Showing posts with label VICIOUS RUMORMONGERING. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VICIOUS RUMORMONGERING. Show all posts

Hot Stove Headache

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | , , , , , | 3 comments »

I hate this time of year on the baseball calendar.

The General Manager's meetings started in Orlando today, a precursor to baseball's Winter Meetings the first week in December.  This week lays the groundwork for future deals -- rarely is a big deal or signing completed during this introductory phase. 

I'm sure there are some GMs out there still just compiling their list of available free agents, let alone moving on to an evaluation or discussion phase.

Anyway, there's plenty of talk and speculation about where free agents are going to land, or who is available on the trade market.  It all bores me.

No one has any real idea where any of these players might end up.  Every big name has the Yankees and Red Sox attached, because their agents put that out in the press with the hope of driving up the price for their players.  Media, bloggers and fans might make guesses based on what they think are a team's needs, but only the GMs (and their owners) know what that organization's philosophy might be.

And GM's generally do not make thier plans known to the media.  They might talk a good game, but the last thing a savvy GM wants to do is let real knowledge slip into the media.

Which brings us, dear readers, to the Washington Nationals.

Dunn tosses helmet after another K. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)

The big decision facing GM Mike Rizzo is what to do about first baseman Adam Dunn. 

Dunn's power remains prodigious, but warning signs are starting to slip into his performance if you care to look for them.  He's obviously a fan favorite, but he also has severe limitations.  He's maintained his preference for remaining in D.C., but his representitives know this his last chance at a big payday, long-term deal.  Dunn also wants to stay at first base, but will see more offers from A.L. teams that want him to put his glove away.

The Nats seem willing to play the waiting game with Dunn, because if they really wanted him here, they could have had a deal done much earlier than this point.  Rizzo appears firm that he will not give Dunn a four-year deal, something his agents appear adament about.  If Dunn doesn't see the contract offer he wants, either in length, amount, or from the right team, he could end back up with the Nats in a semi-bargain status.

Rizzo recently went on Sirius/XM Radio and MLB Network Radio and described how he plans to operate the Washington Nationals for the foreseeable future. 
"Our philosophy is pitching, defense, speed and athleticism.  Specifically in the National League and especially in the National League East, so that's a philosophy that we've been working towards with our draft picks and our major league roster and we're going to continue to follow that philosophy throughout."
Where does Adam Dunn fit into that philosophy?

Anyway, after Dunn, there's rampant speculation about the Nats being active in both the free agent and trade markets. I'll believe it when I see it.

Rizzo has stated, on numerous occasions, that his top priority is to acquire a "No. 1-type starter" this off-season. Good luck with that.

The only free agent that fits that bill is Cliff Lee, who has pitched in the World Series the last two years -- for two different teams. He's not coming to D.C. Former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke is not going to waive his no-trade clause to move from Kansas City to the N.L. version of the Royals. Brandon Webb hasn't pitched in two years. Jorge de la Rosa and Matt Garza are not No. 1-type starters on any team other than the Nats.

So, the options there are limited.

As for the recent rumor of Dan Uggla?  Forget about it.  The Nats have spent months talking about getting better on defense.  If they then turn around and bring in Uggla at second base -- or worse, move him to first -- you know it was all a bold-faced lie.

You're perfectly welcome to fill up your winter months tracking MLB Trade Rumors, hanging on every word Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman and Buster Olney tweets. 

Me?  I think I'll wait until there's something real to discuss.

Not So Fast...

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | , , , | 3 comments »

One of the things I love most about sports media is how stories break.  It's fascinating to me that different sources have completely different information, and it's a cat-and-mouse game...between rival reporters, between the teams and reporters, between agents and the teams.

Competely fascinating.

What we have here, this morning (afternoon now) is not a failure to communicate, per se, but differing parties getting different messages.

On one hand, you have Peter Abraham, Boston Globe reporter, tweeting that Wang has decided on signing with the Washington Nationals, going so far to specualte that Wang "could be in the rotation by May," as he is that cloose to returing from last season's shoulder surgery. 

Abraham is supposedly close to the pitcher according to sources, which leads to the question of why a Boston writer is so close to a player that has spent his entire career thus far in New York.

Jon Heyman, of SI, tweeted that Wang was choosing between the Nats and one other team "within 10 days."

On the other hand, you have Nats beat reporters Bill Ladson and Ben Goessling saying that although the Nationals are interested and monitoring Wang, that reports that he's signed are false and not close.

But we also have Chico Harlan saying the Nats are the leader in the clubhouse.

And apparently, according to XM Homeplate, Wang is throwing for the Dodgers today.

So the truth lies in there somewhere.

Wang is an interesting case study.  He's the original John Lannan.  He's been successful on the major league level without the ability to miss bats.  He's a sinkerball pitcher that coaxes ground ball after ground ball, with a lifetime K/9 of 4.2.

What's even more interesting is last season in his 12 starts (where it was obvious that he was hurt, going 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA), his K/9 was 6.2, the highest it had ever been in his five big league seasons.

As an investment, the Nationals have to take a chance on a 30-year old pitcher with a lifetime 4.16 ERA if he's really healthy.

Then, they just need to find a couple guys behind him to pick the ball up.

According to this Boston Globe report citing "Major League sources," the Boston Red Sox put in a claim on SS Cristian Guzman, whom the Nationals placed on waivers. The article describes the recent injury to Boston SS Jed Lowrie as the impetus on the claim.

During the waiver-wire trade period, it's customary for teams to put many of their players on waivers, with the intent on judging the trade value for those players. If a player is claimed, the two teams then have 48 hours to work out a deal, allow the player to simply be claimed, or the starting team can withdraw the player off of waivers and retain the player for the season.

In order for the Red Sox to be awarded the claim, every team in the NL and 2/3 of the AL teams would have had to pass on Guzman, and $8 million salary next season.

Guzman is hot again, and casual fans love watching Guzman when he's hot, as he strays base hits all over the stadium. But he is a very streaky hitter, provides absolutely no power, and is terrible defensively.

If the two teams can't work out a deal for a significant player in return, the Nats should just let Sox assume his contract, freeing up that $8 million,and channeling it into a run at Orlando Hudson, a superior player to Guzman, next season.

Oh, by the way, deadline for Strasburg now at 8 days and counting...

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (50-61, 4th in NL West--17 games back; two-game losing streak)

Oeltjen -- LF
Roberts -- 2B
Drew -- SS
Reynolds -- 3B
Tracy -- 1B
Snyder -- C
Romero -- RF
Young -- CF
Petit -- RHP

WASHINGTON NATIONALS (39-72, 5th in NL East--23.5 games back; seven-game win streak)

Morgan -- CF
Guzman -- SS
Zimmerman -- 3B
Dunn -- 1B
Willingham -- LF
Dukes -- RF
Bard -- C
Gonzalez -- 2B
Martin -- P


WAS: J.D. Martin, RHP (16.1 IP, 0-2, 7.16 ERA, 7 K, 5 BB)
ARI: Yusmeiro Petit, RHP (57.1 IP, 2-5, 5.81 ERA, 48 K, 23 BB)


Partly cloudy, hot and humid. Game time: 92F. Last out: 94F.

The Nationals, losers of five straight and eight of their last ten, host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second of a four-game series.

Nick Johnson is hitting .478 the past week with two homers and 12 RBIs. He's getting hot just when the Mets need a first baseman with Carlos Delgado going down to hip surgery. I'm just sayin'.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES (17-21, 6th in NL Central--6.5 games back; three-game win streak)

Morgan - LF
Sanchez - 2B
McLouth - CF
Adam LaRoche - 1B
Moss - RF
Andy LaRoche - 3B
Jaramillo - C
Wilson - SS
Karstens - P

WASHINGTON NATIONALS (11-26-1, 5th in NL East--10 games back; five-game loss streak)

Guzman - SS
Johnson - 1B
Zimmerman - 3B
Dunn - RF
Willingham - LF
Harris - CF
Hernandez - 2B
Nieves - C
Martis - P


PIT: Jeff Karstens (32.0 IP, 1-2, 5.06 ERA, 14 Ks, 13 BBs)
WAS: Shairon Martis (41.2 IP, 5-0, 4.10 ERA, 21 Ks, 17 BBs)

Excellent evening weather, but temperatures may dip fast after sundown. Still very comfortable for late May. First pitch--68F; Last out--61F. 0% chance of rain.

Citing being "a fan of continuity", Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten today announced that Assistant GM Mike Rizzo will assume the duties of General Manager of the Washington Nationals, while not actually being named General Manager of the Washington Nationals.

Kasten indicated that there was no timetable in naming a permanent successor to Jim Bowden, ousted last weekend from the position.

"But Mike is a guy that I have a lot of confidence in, our owners have a lot of confidence in, and at some point I have to do a search and a search will progress, but I don't feel in any rush at all.

There's no particular urgency or timetable for that. I will tell you guys, the surest way to know somebody is a candidate is to not read his name anywhere. If you see someone's name, you know he is not a candidate. I'll let you all figure that out.

But I don't have a timetable on this. As I said, don't feel any urgency. Because especially this week, we've seen it move so smoothly, work so well with the rest of the staff, be so comfortable for the rest of the staff, and a little bit of calming, rather than more change now, is what we need best. --Stan Kasten, via Nationals Journal

According to Kasten, Rizzo will be the point person for the organization with regards to trades, personnel and scouting, with Kasten and ownership as the last say on all matters. And of course, Kasten had to get one more jab in there about rumors of candidates names.

Does this amount to a try out? Kasten indicated that Rizzo would be "the face" to the rest of the GMs in baseball, but also said that ownership would look to Kasten himself for "final decisions".

So it looks like a certain amount of dysfunction will be associated with the day-to-day operations for the foreseeable future, but it beats what the Nats had previously.

Hopefully Kasten's search will result in the right person being hired for the position sooner than later, and if it's Rizzo, great. And I know that Kasten is doing all he can to circle the wagons and get everyone on the same page, which I think is great. But I know I'll be a little more comfortable once the decision on the GM is final.

During the press conference, Kasten announced that his mother passed away this morning from Alzheimer's. Nationals News Network wishes to express our most sincere condolences to Mr. Kasten and the rest of his family.