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Monday, July 30, 2018

Passan: 10 Degrees on the Underachieving Nationals

#FireDeivi

“The clubhouse is a mess,” said one source, whose account was corroborated by three others who spoke to Yahoo Sports on the condition of anonymity out of fear the organization would punish them for speaking publicly. While the sources pinpointed a number of causes for the internal acrimony, they agreed that it was not purely a function of the Nationals’ underachievement but something that has festered throughout the season.

Some of the blame, they said, falls on first-year manager Dave Martinez, who replaced the popular Dusty Baker when Nationals ownership declined to renew his contract after back-to-back NL East championships. While Martinez has forged good relationships with a number of the Nationals’ stars, including Bryce Harper, a number of players feel marginalized, according to sources.

Bote Man Posted: July 30, 2018 at 01:56 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clubhouse culture, jeff passan, nationals, trade deadline

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   1. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: July 30, 2018 at 04:07 PM (#5718086)
Lol.

Matt Williams, Dusty Baker, now Dave Martinez...

There is one thing constant here...
   2. Bote Man Posted: July 30, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5718104)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Have heard from a number of people affiliated with the Nationals since writing this earlier today who have confirmed the central thesis: Washington's clubhouse is a problem, confidence in manager Davey Martinez has eroded and the Nats' trouble runs deep.

Some people made a big deal about Harper saying that the Marlins' walk-off Saturday night wouldn't have happened if Realmuto were "on our side", but I just took that at nut-and-bolts face value without reading anything deeper into it. I doubt Harper meant anything deeper. But he does seem to have sewn some seeds of resentment or friction in the clubhouse, from what little we can know about such things.

That game last week in which Trea Turner basically gave up on a botched bunt, threw down his gear, and walked back to the dugout instead of even trying to run it out was telling. It was one incident and he made a couple stellar defensive plays the next day, so I don't know how much to read into it.
   3. bfan Posted: July 30, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5718112)
Any theories that working in a city where half the population in the city wakes up every morning trying to destroy the other half (and that other half tries to do the same thing to their opponent) makes a toxic atmosphere in the clubhouse just seem more normal for the players?
   4. Tyhand7 Posted: July 30, 2018 at 05:28 PM (#5718127)
I think it is simple. The expectations were high at the beginning of the season. The team isnt doing as well as expected so there are grumblings. If they were out in front of the division we wouldnt be hearing/reading anything. Winning would cure all.
   5. The Duke Posted: July 30, 2018 at 05:33 PM (#5718129)
All clubhouses on underperforming teams suck — cardinals never had a problem with their clubhouse until they turned in three putrid seasons.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 30, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5718131)
Washington's clubhouse is a problem, confidence in manager Davey Martinez has eroded and the Nats' trouble runs deep.

It's probably not a great clubhouse atmosphere when a team is losing, but the article doesn't deliver much in the way of specifics here.
   7. bfan Posted: July 30, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5718132)
cardinals never had a problem with their clubhouse until they turned in three putrid seasons.


Oh, to be a Cardinals fan...3 putrid seasons, each of which were (are, for 2018) above .500, and which followed a 100 win season (which I guess starts the definition of an acceptable season).
   8. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 30, 2018 at 05:45 PM (#5718134)
Oh, to be a Cardinals fan...3 putrid seasons, each of which were (are, for 2018) above .500, and which followed a 100 win season (which I guess starts the definition of an acceptable season).


Cherish this time, Cardinals fans, for these are the "putrid" seasons that will let you claim you've paid your dues in future decades, like the Yankees fans who "survived" the Stump Merrill era.

Any theories that working in a city where half the population in the city wakes up every morning trying to destroy the other half (and that other half tries to do the same thing to their opponent) makes a toxic atmosphere in the clubhouse just seem more normal for the players?


No

   9. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:05 PM (#5718141)
Any theories that working in a city where half the population in the city wakes up every morning trying to destroy the other half (and that other half tries to do the same thing to their opponent) makes a toxic atmosphere in the clubhouse just seem more normal for the players?


How soon we forget the AL Senators' long record ...

... of succe- ...

... uh ...

... hmmmm ...

Never mind.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:07 PM (#5718142)
About a month ago, I speculated that Martinez would start feeling the heat if they didn't turn things around. Oh well.
   11. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:30 PM (#5718147)
Harper's a goner anyways. He wants to win. The Nationals have been unable to win a playoff series with a core of Harper, Strasburg, and Scherzer. I don't see why he'd sign a long term deal when LA, NYY, BOS, etc., are gonna come knocking.
   12. Bote Man Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:31 PM (#5718148)
The Lerners are too cheap to pay Deivi for 2+ years of no-work delivered. He's staying until it becomes financially viable to 86 his a$$.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5718152)
You keep complaining about how cheap the Nationals are, but they don't seem cheap to me.
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5718157)
The Lerners just seem to hate paying managers. They are fine with paying Jayson Werth or Gio Gonzalez many multiples of Dusty Baker's salary. Even before the Baker era they showed basic lack of respect for Jim Riggleman, leading him to quit and basically destroy his reputation because nobody on the outside knew why he saw his situation as untenable.

Another example

Jim Bowden wasn’t surprised to learn that the Nationals’ negotiations with managerial candidate Bud Black apparently fell apart after the Lerner family’s initial contract offer left the former San Diego Padres manager “deeply offended.”

On Tuesday’s episode of “Inside Pitch” with Jim Joyce on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio, Bowden said the Lerner family did a similar thing when Bowden was the general manager of the Nationals and searching for a replacement for Frank Robinson after the 2006 season.

“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. I think that history will repeat itself here. I think Bud Black is going to land in a great place, possibly with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If not, in another really good place, and I think we’ll eventually see him back in the postseason again, as we see Joe Girardi.”
   15. PreservedFish Posted: July 30, 2018 at 07:03 PM (#5718168)
Ah. Fair enough!
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5718180)
The Lerners just seem to hate paying managers. They are fine with paying Jayson Werth or Gio Gonzalez many multiples of Dusty Baker's salary. Even before the Baker era they showed basic lack of respect for Jim Riggleman, leading him to quit and basically destroy his reputation because nobody on the outside knew why he saw his situation as untenable.


Riggleman's certainly had a nice little run with the Reds since taking over from Price (he's 45-43, following the 3-15 start). I wasn't sure he'd even get back in a dugout after walking away midseason, let alone manage again, so I wonder if the rest of the baseball has this same sense about the Lerners.
   17. Bote Man Posted: July 30, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5718185)
From time to time reports surface of the Lerners being ensconced in their own little world, much like the Bluths in Arrested Development or the Rose family in Schitt's Creek.

A recent report surfaced of AGM Doug Harris starting a GoFundMe to help him fight cancer a second time. Although they are under no obligation to do so, it would be a good public relations move for a family worth over FIVE BILLION dollars to offer a token donation to the Harris family to help with what must be exorbitant expenses. Mark Lerner had a leg amputated last year, so health concerns should hit home especially hard with him.

There were other reports right after they bought the team of them being petty over refusing petty expenses like using FedEx Overnight for important legal documents and such. They just overall seem penny-wise and pound-foolish sometimes.

As pointed out by others, they don't seem to value the position of Field Manager very highly. Whether or not that really matters in the W/L column is debatable, but right now things are not looking good.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: July 30, 2018 at 09:23 PM (#5718233)
But being a new manager, Martinez is cheap ... according to Cot's it's less than $1 M per year. Firing him would leave the Lerners on the hook for less than 2 million measly dollars. If public grumblings about the clubhouse continue, the PR hit of keeping him along with the PR and season ticket hit of giving the appearance of not trying to improve the team (if Harper goes and Martinez stays) would easily outweigh that.

Not that I'm saying those PR hits are necessarily coming. The public blame may not fall on Martinez, they might re-sign Harper or make other big offseason moves, etc. However "we hired this manager with no experience because we thought he would produce a winning team ... he hasn't but we still have faith in him" is a tough position to sell. (I know, they hung onto Acta.) And somebody is gonna have to be the scapegoat if they don't make the playoffs. Or at least that's the sense I get from a distance that the media/public are restless.

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. I think that history will repeat itself here. I think Bud Black is going to land in a great place, possibly with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If not, in another really good place, and I think we’ll eventually see him back in the postseason again, as we see Joe Girardi.”

Bowden made these remarks in Nov 2015. Girardi had two more winning seasons, one WC and is not currently managing, replaced by a low-cost manager with no experience. Bud Black wasn't employed as a manager by anybody else in 2016 either, has now managed the Rox for 2017-18, making the WC last year and very much in the hunt this year (surprising to me). Cot's doesn't list a contract amount for Black.

By the way, after his atrocious start, since mid-May, Ian Desmond is hitting 290/370/537. That's still only enough to bring his season OPS+ up to 92 but it's clearly an improvement. And he remains bizarrely a much better hitter on the road -- 243/293/524 with 14 HR away; 240/325/394 with 5 HR home. The kicker is that Rfield puts him at -5 at 1B which is kinda shocking for a former SS (even if it's been a few years now). And sure, even ignoring the H/R split, 290/370/537 is less impressive in Coors than elsewhere but it would still be good for 2nd-best hitter on the Rox (Arenado), a smidgen ahead of Blackmon.
   19. A Baseball Fan Posted: July 30, 2018 at 10:28 PM (#5718268)
FREE BRYCE HARPER!
   20. asinwreck Posted: July 31, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5718383)
DISCOUNTED BRYCE HARPER!

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