Tagged: Bryce Harper

Injuries and Perspective

Good Morning Nats Fans!

We sit here on a Saturday Morning with the Nats coming off a 7-3 win over the Reds, and 20-12, 1/2 a game ahead of the 20-13 Atlanta Braves, and with their fair share of warts. One of the bigger ones recently is the loss of Jayson Werth to a broken wrist, his expected return time being about 3 months (12 weeks). Naturally, the loss of Werth has pushed Xavier Nady and Roger Bernadina into the starting picture because of Bryce Harper’s move over to Right Field, and for some reason, the idea of Tyler Moore being put out there daily is a tad crazy, but I digress. Now, this unfortunate injury spurs one big thing: trade rumors, namely involving outfielders.

Okay, I’ve seen everything you all have seen, dear readers. Peter Bourjos is on the bench for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with the emergence of Mike Trout, to go along with his .192/.259/.288 slash line with a homer and nine RBI. He’s a speedy, 24 year old Center Fielder who could leadoff for the Nats, thus dropping Ian Desmond in the lineup. Bourjos does have a hip problem, and will undergo surgery after this season. As good of a player Bourjos is, his acquisition causes some problems. It’s not as though RIGHT NOW the Nats have lost either Mike Morse or Jayson Werth for the entire season (and with Werth’s comments about essentially crushing Phillies fans hopes and dreams, he may be back earlier than 12 weeks), so when one/both of them come back, what do you do? Sure, right NOW Bryce Harper is .233/0 HR/3 RBI/.333/.372 right now, but we’re talking about August for Werth’s return and June(ish) for Morse’s return. You can handle Morse’s return easily- Nady/Bernie to the bench, Ankiel still in CF and Harper in RF- but what do you do when Werth comes back? You’re probably NOT gonna demote Harper, and you can’t trade Ankiel because he’s a matchup guy who’s going to be out there 3 of 5 nights a week in Center. The even bigger issue is this: what do you do next year if you get Bourjos?

In my opinion, the Bourjos idea ONLY works if the Nats don’t hold onto Adam LaRoche. There is an option in LaRoche’s contract for 2013, which, with the way he’s playing right now (.333/.429/.588 with 6 HR and 23 RBI) I don’t really blame them if they DID pick up that option, because he’s probably on pace for a pretty big year, so he may not want them to pick up that option, because if he keeps up this pace, he could probably get 4 years on the open market based on his offense after this year AND his defense. So with that said, acquiring Bourjos- or ANY other Center Fielder for that matter- would mean LaRoche walks away. What would happen then is Morse, an infielder by trade, would move down to First Base, where he was serviceable last year, Bryce Harper goes into Left and Jayson Werth is in Right. If you ask me, either way, the Nats are in a very good position, because the Outfield can be Morse/Harper/Werth OR Harper/Bourjos or Span/Werth. Either way, they’re in a great position if you ask me.

Another interesting dilemma the Nats are facing, and soon, is Chien Ming Wang. Ross Detwiler has been just stellar since being handed the 5th starters spot the way he was. Remember, this is coming from a guy who didn’t want Detwiler is the rotation. Period. And I have to admit, I was….wr….wroo…..wrong *gasps for air.* What I’m trying to say is, the Nats cannot trade Lannan (seemingly) why not try to trade Wang, and keep the rotation as is, because if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Okay, now I know what you’re saying, and I get it. The Nats invested a lot of time and a considerable amount of money into his recovery period with a few one year contracts as he rehabbed his surgically repaired soldier. He wasn’t horrible last year, and projected well as a #5 starter this season…until he busted his hamstring in Spring Training. Now, I realize it was never Ross’ job to keep, but I really don’t know how you justify taking Detwiler out of the rotation. I mean, he’s 3-2 with a 2.10 ERA, and would you like to know the most EARNED RUNS he’s allowed this year? Would you? Really? Okay, I’ll tell you. 3. THREE. THREE EARNED RUNS. And he’s only done it TWICE. Every other start: 0-1-0-1. Yup. He should TOTALLY get pulled from the rotation. (For those of you who don’t know, that was sarcastic.) It’s going to be really tough to justify to me and a lot of other people that taking out Det and plugging in Wang is a good idea.

The bottom line here is that, as fans, we need some perspective. Just because our two top outfielders are hurt does not mean we run out there and trade for someone. For the first time in a really long time of Nats baseball, they actually have almost all their holes filled. They may even have their leadoff hitter in Ian Desmond and their everyday Center Fielder in Bryce Harper. Hell, Adam LaRoche may even be the long term first base option!

Point is, enjoy the team as is, because they’re pretty damn fun to watch!

GO NATS!

-Nick

Some Thoughts on Bryce Harper…

Good Afternoon, Nats fans!

DC area sports writers have been speculating on Bryce Harper for weeks, if not months, now, especially after Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers for 9 years and $214M. That unexpected move only fueled the Harper discussion even more, and here are three reasons why:

1.) He’s a Left-Handed Hitter. The Nats lineup will be mostly Righty.

2.) He can take over Left Field, granted LaRoche plays out his contract, his option is not picked up, and Morse moves over to First, granted he doesn’t have a monumental drop off.

3.) There’s a spot for him, especially with Davey Johnson filling out the lineup card.

Because of these reasons, writers everywhere have been publishing stories on what Harper can and cannot do to make the 25-man Roster. I enjoy reading these articles, and I agree with most of their sentiments.

Then I read Jason Reid’s Article, “Bryce Harper needs to grow up”

Jason Reid is a writer for the Washington Post, and this is an opinion piece. It’s a very good piece and I definitely recommend it as a good read. He references an interview Harper recently had where he mentions that when he does make it to the Big Leagues, he wants to emulate “Broadway Joe” Namath, the Jets Quarterback who famously guaranteed the Jets would win Super Bowl III over the then-heavily favored Baltimore Colts, and made good on that guarantee. He also wore lavish fur coats on the sideline during games, and was that guy everyone wanted to be. For those who follow Harper on Twitter (@BHarper3407), we know he is a New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, and Duke Blue Devils fan. Nationals fans did not take this well, as they busted out the torches and pitchforks. How dare a kid who grew up in NEVADA not root for any DC area teams, when he has only been a National for less than 3 years, and has not even played in Nationals Park yet?

I noticed a lot of people seemed a tad put off by the Namath comment as well, and while I do agree with Reid’s overall message of the article, which is: The Nats invested a lot of money in this kid, he needs to act older wiser beyond his years. No blowing kisses at Pitchers he hits taters off of.

CALM DOWN, PEOPLE

Bryce Harper is 19 and he has swagger. So what? You mean to tell me that if you were a 19-year-old Super Prospect who left High School early to play better competition, and who owns the longest unofficial Home Run in Tropicana Field History, you WOULDN’T have a swagger? Come on now. Personally, I like a guy with some swagger. Anyone who expects him to come to the Majors in a Tuxedo, speaking eloquently over his pre-game caviar is absolutely NUTS. We need to realize that, after all, he IS 19. He’s going to have moments like “kiss-gate,” we can’t expect him not to. We all did ridiculous things at 19 years old. Players always have swagger, it never goes away. All players at the Major League level of EVERY sport have an attitude, or swagger, or SOMETHING. It can be obvious, a la Rex Ryan or Joe Namath, or it can a quiet confidence, like Eli Manning. People say that Rex Ryan, with a few more years of guaranteeing Super Bowl victories and not delivering, will become a caricature of himself, and nobody will take him seriously. Eli Manning was quite a different case, as people said early in his career that he didn’t care enough. No, he’s just an even keel guy, who doesn’t let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. 2 Super Bowl Wins/MVPs later, and nobody can say ANYTHING negative about Eli in good conscience. Period.

Now, i’m not saying Harper is going to do that. He doesn’t play football. What I am saying is that there is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, wrong with Harper’s swagger. All players have it. Some players are very obvious about it, and some are not. The key to swagger being a good thing, however, is Harper’s ability to temper his swagger and words so that he does not come off as a big head or something to that nature. What is ridiculous, to me, is demoting these players because of that. I implore the Nationals not to do this. They are not the Florida/Miami Marlins and Logan Morrison. Players should get demoted for their on-field production. If Harper goes out in Spring Training and bats .350-.400 hits 7-10 Home Runs, then he should make this team. If he does the same thing, and he gets demoted, it’s obvious why. He probably made some sort of on or off field comment, or some sort of gesture to an opposing player, and that is ridiculous. Plain and Simple.

Fans: Don’t rip a player just because he has swagger. If you were in his position, you would have it too.

Go Nats

-Nick