Nats Won’t Regret This Swing and Miss

November 29, 2010

Javier Vazquez signed a 1-year deal with the Marlins this weekend, and maybe people in Nats town are disappointed. Not because we have to face him, but because they think he should be on the Nats. They need starting pitching, and there is a lack of that in free agency this season, which made Vazquez more appealing. And there was talk that they Nats were pursuing a deal with him, although it may not have ever gotten into the serious phase. But he had a terrible year last year, and it wasn’t just because he “couldn’t handle the pressure” of New York.

His fastball was just plain horrible this year. Thom Loverro said that a Yankees source told him Vazquez’s velocity was up and down all year, and hit the mid-90s in the summer. Well, that may have happened, but over the course of the season, the fastball was down way more than it was up. Buster Olney had a great post on this today, showing that it had gone from a low-90s to a high 80s fastball from 2009 to 2010. He also threw fewer fastballs in the strike zone, got fewer swings and misses, and walked quite a bit higher percentage of hitters.

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Nats Top 11 Prospects

November 24, 2010

Baseball Prospectus has released their Top 11 prospects for the Nationals, for 2011, and once again they managed to have a couple of 5 star guys (in 2009 they didn’t have a single one)

Five-Star Prospects
1. Bryce Harper, OF
2. Derek Norris, C
Four-Star Prospects
3. Danny Espinosa, SS/2B
4. A.J. Cole, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
5. Sammy Solis, LHP
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Michael Burgess, OF
8. Robbie Ray, LHP
Two-Star Prospects
9. Eury Perez, OF
10. Tyler Moore, 1B
11. Rick Hague, SS

Then they get into the review of each guy – which you can’t see. I’m not going to reproduce everything they say there, because I would like that website to keep making money and continue producing great stuff, so you can buy a subscription for that. But a few highlights for each guy, just because you may not have even heard of some of them.

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Nats Trade Targets

November 16, 2010

The GM meeting just started, and winter meetings are coming up, and with it, one of the most exciting parts of the offseason. There are usually quite a few trades between now and the middle of December. The Nats have needs at starting pitching, regardless of whether or not they sign a free agent. They currently don’t know who’s starting at first.  And if they have thoughts of moving guys from OF to first, they might want someone out there, not to mention the fact that they still haven’t figured out who is their full time starter at CF.

Of course, the Nats aren’t one player away from winning a pennant, so they aren’t going to trade away all of their blue chip prospects. Not that they have a ton. Here are a few guys that might be considered “buy low” candidates. Some of them are lower buys than others, but none would require trading Stephen Strasburg.

Dan Uggla – He’s the source of quite a few rumors these days, but the Nats have a second baseman, assuming Espinosa is their answer there. And Uggla is only under control for one more season. Well, there are plenty of reasons why they’d still want him. Uggla recently denied an extension attempt from Florida, and may be had cheaply. Also, the Nats may not be convinced that Espinosa is ready. Uggla is a below average defender at second base, but that would probably end up translating him quite a good defense first baseman. Meanwhile, Uggla is a lock to have an OPS over .800, and 2 out of the last three years it’s been around .875. He can hit like a first baseman (not the best of them, but better than the worst) and probably field better than most.

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Nationals New Jerseys – 2011 Edition

November 11, 2010

The Nats have new jerseys again, which whenever I mention it, makes me think I’m talking about the state for a second. I have experience because this is their seventh jersey update in five years. I’m making that number up. Anyway, I notice people are searching for it, coming here, and seeing my post from November 2008. So I figured I’d make a new post showing off the new ones.

Here’s the home unis:

Clean, simple, no cheesy looking gold outlined block letters. I like it, there is a tiny bit of blue that could be a bit less understated, and I could do without the number in the front, but in general very nice.

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Dunn’s Dollar Differences

November 10, 2010

Adam Dunn is currently a free agent, not attached to any team. He is, of course, associated with the Nationals, as that was the last place he played. They also have nobody ready to man his position, first base, and are still interested. So interested, in fact, that they offered him a three year deal last week.

The thought is that he wants a 4 year deal, and will go looking for it. Let’s assume he doesn’t get it, then what? There is no way to know how much he was offered by that Nats, but we can probably assume it was more than $10M a year, maybe closer to $15M. The question then becomes, if he’s willing to take 3 years, what’s he worth? Last year he made $12M, the year before he made $8M. Assuming he’s gonna make closer to $15M a year, the Nats have to ask themselves if he’s worth it. It appears on first glance that he is.

Fangraphs has a nice little conversion trick that tells us what a player should command in the open market. It’s is based on WAR (wins above replacement), and Dunn makes a very good case with the value.

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Nats Potential Free Agents – The Law Take

November 9, 2010

Keith Law wrote his annual top 50 free agents list this weekend, and many of the guys that we’ve discussed (and Rizzo and company are currently discussing) are on that list. In order, here are some of those guys that they are probably really thinking about, and what Law says about them

#1 Cliff Lee - “No. 1 starter, one of the half-dozen best in the game at his craft… I’m not a fan of long-term contracts for pitchers, but… Lee is the pitcher for whom I’d make an exception in this class.” Come on Nats, at least try for this one!

#6 Adam Dunn“he did show in 2010 that given regular playing time at first, he could be at least below average there, rather than an outright disaster… He [hits] that so well, though, that [his fielding's] a problem only for people more concerned with whether or not he likes baseball than whether or not he helps his team win.” A nice little Keith Law jab at the people that worry about things like “grit” more than actual production. I am still of the mindset that there is no competition for Dunn as an option at first. Nobody comes close this offseason.

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Winter League Stats

November 4, 2010

Just wanted to give a little heads up. As you may know, the winter leagues are in full swing. Not just the Arizona Fall League, either. There is the highly regarded Venezuelan League, in addition to the Mexican Pacific League, the Dominican League, and the Puerto Rican League. The folks at MLB.com are doing something very nice to us fans this season, they are recording the stats in ALL of these leagues. Not only that, they even have a page that shows you all Nationals’ players stats in the winter leagues.

Keeping in mind that some are harder than others, here are a few players of note from the league so far:

Danny Espinosa (.282/.343/.343, 38 PAs) Arizona Puerto Rico (thanks, Nate!) – He’s hit well and he has taken a few walks, which is encouraging. He could use a few extra base hits, but power is the one thing we know is there.

Michael Burgess (.222/.265/.311, 48 PAs) Arizona – He’s struck out 15 times and just doesn’t appear to be ready to play at this level. He is still only 21 so try not to get too worked up., but this isn’t a good sign.

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