Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chieng Music (or, a New Ming Dynasty?)

All the stupid Wang puns across the NatRoots have left things pretty wide open for the Chien and Ming puns, so let's get started...

Here's what I wrote about Wang last week in my post last week on the remaining useful free agents out there:
The big question is his health. Over the last two years, his velocity has declined, his walks have gone up, and he's missed a bunch of time. He's coming off surgery for a torn shoulder capsule, which I've never heard of, but it sounds terrible. But if he can come back close to the guy he was, he's a very useful pitcher. He's never struck anyone out, but he pounds the zone with groundballs and would benefit from the move to the easier league. Still, this is a definite buyer-beware situation, and he's anything but the solution to the innings need.
The Nationals are paying Wang $2 million for this season, which could easily be just paying for the pleasure of overseeing his rehab.

But since he won't qualify for free agency till after the 2011 season at the earliest, the Nationals are getting the rights to the player for two years while only locking in one. It's a good bet for a lot less than I would have guessed. But then again, that's probably a good reason to think that the prognosis on his shoulder isn't that good.

One other thing: anyone else noticed what a premium the team seems to be putting on signing guys that Tom Boswell (or other minimally informed baseball fans) have heard of? Jason Marquis, Pudge Rodriguez, Willy Taveras, and now Wang. (And I still can't shake the feeling that they're about to spring a Johnny Damon signing on us...)

I guess I don't mind too much since they're basically short-term relatively cheap contracts, but it's pretty obvious that the team has made marketability a fairly high priority in their signings (as opposed to, for instance, getting the best players for the money). Again, there aren't any crippling sins here, but this isn't really a good thing for fans interested in seeing the team win more games.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

"One other thing: anyone else noticed what a premium the team seems to be putting on signing guys that Tom Boswell (or other minimally informed baseball fans) have heard of? Jason Marquis, Pudge Rodriguez, Willy Taveras, and now Wang. (And I still can't shake the feeling that they're about to spring a Johnny Damon signing on us...)"

This paragraph about sums up why it's so important to pay Zuckerman ourselves.

Are you effing serious? The Nats are reaching out to minimally informed/casual fans with a minor league deal for Willy Taveras? He's about as inconsequential as it gets. Hell, there will be a lot of minimally informed fans at Nats Park this year who don't even know Jason Marquis, and he's actually decent.

Pick any five ML free agents and I'd be willing to bet that some baseball fans have heard of them since they, you know, play baseball. I'm just one person, but my advice would be to keep up the copy-and-paste statistical analysis but refrain from half-baked cynical rantings like this. They will get you nothing in the way of credibility.

JohnD said...

Ive been following your blog for a very long time and i love it. one thing Ive noticed is that you are very negative with these signings. I honestly have read WAY TO MUCH about you complaining about the majority of deals this team does. why are you still a Nats fan if all they do is piss you off? they are making this team more marketable for a reason. who the hell wants to see bergmann or J.D martin anymore? that's not watchable, but a healthy Wang pitching to pudge is watchable. this team has the right people in place to make this a very successful organization in a year or two. i get what rizzo is doing and i praise him for that. You make it seem like this isnt even an upgrade from Bowden, when in realityi could have done better then him. The pace your on with all of the negative I could see you changing this blog to "FIRE MIKE RIZZO"!!.... You of all people should see whats going on here. learn from Zuckerman. at least hes excited about this year.

John D. Staten Island, NY (thats just ironic that Marquis is from here, i actually been a fan since the Expos days, praying they wear the expos uniforms this year)!!! its only right!!!

Steven said...

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I said this signing was a good bet at a better price than I would have expected. I wrote a week ago that Wang would be a good signing.

I said I liked that Marquis signing. I didn't complain about the Pudge signing, even though it was clearly overpaying. I said I liked the Matt Capps signing for this team. In fact, I haven't really panned anything the team has done this off-season.

Now, the Wang signing is not an unequivocal win-win-win. It's not like this is the best signing in history or that this makes the team a guaranteed contender or even a .500 team. There's risk with the injury.

It seems like you guys think that any nuanced analysis that includes an acknowledgment of downside is "too negative."

PS Willy Taveras was in the World Series with two teams. That's why I think his name recognition is higher than a similar player like, Norris Hopper.

Anonymous said...

Saying Willy Taveras is more famous than Norris Hopper is completely different from suggesting that whatever marginal fame he has was a factor in bringing him to Viera. The weird thing is you pretty well outlined the reasons for signing him in your Taveras post. Your points were valid, it's a depth move. But for some reason cynicism won the day.

And it's not the acknowledgment of downside that bothers me, at least. Wang is a gamble, downside is implicit, but it's completely relevant to talk about it.

However, the fact that Thomas Boswell, or SBF, or my mom or whoever has heard of him is not acknowledging a downside, it's inventing one. It's petty, it's annoying and it's the type of comment that we can expect with every post. You've become so entrenched in your "organization is failing" view that you're incapable of refraining from stuff like that. Take that one paragraph out of the Wang post, it's good analysis. Leave it in, you have an agenda.

Steven said...

Mr. Anonymous, find where I used the words "organization is failing." You won't, because I haven't. So if you want to fight with a strawman, go find one. I'm not it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, how would you characterize your stance on the organization's method of operations, direction and/or progress?

I'm sorry if you think "organization is failing" is an unfair characterization of "If you're rooting for the Redskins and the Nationals though you get a whole variety of the different ways that your team can be completely, hopelessly, poorly run. You have the skinflint, cheapskate owners in the Nationals running their team into the ground..." (your words) but I'll stick to it and feel pretty confident that I didn't construct a strawman.

Steven said...

I was exaggerating to be funny.

Natty Fan said...

Steven:

I agree that some of this offseason's signings have been more about "name recognition" than performance. What I wonder is this: is it for the fans, or the players?

Perhaps pointing to a future Hall-of-Famer like Pudge will convince some DC sports fans that the Nats are "more competitive" or "more serious" -- but I don't think this offseason has done anything like that.

However, I do think the signings of Pudge and Kennedy and Capps has meant a lot to the players. They value the past accomplishments and reputations of these players, and they see it as a sign that management is serious about building a good team. The problem is that players (and managers) often over-value experience and reputation, and may not see that a younger, unproven player (like Ian Desmond) might provide the same or better production than a grizzled vet or future HOF'er.

Anonymous said...

I was exaggerating to be funny.

Some people just can't do funny. You're one of them.

Which, come to think of it, makes everything you do funny in the macro sense. It's hilarious that you actually believe anyone is taking you seriously on anything.

Anonymous said...

I was exaggerating to be funny.

I doubt it, but even if so the point you were exaggerating is that you think the organization is failing. If it's going to bother you that people think that's your point, don't blog about it year round.

Steven said...

Let's be clear about one thing: this organization is NOT succeeding. They've lost 200+ games in 2 years. You guys seem to think that my overall point of view reflects an unfair axe to grind, as if a neutral observer would think the team is doing just fine.

If the team wants outside observers like me to praise the team for success, they should start by winning more games, ok? Then I'll praise. I would love to blog about what a great job the team is doing, but I can't just pretend.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous, find where I used the words "organization is failing." You won't, because I haven't.

Ah, but you do say this:

Let's be clear about one thing: this organization is NOT succeeding.

So they're not failing, but they're NOT succeeding. What then do you think they're doing?

Steven said...

Geez you're pretty clever. At this point I'm guessing you're 11 years old at most. But I'll play.

How about treading water? bumping along without measurable progress one way or another? Or the words I selected in the first place--"not succeeding"?

Instead of trying to guess the right words to put in my mouth, why don't you answer the question?

Do YOU think they're succeeding? What definition of the word "success" includes 200+ losses in 2 years?

RA said...

Where's the Kool-Aid stand? It's gotta be around here somewhere judging from these posts!

Anonymous said...

Geez you're pretty clever. At this point I'm guessing you're 11 years old at most. But I'll play.

Just so you know, you're dealing with multiple people.