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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 4 surprisingly quiet teams of the MLB offseason

Perhaps the best move is….not to play.

Baltimore Orioles

Dammit, Orioles.

For the third straight offseason—and I didn’t really check the offseasons before that, either—the Orioles made it through the Winter Meetings without a major move. So far, it’s Wesley Wright and only Wesley Wright, and that just happened. Nick Markakis is gone. Delmon Young is gone. Cruz is with the Mariners. As of now, the top first baseman on their depth chart is Christian Walker, who had a .335 on-base percentage in Triple-A last year. The Orioles thought they were going to bring Markakis back on a four-year deal. Instead, they’re looking at Steve Pearce, everyday right fielder, and Alejandro De Aza, leadoff hitter.

Their needs are obvious: At least one more corner player. Could be a left fielder, right fielder, or a first baseman. If the Orioles want to keep Chris Davis in the field, their options are wide open for a DH. If they start the season with this permutation, it will be stunning. There just aren’t as many options as there once were, of course. Michael Morse is gone, Melky Cabrera was never a serious consideration, Billy Butler signed early, the White Sox scooped up Adam LaRoche ... it’s starting to look like it’s trade or bust for the Orioles.

Bringing Delmon back and waiting for March wouldn’t be much of an offseason plan. That isn’t what the Orioles are going to do, right?

Right?

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2014 at 05:06 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, hot stove, nationals, orioles, rangers

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NY Judge Gives MASN Partial Edge In Nationals Dispute

NEW YORK — A New York Supreme Court granted partial discovery Monday to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, forcing Major League Baseball to hand over documents relating to the long-standing dispute over the Washington Nationals’ regional television rights fees. MASN, which is majority controlled by the Baltimore Orioles, had been seeking documents detailing incoming MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s involvement with a arbitration panel that ruled this summer that MASN should pay the Nationals more in rights fees.

After three hours of arguments, Judge Lawrence Marks also approved MASN’s request that MLB turn over documents detailing the panel’s meetings, attendance and the details of the correspondence between Manfred and any MLB staff and the panel. MASN contends that Manfred, who has been serving as Commissioner Bud Selig’s right-hand man, and MLB had a vested interest in the panel’s ruling, which awarded the Nationals nearly $300 million in TV rights fees during the 2012-2016 “reset” period.

boteman Posted: December 17, 2014 at 01:37 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: greed, masn, nationals, orioles, peter angelos

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NatStros Palm Beach County Spring Training Site Negotiations

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s empty lot.

Palm Beach County voted Tuesday to continue negotiations and potentially make an unsolicited offer to the city of West Palm Beach for a land swap that could give the Nationals and Astros the needed site for a two-team spring training facility.

boteman Posted: December 16, 2014 at 04:10 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, florida, nationals, spring training

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bryce Harper, Nationals avoid grievance hearing after settling on 2015 salary [UPDATED] - The Washington Post

Outfielder Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals will avoid a grievance hearing over his 2015 salary after the sides reached a settlement Sunday evening with a two-year, $7.5 million contract, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Harper and the Nationals had been at odds over how his salary would be determined because of a rare dispute over the contract he signed as a first-round draft pick in 2010. If the sides had not settled, the Nationals and their most recognizable player would have engaged in a potentially contentious hearing Tuesday.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 15, 2014 at 09:37 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, nationals

Don’t Nationals want to pay to play? | FOX Sports

This would have been a huge deal.

The Nats indeed are open to moving Zimmermann and Desmond, perhaps even in the same deal. They recently engaged in multiple conversations about both players with the Mariners, according to major-league sources. One of the many ideas the Nats proposed was Zimmermann and Desmond for right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Brad Miller, sources said.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 15, 2014 at 09:33 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, nationals, trade rumors

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bryce Harper’s grievance hearing against the Nationals is scheduled for Tuesday

D.J. Short - Dec 12, 2014

After FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reminded us about the situation a couple of weeks ago, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that Bryce Harper‘s grievance hearing against the Nationals is scheduled for Tuesday in New York.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, here’s a quick recap: After Harper was drafted in 2010, he reached an oral agreement on a five-year major league contract with the Nationals just minutes before the signing deadline. The Nationals were adamant that the contract wouldn’t include an opt-out if Harper qualified for arbitration during the deal, but Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, was under the impression that the opt-out would be included in the contract. When Boras eventually received the formal contract from the Nationals, the opt-out was not included in the deal and Harper refused to sign it. The MLBPA soon stepped in with a compromise, stating that if Harper qualified for arbitration during the deal, there would be a grievance hearing regarding the opt-out clause.

To be clear, this opt-out is strictly about arbitration. He’s still under team control through 2018 no matter what. Anyway, Harper has logged enough service time to qualify for arbitration as a Super Two player. He’s currently under contract for $1.5 million next season, but MLB Trade Rumors projects that he could make $2.5 million through arbitration. This isn’t just about 2015 though, as there could be millions more at stake if he goes through the process four times as opposed to three.

There’s still a chance that the Nationals and Harper will settle their differences before Tuesday, but if not, each side will make their case in front of a three-person panel of arbitrators. That’s far from ideal, as it risks the possibility of bad blood between the player and the team. Ultimately, the Nationals will have to ask themselves if being stingy about a few million is worth it with one of their most important players.

Joey B. Posted: December 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, nationals

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thomas Boswell: In MLB, teams that hesitate with pending free agents often lose - The Washington Post

Tom Boswell on the Nationals off-season.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2014 at 06:50 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bryce Harper ready to hit in the middle of the lineup, may play right field

No matter what the Washington Nationals do this winter, they are planning for next season with the expectation that an important player will shoulder a heavier load in all facets of the game. Despite a trying season that featured injury and drama, Bryce Harper’s tantalizing playoff performance may have been a watershed moment for him. He yearns for the big moment and he shined during the NLDS, almost single-handedly carrying the offense with three home runs. Nationals officials believe a light switch flipped on in Harper’s mind.

Heading into his fourth major league season in 2015, Harper is expected to play an ever larger role in the lineup, in the clubhouse and on the field. And he may even play right field, allowing Jayson Werth to move to left. The loss of Adam LaRoche, the team’s cleanup hitter and a left-handed bat, has left the Nationals’ lineup right-handed heavy.

Harper hit all over the lineup last season but mostly sixth. Next season, Manager Matt Williams said Harper could hit anywhere from second to cleanup, a sentiment that General Manager Mike Rizzo echoed.

“It depends on the structure of our team on any given day,” Williams said. “If there’s anything I learned from last year it’s you can’t count on a set lineup every day, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. That being said, I don’t want to pigeonhole him at this point, early December, and say he’s going to hit X, Y or Z. But he’ll be in the middle of our order.”

Joey B. Posted: December 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Friday, December 05, 2014

Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth convicted of reckless driving

I wonder if he has one of those absurdly loud exhaust systems, too…

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was found guilty Friday of reckless driving and sentenced to 10 days in prison.

Werth, 35, was pulled over on July 6 while driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone on Route 193 in Fairfax County, according to court records. Werth was driving a two-door Porsche at the time of the offense, which occurred around 9:40 a.m. on a Sunday.

Werth’s attorney said he plans to appeal the conviction.

Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: December 05, 2014 at 02:08 PM | 104 comment(s)
  Beats: jayson werth, nationals

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Anthony Castrovince: 10 bold Winter Meetings predictions

These rumors are all wet.

1. Justin Upton to the Orioles

While their hesitance to go to a fourth guaranteed year for Nelson Cruz is understandable, the immediate fact of the matter is that the reigning home run champ now resides elsewhere. Even with Matt Wieters and Manny Machado getting healthier, and even if you believe that Chris Davis is going to rebound, the O’s have some potential for major offensive regression if they don’t make some moves this winter.

In Upton, the O’s can reel in a corner outfielder who has a history of getting on base roughly 35 percent of the time, and can give you a 30-plus-homer season at Camden Yards. This is the kind of move the O’s need to make to maintain their top spot in an AL East in which the Red Sox and Blue Jays are obviously both dramatically improved.

Here’s the rub: The Braves, who appear more certain than ever to move Upton now that they’ve signed Nick Markakis, are looking for young, controllable arms in their bid to build a contender for 2017. There was a time when a top-tier pitching prospect such as Dylan Bundy would have netted far more years of contractual control than Upton, a pending free agent, provides. But in this starting-saturated market - and with Bundy re-establishing himself following Tommy John surgery - I’m not so sure that’s the case. Would the O’s be willing to part with Bundy’s long-term potential for some short-term thump? Hard to say, but their free-agent options have thinned in a hurry.


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Zuckerman - Whither Detwiler and Danny

Give ‘em Tender Vittles!

The two question marks, though, would seem to be Ross Detwiler and Danny Espinosa. Each player has seen his stock in the organization fall precipitously over the last couple of years, and neither can be considered a lock to make the 2015 Opening Day roster. The Nationals, then, must decide: 1) Whether to retain Detwiler and Espinosa despite their growing salaries, 2) Whether either player won’t be retained but could be traded for something of value or 3) Whether those trade values are so minimal, they might as well non-tender either or both players and cut ties altogether.

boteman Posted: December 02, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, nationals

Monday, December 01, 2014

Rosenthal - Nationals vs Harper’s Bizarre Contract

Would YOU want to go to the mat against Bryce Harper?

At issue: Whether Harper is allowed to opt out of his deal and enter baseball’s arbitration system, enabling him to start negotiating higher salaries.

Either way, Harper is under the Nationals’ control for four more seasons. But millions hang in the balance, which is why both sides are bracing for a legal battle.

A battle that the Nationals, in particular, should do everything possible to avoid. Even if they hold the winning argument, they stand little to gain by antagonizing a potential franchise player.

boteman Posted: December 01, 2014 at 11:48 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: boras, bryce harper, contracts, nationals

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dave Cameron: A proposed three-way swap for Red Sox, Mariners, Nationals

So, we have Cespedes and Napoli going to Seattle, with the Mariners sending Miller and Hultzen to Washington. What do the Red Sox receive from the Nationals to make the trade work for everyone? Zimmermann is the key piece, obviously, but the Sox are dealing two sluggers and watching the Nationals acquire a potential 11 years of young talent in exchange, so they might not settle for just the one year of Zimmermann’s services and the draft pick they’d get if he left next winter. To even things out, the Nationals probably need to add one more piece to the Red Sox side of things, and it should probably be an arm.

Specifically, the Sox could use a high quality reliever to help pitch the innings in front of closer Koji Uehara, and the Nationals happen to have a strong depth of bullpen arms. Clippard would seem to fit well in Boston, especially given that he’s under contract for only one more season; the Red Sox like short-term commitments to pitchers. And, coincidentally, Zimmermann and Clippard are likely to make about $25 million between them next season, almost exactly the same amount that the Red Sox are currently due to pay Napoli and Cespedes. This would be a payroll neutral deal for Boston, with Seattle absorbing the costs that Washington is cutting.

No Jose Lopez?


Monday, November 24, 2014

Josh Willingham to retire

The Ham is no longer Willing. Josh retires with a line of .253/.358/.465 with 988 hits and 195 home runs.

Although he said he received a substantial offer from a contending club this offseason, he ultimately decided against returning in 2015.

“After praying on my decision many times and talking to my wife, my father and ex-players who have gone through the same process toward the end of their careers, I have decided to retire,’’ Willingham said.

“I felt like it wouldn’t be fair to myself, and more importantly to the team that was paying me a lot of money to perform at a high level, if there was a chance my dedication would waver—particularly as the season got longer. I’m honored to have played for as many years as I have, and I feel even luckier to walk away on my own terms instead of having the decision made for me.’‘

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2014 at 01:01 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, josh willingham, marlins, nationals, retirements, royals, twins

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Teams with excess depth could play big role in offseason | New York Post

Joel Sherman is very entertaining. He has a lot of ideas.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2014 at 07:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, nationals, red sox, trade rumors, white sox, yankees

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sources: Cubs in talks to acquire Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann | Chicago Sun-Times

Another report says the clubs aren’t dealing. Brett Anderson would be a great buy-low pickup for a smart team.

Zimmermann, 28, would be a younger, potentially less-expensive alternative to the higher-end free agents on the market this off-season, though the player package to acquire him would have to include at least one of their touted young middle infielders, sources say.

One source said the teams have enough mutual interest that names have been discussed. Another said he expected the Cubs to complete the deal – along with Cardinals free agent Justin Masterson, who blamed minor injuries for season-long struggles in 2014 after a 2013 All-Star season.

Masterson is said to be willing to sign a low-cost one-year deal for a chance to prove himself in spring training, possibly similar to the $1 million deal the Cubs gave James McDonald last winter.

Lester, considered by some executives the most valuable free agent starter on the market, is still in play for the Cubs, say insiders, along with buy-low/upside guys such as Rockies free agent Brett Anderson, veteran bench guys such as Athletics free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes and bullpen help.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 12, 2014 at 06:34 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: brett anderson, cubs, jordan zimmermann, justin masterson, nationals

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Alfonso Soriano retires from baseball

And, therefore, is not available.

Alfonso Soriano announced his retirement from baseball in a radio interview with Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old spent 16 seasons with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs, hitting .270/.319/.500 with 412 home runs in more than 8,000 plate appearances. The Dominican native finished his career where it started—in the Bronx—and struggled through his worst offensive season since 2000 before being released in July.

“I’ve lost the love and passion to play the game,” Soriano said during the radio interview (via the Associated Press). “Right now, my family is the most important thing.”

The District Attorney Posted: November 06, 2014 at 09:18 AM | 87 comment(s)
  Beats: alfonso soriano, cubs, nationals, rangers, retirements, yankees

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mike Scioscia, Matt Williams voted top managers

Mike Scioscia of the Angels and Matt Williams of the Nationals are Sporting News’ 2014 American League and National League Managers of the Year, respectively, as selected by a panel of 22 major league managers. SN has given Manager of the Year awards since 1936.

Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: October 21, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, awards and honors, nationals

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Adam LaRoche accepts that he must step aside to make room for Ryan Zimmerman

Adam Kilgore in the Washington Post-

... this October was likely LaRoche’s last ride with the Nationals — the last time the beloved teammate, dependable first baseman, genial outdoorsman and charitable man will wear a Nationals uniform. If the decision was his to make, in a vacuum, LaRoche would finish his career in Washington. He knows it is not, and he is okay with that.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Matt Williams and the Great Bullpen Screw-Up | FOX Sports

Ouch.

As an outsider, we can’t know about the internal dynamics of the clubhouse and how well Williams might or might not have handled the aspects of his job that we never see. But part of his job is also to make decisions during the games that give his team the best chance to win, and in the biggest game of his managerial career, he made a series of poor decisions that directly led to the run that eliminated his team from the postseason. The Nationals’ offense didn’t do Williams any favors in this series, and it’s tough to advance when your team just doesn’t hit. But on Tuesday night, they scored at least enough runs to earn the right to keep playing.

They didn’t get that chance, though, because Matt Williams was unwilling to use his best pitchers in a tie game. In many ways, baseball is getting a lot smarter. In this particular way, baseball has a long way to go.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2014 at 06:52 AM | 193 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, matt williams, nationals, playoffs, sabermetrics

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants - Recap - October 06, 2014 - ESPN

The error was not pretty.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2014 at 06:33 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, nationals, playoffs

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Giants’ Unlikely Strategy Leads to Game 1 Victory

“It seems to be a formula that works,” Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens said. “That was our approach. Not to be too big. Not to try to do too much. Just put the ball in play and see what happens.”

I guess a guy who struck out in 30% of his big-league at-bats would know.

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 04, 2014 at 08:12 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, nationals, nlds

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Tim Hudson on Nationals-Giants: ‘What do you have between your legs?’

The building of narratives for the Nationals-Giants National League Division Series can officially begin, and the juxtaposition between the recent playoff success for each team is an easy place to start. The Giants have won two of the last four World Series, a grizzled bunch that has survived seven consecutive postseason elimination games. The Nationals squandered a six-run lead in Game 5.

That’s an easy storyline that columnists and reporters are sure to beat into a fine paste by 3:07 p.m. Friday. Late Wednesday night, in a champagne-soaked clubhouse at PNC Park, Giants Game 2 starter Tim Hudson beat everyone to the punch – and offered a direct challenge to the Nationals.’

“Obviously they have a talented group over there, there’s no question,” Hudson told The Post’s Barry Svrluga. “They have some great pitching. But come playoff time, talent can take you a long ways, but what do you have between your legs? That’s going to take you real far. And I think we’ve got a group in here that really has some of that.”

Hudson’s implication: The Nationals don’t. Or at least they haven’t shown it yet.

 

Joey B. Posted: October 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, nationals

Giants Win Should Aid Favored Nationals

Hey, all. I’m back with my (crude, i.e., doesn’t take into account lineups) postseason projections for you all to tear apart. Below is a summary of my data as the LDS round begins.

Overall WS Win Likelihoods:
* WSN 19%
* LAA 19%
* LAD 18%
* BAL 14%
* DET 9%
* SFG 8%
* KCR 7%
* STL 6%

Most likely WS outcome: LAA over WSN in 7 (2.04%)

Interesting WS match-ups:
* All-Cali Series 18%
* Beltway Battle 10%
* Show Me State Showdown 2%

Check out the full link for more analysis and pretty charts.

J-Doug Posted: October 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cardinals, dodgers, giants, nationals, orioles, projections, royals, tigers, world series

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