Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Deals I Wish the Nationals Had Made (and one I'm glad they didn't)

Reviewing some of the action from Indianapolis...

Matt Lindstrom for two guys who Ben Badler says wouldn't have been in the top 30 of one of the worst minor league systems in all of baseball. I'm not a huge fan of Lindstrom, but to get a guy who throws 100 miles per hour basically for free?

And Rich Harden for one year and $7 million is an excellent risk-reward for Texas. I would have really liked to see the Nationals do that one.

But then
Former Rizzo guy Brandon Lyon gets three years and $15 million from Ed Wade and the Houston Astros. Wow. Now that's a bad contract.

Oh, and totally related to nothing--triple A rule 5 picks never become anything. Don't worry about pronouncing Wlodarczyk or Arismendy.
  • Update: add one more deals to the list of deals that would have made sense for the Nationals. Greg Zaun for $1.5 million and one year. I've defended the Pudge signing, not so much as a great move and more as an understandable, better-than-most-other-options-available move. Well, here's a deal that would have been better. A similar if not better player for half the money and half the years. He doesn't have the name, which I think the Nationals care about perhaps more than they should, but just based on production per dollar, this deal is better.

12 comments:

Evan Chapman said...

I was really hoping that they'd sign Harden. he was, I thought, the best risk/reward out there... 10.9K/9? I'll take it.

phil dunn said...

Rich Harden is a good pitcher when he is healthy, but he is hardly ever healthy. That's why paying him $6.5 million with incentives (with an $11 million mutual option for 2011), like the Rangers did, is very risky. If you factor in the Nats injury curse, especially for starting pitchers, then you can probably conclude that Harden would be a disaster.

Matteo said...

Totally agree with Phil. We are already going to have to monitor the innings count of 2-3 young pitchers. Adding the frailty of Harden just taxes the bullpen even more. I would have loved Millwood for this team. 200+ innings right there and good enough to keep you in most games.

Steven said...

Harden with no plan b is a disaster. But if you bring in Harden, and let's say Garland, and let's say Livan, then you're pretty deep. You can start with a rotation of Harden, Garland, Lannan, Stammen, and Detwiler, and then if someone gets hurt, dip into Livan and the rest.

Nate said...

Two Deals I wish the Nationals Had Made:

1. Sign C.C. Sabathia

2. Sign Mark Teixeira

You're right, this is fun! What's that? The players have to agree to sign here too? Well, hamburgers...

jon said...

Youre forgetting that the Nats wouldnt be able to get these players at the same price. Remember we had to overpay for Pudge, we'd have to pay more for these players as well. Would you still feel comfortable with Harden for say $10 million? I know I wouldn't he's a walking disaster. And so what if we catch lightning in a bottle for one year, he'll be gone the next year to someone who can give him the years and the dollars. We need to stay true to the plan and not get caught up in all this hypothetical. Develop the farm system and add high character veterans that will impact next year, and further. The only problem is that this years cast of characters aren't that great, so we'll proceed with caution and maybe pursue non tendered candidates from today or trades.

Personally, I'd love to see them sign a guy like Kelly Johnson and keep Guzman at short. That's the kind of low risk high reward you want. Desmond isn't ready, and if he is by mid season then we have 3 guys who can play. Pudge was a smart sign, we need someone to mentor a young staff and provide leadership.

Pudge is a player, and a coach for all intents and purposes. And I'd personally like to see them go out and get a guy like Brett Gardner and play him in left and swing Willingham to right. He has to be available in the wake of the Granderson trade, and these are the Rizzo type moves that we should expect to see. Obviously an arm, make that two, are necessary too but I'm not impressed with these pitchers. I'd like to see them go one more year of low risk high reward then shell out 10 mil per for mediocrity. Opinions?

Sasskuash said...

Kelly Johnson's stats in 2007-2008-2009:

OBP: .375-.349-.303
SLG: .457-.446-.389
UZR/150: (-7.9)-(-10.7)-(-0.2)

In sum: K. Johnson is a below average- atrocious fielder who is getting worse at the plate, to the point that last year the Braves sent him down to AAA again. He used to have value simply as a bat in the 2B position that out-weighed his poor fielding, but now that he's got <.700 OPS, he holds no value. The Braves tried to move him all last year and nobody took him for a reason. I'll say no thanks on that one. Jim Bowden wore out my patience for rebuilding projects long ago.

Will said...

Kelly Johnson had a BABIP 64 points below his career average last year. I don't see why his offensive numbers would rebound substantially.

If no other teams are interested, that's great. We can sign him for not much money, and at worst, he can play a role similar to Alberto Gonzalez.

Furthermore, Cristian Guzman just posted a <.700 OPS, while moderately overperforming (higher than average BABIP), with almost identical numbers to Johnson last year. However, Guzman is moving to a position he's never played before. I don't see why the Nats shouldn't take a flier on Johnson. At the very least, it will improve our depth.

Will said...

Sorry, that should read "I don't see why his offensive numbers wouldn't rebound substantially."

jon said...

Thanks for your opinions guys, I found them interesting. I'm using KJohnson as an example because he has been productive in the past, and probably wouldn't warrant a significant amount of money. My post is a philosophical argument, and I feel that the Nats shouldn't be dabbling in 8-9 million contracts for guys who have a reasonable downside. 2 of those guys can amount to one star player, something we desperately need. The depth on the team can be added through 'smart' signs, who might need a change of scenery or more of an opportunity. Johnson's D is a good point, it is not great and that does not fit in to the philosophy of being strong up the middle. However, I feel the potential gain outweighs the risk, especially with Desmond waiting in the wings. I feel the some of the nontender candidates have been just as productive as this years marquee free agents. Bounce back years happen, and many of these guys last year were playing for contracts. With our payroll it's important that we stay ahead of the grain, and not commit this type of money and get burned.

Sasskuash said...

Re: Kelly Johnson- His line drive rate is also declining, while his FB% is increasing, and I think that might have a lot to do with his plummetting BABIP. I don't know if that's an easy fix or not. I'd be OK if we brought him back as a low-cost backup with incentives. I see too many warning signs in his stats to rely on him as a starter. Especially not at 2B, next to Dunn. The Nats would be playing down a fielder with that right side of the infield.

Steven- What do you think about the Olsen situation? I know you never liked him, but if they were going to keep him I at least think they handled it the right way. Any thoughts?

Sasskuash said...

Correction: Brought Kelly Johnson IN as a backup, not brought him back. Obviously, he's never been a Nat so we can't bring him back. But maybe we catch lightning in a bottle this time...