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!
Morning Nats fans,
I sit in my Italian class, waiting for it to start, and I thought a Natsrant was in order: what is the issue, both in the organization, and amongst fans, with John Lannan?!
Last week, a few hours before the signing of Edwin Jackson, it was reported that the Nats had beaten Lannan in the arbitration case ($5.0M beats $5.7M), and that the Nats were “aggressively shopping” John Lannan. Earlier in this same offseason, after the acquisition of Gio Gonzalez (and even before) there was word that Ross Detwiler, the 2007 first round pick by the Nats who has never shown anything except inconsistency and injury, was going to get a long look at making the rotation, even if it meant bumping John Lannan (38-51/4.00/751.0 IP) out of it. Lannan is coming off his best season, 10-13/3.70 ERA, and has done nothing but be a relatively consistent pitcher. He has good numbers against every team, save the Phils. Yet, for some reason, fans and Nats dignitaries alike don’t seem to think he’s worth their time. Here’s why I believe he is:
1.) He’s never pitched in the right rotation spot: For as long as Lannan has been on the Major League squad, he’s never pitched in the correct rotation spot. On a good team, he’s a #4 or #5 starter, which is exactly where he projects to be THIS season. He’s exactly what the Nats need; a lefty who can give them innings at he back end of a rotation and keep them in games.
2.) They know what he is: This doesn’t always work in Lannan’s favor, but nobody can deny it. They know what they’re gonna get from him every start, save for a day where he’s off or a day where he’s just locked in. For the most part, they know what to expect, which is more than they can say for Ross Detwiler.
3.) He’s never been hurt/has no injury history: I think a lot of people underestimate the importance of this. When a pitcher has a history of injuries, teams look for insurance plans (end of the road vets, not ready yet rookies) to make up for the lost time. With Lannan, they don’t have to do that. Does it hurt if they DO have depth like that? Absolutely not. But the fact is, when you are forced to make deals like that, you’re sacrificing something else. Maybe the Nats don’t make the Gio Gonzalez trade because they need Milone and Peacock as stand-ins and spot starters they can TRUST. Point is: a pitcher with no injury history is one you hold on to (or trade while this fact reigns true, depending on your outlook on life)
I think that these three reasons are probably the most important reasons as to why Lannan should stay with the team. He’ll be in the correct rotation spot this year, they know what he is, and he doesn’t have an injury history. I think the jury needs to stay out on Lannan. If he can bring back a CF/Leadoff hitter, like a Peter Bourjos, then go for it, but otherwise, keep him as long as you can. The last thing the Nats need is an incosistent, injured 5th starter in Ross Detwiler when they could have kept Lannan.
*Note*- I’ll be doing an analysis of every team/division soon. My first division will probably be the AL East. The series will be titled “Let’s get Divisional.” Will it be cheesy? Hell yes. Will it be fun? Hell yes. Should you be excited for it? Hellz yeah, you should!