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Dizziness, but no concussion for Harper after 1st-inning collision

Sep 13, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

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Updated at 4:36 p.m.

An already disastrous week for the Nationals was dealt yet one more blow Sunday afternoon when Bryce Harper was forced out of the club’s series finale in Miami following a first-inning collision with second baseman Derek Dietrich, though the initial prognosis for the 22-year-old slugger was encouraging.

Harper was suffering from dizziness but passed all concussion tests after being removed from the game for precautionary reasons, manager Matt Williams told reporters in Miami. He’ll be re-evaluated before Monday’s series opener in Philadelphia.

The collision occurred as Harper was rounding second base on Jayson Werth’s soft grounder to short with two outs in the top of the first. Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas only had one realistic play, and he took it, throwing across the diamond to retire Werth and end the inning.

Harper, perhaps sensing the throw might be late, went hard around second in an attempt to swipe another base. Dietrich, though, went to cover the bag himself, even though there was no play to be made, and got in Harper’s way, leading to the collision.

Dietrich was playing in only his second game of the season at second base, having spent 35 games in left field, 22 games at third base and two more at first base.

Harper was on the ground in pain for a couple of minutes but eventually got up to his feet and appeared to be asking Williams and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz to let him stay in the game. He wound up walking off the field under his own power once told he couldn’t continue.

Harper, the odds-on favorite to win NL MVP honors, is only the latest significant member of the Nationals to suffer an injury this week. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman strained an oblique muscle at the start of the week and has missed the last five games. Center fielder Michael Taylor has been dealing with a nagging knee injury and has been forced to miss a few games over the last two weeks. And reliever Drew Storen broke his right thumb slamming his locker door shut after giving up a home run to Yoenis Cespedes during Wednesday night’s loss to the Mets and will miss the season’s final three weeks.

  1. Candide - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    God hates us.

  2. jfmii - Sep 13, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    It’s Rizzo’s fault

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      No, it’s JayB’s fault.

  3. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    Hope he’s okay. I said some bad words to my tv when it happened. 😦

  4. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    No need to risk further injury to Harper, so I was very glad they took him out. The question is: How soon will they put him back out there? He will, of course, lobby hard to play tomorrow. His left glute has been hurting and he seemed to grab it after the collision. That isn’t something that will heal quickly, especially if you are swinging a bat and running on it. I’d rather they shut him down for a few games than risk any worsening of his injuries.

    And, I used to say GYFNG!!! But now I’d like to add to the lexicon: GYFMWG!!! The intention behind it is not quite the same.

  5. micksback1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    happy for Max but this nightmare season can not end st enough

    • npb99 - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:10 PM

      Exactly. I’m ready for the warm and fuzzy optimism of the offseason.

      • NatsNut - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:00 AM

        LOL. love this.

    • Hiram Hover - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:29 AM

      If it ended now we wouldn’t get to see them play at home again.

      I’d like the chance to cheer one last time for the guys who (almost certainly) won’t be back.

  6. nats106 - Sep 13, 2015 at 6:42 PM

    I saw a Mets rooster crowing on the other thread (rather politely, actually). Good for you. Roosters always crow loudest after the darkest of winters, of which you’ve had quite a few so enjoy it now.

    Playoffs are really wide open. Good luck. When you get to the WS, come back to Natsinsider and flap your wings as well.

  7. kirbs3256 - Sep 13, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    What is everybody’s opinion on the next manager if MW gets fired? (I still think that’s a big IF, the “injuries” may save him).

    I think Bud Black.

  8. snopes1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    Time to start thinking about the offseason. Clearly, the Nats won’t be in a rebuilding mode next year. They have too much talent for that.

    They’re probably going to let Denard Span, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, and Doug Fister leave (though all but Fister will probably get qualifying offers).

    The Nats could actually fill the slots of the departing players almost entirely internally with players they have under contract for 2016 or who are in the minor league system. I think a lot of pundits would pick this team to win the NL East in 2016:

    1B – Ryan Zimmerman
    2B – Trea Turner
    SS – Yunel Escobar
    3B – Anthony Rendon
    C – Wilson Ramos
    LF – Jayson Werth
    CF – Michael Taylor
    RF – Bryce Harper

    SP1 – Max Schwerzer
    SP2 – Stephen Strasburg
    SP3 – Gio Gonzalez
    SP4 – Tanner Roark
    SP5 – AJ Cole or Joe Ross (possibly to be replaced by Lucas Giolito in May or June)

    Closer – Jonathan Papelbon

    Bench –
    C – Jose Lobaton
    IF – Danny Espinosa
    IF – Wilmer Difo
    OF/1B – Clint Robinson
    OF – Erik Davis

    Bullpen
    – Drew Storen
    – Craig Stammen
    – Blake Treinen
    – AJ Cole or Joe Ross
    – Felipe Rivero
    – Sammy Solis

    They won’t fill all their vacancies internally, of course, but even if they did most people would say that’s a team that could be a contender, if not an overwhelming favorite the way the 2015 Nats were coming into the season. So the Nats are still in a position of strength moving toward 2016

    The departure of Zimmermann, et al. opens up about $48 million in contractual commitments, so the Nats can be competitive on the free agent market.

    Here are some initial thoughts on how the Nats might approach the offseason.

    First Base: Zimmerman at 1B is not a strength (his production for a first baseman is average at best and his foot problem threatens to be chronic) and he’ll be 31 on opening day 2016. But no matter how logical it might be to trade him and sign Chris Davis or upgrade through a trade, Zimmerman really is the face of the franchise. Unless he becomes much more of a liability than he is now, Zimmerman will remain at first base.

    Left Side of the Infield: Yunel Escobar probably played over his head in 2015 and Trea Turner probably isn’t ready to be an MLB starter yet and Danny Espinosa can’t hit well enough to be a regular. So an upgrade at 2B/SS/3B would make sense for 2016. But the 2016 free agent class at 2B/SS/3B isn’t very strong, with the 35 year old Ben Zobrist and the Mets’ Dan Murphy probably the best of a weak field. Escobar is signed through 2016 and there’s a $7M club option for 2017, but in the not very distant future, the Nats are going to need another middle infielder or third baseman. This is an area where it might make sense to try to upgrade through a trade.

    Catcher: Wilson Ramos has taken a lot of heat from Nats fans this year, but his lousy .634 OPS is the 8th best among MLB catchers and he has the potential to do much better. Maybe the Nats will make a run at Matt Wieters, but if they don’t get him, I don’t see an update out there. Ramos is adequate, even on a contending team.

    Outfield: Harper is obviously a lock in right. Michael Taylor has steadily improved through the year playing when Span has been hurt, but his current .674 OPS would be near the bottom of MLB center fielders. The Nats might very well want Taylor to have another year of Triple A before committing to him full time. And Jayson Werth’s health and age (36 on opening day) make him a serious concern (though he’s signed through 2017 at $21M per year and has a full no-trade clause).

    The Nats don’t have an elite outfielder prospect in their system, so it might make a lot of sense for the Nats to try to sign one of the several high value outfield free agents. They could sign Jason Hayward, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, or Yoenis Cespedes to a long-term contract, send Taylor back to the minors for 2016, and call Taylor up if Werth starts to falter. However, unless they signed Cespedes, Harper would have to move to center for 2016 under this scenario, which the Nats might be reluctant to do.

    Another option would be to sign Span to a one-year contract for 2016, but this wouldn’t solve their longer term outfield problem. And Span’s health is a big concern too.

    Starters: There are obviously a lot of great starting free agent options out there this off-season, which the Nats might be tempted by. But with Lucas Giolito nearing MLB-readiness and the Nats having lots of more than decent number 5 starter candidates (Joe Ross, Tanner Roark, AJ Cole, Taylor Hill, Taylor Jordan), it doesn’t seem to make sense to me for the Nats to get involved in the bidding battles for Greinke, David Price, Zimmermann, or Cueto. Rizzo does love starting pitchers though, so another splashy starting pitcher signing can’t be ruled out.

    Bullpen: Storen is apparently bitter about the way he’s been treated and it seems to me he has to go, even though his trade value has taken a big hit. He’s close with Tyler Clippard, which might make it tough to get Clippard to return — a move that would otherwise make a lot of sense. If Storen does leave, the bullpen will need some major revamping. I don’t pretend to know the reliever market well enough to know how strong the free agent class is, though the names Antonio Bastardo and Bobby Parnell stand out on the 2016 list. I expect a huge amount of off-season activity in the Nats’ bullpen.

    • natsguy - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:04 PM

      Erik Davis is a pitcher not an OF.

      • snopes1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:07 PM

        Oops, I meant to list him as a pitcher. WordPress won’t let me edit, unfortunately.

    • ehay2k - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:29 PM

      Nice post Snopes. I’d love to see an upgrade at catcher, but not sure who we get. Severino was called but for some reason has not seen a game. Maybe now that we are toast for the postseason, he can play.

      Weiters? Meh. He has arm issues and even the Os put him at 1b which is where he may end up, and we have enough options there that he makes no sense from a cost standpoint. I just don’t see him coming here. But I do want another option at catcher.

      Cespedes? Interesting, but the Mets won’t let their current savior walk easily, and he may have finally found a home. Plus, Werth and Harper are at the corners, Span may actually take the QO and stay a year, and if not, there is the low-cost option of Taylor who is good defensively and seemed to be more comfortable hitting 8th than first. Besides which, I am not sure I really want Cespedes as a Nat. He is a physical talent but does not always seem committed to the game. Had we won the game against Harvey, he would have been the goat for allowing the little league slam by Taylor. But beyond next year, who is in the farm system that will be up to play a corner OF position in 2-3 years? That is the timeline to think about. Could the other option be den Dekker?

      The bullpen is never easy. Stammen should be back – he didn’t have TJ, so I believe the recovery time is faster – but he may not be the same guy he was. What a shame. In prior years, Rizzo has cobbled something together that has been decent, but the manager has to know how to use them and the SP must do their part and not implode twice a week before they get to even 4 innings. But I believe there will be guys in the system and on the market to fill the needs of the bullpen. We have a closer in Papelbon, but we need a replacement for Janssen, Storen, and perhaps even Thornton. Rizzo has his work cut out for him there.

      With Desi gone, could we see 3-4-5-6 IF of Zimm, Escobar, Rendon, and Espi? I suppose you could swap Esco and Espi, but I have never seen Esco play SS. But Espi at 2b is a defensive superstar, and he hit like he belonged in the majors all year. Turner would become the backup, perhaps, if the Barves are still paying his salary, Uggla will stick around too, though I doubt it.

      The only other thing as far as players are concerned is the starting rotation. Max, Stras, Gio are locks. Does Zimmnn get an offer he will take? I would love that. But otherwise, Roark becomes the 4 and Ross the 5? Or is Giolito in there (seems so early.) Taylor Jordan? To me he seems destined for the bullpen. Fister is done. I fear something is wrong with him and no one is talking, but his skills fell off a cliff.

      Manager? A new one would seem to be a foregone conclusion. Is Torre available? 😉 I know people are talking about Knorr but to me, either he didn’t know MW was making bad decisions or didn’t question them to the point that MW listened (and MW has a reputation for taking input from his coaches), so I am not sure that Randy is the right guy. Of all the decisions Rizzo has to make, this may very well be the hardest.

      • snopes1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:47 PM

        Lot of good points there, ehay2k. A few random responses:

        – The Tigers have also been widely reported as planning to try to re-sign Cespedes when the season ends. There could well be a spirited bidding war between the Mets and the Tigers, but money talks. I agree that Cespedes is a far less attractive option than Hayward or Justin Upton.

        – I think the consensus is pretty strong that Den Dekker is a bench player, not an impact player.

        – Thornton and Fister will both be free agents after this season and the Nats are certainly not going to make a qualifying offer to them. So from the perspective of rebuilding the bullpen, those two are just free agents to be considered with all the other free agents. The Nats don’t have a leg up on signing them over any other team.

        – I’m not at all sure Matt Williams is leaving. But if he is, it isn’t fair to judge Randy Knorr by whether he challenged Matt Williams enough this year. Knorr’s season was dominated by the sudden death of his wife.

    • JayB - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:41 AM

      no way Escobar can plan SS he can not play in the INF anywhere but first…..now that is like of likely give Zimm and his off season training…..Zimm is a great person…no doubt about that….but he has said for years (and I really hope he changes this now that he is clearly injury likely) that he does not look at a bat or ball or work out until after the first of the year…….SS has to be Danny at this point…ouch that hurts.

      • Guapo - Sep 14, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        Escobar is statistically the best SS on the roster. He should have been there all season.

  9. natfan33 - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    Great work, but that lineup you list above is another .500 team if I’ve ever seen one. Hopefully some bats can be had in free agency this offseason.

    • ArVAFan - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:40 PM

      So much depends on the health of the people listed. Zimmerman and Werth, when healthy, are way better than a .500 team. Taylor is getting better, Rendon is dependable (unless hurt), Ramos is serviceable, and Bryce, is, well, Bryce. Yunel, not so sure–yes, his batting average is high, but he’s leading the league in GIDP, which does diminish his value at the plate (maybe he should strike out more often: that’s only ONE out). Trea? too early to tell, IMHO. But he’s done well at learning each level so far, and Rizzo absolutely stole him from SD.

      And Ryan has a no-trade clause, too, so he’s not going anywhere.

      Are you sure that the infield wouldn’t be stronger with Trea at SS, Danny at 2B, and Rendon at 3B? (Obviously, depends on if Danny can hit). Not sure that Yunel still has the range for SS.

      • snopes1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:27 PM

        Escobar’s OPS is about 90 points higher than Espinosa’s. I’m not sure how to determine if Espinosa’s defensive superiority is enough to offset that substantial difference. In any event, probably both Espinosa and Escobar did better offensively this year than we can reasonably expect them to do next year.

        If you’re worried about Yunel’s range, wouldn’t it make more sense to keep Yunel at 3rd and Rendon at 2rd, with Trea Turner taking over at short?

      • Guapo - Sep 14, 2015 at 9:28 AM

        Wait…after all these years with Desmond kicking balls down South Capital street….NOW the Nats fans base is suddenly worried about range and defense at SS?

        Escobar’s career #s as SS are better than Desmond and Espinosa. Until proven otherwise he’s the best defensive (and offensive) SS on this roster. Should have been there all year.

      • pdowdy83 - Sep 14, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        Guapo, age is catching up to Escobar and his defensive abilities. He is no longer the gold glove caliber SS he used to be. He is still serviceable at 3B though.

  10. jfmii - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    And make no mistake, Matt Williams will be back next year

    • NatsLady - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:09 AM

      It’s funny because everyone outside of DC is convinced Williams is a goner, but fans here are less certain. Someone here suggested maybe Storen lobbied to be put back in last Wednesday, maybe he said to Williams, “Skip, I’m good to go, I need to go back at the first possible chance.” If so, Williams should not have given in, which brings me to my concern about him (other than in-game issues): is he intimidated by some of his players? For example, did he let Scherzer’s stardom, salary and no-hitter chances convince him to use Scherzer for more innings than he should have in the first half? Has he given in to Harper’s pressure to let him play hurt? Why doesn’t he take Werth out late in games?

      No on Bobby Parnell. (Just watch a few of his Mets implosions.) I think Rizzo’s had it with Storen, I believe he was quoted as saying “We are not happy” with what he did. I’d like to see Rivero take over the setup role, and then the closer’s role in 2017. He’s way more than a lefty-specialist, we could get another of those, or maybe Matt Grace turns into one–haven’t been impressed with him so far, but who knows?

      Yunel’s done a good job, and is a funny guy, but I would like to see Rendon back at 3B, so package him and Storen and perhaps some $$ to get Jordan Zimmermann’s replacement. We have plenty of infield options, with Turner, Difo, Danny, etc. I wouldn’t part with Danny under any circumstances. He is a defensive GENIUS, and if he hits even a little he’s tremendously valuable as Ben Zobrist-light.

      Desi’s been a good soldier, never said a word out of line, always the first to the mound to support the pitchers, etc. But I won’t be sorry to see him and his errors (and his streakiness) hit the trail. Just as Storen almost single-handedly cost us a bunch of games in August and September, so did Desi in April and May.

      • snopes1 - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        Demi kept costing us games even after April and May with his horrible offensive season. I feel sorry for him, since he has cost himself tens of millions of dollars.

        For those calling for RIzzo’s head, here’s another decision to put on the plus side of Rizzo’s ledger — he steadfastly refused to meet Desmond’s demands for a lucrative contract extension. Thank goodness.

      • Guapo - Sep 14, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        I’ve been very pleased with Escobar. He’s produced career numbers at the plate while being asked to play out of position defensively. He’s also been (at least from the outside perspective) a net positive on the culture of the team. He had a reputation for being difficult prior to the Nats.

        As a MLB capable SS coming off the best offensive yer of his career, Escobar’s stock has never been higher. If Rizzo is smart, he’ll deal him in the offeseason. But then again, if Rizzo was smart, he’d have dealt Desmond two years ago when he peaked as well and signed Perralta.

        MW does not have the correct approach or knowledge to lead this team. If he comes back, it will be another wasted season.

  11. fpa4356 - Sep 14, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    What do you think about Yunel batting ninth ? That would seem to optimize the effect of his batting average while minimizing the GIDP.

    • snopes1 - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:30 AM

      Interesting idea. You’d have to find a way to measure the effect of the GIDP (devastating) against the otherwise decent offensive numbers. I’m guessing he’d be much more valuable at a slot higher than 9.

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