The Case Against Re-Signing Ryan Zimmerman

January 27, 2012

Earlier, we discussed the case for signing Ryan Zimmerman. Most fans probably agree with the sentiment there, but there is a case against re-signing, which mostly him rests on whether or not they think he’s good enough and healthy enough. I think my stance on the “good enough” part of the analysis is pretty clear from the previous post. However, we need to touch on that injury section of our assessment.

And for that, and the maybe the biggest bulwark for the case against, I present to you…

Eric Chavez

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The Case For Re-Signing Ryan Zimmerman

January 25, 2012

There has been a great deal of discussion recently regarding when the Nationals will offer Ryan Zimmerman an extension. Of course, it isn’t inevitable that they will do that at all. And an extension isn’t the only possibility to keep him – he’s signed through 2013, but they could rip that up and sign him to a 6 year deal right now (rather than a 5 or 6 year extension on the end) as suggested here. But I don’t want to get into the minutia of how, when or how long here. I just want to talk about why they should do it, in a few simple points.

He is a truly great hitter for his position, and while there are some questions about his throwing, it is pretty unanimous that he is one of the best fielding (pre-throw) players in the league right now. It puts him among the best players in the game. Here just a few points highlighting that:

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Nats Top 11 Prospects for 2012

January 24, 2012

Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein has released his Top 11 Prospects for the Nationals, for 2012. For the third year in a row, The Nats have two 5-star guys. The most important takeaway, perhaps, is that the supposed thinning of the system after the Gio Gonzalez trade may not have been that bad, especially with their strong 2011 draft. If you click the link, you’ll see this list:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Bryce Harper, OF
2. Anthony Rendon, 3B
Four-Star Prospects
3. Matt Purke, LHP
Three-Star Prospects
4. Brian Goodwin, OF
5. Alex Meyer, RHP
6. Destin Hood, OF
7. Michael Taylor, OF
8. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
9. Robbie Ray, LHP
10. Sammy Solis, LHP
Two-Star Prospects
11. Tyler Moore, 1B

Then he gets into the review of each guy – which you can’t see. I’m not going to reproduce everything he says 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.

Bryce Harper - You’ve heard of this guy, right? He’s got an “easy 80 raw power” but understands the strike zone enough to hit for average as well. Nothing you don’t know in here, although Goldstein does mention that if things go right, he could hit near .600 slugging. He’s also going to be only 19 this season.

Anthony Rendon - He’s a very good offensive player, with great plate discipline and a very quick bat. He’ll be able to hit, and should move very quickly through the minors. He’s also a great fielder at third base. But his ankle injuries have lead people to believe he might be injury prone – that thought and the fact that these injuries have hurt his speed probably hurts his chances to actually play 2B effectively, although that’s the dream scenario for Nats fans.

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Nats Hop on the Value Bandwagon

January 16, 2012

This weekend, the Nats locked up their offseason trade acquisition, Gio Gonzalez, to a long term deal. They essential paid ahead for his arbitration years, plus one extra, and added on options for 2017 and 2018. But he’s locked in for sure through the end of 2016. This is a popular move these days, giving the team a good player at a good price, while the player guarantees himself a big chunk of change.

As for the actual value, according to fangraphs, his WAR put him as a $12.8M player in 2010, and as a $15.9M guy in 2011. Before you hit the option years, he got a 5 year deal for $42M. That average $8.4M a year. In other words, even if you think he won’t be quite as good outside of Oakland (and he might very well be, thanks to the move to the NL), the Nats are still getting a bargain.

But that isn’t the big part of the story. Rather, its the solidifying of this team’s rotation. Stephen Strasburg, like Gonzalez, is also locked up through 2016, and Jordan Zimmermann is locked up through the end of 2015, 4 more seasons.

What this means is when you watch the first three games at the beginning of this season, and Gio, Zimmermann and Strasburg all start (assuming they take the hill in the first 3 games) you will be watching their top 3 pitchers for the next 4+ seasons. That is something that the Nats can’t ever say they’ve had anything close to. 2 years ago today they were approaching the season having only seen, among these three guys, JZimm throw 99 innings, and his ERA+ was an unimpressive 92. Yet, just two years later they’ve been through 2 Tommy John surgeries, a big trade, and suddenly they have one of the best top 3s in the league, locked up for 4 full seasons. It is a major accomplishment


Should the Nats Go After Fielder?

January 11, 2012

In case you hadn’t heard, the Nats are totally the leading candidate to sign Prince Fielder. And also there is a 99% chance that they won’t sign him. Welcome, Nats fans, to the world of posturing. Now that Washington showed it would throw money at a guy like Jayson Werth, agents will be calling them a potential candidate with any relevant player. And the Nats might well be guilty, too. It’s negotiations via the media, and it happens every offseason. But I’ve never brought myself to believe any of it.

Here’s what I know – it’s January, and Prince Fielder has about 2 months to find a team. I also know that there aren’t too many teams that might actually be interested – DC, Texas, Seattle, maybe a few others. One thing that might come out of this is a shorter contract for Prince, which would make him alot more attractive to teams that are scared off by his fielding ability, his body, and, in the case of the Nats, the lack of a DH on their team. So now that it’s January, what are your thoughts?


A Prince Leads Us to WAR

January 6, 2012

There have been quite a few articles on why the Nats should or should sign Prince Fielder. Buster Olney has a rather long and detailed opinion article (ESPN Insider) which brings up some really good points. I’m not gonna go over most of it, but a few highlights are:

  • Between the Prince and Gio additions, they’d have a very good rotation and a top lineup
  • Ryan Zimmerman wouldn’t be able to move to first, and the Nats brass may envision him there
  • Fielder is not a good, um, fielder, and won’t be getting better as he ages

Those are important things to keep in mind, but the best article I’ve seen recently on the subject is on Fangraphs, written by Steve Slowinski (and it’s free!). He starts by talking about the Nationals current capability, saying that without Fielder, they “have the potential to be a mid-80s win team.” With the maturation of younger players and the addition of Gonzalez, it shouldn’t be hard to envision 4 or 5 more wins. He then did some quick math and saw that if the Nats signed Fielder they’d turn into a 91-ish win team, but he believes that the optimistic individual projections he used are a little unrealistic, and a win total in the high-80s is much more likely. Still, this could get you into the playoffs… this isn’t stuff we haven’t heard in the last few weeks. But that’s not what interested me about his article.

Rather, it was his analysis of what they might miss with this deal.

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