Nationals Baseball: Even Boz is into it

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Even Boz is into it

Boz rips the Nats

Tons of great points.
  • Nats have tons of money coming in soon.  Most teams spend when that's the case.  The Nats aren't (Harper Note: for another example see: Nats, New ballpark
  • Nats said what they wanted, seemingly had a bunch of different options to do it, and have done nothing.
  • Nats are probably overvaluing their own youth in regards to refusing to deal them
  • Most likely this is all because you have to do a song and dance to convince Ol Man Ted to give you a nickel for some penny-whistles at the general store.
It's not that doing nothing in the offseason of 2012 is in itself terrible. But in context it feels pretty bad.  For years the Nats did nothing.  Last year's Werth signing was supposed to be a signal that things would be different.  They even went into this offseason being very explicit in what very expensive pieces they wanted.  Then they did nothing, just like every other off-season.

To the average fan psyche the reaction is not:

"It's ok.  I'm sure they'll do a decent job of patching things together this year while we watch the youngsters develop.  Then next year they'll make that big push!  Go Nats!", it's :

"Those cheap bastards are screwing up this team again!"

and you can't blame them. That's what experience has taught them.

Boz is the team's greatest cheerleader.  He wants the team to succeed in DC so bad, I've seen him sacrifice a kitten on an altar of Wade Boggs' discarded chicken bones to the spirit of Walter Johnson*.  When he's telling you this, things have gone too far.  The offseason isn't over.  Oswalt is still out there. A CF trade might still be possible (not likely though - I think here Nats fans are just going to have to suck up the inevitable Greatest Show on Werth situation).  Let's see what they do.

*may not be true.  

(on a side-note - I'm getting a bit tired of this whole minor Edwin Jackson love fest. The guy isn't better than Danks, isn't better than Gonzalez.  He's not significantly worse and he'll come cheaper true, but THIS ISN'T ABOUT VALUE - IT'S ABOUT WINS)


Todd Boss said...

I couldn't disagree more with Boswell's take on the offseason nor his interpretation of the state of the franchise, frankly.

You summarized it yourself though by saying "the off-season isnt' over." Boswell's entire column was conjecture and assumption, assuming the Nats aren't going to do anything else this offseason. If we stand here April 1st and nothing else has happened, so be it and I'll eat crow. But complaining because we havn't signed someone like Oswalt when he hasn't signed anywhere yet is really hypocritical.

Rob said...

I see where Boz is coming from but spending money for the sake of spending isn't the answer either.

For the past few years the plan has been to build slowly, restock the Major League team and minor league organization with talent. For everyone saying the Nats have failed, we are finally starting to see that success.

The Nats have a mediocre team (not great but a far cry from what we had seen) with a great farm system. Eventaully, I'd like to see that become a very good team with a decent farm system. I think the Nats have proven that they are moving in the right direction and that wild spending, while cathartic, doesn't really improve things.

Lets say the Nats sign fielder, trade for Gio, extend Zim, and make a push this year. What happens 6 years down the line when Harper and Strassburg have moved on, Zim is nursing his everyday injuries (a la Chipper Jones) and Werth and Fielder are shadows of their former selves making a combined $55M?

Harper said...

Todd - It's a whole year too early to start judging on whether the Nats have failed to put a winning team together, but whether the Nats are failing to engage the fanbase is something you can judge constantly. Right now they are failing at that. While not as important as wins and losses, it does matter.

I also think Boz's column has to be linked to some info he's getting from inside from people unhappy with the Lerner's commitment. Boz wouldn't put out a pissy fanboy esque column. He lives to support this team and put it's best face foward. No, this is something someone wanted him to run with.

Rob - no one wants to see the Nats spend money on bad players, but overpaying for pieces is what winning teams often have to do.

You ask what happens 6 years down the road? What happens to all but the biggest spenders. You trade what you can, start to rebuild, and lose for a couple years.

Harper said...

Todd - thinking some more. I guess what I'm saying is that the Nats don't have the luxury of getting the full off-season to figure out what they are doing while not being criticized. They haven't earned the trust that they will spend money at the major league level.

Boswell's column may be unfair in the sense they still have time to resolve these issues, but it's the Nats' themselves that put the team in this position with year after year of putting together major league squads with popsicle sticks and gum. The fans are unhappy and the team will hear it.

Anonymous said...

The key issue is that they have not fielded ONE legitimate team since the Lerner's took over.

Until they do so, they risk losing out on a MAJOR opportunity to prove that they will eternally support the team and people will tune out. If you aren't going to spend money with 1) a new park 2) youth coming 3) new HUGE TV deal incoming 4) fanbase that has never been vested because it has no history and you have fielded a AAA team since you bought it.....then when will they ever spend $?

It just looks like DC is doomed to be Pittsburgh for baseball. Over-valuing the farm is a MONSTER risk at this point. If they don't pan out, or we have a few key injuries, you are looking a bottom-feeding again.

Harper said...

Anon - I know it's hard to swallow given that you've heard this for the last 7 years - but give it a year or two more. If they don't spend $ NOW it's ok, if they don't spend the $ SOON... well then you can start making the Pittsburgh comparisons.

Donald said...

Well I guess this should make everyone happy who wanted Rizzo to make a deal, any deal, to show that he was serious. It's being reported that they are trading Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, AJ Cole and Derek Norris for Gio Gonzalaz.

Nattydread said...

Here's my question: Did Boz force the Gio trade? Did Lerner wake up in the morning, read the Post over coffee and call Rizzo? What happened here? Sounds like there was some serious backroom lobbying going on.

Noah said...

The Boswell article was awful. He criticizes the Nationals because they haven't bid on Yoennis Cespedes, even though Cespedes is not a free agent yet and therefore cannot be bid on. Criticizes them for not acquiring Latos, even though they don't have the talent in the upper minors (for position players at least) that the Padres wanted in return for Latos. Furthermore, does Boswell actually think it'd be a good idea to sign Edwin Jackson to a multi-year deal? CJ Wilson was never considering coming to Washington, he took less money to play in So Cal, so faulting the Nationals for not spending money on him is irrational.

The offseason is at the halfway point. Players like Fielder, Cespedes, Gonzalez, Garza, Oswalt and Davis/Nieman are still available to sign or trade for.

The article appears especially ridiculous because the Nationals are rumored to be making a push for Gio Gonzalez (which would also undermine the presumption that they overvalue their own prospects).

I thought it was a lazy and poorly thought out article.

DezoPenguin said...

...It is intriguing, coming at this post after I'd already read about the Gonzalez trade. The timing is kind of eerie, isn't it?

That said, the trade isn't a bad one. Peacock and Milone showed well in limited action last year, but might not develop the way we hope (Milone, especially, is someone whose value might be at its peak right now), while Gonzalez is both young and good right now and is a definite upgrade to the rotation (I'm guessing Wang and Lannan now start the season as 4-5 unless Det. blows people away in spring training...). Norris, meanwhile, was blocked by Ramos and Flores, so, yeah.

The down side seems to be that we burned our best bargaining chips on this trade and still haven't addressed the lineup issues at all, but it does seem to be a reasonable move, paying market value for a guy who's worth it. How many years is he still under club control, now?

Section 222 said...

Well, they just traded for Gio. So much for overvaluing your prospects and never pulling the trigger on a big trade. I think the price was pretty steep. Either Peacock or Cole could turn out to be a #2 starter several years from now. But I'm glad we're dealing and trying to improve. It's the only way to keep pace with the improved Marlins and make a run. Let's do it!

Rob said:
"Lets say the Nats sign fielder, trade for Gio, extend Zim, and make a push this year. What happens 6 years down the line when Harper and Strassburg have moved on, Zim is nursing his everyday injuries (a la Chipper Jones) and Werth and Fielder are shadows of their former selves making a combined $55M?"

What happens? Seriously? After six years when the Nats have won the series twice and been in the playoffs six straight times? When Nats Park sells out against every team except the Padres and the Mariners? When the Lerners are rolling in so much dough because of those sellouts and a new gargantuan TV contract? I don't know, but boo hoo hoo. Somehow I think we'll make do. Whatever happens, we'll be a lot better off than if we stand pat and wait for some magic moment when all our prospects pan out and we finish fourth in the NL East 2012, maybe third next year with Harper struggling in his first full season, Zim leaves because we're going nowhere, Peacock and Solis need Tommy John, and Norris never is able to field his position at the major league level.

Good going Rizzo. You proved Boz wrong and gave us a shot to compete in 2012. Now get the Lerners to pony up for Prince and I'll be really happy.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of the trade. We're now looking at a balanced rotation with RLRLR going out there every day. An extra pitcher (I still remain a Detwiler believer) to extend everyone's innings. Personally, I believe the biggest "backroom push" is from Davey demanding that Bryce be given the chance from day 1 to be out there six out of seven days. This is now a team with a ridiculously wide range of possibilities. Wang comes all the way back and it's the best rotation in the majors. Werth gets only halfway back to his stats, Zim plays 150 games, the rest maintain last year's game and we're close to 90 wins, definitely in the playoff hunt (until Jesus's innings limit runs out). If they can stretch it out, who wants to face Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Zimm2 in a playoff series?......just so nobody gets hurt, 'cause the depth is seriously suspect.

<*> Chaos.......Ramos is going to be the overlooked star here in '12

Anonymous said...

.....and the downside-- Gio doesn't convert to the NL, one of the two young SP's blows another piece of their arm out, Wang's mediocre, Werth's just the same and Espinosa follows IanD's career path. We fight the Mets for the cellar. Don't even want to contemplate it.

Ollie said...

I'm not a fan of this trade, I think they overvalued Gonzalez. Milone and Norris might not pan out into above replacement level players, but Peacock showed the same power and more control than Gonzalez has. Cole, though young, has a high ceiling and plenty of time to screw up or pan out, but he was a valuable chip that could have been used for an everyday player, like say, a CF? I also would have rather they traded Detwiler; I think he's the least promising of those three.

It's nice that we had such a good draft but with the new CBA it's going to be harder to overpay to get talent and replace some of what we just gave up. I'm not opposed to trading some of these guys, but I think they could have signed Oswalt as a stop gap while one of Detwiler, Peacock, or Milone developed, or until next offseason when Greinke and some other frontline starters might be available. This feels like a kneejerk move given the team's lack of offseason momentum so far.

Still, though I'm a little skeptical about Gonzalez remaining consistent because of his high walk rate, I'm hopeful that this pans out. At this point they might as well drop the cash to sign field for 5y/$135 mil (just to pull a slightly overpriced number out of the air) after they extend Zimmerman.

Harper said...

Anon - I don't know if even that will catch the Mets. Their starting pitching could be hideous.