Thursday, January 08, 2009

I Am OK With It


If Bill Ladson's latest source is correct, I am OK with it.

I really am.

And I don't care if someone inside Our Team is bluffing to hide something more definitive down the line, because I truly believe you don't give up on your very own.

You give them every single opportunity to succeed and win--for you.

Would Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson be an integral part of the first truly excellent team for Our Washington Nationals?

Probably not.

Washington has a better chance of improving and receiving something better in return, if both Nick Johnson and Shawn Hill recover fully. If both NJ and Hill realize their potential--and remember Our Number 24 is in a contract year--they would be far more tradeable than they would ever be today. No question about it, there is nothing to lose by sticking by them.

By casting Johnson aside for Dunn--you give up the opportunity to make any significant trade if Nick breaks out.

The same for Hill.

Orlando Hudson costs you a 2nd round draft pick.

I understand the "BIG IF" part of this equation. I really do. But right now JimBo's not going to get anything significant if Johnson and Hill do resurrect their careers. Do you really just want to release them or swap them for a utility infielder down the line? That's what Washington would receive in return right now--a lower level prospect.

Odder things have happened, but I would bet there have been countless players on this same bubble throughout the history of baseball. And many times--when everybody else wrote those guys off--they recovered and became significant contributors to their teams.

The Quality Of The Individual Is Important to me. Both Nick Johnson and Shawn Hill CARE about their game and their profession. Those are the type of players I would back until they can't possibly go any longer. They are worth my patience. And it pleases me to read that Our Washington Nationals HAVE NOT given up on them.

I just wish they hadn't given up on Chad Cordero.

Because if Nick Johnson and Shawn Hill become the performers everyone has envisioned in 2009--Our Washington Nationals will win on both sides of the equation.

And if the report that Washington's not going to sign any free agents is true, they could still make a significant trade and shake things up for the better.

Patience is important.

So yeah--I AM OK WITH IT. I Really Am.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

SBF - With all due respect, I think you are in the minority on this one. There are a lot of UPSET fans and STH's now that the reality of 2009 is before us. In 2005, yes, the 5 year plan was ok. But as we enter the 5th year of baseball back in DC, I fail to see the progress. I may be wrong, but this team is going in reverse.

Steve said...

SBF and Nats' Nation,

The Nats cannot, simply cannot, go into the 2009 season without any significant free agent signing. The team, as it stands now, is scarcely better than last year's disaster. They should have signed Smoltz to tutor their young pitchers. He's a true professional and a class act. If not Dunn and Hudson, then Abreu, left-handed, veteran, better than any other OF we have.

We are not a normal market. We went 33 seasons without the game, 2 seasons without real ownership, and three seasons without a true ballpark (though I treasure RFK, it had no attraction to the casual fan). We have major competition just up the road, competition that claimed and took much of the DC market and still retains more than its fair share in the region. We deserve better than a chancy rebuilding effort that dooms us to endure poor, losing teams for the next 3-5 years.

The team MUST act. If they stand pat, the average attendance at Nationals Park will be less than that of the Washington Capitals this year and fewer than 2 million in the second season of a brand new ballpark. That's simply not acceptable.

I am not OK with it! Not by a long shot!

Andrew L. said...

I am OK with it if there is a plan for Nick Johnson. I just think he can't play 7 days a week.

Give NJ a rest against southpaws as he can platoon with Willingham or Wily Mo on those games. I think Willingham still is your starting LF, but I just think you can't play Nick every game.

I am surprised by Orlando Hudson not being in the price range as he would seem to be a "buy" at the $8 million level but as SBF speculated you can pull yourself out and see if the market gets more reasonable.

Dunn wants near Teixeira money which is laughable and I couldn't see paying anything more than $14 mill per year.

The only problem I see is the PR defeat to the fanbase that here is another year ownership didn't sign anyone "significant" in Free Agency. Strides made on Teixeira but in the end you would hope for progress on the key that Bowden set from the start which was a lefty power hitter!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Just like the post subject, I am also OK with being in the minority. I don't believe in the team spending money just to make a move. I am not interested in that. I truly believe that a little creativeness and good judging of the marketplace and other teams woes can lead to good trades that can help this team. They might also find contract signings well below market value by waiting--something which in this economy can't be understated.

Thanks to financial woes, It's a different game out there right now unless you are top quality free agent. Everybody else is going to have to settle for less. Any player with holes in their game better understand that or they are going to be left out in the cold.

And I don't live and breath on every single move as being the end all of Our Washington Nationals. I am not the GM or Team President or Owner, but I would bet there is a lot more going on than anyone realizes. No one is trying to stand still. What they are hopefully doing is judging the marketplace--correctly--and not overpaying for someone damaging to the near and long term future of this team.

As I stated at the top, I am OK with being in the so-called minority too.

An Briosca Mor said...

I am surprised by Orlando Hudson not being in the price range as he would seem to be a "buy" at the $8 million level but as SBF speculated you can pull yourself out and see if the market gets more reasonable.

Dunn wants near Teixeira money which is laughable and I couldn't see paying anything more than $14 mill per year.


I don't think it's the per year cost that's the issue with Dunn or Hudson. It's the number of years they're looking for that's the problem. A max of three years for each of them would probably be the longest the Nationals would want to go (two years would be even better), and the players are likely asking for four or five. Let's see what happens in the month or so left before ST starts. You don't see any other teams beating down the door to sign these guys, do you?

chet baker sings said...

I agree 100% with Steve.

DC is not a small market! Quit acting like we are the KC Royals and spend some money..

It takes money to make money...We need to give fans a reason to go watch the games otherwise there won't be fans in the stands and no money with which to strengthen the team..

My take: ownership is running the team into the ground.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

DC is not a small market!

Everything else besides the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers [b]is[/b] a small market. Anytime a team other than these four win the World Series, there is no national interest. (Even when the White Sox won the World Series, people in Chicago still weren't interested.) The NFL can get fans across the nation interested in new teams wearing new uniforms. Baseball can't. The Toronto Blue Jays were the worst drawing road team in baseball when they were an expansion team AND when they were winning two consecutive World Series.

I sincerely believe that if you got a time machine and brought back the 1927 Yankees to play baseball today as the White Sox, Tigers, or Marlins, nobody nationwide would pay any attention.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

What I am worried is this. I love Nick Johnson, but I have absolutely NO faith that he can last a full major league season. None. Aaron Boone played first base most of last year, and he is gone.

Never mind about Mark Texiera. We should have a veteran first baseman to back up Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson when one or both of those two get hurt.

Although the Nats have insisted that going after Texiera was a one-time deal and that the money offered to him would not necessarily be available to other free agents, that's not how many Nats fans see it. Many of them consider this off-season a failure unless the Nationals sign a big-name free agent...even proven team cancer Manny Ramirez.

I'm worried because winning through buying free agents is something only large market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can do. Since there is no interest in non-name teams nationwide, even the Mets have to overpay free agents like Carlos Beltran to get them to consider them rather than the Bronx. D.C. is smaller than both N.Y. than Philly, and thanks to Peter Angelos, WTEM, and the Washington Post, there are probably more casual Orioles fans in the D.C. area than Nats fans. The Nats *have* to overpay to get top free agents to come here.

What also worries me is this. Even IF the Plan works and we build enough talent in our minor league system to create a contender, unless perception of this team drastically changes, how are we going to hold on to our talent? Nobody expects any of the stars of the Tampa Bay Rays to stay in St. Petersburg when their contracts run out. If the Nats ever win a pennant and World Series, will we really be the second coming of the Atlanta Braves or just the east coast version of the Oakland Athletics?

mainiacmike said...

SBF,
I agree with you 100%. NJ came back from a "freak" accident--a broken leg is extremely difficult to come back from. You can count on Nick to be in tip top shape. Signing Dunn or 'Done' (Reds fans weren't to friendly to him) low BA. You never know what you'll get.

phil dunn said...

Let's face it, the bigger name free agents aren't going to sign with the Nats unless we over match by 20% or more. They want to play with the premier teams. Further, most of these big name free agents bomb out and turn out to be huge long term financial burdens. Soriano hasn't done much with the Cubs, Zito has bombed out with the Giants, Pavano with the Yankees and on and on. Very few high priced free agents ever earn their eye watering salaries. I am glad Nick is back at first base and I hope he has a healty season. I say, sign Sean Casey as backup insurance. Casey would provide a nice left handed bat off the bench. Casey hit .322 in a reserve role with the Red Sox last season and has a .302 lifetime BA. Give Hernanzez the second base job and, if he fails, we have Belliard to back him up. Let's concentrate on upgrading the pitching and away we go.

phil dunn said...

One thing that really bothers me is the total lack of Nats coverage by the Washington Post. If you have read the sports section since Tex signed with the Yankees, it is like we don't have a major league team in DC. Is this happening because the Post doesn't care or is it happening because the Lerner regime is so secretive that the beat reporters can't come up with a newsworthy story? Take a look at the online version of the Baltimore Sun. Just about everyday there are articles on the O's. In fact, there was much more Hot Stove League coverage of the O's by the Post before the Nats came to town. Maybe the Post is just pinching pennies as the newspaper industry becomes a thing of the past.

Robert said...

What Mr. Cunningham says about the Nats retaining talent is pretty scary...and probably pretty accurate. I wish--but hold no hope for--major league-wide changes to make the playing field even more fair.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

Its been five years Back in D.C.

2.5 Years with a Real Owner.


That being said, I will be "OK" with this decision, I dont like it but I will be Ok. I have to agree with Dunn and Hudson comment in a previoius post, they are only worth 2-3 years MAX in a Nats Uniform. Giving either of them 5 years is riduclous, Dunn because of age is worth a 4 year contract at max.

My issue is we did not sign any pitching and we lost pitching in Odalis Perez, which I think was a bad move, he pitched well in 2008 if he had an offense.

After the 2009 season is over and what ever the record is the Nats post (and right now I see this being another 100 loss season) there will be much to judge.

If we have another 100 loss season it will be 3.5 years since the Lerners took over. If we loose 100, the nats would have had a better record under MLB ownership. Baseball landscape is like college football now, you give a coach 4 years for one recrutig class, if he fails then he is out.
If the Nats lose 100 games in 2009, then we need to get rid of everyone (Kasten, Bowden, Manny Acta, and some players) and change what we have been doin (the plan, No Free agent spending) because obvisouly its not working in 3.5 years (really four).

Again, I will be "ok" with this decision for 2009 but if we loose 100 expect less season tickets, less fan base, less everything if that happens. The Lerners will need to FIRE alot of people and change and also they will need to give tickets away if they want butts in Nats Park for 2010.

SenatorNat said...

IF the Nats had an Ovechkin (like the Expos had an upcoming Vlady)coming up through the system, a bona fine five-star everyday player, then the prudent position they are adopting would be more than fine. But they do not. Thus, they are going to have to overspend if they care to actually fill out the line-up.

Counting on Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young for 2009 is beyond risky - in all probability, Josh Willingham and Ronnie Belliard are going to man the position, as
A. Boone did with Belliard last season. Line-up with Kearns in right, with his Flubber Swing, and the rest of the no-hit wonders could be very Senatorsish, actually...

I, personally, am O.K. with the Nationals being perceived and treated like second-class sports team by major media in D.C. - count on 1.75 million fans per year and a $55 million payroll - and enjoy a 71-91 team or so, year in and year out. I can live with it, since I agree with the other commenters that outside of the NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and LA Dodgers, there does seem to little public interest in MLB. (It is not politically correct to be a Nationals fan, anyway, apparently - has the connotation of something Sarah Palin would do...)

And D.C. has wasted a lot more than $625 million on lots and lots of expenditures that will never come close to break-even propostions. If Feds had built it, would have been $625 billion, and not built!! But it is built, so lose some $$$$ and cry about it, Meto Section - who cares?

Why pay some guy hitting .235 more then $2.35 million per year, really. Orlando Hudson may be worth $6 million per for two years, but no more, despite being a clutch hitter - what did Dunn and Hudson do for getting Arizona into the World Series in 2008? It's like being forced to draft out of a lousy group of college QB's since your team went 0-16 and you must build around another Peyton Manning. Better to just go with the single-wing and draft a defensive end...

I thing fans should reverse engines and demand that the Lerners and Stan not overspend and complain should the park be "overcrowded." This would relieve tension, all the way around.

Trust in the power of rationalization. Everything is small-ball...Except the Federal Deficit...

Tom said...

Does anyone here even think a player like Smoltz would ever have a serious thought about playing for the Nats? WOW!

End of career.
Extremely competitive person.
Hates loosing.
Doesn't need the money.
Wants a ring this year.
Not going to play here to tutor the young players. (Get an extra coach for that. Much cheaper)

I want the Nats to succeed just as much as any fan, but let's get real here folks.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

One thing that really bothers me is the total lack of Nats coverage by the Washington Post. If you have read the sports section since Tex signed with the Yankees, it is like we don't have a major league team in DC. Is this happening because the Post doesn't care or is it happening because the Lerner regime is so secretive that the beat reporters can't come up with a newsworthy story?

Here's a clue. Can you name any other major newspaper in a city where either the MAJOR or ONLY MLB team was in the National League, where the standing are consistently printed with the American League on the top or bottom? The Post doesn't do this with the NFL, NBA, or NHL. I'd say that while a few writers DO care, overall the Post doesn't.

Oh, there is one more factor. The Washington Post is a LOT thinner than it used to be. There used to be much more pages printed in the sports section then there are now. With less space to cover sports, is it any wonder the Post is only giving limited coverage to out-of-season sports right now?

chet baker sings said...

The reason there is little interest in the Nats is not because of the Washington Post folks its because they are a LOSER team in a very competitive town. The product on the field stinks which is turning away fans... no fans means no money ...

I don't know why people accept we are such a small market... The Nats ownership is turning the team into a small market team..Its a self fulfilling prophecy: act like you are a small market team that can't even get one decent free agent even though you had the worse record in the majors and guess what: you will be a small market team..Its now going to take MORE money to get players to sign here!

I don't have a problem with building from within but at some point you have to give the fans a reason to go to the game.. what we need is someone like Soriano was a few years ago and if you have to pay for that then you have to pay for that.. Also if a team was ever going to overspend a little the time to do it was yesterday in order to get the city and the fans behind it (with new stadium etc)..its not like DC is a town that does great with baseball (we've lost two teams already for pete's sake)...

There's a lot of competition for people's sports dollar in this town (O's, Wizards, Caps, Skins, United, Mystics, the new female soccer team, etc.) and if you don't provide a good product all you're going to draw are the baseball diehards... That doesn't bode well for the future...

One last question: what happens when Zim refuses to resign with us because he sees the way things are going, sees he lacks protection in the lineup etc???

Andrew L. said...

Chet Baker - The good news is Zim is under Nationals control through 2011. Let's hope they tie him up long-term before their arbitration hearing!!!

Bigger issue is after the '09 season the Nats don't have any 1st baseman as Nick and Dmitri both will most likely go to Free Agency, and next years crop of 1st baseman Free Agents is very thin with nobody younger than 30 years old. Here's the list: Russell Branyan,Frank Catalanotto, Tony Clark, Carlos Delgado, Ross Gload,
Nick Johnson, Adam LaRoche, Chad Tracy, and Dmitri Young.

The Nats need to prove that they are not the AL's version of the Kansas City Royals rather a faster paced version of the Tampa Bay Rays (11 years to reach Post-Season).

BinM said...

I personally believe that 2009 will be the last, best shot for both Shawn Hill & 'Slick' Johnson with the Nationals (or elsewhere, for that matter). If either of them show anything in Viera, they'll be with the team until June. If not, buh-bye.

With Hill, at least the team has a 'fall-back' position in Bergmann, Clippard, Detwiler, Atilano, et al. With Johnson, there isn't much of a safety net - Willingham, then Casto/WMP/Kearns/Syracuse callups? Yuck.

Steve said...

Chet I was ok with things until you dredged up the old canard about DC's fans "losing" two baseball teams.

The owners abandoned DC without ever really giving fans a chance to prove if they were deserving of a team or not. The years they had a decent team, the fans turned out in decent numbers (like 1969 -- Short undercounted customers by about 50-60K and they still almost outdrew the 109-win team up the road).

The Caps and 2005 Nats prove that DC will support a team it perceives as competitive (and a football team no matter what!). What it won't do is support a team that appears to not even try to win - that's why they need to sign a FA (or, at minimum, Chad Cordero and Frank Howard (for F.O, though he might be a good pinch-hitter, too!)

An Briosca Mor said...

Trust in the power of rationalization. Everything is small-ball

So, SenatorNat, even you have given up on the giant iconic baseball in center field?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

So, SenatorNat, even you have given up on the giant iconic baseball in center field?

The Mets heard about what we were planning to do to Mr. Met and he's under 24 hour protection. That's why there's no baseball in center field.

paul said...

Can we please stop talking about Shawn Hill as a viable MLB pitcher? I wish him all the best, but I'd say he has about a .1% chance of having an impact on the team this year.

Jeremy said...

I'm a long-time reader of this blog and a huge Nats fan. That said, I expect attendance at Nats Park to be about 1.5 million this summer, the team to be in the neighborhood of 110 losses, and many people to be questioning the viability of this team in the future. We're an irrelevant joke right now. And it pisses me off.

Andrew L. said...

-Jeremy said the team to be in the neighborhood of 110 losses, and many people to be questioning the viability of this team in the future. We're an irrelevant joke right now. -

Jeremy, we all have our opinion, but my opinion is that there is no basis for 110 losses in fact the Nationals off-season so far has been rated above the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins so only the Mets have had a better off-season in the NL East.

Having all the key components returning (and healthy) will bode well for not losing as many games as last year plus the addition of Willingham and Olsen will be a plus. Not sure how Cabrera taking Redding's spot (in theory) will play out.

Also in the Nats favor is another year of experience for guys like Lannan and Balester.

With that said, I expect losses to be over 85 games unless the Nats can get a few key components.

What is disappointing is the Nats set the Off-season expectations with the need for a true lead-off man and the power lefty bat and they haven't achieved either.

John Young said...

I'm truly disappointed in the actions by our Nats management. They made a big deal per Mark Texeria, but that foiled and no other holes filled. Something tells me that they really had no off-season plan.

I'm struggling like others to the direction of this team other than down. At this rate we will finish in six place out of division of five teams. There could be another 100 loss season and then what...back to the drawing board.

Sooner or later...folks are going to pickup on the idea that Kasten, Bowden, and the Lerners just don't make good sound decisions. The club record and the low attendance to name a few - well it's enough said.

Sad...