Good morning Nats fans!!!
Well, we are finally through easily the hardest 4 days I have endured all season. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not complaining, because normally i’ve viewed the All-Star Break as a, well, break from Nats baseball for a myriad of reasons, although I have always loved them. Now, I am incredibly excited for the second half to begin, and there is no shortage of storylines going into the second half. This team has proven itself in the first half that they are going to be around, if not on top, for the long haul. Here are some big storylines for the Nats as they are set to face the Marlins in a 4 game wrap around set tonight, with Jordan Zimmermann facing Josh Johnson:
Drew Storen: The Nats 43 Save Closer of last season is going to make his return from Bone Chip surgery in a day or so. Davey has been on record saying he may not automatically make the flip-flop of Tyler Clippard and him. Davey is a big continuity guy, so I cannot say I am surprised Davey said that. The key is going to be how Storen is when he returns. If his rehab stats are any indication, it looks like he’s going to be just fine.
Jayson Werth: The Nats big money Right Fielder will be returning in roughly a month, maybe less. These moves are going to force the Nats to make some tough decisions with players. Does Tyler Moore get demoted, or does he take Xavier Nady’s spot as the Righty Bat off the bench? Another interesting move is going to be where Davey bats him. Bryce Harper could be moved down to maybe 5 or 6 and Werth could be their 2 hitter with Morse and LaRoche healthy, which is probably what i would do. If i’m Davey, my card probably looks like this:
1) Espinosa 2B
2) Werth RF
3) Zimmerman 3B
4) LaRoche 1B
5) Morse LF
6) Harper CF
7) Desmond SS
8) Flores/Solano C
Imagine that lineup, especially with the way Desmond is hitting, batting him 7th? Wow, that would be fun. Of course, I prefer a righty/lefty balance, and Davey could go with the hot hand with Desi in the middle. Hell, Davey could bat LaRoche 6 and Harper 5. It’s a fun issue to have.
Trade Deadline: Does Mike Rizzo deal for another Starter to take the place of Stephen Strasburg once shut down, and would later take the place of Edwin Jackson if he decides to sign elsewhere, or does he call someone up, like a John Lannan or maybe hope Chien-Ming Wang puts it together? Personally, I don’t believe Rizzo wants to bring up Lannan, and I think he wants to deal the two guys I just mentioned, and with the prospect of guys like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Zack Greinke, Wandy Rodriguez, along with some second tier Starters available, I think Rizzo believes he has some better options out there, with an idea of what he would have to part with.
Bench Players: Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady will be returning as well, and will (hopefully) be 100%. Tracy was a very good Left Handed Bat off the bench when he was healthy, and him and Bernadina is a nice combo of power and speed guys to have. Nady’s wrist has been barking, so if he gets that taken care of he could provide a nice boost along with Tyler Moore.
The Nats start a stretch tonight of 13 straight games against Miami (4), New York (3), Atlanta (3), and New York (3) again. The Nats have to pick it up against the Marlins, since they were swept the last series they played them, and they need to continue their play against Atlanta and they need to take advantage of the incredibly unfortunate New York Mets, whom I only root against when they play the Nats. Otherwise, I want the Mets to continue proving me right, as they have all year.
This is an important stretch for the Nats, and they need to realize that and capitalize on it.
I have all the faith in the world that they will.
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!