Tag Archives: Washington Nationals

Werthwhile Move For The Nats?

This post isn’t really about Jayson Werth, but his signing did trigger a chain of events that caused me to take notice of the Washington Nationals. In regards to his huge contract, Werth said something to the effect of it shows that the Nats are ready to win. He and Ryan Zimmerman make a solid nucleus. I immediately got curious to see where the Nationals were at in terms of talent on their roster. So I checked out their depth chart, and I’m not impressed. I like to think I’m a pretty big sports fan, but I literally have not heard of half of their roster. Half of the guys I do know are probably just the result of scouring the fantasy waiver wire. I mean, I’ve heard of Nyjer Morgan and Ian Desmond, but I couldn’t really tell you much about them. They have a pitching rotation full of marginal number five starters and I couldn’t tell any of the guys in the bullpen from a group of sales reps at my local Lowe’s. Then today, they dealt one of the few remaining familiar faces, Josh Willingham, to Oakland. Are they really ready to win now, like Werth believes? Hell, if my employer gave me $18mil a year, I’d be unjustifiably optimistic as well. But this brings me to another topic….. the A’s.

We try to not to overdo it with A’s coverage, but Chappy and I are diehards. With the exception of Athleticsnation, there’s not a lot of A’s blogs out there, no matter what Rob Neyer tells us. (Seriously, a blog that’s been around less than two months?) Anyway, people are starting to take notice of the moves the A’s have made this offseason. None are worthy of Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee type press, but Billy Beane is quietly putting together a team that many feel may be able to contend – especially while the Angels, Rangers, and Mariners seem to be hibernating for the winter. So far, they’ve added David Dejesus, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden (pending a physical –  never a sure thing with Harden), and Brandon McCarthy. The only notable prospects given up were Vin Mazzaro and Henry Rodriguez. I liked both of them, but neither were a sure thing in the big leagues. Besides, in typical A’s fashion, there are plenty of young arms in the farm system. I can’t help but wonder if the Giants’ World Series victory has forced the A’s hand a bit. They’ve maintained that they’re waiting for a new stadium before they try to contend again, but clearly they’re getting tired of waiting. While I don’t really expect them to make any more major moves (not that I’d call any of the aforementioned moves major), I’m curious to see what happens with Adrian Beltre. He spurned the A’s original offer, which I’m not really complaining about because it was a lot of money and I’m not sure he’s worth it. But it doesn’t seem like anyone else is really making a play for him. Combine that with the bats they’ve added this offseason, and maybe Beltre is warming up to the idea of playing in Oakland. He may not have any choice, unless he wants to take less money to stay in Boston or go somewhere else. While I don’t think Beltre would single-handedly put the A’s over the hump, his addition would give the team a legitimate big-league lineup, as opposed to the AAA roster they’ve been trotting out for the last two seasons. Perhaps it’s time to take part in a favorite pasttime over at AN, and pleasure myself with a little rosterbation. Let’s say the A’s do manage to acquire Beltre. Here’s what the 2011 lineup would look like…..

CF – Coco Crisp

LF – Josh Willingham

RF – David Dejesus

DH – Hideki Matsui

3B – Adrian Beltre

C – Kurt Suzuki

1B – Daric Barton

2B – Mark Ellis

SS – Cliff Pennington

Rotation: Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy (or Josh Outman, or Tyson Ross, or Bobby Cramer, or Rich Harden)

Suddenly, 2011 is looking A LOT better than 2010!

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Doin MLB Power Rankings

It’s been a few weeks since we had our last power rankings up, and the landscape has changed a little now that we are about 1/5th of the way through the season. There were a few teams that fell out of the rankings, and some that moved up from the first power rankings we did. I’m really pumped that I haven’t had to put the Angels on the list. I think as long as Fuentes stays their closer that will help keep them off the list. Anyways, here’s how the top 16 shaking out.

#1 Tampa Bay Rays (22-10) – Getting zero hits and zero runs in one game doesn’t lose you the top spot, especially when it was the first time they lost two straight on the road all season, and it took perfection to do it. The Rays worst starter ERA is Wade Price’s 3.18, and is the reason they are doing so well. We will see if they can hold up when they start playing in their division more. If the Yankees hadn’t mirrored their losses, I may have moved the Rays down a spot.

#2 New York Yankees (21-10) – They’ve only lost one out of ten series they’ve played in this season. Maybe if Brett Gardner played a little better they might be number one, haha, just kidding. I’m pretty shocked how good Gardner is doing, and if he keeps it up I’ll be mad I didn’t pick him up for the fantasy team. Swisher has been great lately too, which makes me somewhat root for them, because I love my former A’s players. They’ve lost a couple in a row, but there are no concerns in NY now that Texiera seems to finally be seeing the ball.

#3 Philadelphia Phillies (20-12) –After taking three of four from the Cards, and playing ten days in a row going 8-2 makes me think they must be the best team in the NL right now. Jason Werth wants that huge contract this winter hitting .329 with 26 RBI’s already! Their starting pitching is doing well as of late too only giving up 8 earned runs over their last six games.

#4 Minnesota Twins (21-11) – No Mauer, no problem. Wilson Ramos seems like he belongs as someone’s backstop in the league. He might be able to take up a few extra games behind the plate sliding Mauer to the DH more often, so he can stay a little fresher.  I don’t see why not with the way Ramos burst onto the scene last week (10 hits in his first three games). The Twins pitching has been better than I expected. They are +48 in run differential, and have allowed the sixth fewest runs, a good recipe for success.

#5 San Diego Padres (19-12) – I along with everyone are wondering when will they fade? Not anytime soon, if their pitching keeps going the way it has. They are tied with the Giants for the fewest runs allowed (97). They don’t hit for average or power, but they do lead the league in stolen bases, and seem to push the right buttons in their small ball approach. When Adrian Gonzalez starts heating up, watch out NL West! Continue reading


Doin MLB Power Rankings

We now we have three solid weeks of baseball action in the books, and it looks like it’s time  to look at how the top 16 teams stack up. MCeezy did a premature power rankings four games into the year, and it looks like that will likely be the last time the Giants and A’s lead the way. I’d love to see Battle of the Bay Part II, but unsurprisingly I don’t see anyway that would happen.

#1 Tampa Bay Rays – Nobody should be surprised to see the Rays playing so well or at the top of the rankings. We knew they could score runs, but we didn’t know that they’d have Garza and Price dominating the way they have! The Rays are 9-1 on the road including a sweep of the ailing Red Sox. They are trying to make a push in what could be the final year they are all together. I hope they do, and that’s why I picked them to win it all!

#2 Minnesota Twins – Who needs Joe Nathan!?!

Is this the Bash Brothers Version 2.0?

Losing him hasn’t hurt them on their way to one of their best starts in recent memory at 13-6. Rauch has been a huge pickup for fantasy teams, and has been great for the Twins closing out games. Justin Morneau looks like he’s finally healthy and back to his old MVP form. Mauer wants to continue off his stellar 2009 campaign, and has kept that MVP form thus far. Maybe Nike should look into getting these two guys some MVPuppet commercials.

#3 New York Yankees – They just lost their first series of the year, but this biggest concern should be Vasquez, who has been terrible donning the pinstripes compared to his solid 2009 season in Atlanta. It’s just reminding us that moving from the NL to the AL East isn’t a good move (see Brad Penny). Tex still isn’t hitting, but he will eventually…

#4 St. Louis Cardinals – Speaking of Penny, going from the Sox to the Cards seems to have helped him regain his form (3-0, 0.95 ERA). They’ve have great offensive players that don’t need to be mentioned, and now a trio of solid pitchers. Even Piniero is pitching well. Dave Duncan know how to mold pitchers to their strengths!

#5a Oakland Athletics – 12-8 doesn’t seem like that noteworthy of a start, but there is noway before the season started you could convince me that they would be atop the west for this much of April or any of it for that matter. Since 1992, they have only started 12-8 once, so there’s some reason for renewed but reserved optimism in Oakland. Their new style of play has them winning sooner than expected. Lots of injuries already though, and hopefully it’s not a sign that 2007-09 injury plagued seasons are going to continue. Gio has the highest ERA of 3.68 out of all their starters, which is amazing! This stat sums up the main reason they lead the league in starters ERA, and are close enough to win any given game.

#5b. San Diego Padres – Bud Black seems to have his guys playing some great baseball. This is the second team in a row that everyone, including myself, had very low expectations for. You may want to call their owner Uncle Scrooge with their $38M payroll, but the guys in there are playing smart, and have been opportunistic on the base paths, and helped them score some runs! It’s surprising how good their offense has been, and just like the A’s they are stealing bases, and have guys hitting for good averages. We will see if that starting pitching can hold up… Continue reading


Are the Phillies the New Braves of the NL East?

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies clinched their third straight NL East pennant tonight, which begs the question, do they now run the division, much as the Braves did through the 90s into the early part of this decade?  I don’t see many changes to their nucleus coming any time soon.  The one glaring question mark I see is the age of Raul Ibanez.  However, there are two things that alleviate that.  First, the Phillies won their last two division titles without him.  Second, the guy just seems to keep getting better with age.  Meanwhile, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth are all in or entering their primes.  On the pitching side, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee have and will continue to be dominant forces.  Since the Phillies don’t appear to be going anywhere soon, it’ll all hinge on whether any other team in the division can knock them off.  Let’s take a look at our candidates…

The Mets would be the obvious threat, since they’re a perennial favorite to win the division outright.  However, the morale, momentum, and the clock, all seem to be in a downward spiral.  Until the Mets make some major moves, one has no reason to believe they’ll threaten the Phils.

The Braves have worked their way back into contention recently, but the cornerstone of the franchise, Chipper Jones, is in the twilight of his career and has even started the discussion about retirement.  Odds are 2010 will be his last year.  The Braves still have some key pieces in Nate McLouth, Brian McCann, and Yunel Escobar.  However, their pitching isn’t getting younger, at least as far as Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez go.  The key question for Atlanta, with the imminent departure of Chipper, will not be if, but when to blow the team up and rebuild.  They have the pieces.

The Marlins are always a threat to put together one solid season and dethrone the Phillies.  Based on their history – 1997 and 2003 – they’re about due to make their traditional World Series run.  Something tells me even if and when they’re able to do that, it’ll be as the Wild Card team.

The Nationals are the Nationals.


Strasberg’s Contract Shows a Great Need to Re-do the MLB Draft

Steven Strasberg

Matt explored the contract negotiating holdout of Michael Crabtree, and Monday is the deadline for Steven Strasburg, the Washington Nationals number one overall pick in the MLB draft to sign. Strasberg has yet to reach an agreement with the Washington Nationals. It doesn’t sound like a deal will get done by Monday’s deadline as the Boras and the Nationals have put different values on Strasburg. I’m not a Nationals fan by any means, so I kind of hope they don’t sign him. It could be the first time ever that a team has failed to sign their first round pick two years in a row!moneybaby I’m not a supporter of making a team pay $50 million for a player that hasn’t thrown one pitch at the major league level. I feel that their $30 million offer was more than fair, and probably too much. Regardless of what happens it shows that baseball needs to fix the way the outdated drafting and signing system is working.

Just like the NFL there are a lot of holdouts in baseball. I understand that players are just trying to get paid what their agents and others surrounding them feel they are worth, but what happened to proving your worth!?! Baseball needs to restructure signings, and put caps on contracts for the players that haven’t played one inning in the minors or majors. Putting parameters on guaranteed money and bonuses that the top choices can receive would make them like all of the other major sports, what a concept! They also need to make other ways for teams to avoid having to pay huge dollars for those top picks, like say, let a team trade picks!?! Wow, how hard is that. Baseball is the only sport that doesn’t allow the trading of draft picks. In this case, the Nationals could have traded their pick away to a team with money and willingness to sign Strasberg. I’m sure he would already be signed, and the Nationals could have had a couple of picks and could’ve signed a four or five players with money Strasberg is demanding.

Do you wonder why I’m so against Strasberg’s contract? Take a guy like Ryan Howard of the Phillies, who has already been rookie of the year, MVP, an All-Star, and a two time home run champ.Ryan Howard He won his bid for the highest arbitration awarded in the history of baseball for $10 million just last year. With the conclusion of this season Howard will have made a total of about $26 million in his three year career since being drafted, which sounds reasonable for one of the best young hitters in the game. Since Howard was a 5th round pick he probably was paid the right amount, but Strasberg would be making twice as much as him at the same point in his career if the contract that he’s asking for goes through. Is any player that hasn’t played worth $50 million? Can he really be as dominant as the money he’s due to recieve?  Can any team justify really give any rookie that much money!?! Definitely not! Over the past 40 years there has been 14 pitcher taken #1 overall, and they have a combined zero Cy Youngs, zero 20 win season, and zero 200 career wins.

So how would being able to trade draft picks help? Well it’s been well documented that if this were the case the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets would end up with all the talent since they have all the money. I disagree if a small market team can turn that first pick into three picks, then they will likely find a good player out of the bunch with much less risk to their financial situation. Especially small market teams like the A’s, Rays, and Marlins would definitely benefit from taking numerous picks instead of that first rounder. People assume that teams are going to make a bad pick with the extra ones they have received, but nobody that’s drafted is garuanteed to have success. The players chosen might likely have more “tools”, but there is no guarantee that tying up their payroll in a prospect will help the team down the road. Don’t you think a team could get a better deal paying $6 to $10 million a year for a proven player? I think being able to swap picks will just give teams more options, and not give teams like the Nationals, a sign this guy or you’re out of luck scenario! Hell, Strasberg could even end up on my list of bad contracts before he throws a major league pitch.


Doin MLB Power Rankings

mlb team logos

#1 Los Angeles Dodgers – In the 2nd edition of the Doin Work Power Rankings, the Dodgers are still in the #1 spot. We’ll see if Schmidt can do anything for them. manny bobbleheadI almost dropped them to #2 after seeing the new look Cardinals win their second in a row against them, but you can’t argue with the best record in the league!

#2 New York Yankees – The Yankees have won 23 of their past 29, and have seemed like the unstoppable machine that we had expected when they signed all those $100 million contracts this off season. They seem to be rolling full steam ahead and good luck to anyone playing them now. They are closing in on the Dodgers for the #1 spot.

#3 Boston Red Sox – You can’t go against a team with good pitching and depth! They are in the toughest division, and are surviving the worst team wide hitting slump of the season. I’m guessing they will make a run at Cliff Lee to sure up those holes in their starting rotation that injuries left behind.

#4 Los Angeles Angels – Yes, 2 Los Angeles teams in the top 4! And yes, I assure you there are plenty of fair weather fans roaming the streets of Southern California, I see them every day. ervin santanaThe Angels seem to be catching fire winning 3 out of 4 from the Twins, and winning 12 of their last 15. They need to get someone so they don’t have to rely on Santana, because he looks like a black hole in the rotation.

#5 Philadelphia Phillies – Looks like they keep getting denied on the Halladay offers. If that goes through they’ll be impossible to beat when he’s on the mound. They are averaging 5.49 runs per game second to only the Yankees. They look like they could wrap their division up by Labor Day if nobody gets hot.

#6 Texas Rangers – The Rangers look for real this year, keeping the Angels in check. They’ve won 7 of their last 8. Their offense struggled after the All-Star Break, but it looks like they found their swings again putting up 12 runs in their last two games.

#7 Tampa Bay Rays – It might be a good thing for them to be somewhat “under the radar”. Scott KazmirMaybe not to the extent they were last year, but if they can figure out a way to get Kazmir and Price functioning properly they should make a push at the wild card spot.

#8 Chicago Cubs – They are on fire winning their last 5 games and 12 of their last 14. Although it’s been weak competition, they still have overtaken the Cardinals for the top spot in the division. We’ll see if this winning lasts when the competition gets better.

#9 Detroit Tigers – The Tigers have a plethora of pitching and a ballpark that caters to pitchers, which probably explains their 31-16 home record. Rick Porcello has been a nice surprise, but it’s been Fernando Rodney’s 21 saves in 21 opportunities that has stabilized the 9th inning all year.

#10 St. Louis Cardinals – With Holliday and Derosa in the lineup, they looked really good against the top ranked Dodgers. You could even say they have a lineup that’s scary! I think they look poised to battle with the Cubs in the NL Central.Matt Holliday

#11 Colorado Rockies – The Rockies have gone 34-13 since June 4th which has them in the lead for the NL Wild Card at the moment. Surprisingly, their pitching has been the part of the team that has shined over that stretch. We’ll see if that keeps up in the thin air.

#12 San Francisco Giants – If the Giants make a trade for a hitter, they could make the jump into playoff contender. As it stands they may win the Wild Card, but I don’t see them making it very far if they do make it. Their pitching can only get them so far.

#13 Chicago White Sox – Their bright spot was Buehrle’s perfection. Their bad spot, is the middle of their order where they are getting no production in the home run department from Dye, Thome, or Konerko. If they are going to go anywhere, they need these guys to start hitting.

#14 Atlanta Braves – They’ve been playing well, but they aren’t going to even get a whiff of the Phillies in the division race. Say what you want about Ryan Church for Jeff Francoeur, but it seems like there’s a change in the clubhouse attitude.  Their starting pitchers have a combined 3 loses in the month of July.

#15 Seattle Mariners – King Felix finally looked human tonight giving up more than one earned run for the first time in his last 13 starts! Felix HernandezSeattle seems to be fading behind the Rangers and Angels, but look much improved over the past few teams they put out there.

#16 Florida Marlins – Han Ram is hitting a eye-popping .427 with runners in scoring position. He is also the league leader in BA. They are so up and down, I’m not sure what to make of them. I think they’ll finish out the season around the .500 mark.

#17 Houston Astros – Nobody could figure out how they were doing as well as they were, but it looks like they are falling back to earth as the wins aren’t coming as easily as they were. A rough series against the Cubs pushed them backwards in their quest for a division title.

#18 Milwakee Brewers – The Brewers, just like the Astros have hit a rough patch going 3-7 in their last 10 games. prince fielderIf they don’t make a move at the trade deadline, Prince and company may have to slug their way into the playoffs. I don’t like the odds of that happening.

#19 Minnesota Twins – Minnesota looked bad on their westcoast swing losing games to the A’s and the Angels in every way possible. They should have a shot at the division if they can straighten out that rotation, and stop letting other teams put up those crooked numbers on a nightly basis. Their offense has been good, but that means nothing when you can’t stop the other team.

#20 New York Mets – They haven’t looked like a playoff team, and the injuries have piled up over the season. It may have been too much to overcome. Since no New York team is ever a seller, look for them to try to make a move that will give their fans at least a little hope.

#21 Toronto Blue Jays – We’ve all been wondering where Halladay will go or if he’ll even go. It’s starting to remind me of the Favre saga. The Blue Jays have had a nice run lately with all their players trying to showcase their skills in hopes of being traded out of the Canadian black hole to a contender.

#22 Cincinnati Reds – At least they stopped their losing streak against San Diego. Brandon PhillipsThey haven’t shown signs of anything good or consistent. The emergence of Brandon Phillips bat has helped fantasy teams out though. They seem to be stuck in the same situation year after year, and yup, it’s a bad one.

#23 Oakland Athletics – Possibly too high for a bottom dweller, but their pitching continues to mold towards next year as some of the rookie starters have shown promise. The question now is, when will they throw Brett Wallace into the mix!?!

#24 Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates have been shut out a league leading 11 times this season. I thought they may add to that total, but Lincecum settled for striking out 15 of them and going the distance.  The Pirates should be sellers at the deadline, but they really don’t have much to sell…

#25 Cleveland Indians – Cliff Lee has regained his Cy Young form after a rocky start. It seems like everyone on their team is on the trading block. We’ll see if any deals get done, as they have some players that could be very valuable to a contender.

#26 Arizona Diamondbacks – Mark Reynolds and Dan Haren have been the only two bright spots to their season so far. Maybe they gave up too much a couple years ago to get Haren, so they have no options behind him. Maybe the fans have something to look forward to other than every Haren start, but I’m not sure what that is.

#27 Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are letting the young guys take over, and the young guys aren’t winning. They need to move some guys like Mora to shake it up and get some pitching.

#28 Kansas City Royals – The Royals are good at one thing, and they keep doing it well. Being in last place is a staple for this team, and they are making a push to stay there losing 80% of the time over their last two weeks.

#29 San Diego Padres – They have Adrian Gonzalez, so at least it’s worth it to go to the park to watch him bat a few times. He has played in 308 consecutive games, which is a club record and the longest current streak in the MLB.

#30 Washington Nationals – Willingham got them in the news with his 2 grand slams. They might even be able to trade him for something now!