February 14, 2016

Critiquing the 2016 Projections for the Washington Nationals

February 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

We are more than six weeks from the first official games of the 2016 season. Then, the day to day performance of players in the long grind of the season will determine what of these hot stove fantasies has any meaning whatsoever. No disrespect intended, but FanGraph’s “ZiPS” and “Steamer” projections are very handy to […]

Bob Davids SABR Chapter’s Annual Meeting

January 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The SABR members of the Mid-Atlantic gathered together yesterday to test the proposition that one Washington area chapter, so conceived, could long endure without its Baltimore contingent. No shots were fired and more than 125 persons attended the very excellent and entertaining session, including many first timers. It was altogether fitting that new officers having […]

Three Times at Bat For the Nationals and Nothing to Show

January 23, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Washington Nationals made offers to all three of the elite free agent outfielders on the market: Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Yeonis Cespedes. In at least two instances it is clear from the press reports that Washington offered more money than other clubs in on the bidding. But all three players went elsewhere. The […]

When Is Too Much Scott Boras, Too Much?

January 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Washington Nationals sign Stephen Drew officially as their utility infielder, it will mean they currently have seven Scott Boras clients on their likely 25-man roster. That is 28 percent of all players or slightly more than one-in-four. Is it too much? For purposes of comparison, of the two World Series teams in 2015, […]

Dear Santa

December 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Christmas tree in Washington is a little bare this year and it has nothing to do with the 70+ degree temperatures. This year it looks like the holidays are going to be all about deferred compensation–you know, that stuff they told you in college. Study hard, eschew the wild times and you will get […]

Boswell or Baker?

December 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In his Friday column Tom Boswell lamented that Dusty Baker had evoked racial stereotypes when Baker said at a news conference, “The number one thing that’s missing in the game is speed… you’ve got a better chance of getting speed with Latin and African Americans.” I will admit upfront that I do not have the hubris […]

Does the Royals’ Success Signal a Paradigm Shift in Baseball Strategy?

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Joaquin Benoit’s trade today is just the first in what has been described as a cascade of relief additions that MLB teams will commence once Darren O’Day lands somewhere. The success of the Kansas City Royals has translated to a new paradigm wherein late inning arms are valued equally to those of starters. It was […]

A Big Hanging Curve Ball from DC

November 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Lerner family threw the baseball world a curve this morning when the Nationals announced Dusty Baker as their new manager after dangling Bud Black’s name for a week. If the new sources are to be believed more than the old sources, the Lerner family low-balled Bud Black who opted out. Dusty Baker has been […]

Mr. Black Goes to Washington

October 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals have settled on a manager to replace Matt Williams.  After the World Series they officially will name Bud Black as their manager for the 2016 season. It is a positive move and one that will hopefully signal more concrete steps to address the many moving parts that are the 2016 Nationals. Five […]

DC Post Mortem

October 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Managers come and managers go; it is in the nature of the game. Still, the summary execution of the entire Washington Nationals coaching staff could not be viewed as a triumph of any kind. It was a sad business. There were many fine men involved in the dismissals, the most egregious of which is Randy […]

Rob Manfred, Studied Contrast to Selig and “Smartest Man in Baseball”

September 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The sitting Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred, was the guest of Marvin Kalb at the National Press Club last night for the live airing of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) program, “The Kalb Report.” It was a fascinating fifty-five minutes of back-and-forth between the two men, and a lively Q&A followed. It was difficult not to […]

Reflections on Bud Selig, Competitive Balance, and How to Build the Best 21st Century Baseball Team

September 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Listening to Bud Selig is difficult and my heart goes out to the University of Wisconsin students who take his Baseball History class at Madison. Selig spoke last night on a program sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum Associates and organized by former Washington Senators and Redskins Announcer, Phil Hochberg. Listening to Selig was like watching […]

The 2016 Washington Nationals Makeover Should Start Immediately

September 9, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

The Washington Nationals 2015 season ended last night and they missed the playoffs by what ole Diz would call a “country mile.” Many if not all DC sports pundits will continue to harp on the mistakes made by Matt Williams, but whether Williams returns or not, there is a dysfunction in DC that runs far […]

All That Money and Talent and They Are Still the “Natinals”

August 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In a bar in Hanover, New Hamspire I was watching a Red Sox-Yankees game in July 2004 with those fans of the former who quickly despaired as their team fell behind for the thousandth time to the Derek Jeter-Bernie Williams Yankees who had been to the World Series five of the preceding six seasons. And […]

Matt Williams: Thumbs Up or Down?

August 12, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

As of this writing Bryan Price is still managing the 49-62 Cincinnati Reds after making a fool of himself earlier this season, so the bar for manager retention is set rather low these days. But the Washington, DC hounds demand more and they are nipping at the heels of Nationals manager Matt Williams, wondering what […]

The Trade Deadline Eruption Will Breed a Flowering Free Agent Circus

August 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The trade deadline that passed last Friday afternoon precipitated more activity than has been seen in Major League baseball in quite a few years. And yet the eruption of talented players changing teams last week is merely a foreshadowing of the more remarkable Vesuvius of activity that will begin as soon as the last pitch […]

A Bargain Closeout in DC

July 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Nationals waited until almost midnight, but bargain shopping was still in effect when Washington finally pulled the trigger on their bullpen, adding Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon in exchange for Nick Pivetta, ranked just at the back at end of the Nationals Top Ten Prospects. There had been some disagreement about how bad the Nationals […]

2015 and ’69 Mets–Deja Vu All Over Again?

July 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

How well do Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard stack up against Seaver, Koosman and Gentry and can the New York Mets find enough offense to make the miracle work again like it did in 1969? As the Mets and the Nationals square off against one another in a three-game set in Washington, DC, […]

Is It Fitting the Pieces or the Personalities That Make Great Trades Possible?

July 13, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

The New York Yankees have brought up Rob Refsnyder from Scranton, PA to play second base and it was about time. The Bombers have put a little space between themselves and the rest of the AL East and making a few final adjustments should position them as serious playoff contenders. As glad as the Yankee […]

Hype, Hyperbole, and Harper

July 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The fireworks were nestled all snug in whatever fireworks are nestled in before heading skyward several hours later from barges on the Potomac River. The Nationals were playing an 11:05 am start time for the Fourth of July game in the Nation’s Capital. The San Francisco Giants had been invited to share in the festivities […]

How Much Will They Pay to See the Max and Mondo Show?

June 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Washington, DC baseball fans have not seen anything like it in many a year. How long has it been since there a pitcher of Max Scherzer’s ability in the Nation’s Capital? How long since there was a hitter like Bryce Harper? Could having them both to watch be like…Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford? According to […]

Hoping to Find Bottom in DC

June 14, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

The Washington Nationals have been wracked by injuries, poor performance and the total failure of their bullpen to span the seventh and eighth innings. Like in one of those old submarine movies, the Nationals are looking for the bottom and a chance to regroup. The rumor mill has it that Mike Rizzo has finally been […]

Matt Williams? Merlin the Magnificent or the Stinky Cheese Man?

June 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

I got a text message the other evening from a friend that asserted: “I Hate Matt Williams.” It is part of the conventional wisdom in DC that the failures of the Nationals bullpen are the manager’s fault. The message came to me on Saturday night after the first of two bullpen implosions in Cincinnati. Casey […]

Is That Nuke LaLoosh Pitching in the Carolina League?

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Sure, Carlos Correa looks like the monster everyone predicted he would become. He leads the Texas League in batting and his 1.105 OPS jumps right off the page. If you play in a keeper league and have not tucked him away somewhere, you should. The Houston Astros have an embarrassment of riches that Bill Gilbert […]

The Orchid

May 14, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

It was over a year ago that Tony Kornheiser aptly named Stephen Strasburg “The Orchid” in a piece he penned.  Since then the phenom who was tagged as the “best pitching prospect ever” when he entered the amateur draft in 2009, has struggled to fulfill all of that remarkable potential. Those very unique abilities are […]

Bryce and Frank

May 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Frank Howard was Washington, DC’s most prodigious home run hitter, leading the American League in long balls in both 1968 and 1970, but his best year was 1969 when he hit 48, though he finished second to Harmon Killibrew that season who hit 49 to lead the Majors. Bryce Harper has hit seven home runs […]

You Gotta Have Heart

April 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

FanGraphs Jeff Sullivan asked the question the other day, “Have the Nationals Lost Their Edge?” The edge in this instance is the statistical advantage that the Nationals enjoyed going into the season over the other teams in the NL East. Having lost six in a row since righting the ship briefly at the end of the […]

Small Triumphs Writ Large

April 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

What may have been most remarkable about Calvin Griffith was his candor. When the former owner of the Minneapolis Twins said of his new Minnesota home–where he had relocated the old American League Washington Nationals franchise that dated to 1901–that there he had found thousands of hard working white folks, he was giving vent to […]

All the Games Count

April 13, 2015 by · 5 Comments 

Every game matters, whether it is played in the first week or in the last. It is easy to dismiss the significance of the first weeks of the season, but trends emerge even as early as Spring Training that will haunt the sixth months to follow. The Washington Nationals trip north to Fenway Park was […]

Spring Statistics and How Far Can the Washington Bullpen Travel

April 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Theo Epstein recently said he has never broken camp with a rookie in the starting lineup and to prove his point sent Kris Bryant packing. Spring is is not a good time to be a young major league hopeful. The time with the major league club more often than not ends in a quick trip […]

The Hour That the Ship Comes In

March 8, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

“And they will know that it’s for real, the hour that their ship comes in…”  Washington Nationals fans may be pinching themselves to find out whether they are dreaming–as in the old Bob Dylan song–but after wandering in the dessert for many years, a championship caliber organization is arriving on the rising tide of the […]

Playing Out the String

February 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The micro-economy of Major League Baseball is ever-changing. The first model was the neighborhood bully on the playground, in which the richest teams threw their weight around, purchased the best free agents and dominated the sport in the process. Bud Selig’s tenure as Commissioner has seen the arrival of more tools for competitive balance than […]

Is the Strategy of the Scherzer Move Too Obvious?

January 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The official signing of Max Scherzer went down yesterday in Washington and reading the tea leaves of Mike Rizzo’s intentions remains one of the top off-season topics. Does he trade Zimmermann, Fister, or Strasberg? It is only a matter of time before MLB Trade Rumors posts a reader survey asking which one will leave the […]

The Hot Stove in Washington Is Red Hot

January 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Fans in DC woke today to an embarrassment of riches when it was announced that Max Scherzer has agreed to terms and will be the mainstay of the Nationals rotation going forward for the next 7 years. The Washington Nationals inserted themselves again into the 2015 hot stove discussions just when everything seemed the quietest. […]

Fidel Pitches Into Extra Innings in Dramatic Win

January 15, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Fidel Castro is throwing one last pitch and it is proving to be his best. Regardless what political prism one sees the island of Cuba through, there is no denying that it has been the home of some great baseball over the years, so the new diplomatic initiative by the Obama administration promises new access […]

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