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Brutal stretch for Nats has end in sight; Taylor’s heating up

Jul 27, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

USA Today

With their 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon, the Nationals have now lost six of their 10 games since the All-Star break ended. Max Scherzer has been beaten twice during that stretch. Their offense has averaged 3.8 runs per contest. The Mets have cut the division lead back down to two games.

Although those seem like warning signs, the stretch the Nationals are playing through makes it hard to analyze any sort of collective slump.

Since the All-Star break, the Nats have faced a gauntlet of elite starting pitchers with many of their own regulars missing due to injury. It started with the Dodgers who had Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. It continued with the Mets who pitched Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. And it didn’t stop against Pittsburgh, as the Pirates rolled out Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole.

The Nationals are off Monday night before picking back up Tuesday in Miami. They will face Marlins ace Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77) in the series opener. He returned from Tommy John surgery on July 2 and has dominated in his four starts since.

Tuesday will be the 11th game for the Nationals in the second half. Through 11 games the collective ERA of the starters they have faced and will face (Fernandez) is 2.22. Nine of them have either been All-Stars or earned Cy Young votes within the last three years. The other two are Mike Bolsinger of the Dodgers and Syndergaard of the Mets, both of whom boast sub-3.00 ERAs at this point in the season.

The Nationals just got Anthony Rendon back, but they remain without Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Denard Span. With all those names missing, it’s a wonder how they beat Bolsinger, Harvey, Syndergaard and Burnett in their four second-half wins.

The good news is that after Fernandez, their schedule will ease up considerably. Of their next 32 games, 25 are against teams not currently holding playoff spots. Three of those 25 non-playoff opponents will come at the New York Mets, but they will also see the Marlins twice, the Rockies twice, the Diamondbacks for four games, the Brewers at home and the Padres at home. The Marlins and Rockies hold the second- and third-worst records in the majors.

Somewhere along that run the Nationals should get back Werth and Zimmerman, and perhaps very soon. Span is behind them, but will likely come back some time during that stretch. They could also add pieces before the non-waiver trade deadline and in August through the waiver wire.

The stage is set over the next month for the Nationals to take off and create some room between themselves and the Mets in the NL East. Anything can happen, but the next few weeks certainly appear favorable for the Nats.

Michael Taylor homers again

Rookie Michael Taylor homered for the second straight game on Sunday to push his season total to eight. He now has six hits in his last 10 at-bats with two homers and three RBI. Through 82 games played he has eight homers, 39 RBI and 11 steals.

Those numbers aren’t bad at all, especially if you consider his relative inexperience at the age of 24. Sure, you’d like his average to be above .240 and his on-base percentage above .283. But there’s no question Taylor’s play has been a nice development for the Nationals this season.

On Sunday, Taylor also made a highlight reel catch in the bottom of the fifth inning to rob Gregory Polanco of a would-be double. He seems to be improving game-by-game at the plate, in the field and on the basepaths.

What Taylor’s role is long-term is hard to tell, whether he can be a true leadoff hitter and whether he’s ready to step in next season if Span walks in free agency. But for now, he could be exactly what they need once Span and Werth return from the disabled list. Taylor can make starts for either player here and there, and come October his speed (3 SB in last 5 games) could be a huge asset for the Nats.



133 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. JayB - Jul 27, 2015 at 6:22 AM

    So NL Average ERA for all teams is 3.8 so this team and the local media has to face facts. This is not a good team and they would have lost those games against an average pitcher or better. That is just not going to get them anywhere again this year. Yes they can win the NL east likely with a .500 record. So what? This team payroll is near the very top and Rizzo has been given free hand to sign and keep whoever he wants…….Facts are that Rizzo’s guys are injury prone spend more time off the field than on. RIzzo’s guys far to often shrink under pressure and that is over a 4 year sample size.

    • naterialguy - Jul 27, 2015 at 6:39 AM

      Well good morning to you too Mr Buzz kill

    • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:35 AM

      Can’t deny it.

      Injury prone. Hate those 2 words… Grrrr

    • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      Wait – the point was that the Nats averaged 3.8 runs per game against a gauntlet of elite pitchers while having five of their top six hitters (Span, Rendon, Escobar, Werth, Zimmerman) out for most or all of those games. That’s … actually fairly surprising to me. I know that I held my breath every time waiting to see whether the Nats would get no-hit – and except for one of those games, the games were all actually competitive.

      And the “four year sample size” is typical sleight of hand, because the only way you draw that conclusion from the last four years is by relying on a handful of games. Despite winning more games than any other team in baseball over that stretch, it seems that the definition of “pressure games” for JayB and his ilk are “games the Nationals didn’t win.”

      Having typed this, I realize that rational responses are not going to get anywhere. But I’ll have my serving of cautious optimism without JayB’s proffered DOOM, thanks.

    • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:42 AM

      Yes they can win the NL east likely with a .500 record. So what?

      What do you mean “so what?” ???

      That’s all *any* team can do in the regular season — make the playoffs.

      After that, it’s a crap shoot.

      If we can enter the playoffs with three solid starters, and, say, Span and Werth back and doing well (remember, Werth hit something like .303 in his last nine games)

      The Royals only won 89 games and finished second in the Central last year — and made it to game 7 of the WS. Along the way, they swept the Angels (who had won 98 games) in three games, and swept the Orioles (96 wins and 1st place in the AL East) in four games.

      Everything about the regular season is only about: (a) making the playoffs; and (b) positioning yourself to do well once the playoffs start.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        And the team that the Royals lost to in the WS? The Giants, who won even fewer (88) games than the Royals, and were in extended free fall for essentially two months of the season, from mid-June through mid-August.

        Get to the dance, baby. Avoid the play-in game if you can (ask the A’s and Pirates about that), but get to the dance first and foremost.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:38 PM

        Well put, realjohn!

  2. rabbit433 - Jul 27, 2015 at 6:50 AM

    Whatever happens, this season is gravy for the Nationals. Their injury list is and has continuously been huge. Ross and Taylor are about there. We have a good shortstop on the way with Desmond’s departure expected. The Nats should do fine the rest of the year and set up well for 2016.

  3. JayB - Jul 27, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    Buzz Kill is this team not the messenger. They are what their record says they are. They choke as their records says they do. They miss games at a league leading average as the data says they do.

    • texnat1 - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      And what their record says is that they are a first place team despite battling a huge amount of injuries. And most of those injured players will be back in the not to distant future (knocks on wood).

  4. JayB - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    Perfect…the glass is full crowd is now talking about next year as “the year”…….no accountability for this organization no matter what the data says.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:41 AM

      Wow! All it took was one lost series to cure the lock jaw. The Mouth of Doom, Despair, and Retribution returns.

      I love that “Accountability” word. Get the torches and pitchforks and let’s go get ’em. Ridiculous. This team is a MASH unit. The fact they’re in first place is remarkable. Deal with it.

  5. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    Myself, I prefer to let the season play out before declaring a first-place team to be altogether lost, populated by chokers, managed by an incompetent fool, and designed by a short-sighted GM.

    On another topic, I finally got around to listening to a Baseball America podcast that discussed the July 2 international signings. One item they pointed out that is key for the Nats is that in 2016 five (count ’em FIVE) big-money teams will be unable to spend more than $300,000: the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, and Giants. Those teams are penalized for blowing past signing limits in previous years. This means that if Rizzo and co. identify key international prospect (s), those five teams can’t compete. Next year is probably the year to spend, spend, spend for another reason, namely that in 2017 there may be an international draft and the rules change completely.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      Unless they trade for international dollars, right?

      • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:05 AM

        I’m not sure of the rules. Atlanta traded for international dollars but that was before they spent them. In other words, they got a larger pool of money to spend. Once the penalty kicks in, I don’t know if you can evade it in a subsequent year in that way.

  6. veejh - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:25 AM

    25 of next 32 against teams not in playoff spots….

    This has me worried. If we stink it up the next month against a bunch of average teams, September is gonna be stressful. I’d love it if we ran away with it this month.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:48 AM

      Mets’ schedule is about the same, FWIW

  7. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    I also agree with a poster on an earlier thread that the most annoying loss since the All-Star Break was the Scherzer game. I don’t find that much fault with losing to Kershaw, Greinke, or the Pirates in PNC Park. If we start losing to the Marlins, DBacks, and Rockies then I’ll be worried. We need to clean up on those teams, get a little breathing room.

    Hopefully, Werth will be back in Miami. He’s got a big outfield there, but Michael A. can help him plenty with his energy and speed. It’s indoors, so he doesn’t have to face the terrible heat and humidity as he builds up his playing strength.

    A serious question must be addressed: will Zim be back this season? I don’t sense his rehab is going well. If not, Rizzo MUST look for a first-base rental who is a better defender than Clint Robinson.

    • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:41 AM

      Umm tymo

      That guy starts on most teams and has excelled at e every level. Scattered starts are destroying his career. Not fair at all.

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:48 AM

        Sorry but the only place Tyler Moore starts on a ML club is for a cellar dwelling club needing a semi power bat.

        On a division leading, playoff contending team, he comes off the bench as a pinch hitter and an occasional spot start.

      • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:50 AM

        I understand the impression of unfairness, but when he has started a string of consecutive games, he hasn’t really put up the offense. Now, his defense has definitely improved, you can see he’s worked on it a lot. To give him a “fair” chance, he’d have to start every day for a month at least (or close to it). For whatever reason, management has decided against that approach.

      • chaz11963 - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:51 AM

        There’s a reason TMo only gets scattered starts.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:08 AM

        Tyler is a nice kid, but he just isn’t any more than a low to middling 1st Baseman and, though he comes through once in a while at the plate, he is very inconsistent.

      • Section 222 - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        For whatever reason? Probably because they don’t want a guy with an OPS+ of 75 starting at 1B for a month. (Yes, I’ve removed his banner 2012 from that average. Does anyone really think it’s relevant at this point?).

        TyMo is a fifth year player who has excelled at every level except the one where he’s at now — in the majors. Sad, but true. And not going to change.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        “chaz11963 – Jul 27, 2015 at 7:51 AM
        There’s a reason TMo only gets scattered starts.”

        Just wondering, whats the reason?

        Guys like Morse, Werth, Vogt, just to name a few never got much of a chance either. Moore is not a bench player. He needs to start.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        I don’t think I understand the word “fair” the same way.

        The team owes him a salary and is paying it. How they use him–how much he plays–is up the team, and dependent on what the team decides in its best interests. That’s not any different from how they treat any other player.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        nats128 – Jul 27, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        “chaz11963 – Jul 27, 2015 at 7:51 AM
        There’s a reason TMo only gets scattered starts.”

        Just wondering, whats the reason?

        The reason is that he *has* had extended regular play due to various other injuries the Nats have had. He did well in 2012, but that was it.

        In 2013 he started pretty much the entire month of May, and batted .123 with 24 K’s (in 71 PA’s!) After that he didn’t play much at all at the MLB level.

        In 2014, he also started most of May — and hit .223 Then got sent down again.

        Maybe if he started, say, two straight months the story would be different — but doing that experiment in a pennant race doesn’t seem the prudent way to go.

  8. edshelton2013 - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    I’m worried about Span’s back problems. He’s been out a couple of weeks and Mark says he’s coming back “after Werth and Zimmerman”.
    Is there a medical diagnosis?

    • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM

      The message I’m getting (not a doctor, here) is that they think his back problems stem from his core not being strong enough after the surgeries, so they gave him strengthening exercises which resulted in inflammation and pain, which in turn caused them to give him a cortisone shot and shut him down for a few days to let the shot take effect.

      Once he is pain-free, I assume they will resume the strengthening exercises and go from there. Because of that process, and because by that time he’ll have been out of action for several weeks, he’ll need minor-league rehab. The rehab will also test whether the spasms return. So: mid-August at the earliest. Definitely “after Werth.”

      As for “after Zimmerman,” well, see above, I’m not confident when Zim will return. I’m watching Dickerson of Colorado, who just got off the DL with the same injury to see how long he lasts. The previous time he played only a few days before he had to go back on the DL.

  9. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    With regard to the catching situation. Like many, I’m disappointed in Ramos. He seems healthy, but his offense has not been great, and of course we all notice the dropped balls on plays at the plate. I’m not ready to give up on him, however. He does seem to be good at throwing out base-stealers, for example. I don’t think Rizzo will do anything this season. Isn’t there a guy in our system, Pedro Severino, who is close–he’s in Harrisburg–would he be ready next year? He’s slashed .266/.311/.359 in 70 games, but has made seven errors.

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 27, 2015 at 7:53 AM

      My comment yesterday was meant more toward the long term and the realization that an upgrade at Wilson’s position has become apparent.

      And Severino is a definite possibility but none the less, I have become disenchanted with Wilson as a franchise catcher.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:11 AM

        Any feelings regarding Stephen Vogt? The A’s are sellers and rumors say he is available.He had freak injuries in the past, but seems to be healthy now.

      • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:14 AM

        I’ve “watched” Stephen Vogt all season because he’s been very good in fantasy. He also plays first base (not sure how well), so I’d be in favor if he’s not too expensive. You’d have to let Tyler Moore go–maybe the A’s would take him.

      • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:23 AM

        You’d be carrying three catchers, though. Not sure how that would work out. Can’t let go of Lobaton without impacting Gio, that wouldn’t fly with me.

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        Joe, re Vogt. I have stopped guessing or even remotely proposing possible moves by Rizzo.

        In spite of our resident ray of sunshine, and much like NatsLady, I prefer to let the games play out and withhold judgement until the season plays out.

        Some of us actually appreciate and enjoy watching the Nats.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        I am still a Wilson Ramos fan, but the inability to make the plays on seemingly any kind of throw from the outfield has gotten old. It even looked to me like he had changed mitts a while ago to one of the more flexible hybrids. I agree with the poster yesterday, [MNF], that said Ramos seems to be trying to be more focused on the runner than he is catching the ball. Over the past 3 seasons he has dropped more than a few that were on the money.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        And NatsLady, good point re: Loboton. There is slim [no] chance of carrying 3 catchers.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:21 AM

        I’d vote for not trading with the A’s. That’s about the only organization that’s been able to do even or better deals with Rizzo!

    • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      This reminds me so much of 2012 and Kurt Suzuki. Davey drove him right into the ground by playing him almost every day.

      This stoic type of thing with a big body’d guy like Ramos is not good. No way should he play 6 games a week. MW had him in for that Wednesday day game after the night game and has done it many times. Not smart. Ramos is playing with no energy.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        This reminds me so much of 2012 and Kurt Suzuki. Davey drove him right into the ground by playing him almost every day.

        No he didn’t. We got him in August, and only once did he play in three consecutive games that month — he had a lot of days off. He then played 8 straight days in early Sept, and then the last 11 days of the season. But that’s not driving a 28 year old into the ground.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:02 AM

        The last 11 days of the season is what I was referring to and then every inning of the playoffs.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:40 AM

        OK — I made a slight error — he played catcher for 10 days in a row towards the end of the season, but then (other than a single pinch hitting appearance) didn’t play the last two games, and then the team was off for four days until the playoffs. So after the 10 days in a row catching (which shouldn’t burn out a 28 year old) which ended on Oct 1, he next played on Oct 7 in the first game of the playoffs. (And after playing on Oct 7 & 8, the teams had a day off on Oct 9)

        FWIW, Yadier Molina, in that September, played 11 straight full games (which included catching a 12 inning game and an 11 inning game), had one day off, then 8 straight games ending on Oct 2. Then he caught every inning of the playoffs, too. He also caught a lot more games at catcher than Suzuki did that year (136 vs 117). Was Molina burnt out?

        Sorry — I just think you are mistaken.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        It did burn him out and Yadier Molina who everyone wants to compare to is super human.

        Ramos is playing like the walking wounded. Its getting hard to watch.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:54 AM

        Catching 10 straight days — once in an entire season — burns out a 28 year old?

        I am skeptical.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:01 AM

        Im always skeptical.

  10. unkyd59 - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    “Buzz Kill is this team not the messenger.”

    Wrong, yet again… This team fights, every day. Even with so many injuries, still leading their (lousy) division. In a couple of weeks, their depth will be the best in baseball, although you will never admit it, because you are on record as saying Rizzo’s bench would amount to nothing, this year.

    Yep. Definitely the messenger…

    • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:01 AM


    • npb99 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Exactly. With all the injuries they’ve had, the team has done very well.

  11. rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    I have mixed emotions whether the glass is half filled with this team.I do agree that it would seem we are going nowhere with all the injuries and under achievement.The one hope is I remember last year late in the season after we beat up the Giants on a Sunday after noon.I thought they looked finished with a few injuries and a battered pitching staff.I really preferred playing them in the first round rather than the Cards or Dodgers.Well we know how that season played out.

  12. Doc - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    It’d be nice in the stretch run if our fabled Buffalo would stop killing rallies with DPs and hold on to balls thrown from the OF. Coming through with men on base is cringe worthy with Ramos at bat.

    • coop202 - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      It’s pretty rough when you can call the 1st and 3rd and just wish he’d bunt and somehow Clint would beat it out. Having said that, first year with a significantly sub 700 ops – at 27 he’s too young to be falling off a cliff offensively. Fingers crossed he and desi can figure it out when there’s less pressure hiding in a healthy roster.

      • homeparkdc - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        Actually, I have the best idea for improving tags at home. Instead of the pitcher running to back up home plate, he runs to third base. Escobar, in the meantime, before the runner gets to third, precedes him down the third base line, intercepts to throw and tags the runner. Is that legal? You heard it here first. 🙂

    • stoatva - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      .293 with RISP is cringe worthy?
      You have very high standards indeed.

      • Doc - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:26 AM

        I stand corrected. I’ll take your stats over my subjective impressions any day!

        Maybe I was thinking of all the DPs the Buffalo ‘seems’ to hit into.

      • stoatva - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:04 AM

        I’ll agree with you to the extent that those splits would have benefitted from the inclusion of a GIDP column. Like Pudge before him Ramos is a DP machine.

  13. JayB - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:18 AM


    • JayB - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      When has Zimm Werth team not been a mash unit? It has gotten worse every year and we lead all 30 teams in missed games

      Is anyone really surprise given the team history under Rizzo?

      • homeparkdc - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:28 AM

        Hmmmm. Was the “test” comment to check if you had been banished yet? Alas, no.

      • JayB - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        Sure you do ‘t like hearing the truth Is there anything about the facts you can dispute?

        Yea they may turn into the best team in baseball or become the Giants but this team has no hunter pence or yadie and does have a long history of major under achievement. Time to clean house of all these guys like Zimm and stras and get some new clubhouse leadership that are tough and play the game not watch it for 100 games a year

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:04 AM

        Is anyone really surprise given the team history under Rizzo?

        Team history under Rizzo — you mean, like, turning a consecutive 100+ loss team into perennial contenders?

        Or are you blaming Rizzo because he hasn’t been able to stop Werth from getting hit by piches which break his wrist?

        You’re really earning your LoD label this morning. (Oh, right, because it’s following a loss)

      • rayvil01 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        Rizzo is responsible for Plantar Fasciitis. That’s an interesting concept. And Rizzo is responsible for Jayson Werth’s broken wrist. Ok, sure. And Rizzo is responsible for world hunger and global warming. Glad that all got figured out. Now we know who to blame…for everything!

        BTW, Hunter Pence has missed 67 games with injury this year. That darned Rizzo!

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        reminder to Wonk:

        ‘ Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it’.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        jd – Jul 27, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        reminder to Wonk:

        ‘ Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it’.

        Yeah, I know. You’re right.

        But sometimes I like to pretend I have good aim by shooting fish in a barrel 😉

  14. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Not earth-shattering, but an interesting read from SF Chronicle none the less regarding Clippard and Zobrist. The author is pretty highly regarded in that area:

  15. coolhandbane - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    By Jon Hayman

    “Nationals, Blue Jays looking at Kimbrel; Trea Turner sought by SD”

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      The last time the Nats traded the fastest guy in the organization turned in to a mistake. I hope they don’t repeat it with Trea.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:06 AM

        I really don’t think they’ll trade Turner. Although turning Souza into Ross and Kimbrel would look good, I actually think Turner is far more important to the Nats’ long-term success than a bullpen arm, even an excellent one.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:09 AM

        “The Padres, in fact, suggested a return of shortstop Trea Turner in a potential package back from the Nats, according to sources, though word is the chances of that happening are somewhere between slim and none.”

        Slim and none.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:24 AM

        And I think slim just got DFA’d.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        No way. Trea is Desi’s replacement next year.

        masterfishkeeper – Jul 27, 2015 at 10:24 AM

        And I think slim just got DFA’d.

        Awesome! Best chuckle of the morning! Thanks!

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 27, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        The Padres want Turner back, huh? The Phillies finally got Ryne Sandberg back. How’d that work out? Well, they always did wait too long to make a move.

    • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      Just say no thank you Mike. Preller wants to reverse his previous bad deal.

      By the way, Steven Souza is below .210 and has been a K machine.

    • Doc - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      Tough luck Pads!

      You ain’t getting him back—not even for King Kimbrel!

  16. jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    I think the Mets made a couple of nice moves late last week. Uribe and Johnson are not needle moving big time bats but they are big improvements on the likes of Muno and Siciliani. Comforto likewise looks like an improvement on what they had before and none of this cost them anything significant.

    Coming into the trade deadline I remain convinced that the BP while shaky is of secondary importance because upgrading it will only make a difference in winning or losing 1 or or 2 games (IMO), make no mistake about it. I would love to obtain a Chapman or Kimbrel or Clippard or Benoit or Paplebon I just wouldn’t give up a grade ‘A’ prospect for any of them (no Turner, Ross,Giolito).

    I think the big 64K gorilla in the room is the 1st base question. Rizzo needs to be really clear about RZim’s health as well as the probability that he can be a productive bat the rest of the way, here I think Rizzo needs to err on the side of caution and if there’s an even chance that Zim won’t be back and/or productive he must resolve this via trade. Sorry, CRob is not the answer, and TyMo is not even close to CRob productivity wise.

    Lastly, people should get over complaining about our catching situation. It’s not a great situation but it’s not a bad situation either, it’s fine and it’s sufficient. It’s far down the list of things to worry about.

    • virginiascopist - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      I agree on the bullpen, and wouldn’t want to give up too much if we were to attempt an upgrade. I think it may be somewhat dependent on how Carpenter is doing in his rehab.

      I’m worried about RZim as well. Any suggestions for 1B? Lind would be nice. How about Morse? I know he’s signed for two years, but we could always trade him in the off-season. Just as long as we never deign to put him in the outfield again.

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM


        I think Lind’s the guy. average defense, well above average offense reasonable contract with a team option of $8mil for next year. I think Milwaukee will move him for a couple of mid level prospects (2 from among: Voth, Pivetta, Skole, Jordan, Cole). They may hold out for Difo and Lopez or Fedde and I’d do it if we only lose one of them. I don’t think Morse is an upgrade over what we have.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        “Sorry, CRob is not the answer”

        jd, I agree and even the nice WaPo article on CRobs easy swing is nice but they didnt get him to be a singles hitter.

        Agree with 1st base. Even Morse is better than Clint Robinson on defense.

        I disagree on the bullpen as your not doing it as much for the regular season but the postseason where every run is at a premium.

        Game 2 and Game 4 were both lost in the bullpen as was Game 5 in 2012. The Royals made it to the World Series on the strength of the bullpen.

      • TimDz - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        Cardinals have their sights on Lind….

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:47 AM


        The Royals did but the Giants won the world series with a totally mediocre bullpen. There are many ways to skin a cat, I don’t believe in building a team for the post season, I think you build the best possible team for the regular season and then you let the chips fall where they may.

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        I know Timdz,

        I’d tell Milwaukee they should avoid trading inside their own division.

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        Re: the Cards have their sights on Lind. I doubt the Brewers send Lind to the Cards unless they are able to extract a sizeable return.

        And the Cards are notorious for dumping guys with declining skills whether they are at the ML level or in the minors.

        Just ask the Red Sox.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:53 AM

        “The Royals did but the Giants won the world series with a totally mediocre bullpen.”

        I was just about to post the same thing. I mean, if we had a lousy bullpen (a-la Detroit Tigers perennially), I could definitely see searching for upgrades.

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:55 AM


        Look at Lind’s numbers. He’s not declining so much yet.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:56 AM

        According to the report on this by MLB Trade Rumors, Lind had a supposedly minor back issue crop up this past weekend.

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        JD, it’s not Lind with the declining numbers, it’s what the Cards dump on you in a trade.

        Trading Shelby Miller was an outlier for them only because of the tragic loss of Taveras.

        I have no problem with a healthy Lind.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:10 PM

        jd, easy to say and the Giants mediocre bullpen had 6 bullpen arms that gave up no runs in the World Series

        Bumgarner 0.00
        Casilla 0.00
        Romo 0.00
        Affeldt 0.00
        Linceum 0.00
        Lopez 0.00

        Yusmeiro Petit shutdown the Nats in Game 2 of the playoffs and they had Bumgarner to close out Game 7 when the chips were on the line. One miss step and the Royals are hoisting that WS Trophy.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:03 PM

        Counting Bumgarner as part of the Giants’ bullpen is fairly silly; if Bochy had a tremendous amount of faith in his bullpen then he wouldn’t have had to go to Bumgarner to finish up the last few innings. Not only did you ignore everything but the WS (that record that led Bochy to not have faith in his ‘pen), but even in the WS you also cleverly left out the relief pitchers (Machi, Strickland) that got pounded, and ignored the inherited runners that the Giants’ relievers allowed to score. That there is a tour-de-force of cherrypicking data.

        And it doesn’t even refute the larger point that you don’t need a 2014 Royals-esque bullpen to win a WS.

  17. TimDz - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    After getting to work early today to see a client, I got the chance to read the thread here…


    You’d think the Nats were cellar dwelling. Even though they have had many regulars out, the Nats are still on top of the division. They are going to make the playoffs and then it’s a crap shot anyway. ANY of the teams can win once getting into the playoffs. If MW took the worrywort approach being taken here by some of you, he’d probably tell Rizzo to just sell off pieces and go into full rebuild mode. This team is set up to win now (which doesn’t always have to mean running the table and winning the WS every year) and continue to win in the future. Last check on my calandar says it’s May (which apparently reminds me that I need to change my calandar)….there is still plenty of baseball left.

    • zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:55 AM


    • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

      Last check on my calandar says it’s May (which apparently reminds me that I need to change my calandar)

      Second big chuckle of the morning! Thanks!

      Y’all (meaning all the non LoD’ers) are on a roll!

      In any event, I agree 100% with what you said here:

      They are going to make the playoffs and then it’s a crap shot anyway. ANY of the teams can win once getting into the playoffs. If MW took the worrywort approach being taken here by some of you, he’d probably tell Rizzo to just sell off pieces and go into full rebuild mode. This team is set up to win now (which doesn’t always have to mean running the table and winning the WS every year) and continue to win in the future.

      Well said!

      It takes a special GM to take a perennial cellar dweller (the franchise finished last 6 out of 8 years), which was also a team where MLB destroyed the farm system — and build it into a team that can both win now *and* be set up to be a solid team in the future (Ross, Turner, Giolito . . . — three guys among BP’s top 31 prospects in all of MLB). And on top of that, have a team with a deep enough bench to suffer long absences from Fister, SS, Werth, RZ, Span, Rendon and yet _still_ be able to be leading a division (even if it’s not a strong division)

      The glass isn’t half full — it’s 3/4 full and more water is expected.

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:18 AM


        To tell you the honest truth I am beginning to be a bit concerned. We were in great position to put the Mets away several weeks ago and then within days we lost :Rendon, Span, Strasburg and Esco and this allowed the Mets to hang around. I know we got Rendon and Esco back and Werth is almost here but Span (whose injury I consider to be the one that stopped our momentum) and Stras are still weeks away and the Mets did make some nice minor moves and look to make one or more bigger moves.

        The Mets are home to San Diego this week while we face Fernandez and the Marlins on the road. I fear that we will get to NY less than 2 games ahead and once again have to face: Harvey, DeGrom and Syndergard, a very bumpy road ahead to be sure.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:34 AM

        To tell you the honest truth I am beginning to be a bit concerned.

        Oh, I’m concerned, too. The Mets did make some very good moves for them (right after aquiring Uribe he gets a walk-off hit for them)

        It’ll make for an exciting pennant race!

        But I’d rather be in the Nats position with Nats players than the Mets position with Mets players. It’s ain’t going to be easy, but you gotta figure the Nats have much better odds. If, within a few weeks, we have Rendon, Span and Werth back, and perhaps Strasburg — those are pretty good summer pick-ups, better than anybody the Mets just acquired. And in Esco and Harper (and Span if he returns to form) we have three hitters who are better than anybody the Mets have (their leading hitter, Murphy, sits at .272).

    • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      Its brutal. All it takes is losing a series to turn the tide here to negativity. They have to find a new whipping boy since Ian Desmond is hitting again. Pitchforks out.

      • homeparkdc - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        Well, we can start with Harper. May – 13 HR, June – 6 HR, July – 3 HR. Obviously, he’s in a slump, just hitting .250 in the last 7 days. Forget the pitchers’ quality, he’s always hit the tough ones.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:12 PM

        Yes, Bryce swung at many balls out of the zone this week which is something he hadnt been doing. Walks turned into Ks.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:08 PM

        According to B-R, over the last 7 days Harper’s hitting .273 … with an OBP of .385. Which is down from his otherworldly season OBP of .460 (!), but is still excellent.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:16 PM

        More to do with swinging at balls out of the zone. Most people would love to hit like he has the last 7 days.

      • homeparkdc - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:37 PM

        As a Bryce Harper fan, I allow myself to split hairs here.
        July 20-26 7 games 24 AB 6 H 5 BB 4 SO .250 BA
        That’s ESPiN and B-R.
        Hopefully, the recent quality pitching took it’s toll.
        Fernandez walked him twice last time they met, so we’ll see. Smarter later.

  18. nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    jd, if you go to Lind are you willing to make him the primary 1st baseman against left-handed pitching?

    I like that as a move to make.

    • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:11 AM

      Look, Adam Lind isn’t a super star but he is slashing: .285 .365 .500 this year and .321 .381 ,479 last year. I would absolutely bring him in to be the everyday 1st baseman unless RZim is totally fine. I think Rizzo has a better idea of RZim’s status than we do and I think he’l act accordingly.

      BTW, I think you are under selling CRob’s offense a bit he is slashing at .269 .348 .407 which would be ok if every one else was back and if he wasn’t a complete defensive butcher at any position. I mean TyMo is at .216 .267 .374 which is nowhere near what CRob is. It’s also not fair to say that TyMo hasn’t been given a chance to play regularly at all, he was practically handed a job out of spring training and he didn’t hit all.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:23 AM

        I like his offense compared to RZ as Ryan was about the worst in the Majors. He has seemed to do away with a full stroke and is swinging with that easy serve swing to the shallow outfield and every once in a while finds a gap for a double. 1st base is supposed to be a power position.

        755 is almost in the bottom 3rd for OPS for a 1st baseman , Lind is at 865. You dont take a 755 1st baseman who plays defense that loses games. He gets to nothing and couldnt even play 2 foul balls over the weekend and turned a 5-0 shutout into a 5-3 stressful game when he couldnt handle a groundball. Worst than that he doesnt stay in front of balls. Like Laroche last year, if the ball isnt hit right at him on a hard shot he has no way to get it. He also rarely scoops a throw in the dirt at 1st.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        Nats128, that sounds like a summation of what I’ve been saying for weeks on CRob. Given time to play he’s been exposed.

        Either you hope on a wing and a prayer that RZim finds himself or you get Lind who is available. CRob returns to the bench and you move RZim to the 60 day DL .

        On a positive on CRob, his new swing reminds me of Freddie Freeman where he takes what they give you meaning you play him at regular depth and he will poke a single into shallow, you play him shallow like Lagares and he will swing harder over your head. I would be fine with CRob if he played defense. He’s awful in all aspects of the position and the only hope is they don’t hit it his way.

  19. rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Ramos is not very athletic and can not move quickly.This is not new but his bat was thought to be the equalizer.He has regressed and now is an average catcher that we have to live with.Lobaton is an excellent back up.

    • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:34 AM

      Lobaton is an excellent back up.

      Emphasis on “back up.” He’s a good catcher . . . but he’s hitting .200

      • rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:02 PM

        Yes I said back up.whats your point

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:37 PM

        I’ve seen more than one comment here (a few days ago) saying that Lobaton should be playing instead of Ramos. (Not saying that you wrote it). I just wanted to stress why I thought that was not a great idea.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      Actually, Ramos is simply a better catcher defensively than Lobaton. He’s better at catching the ball (only on passed ball in 652.1 innings, averages a WP/PB every 41 innings versus Lobaton with 3 passed balls in 204.2 innings and averages a WP/PB every 17 innings), and is better at throwing the ball (37% CS vs. 28% for Lobaton). Other teams have noticed the latter, and attempt fewer stolen bases when Ramos is catching (one attempt every 17 innings) when compared with when Lobaton catches (one attempt every 11.4 innings). Nats pitchers give up fewer earned runs (3.56 vs. 3.87 ERA) and runs, period (3.82 vs. 4.53 runs/avg) when Ramos is catching. Ramos moves quickly enough to have a better range factor than Lobaton (plays per game) and

      And on pitch framing, where Lobaton has a slight advantage, the difference is not tremendous. The last I checked Ramos was also above average as a pitch framer, though not quite as good as Lobaton. And I can’t help but wonder whether Lobaton’s emphasis on pitch framing, so lovingly chronicled by FP, is part of the reason that so many balls go to the backstop when he catches. FWIW I’ll note that, according to Baseball Info Solutions (as reported on B-R), Ramos is also a better play caller than Lobaton.

      Although his fielding of throws at the plate drives us all crazy, other than that Ramos is a very good, arguably excellent, defensive catcher. Which is good, since his bat hasn’t produced this year.

  20. zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    I just read a comment on I think MLB Trade Rumors about the possibility of Kimbrel coming to the Nats. I think it was from a Braves fan who was not happy about seeing their guy in a Nationals uniform.

    Good thing I am not a GM and the thought of how Braves fans would go ballistic over that might make it worth it to me to overpay for him :-).

    • rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      Kimbrel is the best solution with Storen in the 8th.

  21. rmoore446 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    I think the most important missing piece is Span. He set the table, put pressure on the defense, and provided a spark that is sorely missed. Back injuries are tough to predict and the lack of noticeable progress is worrisome. Regarding Zimmerman, I have had Plantar Fasciitis and it was extremely painful and hard to get back where I could walk without pain. Hard to imagine getting back to playing first base with it.

    I don’t blame Rizzo but there is something about this team and injuries. Rendon is looking like a fragile, slow-healing player. It’s not going to get better for Ryan and Worth and another starter can injure himself on a check-swing and walk to the dugout in the middle of an at-bat. Thank goodness Rizzo has nicely stocked minor-league rosters.

    • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:48 AM

      Also sees a lot of pitches and gets on base. Werth could suprize us yet!

      • zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:50 AM

        Werth is not your prototypical lead-off guy, but he could be a viable option until Denard gets back.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:59 AM

        Have to see if he is back to form. His 1st half was bad and that was before the wrist injury.

      • rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        The news that the price for Chapman is Giolito does not surprise me as Nats fans here were not willing to give Ross for Chapman who I suggested that a couple of days ago.Again you have to give something of equal value to get value.I said at the time the Reds would not even take Ross.I would not give Giolito but would give Ross and Difo.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:11 PM

        And as I noted the other day, I would not be surprised if the Reds asked for Ross, but I think it would be silly for the Nats to offer him for one (expensive) season + two months of Chapman. To me, that just means that there’s no deal there that works for both teams, so you move on.

      • rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:17 PM

        Who do you want to give for Chapman as they would not take Ross alone.I want to make a deal not make offers that result in Barrett,Jansen,Treinen,Solisi etc.We need help in we want to have a chance.Nobody is going to give you a premier closer for garbage you offer.

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:35 PM

        I tell Jocketty you can have 2 of the following 5 (Cole, Goodwin, Voth, Piveta and Fedde). You simply don’t trade a 22 year old starter who has already competed successfully in the majors, with 6 years of team control at reasonable prices for 1.4 years of a reliever who has pitched worse than your own closer. you don’t see the Mets trading any of their young pitchers and they have some serious needs.

      • rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 2:01 PM

        You do not have to worry about a Ross for Chapman because Cincy is not that dumb.

      • jd - Jul 27, 2015 at 2:34 PM

        OK so last year Tampa Bay and Andrew Freedman considered one of the best GM’s in baseball traded David Price who had 1.4 years left on his team control (like Chapman) and by all reasonable measures would be considered a much more attractive target than Aroldis Chapman (you know Cy Young and all). What did Tampa get in return?

        Drew Smyly – 25 year old ‘B’ level prospect.
        Willy Adames – 19 year old SS who this year is hitting .260 at A+ ball.
        Nick Franklin – 23 year old 2B who is back at AAA after hitting .139 for the Rays.

        And you think that a 22 year old who has excelled at AA and AAA and in every one of his major league starts and is under team control for 6 years is a dumb move for the Reds?

        OK – you are entitled to your wrong opinion.

      • rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 5:41 PM

        I guess you did not read that the Reds want Giolito.THEY WILL NEVER TAKE ROSS.END OF DISCUSSION.

      • nats128 - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:16 PM

        Its easy to walk away and say no. He might be the best and then you can look at the very good ones that cost less.

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:42 PM

        His first half was steadily improving — his last 14 games was .264; his last nine games was .313

      • rmoore446 - Jul 27, 2015 at 11:50 AM

        True, Worth can wear pitchers out and I would love to be surprised.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    For your amusement. The Nats and Mets ones are both funny and I LOL’d at a couple of the others.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      Thank you. Made my lunch hour.

  23. micksback1 - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    As far as trade deadlines go, I think FP may have hit the nail on the head when he said yesterday 2 interesting points:

    1) look what happen to the A’s last year when they made their deals, they went fron 1st in the west to a team who fell apart due to chemistry.

    2) Historically with a 1-2 exceptions, when has a team won a championship by a blockbuster deal at the deadline, Ricky Henderson, Toronto, maybe?

    Rizzo will be cautious I believe

    • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:27 PM

      Agree. I don’t see a blockbuster move. I’m concerned about first base (Zim’s return, and what his offense will be if he does return) and the bullpen maybe could use another piece–although if Roark can be Stammen I think we might be OK. Thornton and Rivera are fine lefties, Janssen seems determined to prove himself as the 8th inning guy, Storen is Storen. Barrett is problematic because of his inconsistency and Solis is just holding down the minor-league “audition spot” at the moment.

    • zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:16 PM

      Another reason perhaps to try and get Clippard.

      Chapman and Kimbrel will both cost too much (players and $s).

      The need is a setup guy. Clippard cab do that and close. And given Kimbrel’s salary in the rest of his deal, maybe Clippard can be extended (not likely, but I can dream cant I?).

      • adcwonk - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:40 PM

        Indeed — Kimbrel is owed a nice chunk of change: $11M for 2016 and $13M for 2017

  24. rlndtln - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Rizzo will definitely make a big BP move.Hopefully Chapman .I can not understand why Storen and Chapman can not control the 8th and 9th innings jointly.3 lefties in 8th you bring in Chapman.I think even MW can figure that out.

  25. zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    Tim Kirkjian was on 980 this morning and he said the Reds price for Chapman is Giolito.

    Non-starter IMO.

  26. zmunchkin - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    Would hate to see this.

  27. faridrushdi - Jul 27, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    Without a doubt, the smartest baseball fans leave their comments here. Wow.

    The Nationals are in a tough spot to be sure. As Mike Rizzo suggests, they just have to wait a little longer and they get back five potential all-star players, which is like making big trades. But …..

    If Ryan Zimmerman comes back and continues to hit as he did earlier this year, he will hurt the team as Clint Robinson has much better numbers (.269 /.348 /.407 vs. .209 /.265 /.346)

    Anthony Rendon will play at 2nd or 3rd, benching either the team’s #3 power hitter in Espinosa (.253 /.324 /.416) or it’s most consistent contact hitter in Escobar (.322/.368/.425). so Rendon does not make the team any better. At all.

    Jayson Werth (.209/.294/.287) would replace Matt denDekker (.184/.259/.347) in left. If he returns to form, that’s a big pickup. But if he doesn’t, it’s not a game-changer to be sure. Those slash-lines are comparable.

    And we have no idea when/if Denard Span is going to return. No one is really talking about it.

    So all of those post-DL “all-stars” will make some difference, but not as much as we all hope. The team’s rotation is doing okay but they are not going to carry the team, so they need some offense to secure that playoff spot.

    I think they need to bite the bullet and let Werth and Zimmerman get healthy for 2016 and go get some soon-to-be free agent bats for first and left, people like Yoenis Cespedes. Keep Turner and Giolito but invest who ever else they have into this year’s potential because next year the dismantling begins.





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