Sunday, March 29, 2009

Odds and Ends

Catching up on some recent news:
  • Zimmermann and Martis make the starting five (but Zimmermann starts in AAA anyway). I'm not sure they had any other choice after losing out on Odalis Perez and giving up on Shawn Hill. Balester pitched his way out of a job, and after that you're back to ol' Jason Bergmann or (much worse) someone like Gustavo Chacin. It's all exciting and stuff, but I'm worried about throwing two 22-year-olds into the fire like this. Transitioning pitchers to MLB is tricky, and I'm not sure this team has that good a plan. We'll see. Bottom line, Martis and Zimmermann were the only starting pitchers in camp who had shown any ability to get hitters out with any regularity, so for better or worse they're getting thrown into the fire.
  • The upshot for Zimmermann is that leaving him down for a week or two pushes back his ETA at free agency a year (assuming he sticks in the big leagues after this). If they had left him down till the end of May they could have delayed his eligibility for arbitration a year as well, and, again, if he doesn't stick that could still happen.
  • The prospect formerly known as Smiley might miss the 2009 season because of visa issues, according to Mark Zuckerman at the Times. What to say? Just, wow.
  • Re: Jim's handshake agreement with Dmitri Young. Jim didn't honor his own handshake agreements, so why should we? Of course with the dreck we still have cluttering up the 40-man (Clippard, O'Connor), I can't get too worked up.
  • Farewell, Wily Mo Painful. It's been at least 3-4 years since the rest of MLB realized that he's the baseball equivalent of a distracting, shiny object. He won't get 250 ABs in a season again.
  • Jim Callis has a must-read on the topic of Stephen Strasburg's mechanics, which have been the topic of great discussion on the blogs. The story is for subscribers, but the upshot is that there aren't many scouts who see red flags in his delivery.
  • Jose Castillo, Jose Valentin, Corey Patterson: barring a rash of injuries they never had a chance. The reason they were here was because we lacked internal replacement-level depth from our own minor leagues. Deeper, better organizations don't have to waste time with guys like this, but they're more symptom than problem. Anyway, let's hope this is the last time we need to mention any of them.
  • Did you know: Scott Olsen gave up 5 homers to the Nationals last year. Only Paul Maholm gave up as many to our guys.


JayB said...


You are relentless on Olson, just as I am on Milledge. It is interesting to watch. Both valid opinions in my based on stats and one based on observations….here’s hoping were both very wrong. My eyes tell me Olson will be fine as an innings eater with for the next few years. Someone has to pitch 200 innings on this staff. Sure it will be at about an ERA of 4.5 -5.0.....but that works for this staff this year.

Wil Nieves said...

Off the topic a little bit... Do you think the Nats ownership knew about Redding's shoulder when they didn't offer him arbitration, or do you think they just got lucky?

Steven said...

I think the injury happened after, so lucky. Except that he was an older pitcher with an injury history, so they maybe programmed in that risk.

e poc said...

Two things make me nervous about Zimmermann and Martis claiming rotation spots right out of spring training. One is the inevitable workload increase. Maybe the Nats will find a way to limit both guys to 160 innings or so, but it makes me nervous. The other is that Zimmermann supposedly was trying to improve his changeup, which he won't be able to do at the ML level. That fourth pitch could conceivably put him over the top and make him an elite pitcher (though maybe he can be without it - who knows?), and I wish he had half a season or so at AAA to develop it (not to mention it would push back the arb clock). Maybe he can go to the AFL or winter ball in the offseason to work on it, but that re-raises the workload question.

On the other hand, it's exciting that we will be able to see a truly talented pitcher every fifth day for the Nats.

redcottageaudio said...

e poc has it right. There is no point in driving up the pitch counts of guys like this. With or without these two we won't make the play-offs so why not allow them to develop at a more natural pace.

It seems like letting Odalis Perez go could turn out to be a mistake.