Yay or Nay on Free Agent Possibilities

November 30, 2011

The Nats seem to be in on some free agent acquisitions this offseason. They might end up signing a big name, they might not, but the guys are certainly out there. Ideally, they need a center fielder and a leadoff hitter, but they have question marks at middle infield, first base and the rotation as well. Here are a few of the names that keep popping up, and my thoughts on whether they should try to sign them:

Jose Reyes – The only question about Reyes, and it’s a big one, is health. But when he’s good, he’s one of the best leadoff hitters in the game (a lineup position the Nats deperately need) and a great SS (Sorry Desi, but at the moment that also appears to be a position of need). And he’ll be 29 this year, so even a 5 year deal wouldn’t seem too much. Verdict: Yay

Prince Fielder – He hits for power, a high average and OBP, and he’s only going to be 28 next year. He can field adequately, although he’s not a defensive stud. He is also overweight and there will be worries about how he ages, and concerns about injuries. He also doesn’t hit lefties great, which would be concerning if he gets any worse in that area as he gets older. But his age is a big deal, even a 7 year deal might include only a year or two of decline from being one of the best players in the league, something pretty rare for a free agent long term signing these days. And he’s hit .281/.406/.537 over the last three years, there just aren’t many bats like his in the league. Verdict: Yay

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Verlander’s Perceived Value

November 21, 2011

Justin Verlander won the MVP award, and I don’t doubt that he was incredibly valuable to his team. And I’m not saying he didn’t deserve the award, he certainly belonged on everyone’s ballot who believes pitchers should be able to win the award. But it made me ponder how most of the members of the BBWAA think about these things, compared to how a more sabrmetric minded baseball analyst might think about them. Here’s what I came up with:

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4 Years Later, I Still Say Sign Him

November 17, 2011

The Nationals have been talking about using Mark Buehrle to fill the “innings eating old guy” need that Rizzo has proclaimed. I’m not saying this is a bad idea, although I’m not positive if its necessary. I won’t quibble with the philosophy though, let’s talk more about what Buehrle brings to the table.

Back in 2007, when I only wrote a post a week, and spent many hours on each post (you can do that when its weekly), I had a big writeup at the ready about how the Nats should sign Buehrle. Instead, mid-season the White Sox locked him up, and since it wasn’t really applicable, I scrapped the post. This is all I ended up writing, shoved onto the end of another post:

The White Sox locked up Mark Buehrle to a four year deal this weekend, and I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Not that the Nationals had much of a chance of signing him, but it would have been nice to see them take a shot. What’s so great about him?

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Maybe the Nats Don’t Want a Type A Right Now

November 15, 2011

Has Mike Rizzo made a conscious decision to not sign a Type A free agent? Maybe the Nationals don’t want to sign Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. The cost, being the first round pick, not the money, may be too high. What about their pursuit of Roy Oswalt, you say? Well, according to CSNPhilly, the Phillies aren’t going to offer him arbitration. So no draft pick will be taken from the team who signs him. And if they sign any Type A that’s been offered arbitration, be it one of those first 3 guys, or Jimmy Rollins, CJ Wilson, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madsen, Josh Willingham (ok here’s the list), they’ll have to give up their first round pick.

We all knew that, the Nats were TOO GOOD this year, and if they had finished behind one more team, they would have only had to give up a second round pick instead of a first round pick. But they’re always going to be in this situation now, since they’re getting better, right? No. Buster Olney is reporting that the new labor agreement is being negotiated right now, and it was expected to be announced around the World Series.

It hasn’t yet, and the longer it takes, he surmises, the less chance of certain rules being put in effect next season. The big one I’m getting at? Buster writes, “It’s expected that the new labor agreement may well abolish first-round draft pick compensation, which is tied to Type A free agents.”

So there it is. There is no guarantee that any of this will happen ever. But it seems fairly likely that by the 2013 season, the top 15 teams won’t have to give up their first round picks for signing a Type A free agent. And maybe 2012 will get those rules, maybe it won’t. But if you sign Pujols today, you can’t count on having your first round pick this summer.

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Monday Morning Links

November 14, 2011

Before we get back to the business of talking about baseball, the Washington Post has a great article detailing the kidnapping and rescue of Wilson Ramos. It’s a really good read.

The Sporting News just put out their Nationals Hot Stove Report. It’s got a few notes aad potential free agent tidbits, but I totally agree with their summation: “The Nationals still are a year from playoff contention, but the franchise’s first winning record since 2003 is a realistic goal”

Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times reaches back to the Expos era to detail the career of Charlie Lea a pitcher who left us too soon.

Ramos Links

November 10, 2011

The news of Wilson Ramos being kidnapped is devastating, and we are all hoping for his safe return. I doubt the kidnapping is news to anyone who stumbled onto this page. I thought I’d post some links to sites and Twitter feeds of people who are clearly following this and updating us regularly with whatever info they have. Check these places for updates, they will have it sooner than I will. And if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still click on these twitter feeds to see what people are posting:


Amanda Comak, Nationals Watch (Washington Times) may be the one most ahead of the news on this, from what I’ve seen so far. Twitter: @acomak

Federal Baseball is posting regular updates and comments on the main page, including info from tweets they’ve seen. Twitter: @federalbaseball

Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal (Washington Post) @AdamKilgoreWP

Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider @MarkZuckerman

Other Twitter Feeds

@JuanchoXIII – Juan Dominguez, baseball writer in VZ, posting in English and in Spanish

@masnBen – Ben Goessling with MASNSports.com

@KatheVilera – Kathe Vilera, Tigres de Aragua’s media manager in VZ, posting in English and Spanish

@RafaelRojasC – Rafael Rojas Cremonesi, Rockies reporter also covering baseball in VZ, posting in English

A Center Fielder Appears

November 7, 2011

Out of nowhere, a center field prospect has emerged, and he looks to be quite the talent. Ok, maybe this whole thing’s not out of nowhere, but I certainly hadn’t heard of Yoenis Cespedes before today. And now, thanks to his strange video below, which shows him hitting some slow mo homers, about 10 seconds of fielding, and lots of core training, he is clearly on his way to a hall of fame career:

Yoenis Cespedes The Showcase

All kidding aside, he’s probably considered the best position player in Cuba. He’s 26 years old, and defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic. He’s looking for a major league contract, and people are taking him seriously. While Kevin Goldstein has a great overview of the ridiculous video, he also mentions a few important points. Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 HRs last year, all those threes further adding to his mystique. He scored 89 runs and stolen 11 bases (caught 4 times) in his 90 games played. Goldstein writes that Cespedes is “a tremendous talent—arguably the best all-around player to come out of Cuba in a generation. He’s a legitimate center fielder with plus power and speed and is in his prime.”

And Goldstein isn’t the only one buzzing about Cespedes. Adam Kilgore over at the Post notes that the Nationals are definitely paying attention. He writes that Nats front office folks were in the DR, watching the Cuban star work out. And they are impressed with his talent, and his ability to hit and to field (although not with his arm). So will the Nats go after him?

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