Monday, September 08, 2008

Doing My Homework


When Team President Stan Kasten sat down with Sohna and I last month in his office at New Nationals Park, he challenged me to do my homework when it came to choosing players to appear on The 2009 Roster of Our Washington Nationals. Mr. Kasten was not going to speak about next season then, while 2008 was still in full swing.

So, I did my homework. And the one strong point that continues to stand up and above everything else when it comes to Our 2009 Washington Nationals--is Team Defense.

Nick Johnson is coming back. He's under contract for next year. And at this moment, Our Number 24 is Our Best Answer right now. No one else comes close.

If (and I know that is always a "BIG IF") a healthy N.J. returns next season as the Starting First Baseman for Our Washington Nationals, Washington will be in pretty good hands defensively. Following up on my "Defensively Speaking" post of July 23rd--Our Team has now improved itself markedly since that mid-summer date. Not only has Emilio Bonifacio been added to the mix, but so have Alberto Gonzalez and Anderson Hernandez.

All three can field. Gonzalez, who I had never seen play one game before donning a Nationals Jersey, is nothing short of a STELLAR GLOVEMAN and has an ARM to die for. That man can hum the ball. Hernandez is pretty good too.

Depth now exists with quality fielders at positions where Washington had ZERO worthwhile backups this past June. Cristian Guzman was our only truly dependable middle infielder. And FLop was Our Starting Second Baseman. Making matters worse, there was no one coming up the food chain following in either's footsteps.

Those struggling times have changed.

When your infielders can now reach the balls into the holes and up the middle, your pitchers are going to look a whole lot smarter. Their E.R.A.'s are going to improve and they can thank "The Guz", Gonzalez, and Hernandez for their new support. Wing Men that have their backs.

Obviously, Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson are already Gold Glove Caliber Glovemen. Jesus Flores is developing into an excellent backstop. Wil Nieves no slouch behind the plate either.

Just look at our outfield. Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Ryan Langerhans and Willie Harris are all pretty solid defenders. Dukes and Kearns have plus throwing ability. Lastings Milledge, still needing to go a long way, has improved markedly since April, 2008. Our Number 44 no longer the nightmare chasing down every single fly hit his way. He's taking better tracts to balls and appears more comfortable playing centerfield. Although, Milledge's arm is not strong and he is really better suited to play a corner outfield position.

That's a very solid Defensive Team possibly in place for The 2009 Version of Our Washington Nationals.

Catchers--Jesus Flores & Will Nieves

First Base--Nick Johnson

Second Base--Emilio Bonifacio & Anderson Hernandez

Shortstop--Cristian Guzman & Alberto Gonzalez

Third Base--Ryan Zimmerman (Thanks Mr. Optimistic)

Outfield--Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge, Ryan Langerhans & Willie Harris.

I would go to bat with that team also--if no one else can be signed or traded for. There are three switch hitters, three lefties among those 12 players. Leaving Dmitri Young (Switch Hitter) and Ronnie Belliard (both under contract), Aaron Boone (Righty Swinger) and Kory Casto & Roger Bernadina (Lefties) available to fight it out with others for bench spots--if invited back. And Wily Mo Pena has a $2 Million Player Option for 2009. A contract Pena would be crazy to void.

Really, that's not a bad lineup. And if some of Our Young Pitchers emerge next spring, Washington might surprise a few teams next year. Jordan Zimmermann, Corey Van Allen, Tyler Clippard, maybe Zech Zinicola and a healthy Matt Chico are all going to get their shots. So is Shairon Martis. Washington has Jack McGeary, Ross Detwiler, Adrian Alaniz all coming up behind them. Josh Smoker and Colton Willems still in Low-A Ball. All Pitchers. Our Washington Nationals could be better off, right now, than some may well believe.

Baseball starts with Pitching and Defense--important facets of the game which Washington now has an abundance of in their system. What a difference a few months make. There is actually hope for a decent future as September now winds down. Optimism, that seemed totally lost as this past June turned to July.

My Homeworks tells me Our Washington Nationals are developing a healthy attitude.

44 comments:

MikeHarris said...

I agree - mostly. I would only keep one of the backup middle infielders. Harris can fill that role if needed. That would free up two bench spots.
I love Nick Johnson but I'm wary of counting on him, sad to say.

Mr. Optimistic said...

That's a very solid Defensive Team possibly in place for The 2009 Version of Our Washington Nationals.

Catchers--Jesus Flores & Will Nieves

First Base--Nick Johnson

Second Base--Emilio Bonifacio & Anderson Hernandez

Shortstop--Cristian Guzman & Alberto Gonzalez

Outfield--Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge, Ryan Langerhans & Willie Harris.


Oops. You left out Third Base--Ryan Zimmerman

Willie Harris is not under contract for next year and may not be back.

Austin Kearns is not an upgrade over Elijah Dukes in RF and with Dukes arm he is better placed in RF. Kearns doesn't have the speed or mobility; however, has a good arm but again is not an upgrade. AK is the odd man out.

Wily Mo can't play OF for this team and needs to move to 1B where he can platoon with Nick Johnson IF the Nats are stuck with these guys. If you move forward with N.J. again in 2009, you play him only against righties to rest him more and hopefully he stays healthy.

When you look at our team power, we are #15 of 16 teams in the NL with Philly #1 and Marlins #2 and a powerless 1B is our biggest issue going forward.

The defense will be an asset along with team speed which will help our team ERA in the long run as we are a 1/2 run per game behind the Mets and Phillies.

Clearly, we have to beat our division rivals 60% of the time if we realistically want to someday win the NL East. To do this will be a commitment to right the ship and part ways with the players who are under contract that are not part of the team future.

The future is bright now with this current roster which again is without the First Baseman we all covet.

Anonymous said...

I believe you have hit the nail on the head. I believe that the Nats will not and should not dip into the free agent market this winter. I think that management will obtain a youngish, left handed power hitting first baseman in the mold of Joey Vitto or Nick Swisher. They will need to part with some of that young pitching and maybe a Chris Marrero or Michael Burgess. If they can stay healthy and the pitching continues to develop, they can get to 500 in 2009.

Anonymous said...

A good defensive team will work if there is good pitching too. The Nats pitching for next season must improve dramatically. Further, with that defensive lineup, the team is still offensively challenged.

Screech's Best Friend said...

I like Dukes very much because he is a dynamic player. He has shown he can be a game changer on his own. There is a lot to be said about that.

Kearns is a very good fielder and he had a poor 2008 season. It's going to be interesting to see how long Washington hangs with him. If he is even tradable right now is questionable. Kearns needs the right lineup to bat in. One where he is not the focal point, but a integral part. A player Washington, I believe, now realizes what he can do and not what they want him to do. Big difference. It doesn't make him a bad player. JimBo can't continually praise him an All-Star when he's been far short of that stature. He is though, a good team player.

I have no idea what the team really wants to do with Wily Mo. I would venture they don't know as well.

Mr. Optimistic said...

I would venture they don't know as well.

Scary, but the honest truth.

We talk about 5 tool players, and it is time to re-tool.

If you have to keep Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns, Dmitri Young, and Wily Mo you have to re-tool. NJ is not an every day guy and Kearns becomes 1st OF off the bench and Dmitri is a defensive liability unless he gets himself in shape and as mentioned WMP has to be re-tooled from OF to 1B---you have collectively $17,500,000 in 2008 contract money for these 4 players. That money certainly can get you Mark Teixeira and free up coveted roster spots for 2009.

Easy to say, but tough in reality as if you don't trade them---you eat the salaries.

Look at where the bulk of the money is being spent. Only 1 player in the Top 6 is playing now in C. Guzy.

2008 Salaries
Rk Player Salary (US$)
1 Chad Cordero $6,200,000
2 Nick Johnson $5,500,000
3 Austin Kearns $5,000,000
4 Dmitri Young $5,000,000
5 Cristian Guzman $4,200,000
6 Wily Mo Pena $2,000,000
7 Ronnie Belliard $1,600,000
8 Jesus Colome $1,250,000
9 Johnny Estrada $1,250,000
10 Aaron Boone $1,000,000

I don't see management sending these players the way of Johnny Estrada so they either trade them or re-tool them, but by Spring Training 2009 we need to know the direction.

It would be a shame to grow payroll because you are saddled with more players who are under contract that are not playing and contributing, but in my estimation one of the 3 of WMP, NJ or DY has to be dealt or released as you can't keep all 3.

Chris Needham said...

Taking him out back behind the barn isn't an option?

Uncle Teddy's in real estate... I'm sure he knows someone who can make problems like him disappear!

MikeHarris said...

Aren't they still eating the bulk of FLop's 4.9 million and LoDuca's 5 million? I thought the new teams were only on the hook for the pro-rated portion of the minimum.

An Briosca Mor said...

Willie Harris is not under contract for next year and may not be back.

Willie Harris is arbitration eligible for next year, I'm pretty sure. Which means he'll be back if the team wants him back. And they will.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Also it's keen to note--nearly $20 Million will be dropped from 2008 Payroll to 2009 with contracts expiring.

Cordero $6 Million, LoDuca $5 Million, $FLop 4.7 Million, Estrada $1.25 Million, Mackowiak $1.5 Million, $Rauch $2 Million. All gone for next year off the books.

Possibly Colome as well.

$4 Million comes back the other way with Guzman's new contract, now $8 Million instead of $4 Million

So, the team has alot of playing room in that difference--approximately $16 Million--give or take a few hundred thousand. They could actually eat some salary and not affect too much.

Now, I am not saying Washington is going to sign anybody BIG TIME, but it does give the team options to play if someone does fall into their laps. And you never know in this day and age of Agents and Contracts.

And if that happens, the team then opens up other options to trade from their depth now on the roster. That is where Kearns might be made availale or someone else in a package to get something better.

And Kearns is probably not going anywhere soon until The Nationals are confident Elijah Dukes has turned his personal life around. It's an important underlying factor is everything they decide.

Just thinking out loud.

Screech's Best Friend said...

LoDuca and FLop were outrighted and released. Washington is responsible for all but the pro-rated portion of the minimum salary.

Chris Needham said...

Well, they've got even more if they ever decide to spend commensurate with their revenues...

Screech's Best Friend said...

Chris: That's I good point but what it also says is that what the team might be doing is setting themselves up for when The Nationals are competitive and need those one or two pieces to finish out a Championship potential roster, they can delve it without taking away from everything else being built.

Andrew said...

ABM - You are correct that Willie Harris is not under contract for next year and is arbitration eligible.

I think if the Nats don't sign him to an extension they won't want to test the arbitration waters, but that is my opinion.

I personally think Willie deserves a spot here next year in a crowded OF. Depending on what happens with WMP and Kearns it will get interesting.

A different story when it comes to Tim Redding who is arbitration eligible also and will also get a nice raise.

As for MikeHarris' response, I think your statement about PLoD's and FLop's money is 100% accurate.

Anonymous said...

I agree for the most part too. I don't know if we can count on NJ coming back and if he does, he won't be back to his stellar 2006 season mode.

I really like Young and was very happy to see how well he played last year. He is back today and I guess we'll see how he does over the next couple of weeks. I hope that he gets healthy in the off season and can come back next year. If not, we need to go out and get a solid first baseman. That is really the only position in jeopardy and corner infield needs to be strong at bat and in the field.

I do not think that we need to keep WMP. He cannot field and his bad never really heated up this year.

MINOR CORRECTION - I think you meant to say Gonzalez, Hernandez and Bonifacio here - "Their E.R.A.'s are going to improve and they can thank "The Guz", Gonzalez, Hernandez and Anderson for their new support."

Chris Needham said...

Well, to some extent.

The majority of teams, though, don't budget over a few years. Money coming in this year is applied to this year. They rarely (unless they've already committed to the outyears of a contract) save money from this year's account to pay for next year's account.

The Nats might do it differently, but that'd be pretty atypical from how most other clubs run things -- or most businesses, even.

MikeHarris said...

CC

Cost be danged. You may not get him. Get in the conversation.

Anonymous said...

MH - I looked the word "danged" in the dictionary.

What are you trying to say?

{Cost be danged.}

MikeHarris said...

I was trying to be polite and not say "damned!"

Anonymous said...

The money they could spend on free agents should be spent on Zimmerman. Now is the time to lock up the young players.

Anonymous said...

Gotcha on the slang.

You look at the non-production of all these Reds acquired players by JBo and you have to wonder.

Kearns is a good player, but other than his arm which is above average that spot is upgradable and Dukes has shown what he can do there.

The moves made by the GM's office since the All Star break are good but what about all the other bad decisions that are burdening this team going forward.

When is someone going to address the fact that Dmitri is a Designated Hitter? He isn't fit to play First Base.

Do you want to pay a bona fide 4th outfielder (Kearns) $5,000,000 a year?

What do you do with Wily Mo as he is a liability in LF?

Who believes Nick Johnson will be ready to start the season and remain healthy in 2009?

These are the big question marks.

{From SBF---So, the team has alot of playing room in that difference--approximately $16 Million--give or take a few hundred thousand. They could actually eat some salary and not affect too much.}

I suggest JBo make his #1 priority trying to trade Dmitri to an American League team and trade Kearns for prospects, and do a wait and see on WilyMo as to whether he can legitimately earn a roster spot as maybe he was injured at the beginning of the year. If he can't earn a spot, eat the $2 million.

Sounds unanimous that Nick Johnson gets another shot on the '09 roster.

Andrew said...

Anonymous said...
The money they could spend on free agents should be spent on Zimmerman. Now is the time to lock up the young players.


I agree with that. What he has shown in the past few weeks is his potential to this team. Both sides need to get a long-term deal done.

SenatorNat said...

The team is going to set one priority for 2009 - a young, power-hitting, left-handed first-baseman. But, I have no clue as to who this can be and how to acquire same. Bow-Bow probably willing to cut bait with Nick Johnson should it happen, though...

Team has to choose next Spring Training between keeping Gonzalez or Hernandez, along with Bonifacio. My bet is on Gonzalez.

Langerhans definitely gone - Kearns comes back, and Harris, I would think. WM Pena, I think, is a project to give up on. As said, defense is critical to building as sustainable competitive franchise, and we cannot afford to suffer through him or anyone like him in the field. At least with D.Young, if his weight is down, he has some natural agility, and can man first base adequately...

Were Morero ready, you could look at a 2009 line-up with youth and hope at every position, virtually. But, it is a line-up, as said, in sore need of reliable power.

Trust in team speed, energy, enthusiasm. All Growing.

Tom said...

Notice that none of the top paid players are starting pitchers. And they have not been the biggest issue on this team. So maybe it is time to start putting some money toward starting pitching.
Also expect Zimmerman to be on the list next year.

Andrew said...

Tom - Expect Tim Redding will be on this list after arbitration as he is at $1,000,000 now and with every quality start will see his arbitration value head towards $1,500,000.

An Briosca Mor said...

The Nats might do it differently, but that'd be pretty atypical from how most other clubs run things -- or most businesses, even.

Most publicly-traded business beholden to their stockholders, yeah probably they do do that. But privately held companies? I wouldn't be so sure. They are free to do whatever they see fit with their money, beholden to no one but the IRS.

And what are most, if not all, MLB clubs? Privately held companies. What is Lerner Enterprises? A privately held company. You, Chris, have no other visibility into how these companies run their businesses than what they choose to reveal to the press, which is only a small part of their overall financial picture. For a team like the Yankees, or like the Redskins, whose owners spend willy-nilly year after year, do you really believe that their yearly expenditures are always exactly equal to their yearly income or profit or whatever gauge of the money rolling in you choose to use? How do you even presume to know that?

Andrew said...

SBF - When Zim signs a long-term deal 1/2 of the so-called savings will evaporate.

Add that to all the 2009 commitments like Kearns, WMP, Nick Johnson, and Dmitri Young and you have a lot of pencil sharpening if you decide to find the 1B we need. SenatorNat said...
The team is going to set one priority for 2009 - a young, power-hitting, left-handed first-baseman.


I agree that before you look at the big acquisition you have to have a plan what to do with 4 guys that didn't do much to help the team in 2008 and you know the ole saying "what have you done for me lately". Dmitri was great in 2007. WMP nothing since coming here. Since Kearns rookie standout year of 2002 for the Reds, he has been an average player and we will never get better with average players. Nick Johnson is above average but can't stay healthy.

I am curious to see our starting OF which I think will be a surprise in LF, Milledge in CF and Dukes in RF and if Willie signs the extension will be in the mix.

Chris Needham said...

I've read enough godawfully boring economics books. And read enough boring business-of-sports articles and books.

Sure, it's not year-to-year, dollar-in-dollar-out. Teams sometimes overspend their revenues, or sometimes save up a bit of a capital reserve. But most teams aren't going to try to wildly exceed their revenues, even if they've got it in reserve.

Like I said, it's possible the Nats do that differently, but that'd be a bit unusual.

Steven said...

The primary argument against spending on big time FAs has never been the multi-year budgeting thing.

The biggest downside to signing multi-year blockbuster FAs has always been that they are by definition older, declining players. You can reasonably expect a guy signed at 29 or 30 or 31 to give you 2-3 good years, but after that they're going to decline. So if the Nationals had signed someone like Soriano or Hunter over the last 2 off seasons they would have had a couple very good seasons for crappy teams and then had an albatross of a big salary just as everyone else is getting good. Sign a big-money 30 year old to a multi-year contract in 2006 and you are pushing the next Nationals WS team farther away in order to win 5 more games to get to 78 or 79. I don't know why anyone would want that.

The second biggest problem with these guys is the draft picks. Again, giving up a 1 to get a guy who won't allow you to contend is just delaying the arrival of the first great nationals team.

Third, a top 5 draft pick is worth way more than a 10 or a 15. Spending big money to get to 78 wins (a la Soriano in 06) may cost you the chance to get the prime years of the Uptons and Prices of the world.

And then there's also the argument that the guys who got big salaries in the 06 and 07 off seasons mostly flat-out sucked. What would the knee-jerk payroll-blamers be saying now if we had shelled out big money for Barry Zito or Andruw Jones or Jason Schmidt or Carlos Silva. That's what the lion's share of "blockbuster FAs" look like. Declining, older, not very good players.

Most of the guys who have really done well who were signed in the 2 off seasons under the Lerners have been more undervalued guys like Milton Bradley. You can't blame the team for not spending for guys like that. We spent the exact same amount to get Lo Duca.

It just drives me nuts how many people act like there's a WS championship out there for the buying if only the Lerners weren't so cheap. It's a stupid myth, and 95% of the pixels spilled on the subject are polemical, substance-less rants. Stan-Speak is funny, but it's just schtick unless you can actually show that the team would be better with the approach you're advocating.

PS don't forget Zimm's salary number will increase ten-fold or so.

Steven said...

If you don't buy my "free agents are declining players by definition theory," and there are exceptions, like Barry Bonds, look at the free agency class of 05. Lots of 30-ish guys who gave their new teams a good year or two and are very expensive non-contributors now:
Richie Sexson
Nomar
Varitek
Pedro
Renteria...

Anonymous said...

SBF ,yes what you have outlined will be a very good defensive team but will have the same anemic offense as we are seeing this year which is what is making this team HISTORICALLY bad.

We need a bat with some pop and the ability to drive in some runs!!

Our top two RBI guys have combined for 113 RBI and Ryan Howard has 121 by himself.

Our top two HR guys have combined for 27 HRs and there are TWELVE players just in the NL with more HRs.

I do not believe we will see Nick Johnson back with the Nationals I believe he will be waived in Spring Training as John Patterson was this past spring for chronic injury reasons (Shawn Hill is also not far behind on this front) and we already know we are not offering Chief a contract for next year.

I believe we will pay Redding some more cash to be our #1 in 2009 and John Lannen will be somewhere in the mix but the other 3 starters are probably not on the active roster right now.

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF ,yes what you have outlined will be a very good defensive team but will have the same anemic offense as we are seeing this year which is what is making this team HISTORICALLY bad.

Since when is a team that may or may not lose 100 games on the year HISTORICALLY bad? Geez, there's a 100 loss team practically every year. Historically bad = approaching 120 losses. A hundred losses? Historically mediocre. Maybe. Gain some perspective, wouldja?

SportsBusinessMan said...

Steve - There is a group in the fanbase that believe in the building process and know it takes time which is basically the "plan".

There is a group in the fanbase that have to have it right away and equate "big money spending" to showing that ownership is serious. You astutely pointed out the pitfalls with this method.

Then you have a guy that talks on about economics when he needs a book on cashflow and "opportunity cost" as that is the economics of reality for anyone contemplating purchasing a sports franchise today. Lerner paid $450,000,000 so you need to make a healthy profit just to satisfy your opportunity cost. It is certainly a long-term investment as I don't think this will meet too many investor's ROI projections.

Chris - I am a CPA and have a Minor in International Economics and maybe you can enlighten us on which business-of-sports articles and books you are reading. If you are reading Sports Business Journal you are reading a publication that is generally targeted towards the sports marketing people.

Chris Needham said...
I've read enough godawfully boring economics books. And read enough boring business-of-sports articles and books.

Steven said...

Chris will argue that it's a false choice, that the team has plenty of revenue to *both* play in international free agency, invest in great scouting, sign Crow and Sean Black and spend $9-10m a year to get all their other picks, *and* play in FA.

I agree with this as far as it goes. But it doesn't acknowledge the downsides of giving multi-year deals to declining players, giving up draft picks for type-As, and the difference between top 5 picks and 10-15 picks.

Chris of course is a really smart guy who wrote a way better blog than me, and I'm not going to question whether he knows his stuff or not. I just think he tends to lean too heavily on the rhetoric and not enough on the substance on this particular point, which is weird since he was so thorough in providing detailed evidence for his arguments in other contexts. Something about Stan Kasten and the Lerners just got under his skin I guess.

Screech's Best Friend said...

anonymous at 7:54PM--if you can't see a healthy Ryan Zimmerman hitting 25 Home Runs and knocking in 100 runs, you are missing something.

If you can't see Elijah Dukes hitting 30 Home Runs and knocking in 100 runs, you are missing something else.

Even Lastings Milledge with another year under his belt certainly has shown he's capable of hitting 25 or more home runs. And few have been harder on him than me. Did you miss that too?

If you can expect Ryan Howard to knock in over 100 RBI when healthy you have to give credit to the very fact that Zimmerman, Dukes and Milledge are showing the exact same ability to hit for power and drive in runs. Health and Inexperience (for Milledge) are the only things holding them back.

Sometimes you just need patience and faith that all is not lost.

Andrew said...

SBF - I think they forgot all of the injuries which when for a prolonged stretch is like our players starting back with rehab in regular season games which is synonymous with a Spring Training period as we saw with Zim.

Zim had to go from getting his timing back to getting singles and doubles, then hitting line drives and then driving the ball out of the park. It takes time.

Chris Needham said...

Then you have a guy that talks on about economics when he needs a book on cashflow and "opportunity cost" as that is the economics of reality for anyone contemplating purchasing a sports franchise today. Lerner paid $450,000,000 so you need to make a healthy profit just to satisfy your opportunity cost. It is certainly a long-term investment as I don't think this will meet too many investor's ROI projections.

Just point to me this: when was the last time that a MLB owner lost money when they sold a franchise.

Yes, it takes cash flow to pay the team debt, but it's not like they're going down to the local SunTrust and taking out a personal loan for these things. I'm not weeping for Uncle Teddy's ability to pay that back. If he's ever having a hard time meeting those loan payments, he can sell and make a bazillion more. It's like someone who bought a house in 2001. Sure, you've gotta make the mortgage payments, but in the end, you're coming out waaaaaaay ahead. Just in this case, I'm not sure there's a bubble that's going to burst.

Besides, it's not a straight opporunity cost equation as in, he'd make 10% redeveloping a mall with that extra money. There are lots of extra benefits to owning a team that aren't quantifiable in a pure economic sense.

Chris Needham said...

Steven -- cut the passive-aggressive crap, ok?

(I won't quibble with the things you're saying other than that the draft study only said there was value in the first or second draft pick... the rest are all sorta the same. and then, it's probably a bit outdated given the escalation in bonuses, teams passing over more players for signability concerns... all of which wouldn't be a problem for a franchise that KNOWS that their scouts are the best, and that has owners who really don't give a crap about what Selig has to say when he calls and whines a few weeks later)

Andrew said...

SBF - I finished my homework assignment.

Top Money Makers for 2009


1. Austin Kearns $8,000,000 ($10 million club option in 2010)

2. Cristian Guzman $8,000,000

3. Nick Johnson $5,500,000

4. Dmitri Young $5,000,000 ($6 million club option in 2010)

5. Wily Mo Pena $2,000,000 player option

6. Ronnie Belliard $1,900,000

ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE

Jesus Colome (made $1.25 million this year)

Willie Harris (made $809,000 this year)

Ryan Langerhans (made $500,000 this year)

Tim Redding (made $1 million this year)

Ryan Zimmerman (made $465,000 this year)

Ryan Wagner (made $450,000 this year)

FREE AGENTS AFTER THIS SEASON

Aaron Boone

Odalis Perez

SIGNED FOR 2009

Jason Bergmann

Roger Bernandina

Emilio Bonifacio

Kory Casto

Elijah Dukes

Jesus Flores

Alberto Gonzalez

Joel Hanrahan

Anderson Hernandez

Shawn Hill

John Lannan

Charlie Manning

Lastings Milledge

Garrett Mock

Wil Nieves

Pete Orr

Saul Rivera

Steven Shell

Screech's Best Friend said...

Andrew: The African Queen says you get an A for completing your homework assignment in great detail. And especially for not using the "Cliff" Notes Version.

She's really proud of you :)

Steven said...

@Chris--You take a compliment with all the grace of a pitbull with lipstick.

I'll just say "you're welcome," since I know you really meant "thanks for the kind words."

Steven said...

On the BP draft study, you're mis-remembering the conclusions. They showed that in the past the biggest drop off in value has been between the 1 and the 2, and then the next biggest drop off is from 2 to 3, but the evidence didn't show that the 3rd pick is no more valuable than the 900th or the 30th as you suggest. There's been a steady decline from the 3rd through the middle of the first round or so, and then they all kind of become similar in the back 1/3 of the first round through the third.

But even then I tend to insist that scouting and drafting well are repeatable skills, and that all things equal good scouting teams will always do better drafting earlier. I know some of the most radical scout-hating statheads insist that the draft is all a big crapshoot, but I don't buy it. There's a reason that some teams like the Brewers, DRays, and DBacks have struck gold over and over, while Bowden hasn't hardly ever. I just don't believe that it's just dumb luck.

Finally, Lerner and Kasten aren't the ones who let Crow walk over 900k. That was Bowden. You can't hang that on the ownership.

Mark said...

Great discussion.

Lots of costly silly mistakes this year (catcher position, Lopez), and the Aaron Crow affair was a real blunder. But Jimbo & Co have made some late progress on the middle infield, bullpen and rejuvenation.

If I was Jim Bowden (or his replacement) I would:

1) Be worried about 1st base. Dmitri needs to be put on a STRICT off-season conditioning & diet plan. This makes him a better player --- or trade bait. Do this now.

2) Shop Kearns. We hear a lot (esp from Screech -- respect) about his hustle, attitude, professionalism and stellar fielding. Great. I'm sure Bowden can find another team to pay $8M for that. I'm happy with Dukes and Milledge (now showing trajectory), Harris' fielding & pop, and whoever else winds up out there. A $2M longshot on Mo Pena has a better potential upside payoff than what Kearns has shown in 3 years.

3) Sign Zimmerman. JEEESH!

All in all, things are looking up and I'm enjoying the last 18 games from Nairobi.

mr.optomistic said...

Mark: 1) Be worried about 1st base. Dmitri needs to be put on a STRICT off-season conditioning & diet plan. This makes him a better player --- or trade bait. Do this now. Nutrasystem and a trade to an American League team to DH

2) Shop Kearns. We hear a lot (esp from Screech -- respect) about his hustle, attitude, professionalism and stellar fielding. Great. I'm sure Bowden can find another team to pay $8M for that. I agree. He has 1 year plus the 2010 option and I could see a trade where we would only get a couple of Minor Leaguers.

3) Sign Zimmerman. JEEESH! Let's hope before any arbitration.