Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Since July Turned To August


Quite the remarkable turn of emotions over the past seven days watching Our Washington Nationals.

Since July Turned To August

Washington jettisoned some serious excess baggage in FLop, Paul LoDuca & Johnny Estrada, relieving themselves, and their fans, of under performing veterans.

And added two fresh faces (Emilio Bonafacio & Alberto Gonzalez), then recalled Elijah Dukes from The Disabled List. All three of whom have provided Spark, Energy and Excitement to Our Team.

Played some outstanding defense--much of it due to Our New Number's 6 & 12. But, in playing so well early, Bonifacio's & Gonzalez's hard work has rubbed off on others.

Because as a team they have committed just ONE ERROR--and fielded so well, Last Night's Opponent, The Colorado Rockies resembled on the diamond, Our Washington Nationals play of earlier this year. Key Error after Error by The Rockies--forcing themselves into mistakes, not making the game come to them.

Washington actually has stroked 16 base hits with runners in scoring position since August 1st. In fact, have pretty much knocked the cover off the ball the past four games. What a turnaround.

Only five such knocks in their previous 9 losses ending on July 31st.

Came from behind TWICE to win separate games. The Reds on Saturday Night 10-6 and last night at Coors Field in Denver 9-4.

For the most part--pitched some mighty fine baseball. Tim Redding struggled mightily out of the gate last night, knew it, but had the veteran gumption to pull himself back together, stay in game, watch his teammates fight back and be rewarded The Victory, his 8th of 2008.

Come to trust some fresh faces in the bullpen, Steven Shell, Charlie Manning and Joel Hanrahan.

And found Our Manager Manny Acta able to manipulate his OWN lineup with hot hitters and fielders, not bound by a player's contract, forcing his hand in the Batting Order.

At a time most teams would have just played out the string, not cared, totally given up, Our Washington Nationals are now competing with enthusiasm, passion--THE WANTING OF WEARING A NATIONALS UNIFORM. This Current 25 Man Roster is playing like THEY WANT TO REPRESENT THE NATION'S CAPITAL. What a fresh breath of air to witness Our Team Excited to be on the field of play--throughout each of the past four games. Honestly, the contrast is stark.

No, this hot streak is not going to last forever and Our Washington Nationals have a long way to go to right a listing ship, but Since July Turned To August, Our Washington Nationals have won 4 Straight--their longest winning streak of the season.

No one would have predicted that just seven days ago.

No one would have expected the uplifting feeling now surrounding Our Team.

No one could imagine all that negativism building around Our Washington Nationals being push behind--hopefully for a long, long time.

Yeah, they are still 28 games below .500, still dead last in The National League East, but you can't say Major League Baseball in Washington, DC has not been fun Since July Turned To August.

No, you can't. The 2008 Season, as difficult has it's been, might have some saving grace after all. Our 2009 Version of Our Washington Nationals, Our Future, may well have finally found some real core players. That's worth cheering for.

How about that Bonifacio?! Wow!! He is EXCITING.

Quite Remarkable Actually--The Feeling This Morning--How Vastly Different from the previous Four Months of This Season. All Since July Turned To August.

Last Night's InGame Photo--(AP) David Zalubowski

PS--But I still wish Our General Manager Jim Bowden would no longer allow Our Team to play shorthanded. Until Ryan Zimmerman pinch hit last night, Our Washington Nationals were again playing three men short. "The Guz", "Z" and Dukes all down. Cristian Guzman should have been put on the DL--TWO WEEKS AGO. Again, a medical non-move that just makes no sense. What will happen now with Alberto Gonzalez's "Contustion" of his rear end?

Like The African Queen always says: "Day-To-Day has been the bain of my existence this season." More like--A Pain In The Butt would be more fitting--today.

85 comments:

natsfan1a said...

I loved Bonifacio's quote in the Times gamer today:

"Everybody knows we don't have a good record right now," Bonifacio said. "But I feel no matter what, everybody has to do his job. We're playing good baseball right now."

Section 506 said...

Surprise! Thanks for leaving the door open!

Things certainly have looked better since August came around. Amazing what a good attitude can do to make things better. I hope Dmitri can be back soon so he can bring his smile to the table, too.

jeffreybeam said...

I imagine that some of the WaPo NJ crowd is going to migrate over here, so I'll repost this link, to a spreadsheet comparing Nats hitters performance this year to their career numbers (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS). Similar to today's Post feature, but with more detail.

Updated to last night's game:
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pfhbBNE3AudVIR61aAAz5dQ&hl=en

grey = released, blue = kids (<27)

Anonymous said...

We have had long discussions about chemistry in the club house this past winter. SBF and many others worried about his year with so many new and troubled players coming into the fold.

My guess is Young has played his last MLB game. I would not want to upset the clubhouse this year or next with him. He has too much baggage. Yes it was a great story in 2007, but things have turned ugly in so many ways for him. Eat the $5 Million for next year and play the young guys. Learn from your mistakes.

Section 506 said...

Austin better start hitting some balls soon, he looks awfully conspicuous there.

Good news for him: in the last 8 games, he's batting .290 with a .371 OBP.

The bad news is that his slugging is only .323 from one double.

Screech's Best Friend said...

I am a big believer in team chemistry. The 2005 Inaugural Nationals had it going on the field and off. They played better than their collective abilities. Jose Guillen and Livan Hernandez had their moments, but look how much they provided on that team. They wanted to win. They failed down the stretch, but they were fun to watch. Same in 2006 with Soriano and even last year. How many times did you read about the players hanging out together after games in the clubhouse--talking baseball. None of that this season. The 2008 Chemistry was awful until now. Too many individuals. Too much looking after oneself. Hopefully, that is all changing.

Jim B said...

"He's a little impatient at plate but that's partly because he's so young. When you have that many tools, it's not easy. It takes experience. I don't believe you can just say he has to walk more. Walking is a byproduct of being able to hit pitches and making a pitcher adjust to you. It's hard to say he needs to walk more. But he is aggressive and I agree he could use more plate discipline.”

Lastings? No, amigo, it’s you, the triples sustantivo.

Listen Emilio! Coralina says take some pitches or she’s cutting you off! At home! No sliding under the tag for you, hombre!

Estoy firmado!! Make babies who hit triples! Firmly! Now! Segue to Segway! Go away FBI! In the name of General Manager and YMOS James Gordon Bowden III, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen.

Jim B said...

De la Rosa: his full name is Jorge de la Rosa Gonzalez. He is Alberto’s brother, and he says that the buttocks will heal just fine, that the Attorney General always had a stalwart backside. So no worries, mate.

It’s not that he walks so many guys. He doesn’t. But often, he gets really wild. 17 games, 8 wild pitches? Hits a lot of guys, too. Hmmmmmmmm. And he gives up a lot of hits and runs (7 ERA). Since he’s in the 10-hitter category of pitcher, wait for your pitch!!!! 2-0 and 3-1 are typical.

Jim B said...

Hey, when we’ve dispensed with the Rockies (7 game winning streak by then? I know, I know, stfu; OK, I shutted.) we get to go to the fighting Brewers’ home for a whole weekend! Fielder swings and misses! How fun is that? If you were Flores, would you mumble “A swing and miss, wuss?” Our team is happy, theirs is not! Dissension, boos, etc. Bring ‘em on, ya drunk cheeseheads! Take this Favre and shove it! "Stuff happens like that all the time," Parra said. "We're not too concerned about it." It does? In the UFC? In the Octagon? Or in the dugout? They will hate to play a happy team like ours. They’ll swing at anything. It’ll just piss them off when they see Boni smile.

Estoy firmado!! Make babies who hit triples! Segue to Segway! Go away FBI! In the name of General Manager and YMOS James Gordon Bowden III, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen.

flynnie said...

"We're happy and we're hard to beat. Our pitchers pitched and our sluggers slugged. And we got the Rockies so worried that they thres balls in the dugout, up the third base line and anywhere but the glove where the throw belonged. Winning sure improves "team chemistry'!

flynnie said...

It is a credit to Our Announcers that they seldom sounded tired last night. What a brutal routine! Saturday afternoon and night at NatsPark, Sunday morning and afternoon at NatsPark, early morning flight and working past midnight. I'd be nodding into the microphone.

Offense/offensive said...

Not only are the young guys playing well and infusing some much need energy and enthusiasm, but the bullpen has been great lately. These last few days have been a lot of fun to watch.

flynnie said...

Where are you, Positively Half Street? You led the Wagon Train over here!

Bob L. Head said...

Flynnie, "Our Announcers," hilarious!

Also, got newposted:

This seems like a good time to look at how many parts of a contender we thought we had at the beginning of the season, and how many parts we think we have now.

Gone are Wily Mo (probably), FLop, Patterson, Hill, Cordero (likely) and, for the present, Detwiler.

New arrivals include Dukes, Milledge (but maybe not in center), Bonifacio (maybe), AG (maybe) and Balester.

Add those to Flores, Zimmerman, Lannan and maybe Bergmann.

Like most folks around here I'm excited to watch the kids for the rest of the season. But at the end of the day I find myself thinking that we still need that 40-homer cleanup guy, probably two top-of-the-rotation starters (maybe Balester and/or Zimmerman can grow into these roles but not for a few years), and arguably a CF and an SS (and that's if Bonifacio can indeed hit leadoff).

Bottom line: The Plan is not likely to come to fruition in 2010. Maybe 2012, if several of Marrero, Rhinehart, Burgess, Hood, Maxwell, Smiley Gonzalez et al progress.

Thoughts?

Bob L. Head said...

And yes I agree that Crow should be signed and added to my list above.

bob L. Head said...

Jim Caple has some interesting points to make about closers here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=caple/080805&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1

Screech's Best Friend said...

That is an excellent thought piece article on closers. I was just reading it myself. And it makes alot of sense. How many times does a manager take a pitcher cruising along in a game, still fresh and in control--out and hands it over to another pitcher--just because everyone says today you must do that.

How many times are games lost in the middle innings, because a manager brought in his lesser pitcher to stop the bleeding. The point in the story about The Mariner's Putz was correct. Seattle was flailing late last season and their manager never found a way or the guts to bring in HIS BEST PITCHER to save the middle of the game. And they fell from contention.

More managers should be more free thinking. Just like I believe that it doesn't matter whether your corner outfielder or centerfielder is providing the home run power. This has come up in a debate over moving Milledge to leftfield and Dukes to center. What does it matter--as long as you are getting your power hitter in the lineup? The Batting Order has nothing to do with the defensive positioning.

An Briosca Mor said...

If they want to make more money, they can sell the naming rights to the stadium. It is funny how having the name "Nationals Park" doesn't feel as good as it should- it just seems like they couldn't get anyone excited enough to sponsor the team.

Personally, I hope they find a way to keep the name Nationals Park instead of turning the stadium into yet another soul-less corporate advertisement. The only possible name that would be better than Nationals Park would be if the DC Council put its money where its mouth is, ponied up the naming rights dough, and named the stadium Taxation Without Representation Field.

Section 506 said...

Bob,

I'm thinking that we need to start looking for our 25 or 30 home run guy. With the end of the steroids era that guy will be a rare thing again.

Check out this graph I found on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:MLB_HR_and_SB_rates.png

Note the increase in home runs.

The single-season home run record has been set 11 times in baseball history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_run#Progression_of_the_Major_League_Baseball_single-season_home_run_record

Boswell had a good column on this, once, about how few ballplayers are on pace for 40 home runs. In fact, according to very rough math I just did in between works, only Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard, in all of major league baseball, are on pace to hit 40 home runs. Only 20 players in all the majors are on pace for hitting over 30 home runs, one of which is not Manny Ramirez (but is Jason Bay).

NattyDelite! said...

Word on the street is that there's a Nationals party over here...

Question: Do you have Orr start at short today, or Willie Harris and put Belly at 3rd?

This is all contingent of course, on just how many "days" a "day to day" day means. In other words, no Zims or Guz.

Bob L. Head said...

SBF, I've been thinking about all of those points as well.

First, we do seem to have established a culture where preventing runs in the 9th inning is deemed to be more important than preventing them in the 7th or 8th inning. The result is that we have groomed a generation of pitchers who are dominant when you bring them in with the bases empty and just ask them to avoid losing the game. But what would seemingly be more valuable than that is if you developed "firemen" that were used to bail you out of critical game situations, whenever those occurred. Dominant guys like many of today's closers, but guys that were used to coming in with men on base and getting out of jams. Sure, sometimes they would fail, but one of the key attributes we currently attribute to great closers is the ability to quickly forget about blown saves. Why not groom guys that would quickly forget about inherited runs scored, and that were expert at stranding a lot of runners? The Nats should commence that practice in the minor leagues (and keep developing closers at the major-league level and trading them to Seattle for top shelf prospects).

As far as swapping Dukes and Milledge, I think your analysis is right, but only if you're talking specifically about Dukes and Milledge (or any other specified pair of players). I think the theory behind playing Milledge in CF all year is to see whether he can develop into a plus defender there, or at least an average defender. If he can, he has more value than if he's in left, where others are always going to have better power numbers. Sure, it's possible that the team might be better THIS YEAR if we played Dukes in center and Milledge in left. But we're not playing for this year, we already know that. So the thesis is that Dukes has enough power to be a corner OF and we need to develop him there, and that if Lastings is going to be part of a contender in 2012, it's going to be in CF, because if he can't cut it there then we need somebody better than him in left and can then give up some offense (or not) in order to get a better defensive CF.

Positively Half St. said...

I tried to post, and it didn't work.

flynnie- I had been adding my 2 cents, but didn't realize I had been new posted.

ABM- "Nats Park" would be great, if it was because they choose to pass on corporate sponsorship. I don't want it to be because nobody was interested enough to put their name on the stadium.

Positively Half St. said...

506-

Excellent point on the relief pitching. I won't entertain the Milledge trade not working, though. It must work! I wanted that trade bad enough that I do not want to be disappointed in the end.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Bob l. Head--My big issue with Lastings is his arm. He doesn't have one. He has the tools to hit, hit with power, run and possibly field (needs some work though). But if he doesn't have an arm now--he's not going to develop it later. This is why I feel Milledge is better suited for leftfield.

Hank Aaron played centerfield, Mickey Mantle Played center (until injured), so did Duke Snider and obviously Willie Mays. All power hitters, all with good arms. We certainly don't have ANYONE, ANYWHERE NEAR AS GOOD AS THEM--but I am always willing to go against the grain of modern thinking--believing the old ways, are sometimes still the better ways.

Just like Starters should all go deeper into the game. They should not get credit for making it to the 5th inning every game. They should be taught coming up that the game is theirs to win or lose--not to just to get by.

Section 506 said...

Thank you, +.5St! The best part was I posted it under somebody else's name! ;)

Scooter said...

I'm enjoying the discussion of relievers' and position players' roles. First, I wholeheartedly agree that you don't need to get X performance from Y position.

As to Lastings Milledge's position: while I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you that the man has a great arm, I will mention that unless I'm much mistaken, the following gentlemen all patrolled center field for some pretty good ball clubs: Kenny Lofton, Al Bumbry, Juan Pierre ... dadgummit, I though I had one more. Can't come up with him. Oh well, there's three. The point is, guys with lousy arms can be center fielders who contribute enough for their teams to win lots of ball games.

3434 said...

you can throw Johnny Damon on that list, too.

flynnie said...

With Dukes, Milledge, The New Willie Harris, Zimm, the return of Nick Johnson/Dmitri, does this team have enough power + speed to avoid the stinkiness of 70 losses by this time next year? Boz says we need Texeira, whose from Annapolis "a perfect fit" and fills the #4 hole for years to come. He looks mighty happy in Anaheim. I know I'd be.

Bob L. Head said...

Agreed, SBF, the arm is the weakest link. But my sense is that the Nats braintrust (which may be lacking in brains and trustworthiness) believes that Lastings' maximum upside is as a CF and that we're going to see him there indefinitely. I wouldn't be shocked if he ended up somewhere else in 2-3 years following a trade (sorry +.5St).

greg said...

while i agree about the general concept of not slotting a type of offensive player into a defensive position, there is some logic behind it.

iow, if dukes makes a better defensive CF than milledge, and you push milledge to LF, he's not the most logical long-term solution there. the team could acquire/develop a LF who could provide better offensive stats to play in the same position and provide similar defensive capabilities (or a better ratio of offense to defense). since LF requires far less defensive capabilities than CF, there are far more candidates out there that can not only provide more than a "milledge-level" of offense and not be any worse defensively.

so for now, it may not matter. but in the long run, as the team ponders which players to acquire, do they pay bigger money for the better offense at CF while moving someone like milledge to LF or a little less money for the same level of offense for a guy who can play LF instead?

just as it's less expensive to get a 30+ HR power bat at 1B than it is to get a 30+ HR power bat at SS. leaving you more money to spend upgrading other positions.

Andrew said...

SBF - Here is the other side. You have "Stoppers" and "Closers".

The only definite is if a pitcher brought in for a "close" situation is suceesful, you end with a WIN.

If a pitcher comes in for the middle innings and holds the other team and is successful there is no guarantee that the team will end up with a WIN.

Seattle's problem was that overall their bullpen wasn't strong enough from top to bottom and the offense wasn't scoring enough runs.

So lets just say, JJ Putz comes in when Seattle is up in the 6th inning with bases loaded and leaves with the lead and pitches the 7th inning and then leaves the game. A new reliever comes in the 8th and holds the lead and then another reliever comes in for the 9th and gives up 2 runs.

What did you gain in the Seattle example?

You changed roles and you still lost the game.

Give me Mariano Rivera any time!!!

greg said...

i think the problem with closers and the "save" stat is that the save is valued higher than the "hold" stat. and the hold stat is a much more vaguely defined stat. but personally, i'd rather do away with saves and talk about holds (or some similar statistic).

the problem to me is that a guy could get a hold for pitching 1 2/3 innings and then giving up a hit and putting one man one. but he held the opposing team to nothing for most of that time and preserved a 2 run lead. then he gives way to a closer to gives up two hits and an inherited run in 1/3 of an inning. the "closer" gets a save, even though he didn't perform as well as the guy who got the hold.

but which one is really the guy who kept the team in the game and made the bigger contribution?

the concept of a "closer," i.e., a guy who comes in and shuts down the opposition in a tight spot, is a good concept. but the implementation of the "save" statistic is poorly done. it isn't really a great measure in and of itself of how well relief pitcher does his job, other than proving he didn't "blow the lead." but it doesn't measure any of the other guys who didn't "blow the lead" either.

Andrew said...

greg said...the problem to me is that a guy could get a hold for pitching 1 2/3 innings and then giving up a hit and putting one man one. but he held the opposing team to nothing for most of that time and preserved a 2 run lead. then he gives way to a closer to gives up two hits and an inherited run in 1/3 of an inning. the "closer" gets a save, even though he didn't perform as well as the guy who got the hold.

The quality of the "Hold" has to be analyzed by inherited runners, # of runs in the lead that is inherited, and who was faced so if it was at the end of the order facing .225 hitters instead of .280 hitters is the quality portion as is getting a 2 run lead vs. a 1 run lead.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Continuing on Milledge: Bob L. Head--I agree that management is going to give Lastings every single opportunity to succeed. He deserves that opportunity on a young and growing team. With the fear that he might not be the right person--in the first place to choose as your first choice to play centerfield. And I agree he might be moved down the line.

Continuing on The Closer: I am all for WINNING THE GAME and I really believe there are times when a manager can make a sounder decision to help his team. Rarely do you see any closer go three innings, much less two. Like the article in ESPN notes, many managers overuse their closer just to get him the all important stat of a save--even with the game being 3-0 in the ninth. Pleasing the pitcher and his agent. Something most any other reliever on the staff could have accomplished.

Yes, do I want Mariano Rivera and K-Rod on my team in the 9th during a 1 run game--you better believe it. But if I am up 4-2 in the 7th and the bases are loaded with a Healthy Big Papi coming to the plate--I might consider the game being ON THE LINE right then and there and some managers should consider trying to close out the game at that point. Sure, there is risk, but would you not want your GO TO Guy on the mound when it counts. I understand it goes against all modern thinking. But, it also does not not mean its wrong. If Ortiz goes down swinging and you get out of the inning--that's pretty uplifting for any team, and demoralizing for the opponent.

It's just a different approach worth considering.

BTW--you NJ Folks need to come back here more often, you guys (AND GALS?) are pretty interesting to converse with. Thoughtful stuff. Really

Positively Half St. said...

Bob L.-

1st, I gave 506 credit for your post. Just habit of appreciating his output.

As for Milledge, what can I say? If they improve the team while it is on the rise, I will be happy. I just hope he sticks around longer than 2-3 years.

As for saves and holds, I am all for those stats if our GM uses them to market relievers to other teams to our advantage, and continues to bring up folks like Manning and Shell. I have to give Bowden for that, as down on him as I have been. Luis Ayala should go to the Mets for the latest version of Luis Atilano or Jhonny Nunez. Such a trade had been rumored at the end of July.

It's fun hanging out with SBF for a change. Next time Chico has to go out of town we should descend on Harper at Oleanders and Morning Glories.

Positively Half St. said...

SBF- Yes, we should gather here more often as well. You are a gracious host.

Offense/offensive said...

506- Well done sir. I just checked out Willie Harris' baseball-reference page to find that you sponsor it (and that Willie Harris is in fact the 5th element).

natsfan1a said...

Well done, indeed, 506. I also noticed that Willie Harris' Wikipedia page has been updated since I last visited it, although it only seems to reflect his play in April of this year (and, though it mentions that he can play all three outfield positions, it neglects to say that he can play them all simultaneously).

natsfan1a said...

Indeed, some regular NJ posters (including me) are gals, SBF. Thank you for your hospitality!

dcbatgirl said...

Hi SBF,
I'll follow 1a in confirming that a bunch of gals hang out at NJ, although (as you know) I'm mostly a lurker (in both arenas).

And a cheer to 506 for sponosoring Willie's Baseball-Reference page. Have you found that you've taken on any superpowers as a reward?

flynnie said...

I was telling my middle daughter last night that there was this baseball blog with the most beautiful name: "Oleanders and Morning Glories." She told me that oleanders are poisonous and morning glory seeds are a hallucinogen. She's an anthropologist and knew of no other significance off the top of her head. Please tell me if I'm missing a hidden meaning to that title. Who likes being naive?

natsfan1a said...

hmmm, that possibility never occurred to me either, flynnie. I'm familiar with the lovely blooms of oleanders because the drought-tolerant shrubs are frequently planted along roadways in California. Likewise, morning glories brings to mind only beautiful blossoms for me.

Positively Half St. said...

Well, Harper can remind us the significance of the blog's name, but lime all parts of life, baseball can be a metaphor.

As (or like- to cover if I meant simile) oleanders and morning glories, baseball is beautiful to behold, but can hide a bitterness at its core. It blooms again the next year anew, just as beautiful, but with the possibility of the unexpected disappointment still lurking.

Let's avoid the seeds next year, or at least enjoy enough morning glory seeds for the illusion of a wonderful near-term future!

flynnie said...

Thanks for the explanations 1a and +1/2! No dark secret DaVinci Code stuff in that name, eh? Where is everybody? Watching the game? Johnny and Ray had such a good time in the pre-game. Ray got to laughing like a kid whose milk comes out his nose when he heres a great joke in the cafeteria. 0-0 1st inning. Not bad.

Screech's Best Friend said...

lastings milledge is a poor baserunner.

flynnie said...

Milledge - the agony and the ecstasy!
At least Kearns is on 3rd - YES JESUS F9 sac rbi!

flynnie said...

If Milledge stay on 1st, we're up by 2. Hate to have to think of that all game!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Lastings never ceases to amaze me when he does not understand the game. The little things he does not do well. He has never been taught. Hopefully, he can learn--if coached and is willing.

flynnie said...

Flip to the Cards! The MLB Cards!

Positively Half St. said...

Crazy metaphors and similes aside, I can say this without any symbolism:

Felipe Lopez to the Cardinals means I am rooting for the Cubs or Brewers to make the playoffs instead.

flynnie said...

Not me! 1908 be damned - they can wait a year! Go Cards! Go "Juice Anyone? LaRussa! Go Flip! Show em how they let you go one week too soon!

Screech's Best Friend said...

The Cards/Dodgers are in a rain delay. Am I to understand that FLop is a Cardinal?

flynnie said...

Yes! Debbi Taylor with the scoop. Bob Carpenter said, "What level of the Cardinals?" Debbi: "Busch Stadium."

Bob L. Head said...

Yes, SBF, that is, indeed, the problem with Lastings (not that he's alone in this category). Not trained, used to getting by on talent alone, not at all clear whether he's capable of making the adjustment as a ballplayer, quite possibly happy with his success to date and content to be a minor celebrity/rap star/erstwhile ballplayer. That's how the Mets came to view him anyway. I'm pulling for a different result, but let's face it, more often than not, prospects don't pan out. C'mon Lastings, make things right, prove us wrong.

dcbatgirl said...

SBF, I am so with you on Lastings. He throws like a like a girl, and his baserunning makes me absolutely crazy. Given all the grief Lastings apparently took in NY, I am not at all hopeful that he will be a good student who realizes his potential. I hope I am wrong, of course.

Jim B said...

in re Rauch/Boni:

“The Diamondbacks got help where they didn't need it, and the Nationals didn't get a whole lot in return.” Pat Lackey

Jim B said...

As things stand, Washington has only six players signed for next season. Combined, those six players will make $30.4 million in 2009. Dick Heller

Bob L. Head said...

Also, if FLop had been on any team other than Our Nationals, and we had picked him up, he would be a savior in these here parts. Personally, I wish him well elsewhere, but there can be no doubt that he adversely affected the chemistry here.

And let me add my thanks, SBF, for the hospitality and solid baseball conversation here. There are times when some sober minds at NJ need refuge in a storm, and I think we will be here again, at those times, and others.

Screech's Best Friend said...

jim b: signed and under control are two different things. Most all the younger players have no choice but to allow the Nationals to renew their contract. Most are not even arbitration eligible. Zimmerman included. This is just how it works. It does not mean the Nats only have six players set for next year. Lannan is controllable for six more years. Redding two more as examples. Honestly, this is not a big deal.

Jim B said...

I know that it means nothing. I was pointing out that a Washington Times columnist wrote the silly thing.

Screech's Best Friend said...

jim b--what's interesting about Dick Heller is that here is a long time sports columnist. Former Sports Writer for The Old Washington Star Newspaper who covered The Senators and The Orioles for years and years and years--so you would expect him to understand the collective bargaining agreement with the players. But he doesn't.

Positively Half St. said...

You know what? You are right. Felipe wasn't going to do well here, so it doesn't matter if he does well elsewhere. I hope he can figure himself out.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Charlie Slowes just mentioned on the radio broadcast that Bill Ladson informed him that FLop will be The Starting Second Baseman for The Cardinals. Aaron Miles will sit. As Charlie said: "That's falling flat on your feet!!" So true.

Anonymous said...

Willie Harris gets the runner in from third without even having to swing the bat.

Section 3, my couch since 1955

dcbatgirl said...

A couple of questions for the many of you more knowledgable than me ...

Does the fact Felipe signed/will sign with the Cardinals affect in any way the Nationals liability for his salary? (I assume not.)

And, assuming Felipe is paid for the full season by the Nationals, does that affect the amount he is able to be paid by the Cardinals?

Jim B said...

sbf:

right on all counts re heller. some bloggers are often better informed than some sloggers? there are examples all over the online world? their enthusiasm, in spite of little or no pay, for their subject, goes a long way.

Screech's Best Friend said...

dcbatgirl: Since The Nationals unconditionally released FLop, they are responsible for ALL of his nearly $5 Million contract. He was not put on waivers. The Cardinals only have to pay a prorated portion of the minimum salary for a Major League Player. If Felipe plays well, its a steal. If he is bad--its no loss for St. Louis.

The Cardinals are in a no lose situation. FLop also in a win-win position.

Jim B said...

Boni struck out a LOT in the past. How much? Starting in Rookie League and ending in AA, his strikeouts/ABs were the following perecentages: 24, 29, 30, 17, 19, 19. Then, in AAA 8 PERCENT! So he's coachable.

Also, he is not righthanded, tho he switches at 50 points lower in BA.

Also he is CS 25-30%


I still love him, tho

Anonymous said...

Nothing on the Cards site about Lopez at all......I will believe it when if it really does happen. Debbie got her story from Wil N. who heard it from Lopez on a cell call. That does not sound like a done deal to me. I have to think Tony L would not want the headache but I have not been following the Cards, are they that weak in the infield?

flynnie said...

John Lannan is magnificent. Despite the 2 out 2-run rally in the 7th, he is just magnificent. He pitches like a skinny Livo w/o the adverse effects of all those free radicals on the fast ball.

flynnie said...

Lastings needs a run - we'd still be up if he'd have realized he's not the Incredible Flash.

CE said...

Livo to Colo.? Charlie says it's rumored.

CE said...

yes, Flynnie. Now, if only he could get a bunt down.

me again said...

(that was meant for Lannan, but actually, Milledge could stand some work there, too.)

flynnie said...

I've been picked up by the Cards! They need a 56 year old 300 lb offensive lineman at 2d! See you in St. Louis!

Screech's Best Friend said...

The Cardinal Broadcasters have mentioned the FLop deal on air, saying St. Louis Management informed them. I saw it on DirectTV tonight during LA/Cardinals Game from St. Louis.

Charlies Slowes said on the radio--Bill Ladson has confirmed it from two other sources.

flynnie said...

Blue has shrunk the zone on Luis. Manning in w/ bases loaded and 1 out. The kid has to get outs 3 and 4 w/this ump. Our hopes rest on a slender reed.

flynnie said...

Lastings is so grateful for that 2 run lead.

flynnie said...

To paraphrase Gordon Edes, the pitcher who used to treat inherited runs as valuable antiques is now giving them away like junk at a flea market.

Jim B said...

another lefty tomorrow night.

Anonymous said...

And why did we take Lannan out? Manny has to stop killing the team with his over use of the bullpen.

Lannan was the best pitcher on the team going into the 8th inning.......let him pitch....pitchers have been going 9 innings for over 100 years Manny. Stop the Madness please.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to over use the bullpen then get Guzman on the DL and make sure you have some fresh arms......Guzman has been could have been on the DL 10 days ago and ready to come off just about when he hopefully will be ready. What you could not have used Mock or Clippard or Schroeder the past 10 days?

dcbatgirl said...

Be sure to vote here
http://homerderby.com/archives/2310
in the "MLB Mascot Brackets".

This week's contest is between our Racing Presidents and the Padres' Swinging Friar.

(w/a nod to Nationals Enquirer for first posting this tip)

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the heads up, batgirl. Presidents have a 6 percent lead with voting continuing to Friday.

flynnie said...

The presidential race needs to be an honest contest on which one can place a friendly wager, like the Brewer's racing sausages. Right now it is fixed.