Good morning, Nats fans!
Last Friday, I posted a list of potential Free Agent Targets for the Nats, what I think it takes to sign them, and how I think they would fit. Since then, there have been multiple reports by specific reporters and websites that the Nats are going to make a
“Major Push” for one specific Pitcher. That pitcher? Roy Oswalt. Like I said last week, he’s 34, coming off a back injury riddled 2011, and his $16M option was declined by the Philadelphia Phillies. Another thing I neglected to mention: with the emergence of Vance Worley,and the rumors that the Phillies are also on the verge of signing Ryan Madson to a 4 yr/$44M deal, I think it is highly unlikely he has a “P” on his cap next year. Mike Rizzo mentioned in his Chien-Ming Wang conference call that he wanted a guy who is “able to pitch 200 innings many, many times in your career” (courtesy of Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com, link). Goessling mentions how well that describes Mark Buerhle, as Rizzo also stated, in the same post, “it’s not about having the best stuff.” It seems, though, that if the Nats were to order their “veteran starter” targets (i’m excluding CJ Wilson because he’s only been a Starter for 2 full years.), it would probably be Oswalt #1 and Buerhle #2.
I say this because Buerhle is basically 2 years younger, and could command as many as 3 guaranteed years (and, based on his track record, who could blame him?). Buehrle has never been injured, never pitched less than 200 Innings in a year, and has posted single digit wins once. In a contract meeting, needless to say, the Nats wouldn’t really have much leverage, Buerhle’s track record speaks for itself. Oswalt is much different, however, and here’s why. Oswalt missed 10 starts in 2011 because of back issues, has had multiple sub-200 inning seasons, and is 34. If I’m Mike Rizzo, I would give Oswalt 2 guaranteed years, and maybe a club option. You could install incentives into the deal for making 30 starts, pitching over 200 innings, winning 15 games, etc. Oswalt also does not have an protests to signing in D.C. According to Adam Kilgore, in his post today in Nationals journal, Link here, takes us back to 2010, where he states, “In 2010, when he pitched for the Astros, Oswalt told the Post he would waive a no-trade clause to accept a deal to Washington.” With that said, while we do know Buerhle is ‘playing the field,’ we do NOT specifically know how likely it is he signs elsewhere. With Ozzie Guillen in Florida now, there’s a chance that he signs there because of the comfort level with his skipper of 6 years, and one where we won a World Series in 2005. Buerhle, however, is 24-6 with a 3.34 ERA vs the NL, which makes him the winningest Interleague Pitcher, period. Being an 11 year resident of the American League, Buehrle could see the NL as a new challenge for an already pretty successful career. He is a Missouri native, but it does not look as though there is a spot on his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. He’s already met with the Marlins as well, so we’ll have to see where that meeting goes.
Let me reiterate: I think Buehrle is the better option, because of his age, his consistency, and his durability. However, I do believe that Oswalt is not a bad option, and would probably be easier to sign. Sure, he’s not much older than Buehrle, and he does throw harder, has won 20 games twice, and has vocalized his lack of protest to signing in D.C., and he could probably come more at the Nats price than Roy Oswalt’s. There also seems to be much less chatter on who is interested in Oswalt than who is interested in Buehrle, who has been linked to the Nats, Marlins, Yankees, and White Sox. I have heard that the Yankees may be interested, but I have also heard Brian Cashman may re-sign Freddie Garcia and “call it an offseason,” most likely because of their abundance of young pitchers. I think the Yankees are more likely to make some trades, don’t ask me why, but I do.
Needless to say, once this CBA thing with is finished, the offseason will probably heat up, although it could heat up much sooner than one would think.
Hello Nats Fans!!!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I have two new posts for the blog after this little sabbatical period. The MLB Offseason officially begun at 12:01 AM Thursday, and it is my second favorite time of the year, aside from the actual baseball season.
The point of this post is for me to speculate on who I think the Nats will sign and for how long, and even possible trade targets for them based on what they don’t do on the Free Agent Market.
- Avalable Players
CJ Wilson (2011 Team(s): Texas Rangers)
2011 Stats: 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 K, .232 BAA, 223 1/3 IP.
Career as SP (2010-2011) 31-15, 3.15 ERA, 376 K, .224 BAA, 427 1/3 IP.
I like the fact that there isn’t a lot of “mileage” on his arm, as he spent the bulk of his career as a Reliever. He had a rough postseason after a pretty darn good one last year. My opinion is that he was better last season because he was behind Cliff Lee, and was not leaned on as much as he was this year to be a stopper and an Ace. I think he’s a much better fit as a #2 or even #3 behind Stras and JZim. I think he would be an excellent fit in D.C. and would really anchor the staff.
Edwin Jackson (2011 Team(s): White Sox/Cardinals)
2011 Stats: 12-9, 3.79 ERA, 148 K, .290 BAA, 199 1/3 IP.
Career: 60-60, 4.46 ERA, 801 K , .276 BAA, 1079.0 IP.
He’s your prototypical, “we want him because he can help our staff” ‘constantly traded for yet done nothing wrong but pitch consistently’ kind of guy. He’s probably going to want job security, and may get 3 years, maybe even 4. He’s not at the top of my wish list, nor is he on the Nats’ list either. He’s a consistent middle to bottom of the rotation guy who wouldn’t be a bad fit in the Nation’s Capital.
Mark Buerhle: (2011 Team(s): White Sox)
2011 Stats: 13-9, 3.59 ERA, 109 K, .277 BAA, 205 1/3 IP.
Career: 161-119, 3.83 ERA, 1,396 K, .273 BAAA, 2,476 2/3 IP.
He’s probably the second most established pitcher out there this offseason. All he’s does is win, and eat innings. He’s a cheaper option than Wilson, as I will explain later. He’s won 13 games 3 times, 16 games three times, and has tallied single digit wins once in his 11 years, and has averaged 15 wins, capped off by a 2005 World Series winning campaign over the Astros in 4 games. He’s also logged 200 innings or more in ALL 11 years of his career, and has average 225 1/3 innings over that span. He fits the veteran guy that the Nats need, and I would love to have him.
Roy Oswalt: (2011 Team(s): Philadelphia Phillies)
2011 Stats: 8-9, 3.69 ERA.
Career Stats: 159-93, 3.21 ERA, 1,759 K, 20 CG, 8 SHO, 2,154.0 IP.
Another guy that fits the veteran bill to a tee, and wouldn’t be a bad option for the Nats if they want to go that route. The back issue scares me, but I don’t think it’s that big a deal, and he wouldn’t come incredibly expensive.
- Position Players
Coco Crisp: (2011 Team: Oakland Athletics)
2011 Stats: .264, 8 HOUR, 54 RBI, .314 OBP, .379 SLG, 49 SB (9 CS)
He’s not a bad leadoff option, although his .OBP is pretty low. He’s said he wants to play on the West Coast, so I’m not really spending any time on him.
B.J. Upton: (2011 Team: Tampa Bay Rays)
2011 Stats: .243, 23 HR, 81 RBI, .331 OBP, .429 SLG, 36 SB (12 CS).
He’s one of those, “I never lived up to my potential but my brother’s a beast” kinda guys. I’ve read that the Rays may not offer him arbitration, which would make him a Free Agent. If that happen,s he’ll be all the easier to sign, and the Nats keep their prospects.
Prince Fielder: (2011 Team: Milwaukee Brewers)
2011 Stats: .299, 38 HR, 120 RBI, .415 OBP, .566 SLG.
Career: .282, 230 HR, 656 RBI, .390 OBP, .540 SLG
I think Prince is an excellent fit for the Nats. He’s a left handed power hitter, and breaks up Zimmerman and Morse, who are both Right Handed hitters. If you have him batting cleanup, your 2-7 is probably Werth, Zim, Prince, Morse, Espi, Ramos, all home run threats. Now add Harper to that mix. Yeah, I’m salivating too. I would love to have him wearing a Curly W, and he’s a great clubhouse guy to go along with Werth. Is his weight a concern? Sure, but not that big of one because he’s been playing at that weight for so long. I think the fans would love him personally, as would I.
- What are they worth?
- Two Year Deals
Roy Oswalt: He’s 34, has had back issues, but was still effective. I think with a full offseason to rest and rehab the back will allow him to be all the more effective, and be a mentor to the youngsters. Probably two guaranteed years with a club option, at about $8M/yr.
Mark Buehrle: He’s 32, no injury history. He’s never logged less that 200 innings, and has posted single digit wins ONCE. Who wouldn’t want him. Similar deal to Oswalt, maybe $6-$7M/year for two years with a mutual option.
Edwin Jackson: Now here’s an interesting case. He’s thrown a no-hitter, where he had like 8 walks. He can be very dominant, but because everything plays off his fastball, he can get burned very easily, which is probably why his ERA is high. He’s a tad younger than Oswalt and Buerhle (I just realized I listed them in age order), and his production is borderline comparable. He’s probably your third option if you’re the Nationals, but he’s not a bad third choice. I say 2 yrs/$10M ($5M per year).
- Four Years or More
CJ Wilson: He’s 31, but he’s definitely a guy who would fit great with Stras and JZim and Wang and Lannan. He can be a stopper, he’s a mid-strike out guy, and he can be a mentor to the younger guys. I would say after his postseason about 5 yrs/$65M.
Prince Fielder: Let’s face it: the Nationals need a power bat to compliment Morse, Zim and Werth. And that power bat needs/should be Left-Handed. Prince Fielder, as aforementioned, would be a fan favorite, a breaker of the righty-heavy Nats lineup, and a great clubhouse presence. I would go 6 yrs/$90-$100M.
- Possible Trade Targets
James Shields: The Rays just picked up his 2012 option, which is worth $7.5M. Needless to say, that fact alone makes this trade unlikely, but the Nats have prospects, and the Rays could use a SS.
Zack Grienke: The Brewers have a decision to make: do they extend Grienke, who is a Free Agent after 2012, or do they extend him? Now, it seems to me the only player they seem to want to extend is Ryan Braun, who it seems they wanna bury in Left Field when he dies. With that said, the Nats are in a completely different position this time around, so Grienke may not say no, and the Brewers could use the prospects, namely a SS.
BJ Upton: If the Rays do offer salary arbitration, and he accepts, he could be in a package deal with Mr. Shields. He’s a great CF, and could be the answer at the top of the lineup.
Now, things could change between now and when these players sign. I didn’t mention Jose Reyes because I don’t think he’s a huge target on the Nats radar, but he makes these trade possibilities that much more realisitic if signed, because Ian Desmond would be expendable. It’s gonna be a fun offseason, and I’ll post again when the Nats coaching staff is set up 100%.