 1 strongest division was the 2002 AL West, with a very slim lead over the previous season’s AL West. (In third place: a different season’s AL West.) In fact, the top nine divisions all come from the American League, but that’s not a total surprise, given the AL’s run of league superiority. This is of little consolation to the Reds and the Brewers, who are looking up at their rivals and wondering what hope they have. If there are two teams in baseball that could stand to try to start over, it would be those. The Brewers have arguably already begun.

Just for the sake of a few closing thoughts: Over the 19 years, the AL Central has never once been baseball’s strongest division. This past year was the first time in the window that the NL Central ranked No. 1. And this was the first time that the NL East ranked No. 6. A year ago, we saw more parity between divisions than we had since at least 1996. There was very little spread in divisional quality. This year was a bounce-back in that regard. Or an anti-bounce-back, depending on your perspective on parity. There was less parity, basically. That’s all.

So, we’re coming off a recent first for the NL Central. And we’re coming off a recent first for the NL East, which was just the worst overall division baseball has seen in a decade. This has all been a reflection, but in the process of writing this, I saw that the Mariners and Rays completed a six-player trade, so now it’s officially time to look ahead. Contained within is information about the 2015 baseball season. That season won’t be bothering you anymore.

JEe (Jason) Posted: November 07, 2015 at 09:10 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: barves, marlins, mets, nationals, nl east, phillies

Friday, November 06, 2015

Lee Smith: Here Comes Dusty Baker

Ok, it’s true the Nats made something of a hash of the hiring process. A week before the club announced that Dusty had the job, news leaked that they were going to name Bud Black, a former big league pitcher who managed the San Diego Padres for eight years until he was fired midway through the 2015 campaign. Reportedly, the sticking point was that Black felt Nationals’ owner Ted Lerner low-balled him, with an initial offer of $1.6 million for one year. Eventually, Lerner offered Black three years at a much higher salary—according to one report, “well above the average major league managing salary, perhaps in the top 10.” But Black, say insiders, was so “deeply offended” by the initial tender that negotiations never got back on track.

The news Black was going to get the job shouldn’t have been leaked until everything was in order. But it’s pretty clear that the Nats dodged a bullet here. Bud Black was “deeply offended”? Excuse, but is that a former big-league pitcher whining?—because it sounded an awful lot like the Iranian foreign minister. Is Black “deeply offended” when ballplayers spit sunflower seeds in the dugout? What about when a hitter doesn’t get a runner over, pitchers leave an 0-2 pitch out over the plate, or infielders bungle a double play? How does a guy with a .477 winning percentage as manager get to be “deeply offended” when a club that has proven it is serious about winning a World Series opens the bidding with more than a million and a half dollars for a year’s worth of work. ...

Why are baseball writers effectively defending the professional etiquette of a guy who clearly needs to find out how the rest of the world works, outside of Major League Baseball? Or maybe the Post works like that, too—in which case Jeff Bezos has probably already offended his employees, deeply. A number of Post staffers, along with other Washington baseball reporters, seem intent on drawing a picture of a dysfunctional baseball franchise that keeps embarrassing itself. The fact is that all professional sports franchises are by definition dysfunctional because their billionaire owners keep them as luxurious pets, to be coddled, humored, and scolded when they make a mess of the furniture. What owners know, and the talent and the media don’t understand, is that the so-called big business of sports isn’t big business at all. If you want to make money, you go into something like finance, or real estate, like the Lerners, whose wealth is estimated around $4 billion. You don’t go into an industry that depends on the whims of spring and summer weather and an even more capricious customer base, fans. In real business, you are surrounded by real business people, like executives who know their worth and seek to leverage their advantage when it comes time to negotiate compensation. In baseball, [mid-level] management is former athletes, who don’t know any better but to pout to the press when things don’t go their way.

Boswell says he likes the Nats’ owners. “The Lerners are good people,” he writes. “Their hearts are in the right place: dreaming of a title for their home town. The problem is with their ears. They don’t listen.” Ok, I’ll bite—who is it the Lerners should listen to?

Boswell is perhaps the gold standard of baseball writing, but it’s hard not to read him sometimes as just another Washington beat reporter willing to cash in common sense for the sake of a story. And luckily for Boswell, the Nats’ front office leaks against its internal rivals as much as the State Department. So what if the substance of the story is patently silly? It advances my relationship with a highly placed source, and besides, it’s a scoop—with my byline. Who is Boswell’s source in this article critical of the Lerners? I don’t know, but the Nats GM sure comes out of this looking good.

“As for Mike Rizzo,” writes Boswell, “a general manager who has built a team that has averaged 91 wins the past four seasons, [the Bud Black] episode doesn’t seem like how he does business.” Ok, maybe Rizzo didn’t leak the details of the Black story to Boswell, and frame it to make himself look like an innocent bystander watching a train wreck. And maybe Rizzo screamed at the Post reporter on the phone for jeopardizing his job by daring to suggest in print that there is any difference between how he and the people who sign his paycheck operate. But I doubt it.

We don’t know what really happened here, but given that Nats’ officials are leaking against ownership in typical bureaucratic Washington fashion through the Washington press corps, it’s not hard to surmise the intent of this CYA campaign. How about this: let’s say there were two final candidates for the manager’s job. The GM wanted Black but saw it was close so he needed to tip the scales. By leaking that Black had the job, he’d back Lerner into a corner so that if Black wasn’t picked the boss would look like an incompetent, if well-intentioned, baseball outsider who doesn’t understand how the business of the game works. Lerner called Rizzo’s bluff and picked Baker. He preferred Dusty, and perhaps wanted to remind Rizzo how he got to call the shots—you don’t become rich in the real business world without a pretty good sense of character. To save face in front of the professional community where he will someday have to go looking for a new job, Rizzo concocted an absurd story about a baseball lifer with nerves as fragile as a geisha’s.

In short, the Black episode really does highlight a problem in NatsWorld, but the clown show isn’t the Lerners.

JEe (Jason) Posted: November 06, 2015 at 04:25 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: bud black, dusty baker, managerial search, managers, nationals

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Dusty Baker wins the press conference with one terrific quote after another - The Washington Post

The quotable Dusty Baker.

Dusty Baker on existential voids

“I had a burning desire to succeed in my heart that wasn’t filled in my life [without baseball]. You’re going to have voids in your life. I mean, you can live without them. But I’d rather not.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2015 at 03:58 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: dusty baker, managers, nationals

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Judge rules in favor of Orioles in MASN Court Case

Nearly six months after the trial hearing, and three years after the dispute began between MASN and the Nationals, the verdict is in on the court case involving tens of millions of dollars of rights fees. The thirty-page decision provides the immediate conclusion that the court has thrown out the ruling made by baseball’s panel - a victory for the Orioles - but offers no other resolution to the case.

Page 27 of the ruling is particularly interesting.

Under the circumstances, the Court concludes that this complete inaction objectively demonstrates an utter lack of concern for fairness of the proceeding that is “so inconsistent with basic principles of justice” that the award must be vacated.

birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: November 04, 2015 at 02:55 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: masn, nationals, orioles

Bowden: Lerner Wouldn’t Pay For Joe Girardi, so Nats got Manny Acta

“None of us should be surprised at this,” said Bowden, who resigned as Nationals GM in 2009 amid an FBI investigation of illegal scouting practices in Latin America. “The Lerner families have a history of this. When I was the GM there, Joe Girardi was the selection of the baseball people there, a recommendation by me. The ownership was not willing to pay Joe Girardi what was fair, so Manny Acta was the manager, and that was the guy who ended up running the team. Joe Girardi went on to the Yankees and ended up having a world championship and a great career ever since.

Ho boy.

Bote Man sez $/yr not yr/$$ Posted: November 04, 2015 at 01:02 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cheap owners, jim bowden, managerial search, nationals, owners

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Svrluga: View of Nats Organization Not Entirely Pleasant

Executive summary: teh Lerners are CHEEEEEEEP!

The Lerners already had shown, in their dealing with previous managers, that they don’t put much value in the position. They have never paid a premium for a manager, even as they developed a roster that was good enough to win a World Series. This, people familiar with the franchise’s structure said, is typical of how the club operates.


Bryce Harper Wins Hank Aaron Award

Bryce Harper *IS* your 2015 Most Offensive Player.

Bote Man sez $/yr not yr/$$ Posted: November 03, 2015 at 06:06 AM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, bryce harper, nationals

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