Thursday, October 15, 2009


Roy Clark- 20+ years experience with the Braves organization

Johnny DiPuglia- 10+ years experience with the Red Sox organization

Doug Harris- 12 years with the Rangers prior to spending 2008 with Cleveland

Kris Kline- 7 years with the D'Backs, last 3 with the Nats

What it looks like the front office has done is brought in several career baseball guys with a track record of stability. These guys, if treated well by the organization, will not be out papering the league every off-season in search of a new opportunity. That's not to say these guys don't have goals; it's to say that their goals are better suited to the overall health of the Washington Nationals as a whole. This is completely unlike a Jim Bowden, or several other big names floating around out there. Sure, JP Riccardi is available and has a good eye for numbers, but even if he was more talented/better hire than Clark, how long is content for? 2 years? If that? And who's to say ego would not be a factor?

The Nats picked up four guys and moved them into more prominent roles. Clark and DiPuglia were important figures for successful organizations, while Harris and Kline have worked withing fruitful farm systems that traded away much of their better talent. Obviously, the Nats hope that these hires, like Rizzo, are able to stay and see the work through.

In contrast, go to a random NFL team and pick out their offensive coordinator (bonus points if you find Dan Henning) and check out how well traveled some are. While front office positions are not quite as fluid, the organization can never gain stability without some leadership at the front, and nobody is going to buy into a plan that has a different spokesperson every year... doesn't make it sound like a very good plan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One can dream, right

Tim Hudson is opting out of the final year of his contract with Atlanta. HOLY CRAP!! Granted, he is more likely to sign with the Rockford Peaches over the Nats, and in the end, I really doubt he is leaving Atlanta, but I would own season tickets if Huddy was on board, and maybe finally some Nats apparel.

Come on, checkbook...

On a side note, Tim Hudson is exactly the kind of player on which the Nats could get a bargain. A 34 year-old pitcher opts out 12 million for only one reason: so he isn't a 35 year-old free agent the following winter. Most players are not looking for the big dollars as much as they are the extra 2-3 years. Most teams prefer a one-and-done investment, and the Braves clearly prefer Hudson at 1/12M over 4/$$M (likely 40), especially contenders*, who will want a clean balance sheet to reload the following year. The Nats are not looking to contend until 2011, so they can be more strategic and commit to having players under contract and in place then.

* Obviously, the New York and Boston teams can be more flexible.

While neither of these scenarios is particularly feasible, which makes more sense? 4/36M for Hudson or 4/48M for Rich Harden? Or Brad Penny? Odds are, both guys sign with 2010 contenders. The key is to correctly evaluate other teams' commodities and be prepared to pick these players up when they are non-tendered/waived/released, etc. THIS DOES NOT MEAN TRADING FOR INJURED SCOTT OLSEN.

Rizzo does his homework, but he has much ground to make up to put even a .450-caliber ball club on the field.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Seven-Game Flurry

For a moment in September, it looked like the Nats may put together a run and move out of the basement. A few things stepped in their way, such as inexperience, a whiny shortstop, a stretched bullpen, Jim Riggleman. The team quickly surged past 100 losses and claimed the #1 draft pick with 7 games to spare. Then, with nothing left to play for, the Nationals played some of their best baseball of the season.

Odds are that the winning streak is not a sign of great things for next year, but further proof that a team put together as poorly as the Nats are will be about as inconsistent as imaginable. With the Mets and Braves likely to be better next season, it will be difficult for the Nats to dramatically improve their record.

A full season recap will be written this week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Justin Maxwell

Seriously, I'd have pegged him the LEAST likely player to pull that off, let alone off k-Rod (formerly K-Rod, back when he still had unhittable stuff. Not sure how the organization should interpret these results, but his body of work has been pretty underwhelming aside from defense.

Anyway, if the Nats take 2 of 4 from Atlanta, it will be a positive note to finish a dreadful season. Hey, at least they aren't in the midst of another 2nd half implosion like the Orioles.