The Washington Nationals have been quiet this off-season, other than the small matter of them needing to hire a new manager and an entire coaching staff. Since Dave Martinez and his merry band of instructors came aboard, general manager Mike Rizzo has mostly lurked on the periphery of the (limited) hot stove action to date. The Nats have reportedly brought back free agent Ryan Raburn on a minor league deal along with 3B Michael Almanzar, and former Nats’ draftee SS Jason Martinson. Reliever David Goforth was signed on a minors deal with an invitation to spring training. That’s about it so far. Continue reading
On November 1st, the off-season started after the final out in game 7 of the World Series. It seems like several months to those who watched their favorite teams exit in October. In reality, we are just 40 days since the season ended to the start of the Winter Meetings in Orlando.
At 7am this morning, the Winter Meetings kicked off with their annual job fair. It is not your usual Sunday morning for the thousands of job seekers with much hope and yearning for a career in baseball — the crowd is unusual as you have an eclectic from college students to former players. You also never know who you will run into.
The fireworks started early leading into this weekend with Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton both finding new teams before the Winter Meetings started. Stanton is the reigning NL MVP, and Ohtani was the biggest name in free agency.
There will be multiple repercussions of the Giancarlo Stanton trade to the New York Yankees. This trade goes far beyond the reshaping of the NL East as well as the supremacy of the American League which had the Astros as the runaway 2018 favorite until this trade. Alex Cora’s Red Sox might have to fortify further to circumnavigate the perilous fjords of the potent Yankees lineup. With Stanton going to the Yankees, you can almost with certainty ⊗ off the Yankees as the primary suitor of Bryce Harper in free agency next year. Continue reading
Fangraphs NL East projections
We are beginning to see by early NL East signals to look forward to what teams are doing. There is no doubt the Washington Nationals are going for it in 2018. The Miami Marlins are in full-sell mode. While the Phillies could add payroll this year, it appears they might not be looking to build this year. Rumors on the Phillies is they could trade top position players like Cesar Hernandez. Based on cashflow, no team has more free cash than the Phillies. The Braves just dumped Matt Adams and new GM Alex Anthropoulos has not showed much direction beyond that. For the Mets, they have said they are looking to improve further as they will once again rely on deGrom and Syndergaard and hope for the best with the rest of their players, but they still will need to fill holes in their infield and outfield. Continue reading
Baseball, like all of the 4 major sports, is dominated by men — from the players on the field to the coaches in the dugout and the lifers in the front office. There are also all of those independent companies that provide the players with their equipment from batting gloves to cleats to gloves and bats, and those companies have been a good ole boys club until recently when Nell Kucich of SSK Baseball USA broke some of those boundaries. A fashion model a few years back, she traded in the glitz and glamour of designers, photo-shoots, and New York Fashion Week for the grit of the baseball diamond and the grind of traveling to clubhouses all over the map from the obscure Minor League parks like AT&T Field in Chattanooga to Major League stadiums like AT&T Park in San Francisco.
SSK Baseball USA is the US branch of a Japanese company that has existed since 1946 and has been the staple of fungo bats for decades in the United States. Continue reading
Tableau graph created by “Tyler Babip”
For anyone wanting to visually see the Fangraphs final WAR for 2017 for the Washington Nationals position players, we have layered the stats into a Tableau graph. By clicking on this link, you can see the original graph. Once you have loaded that link, you can then click on the player’s names on the right side and they will be highlighted by each layer. Continue reading
The Nats top prospect’s list at this point in time is set. It is a promising list on the future. What we don’t know is what it will look like after the Winter Meetings conclude. Nats’ general Manager Mike Rizzo might not cause any change to his top prospects list.
Last year, the Nats GM traded 3-of-his-top-5 prospects during the Winter Meetings to acquire Adam Eaton from the White Sox and in an instant Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning were all gone.
With Mike Rizzo, there is strong belief that he will follow his annual Winter Meetings’ trend and do his wheeling and dealing. What many wonder is if he would trade a veteran player for some prospects or make a trade like what he did with Steven Souza. Conventional wisdom is that Rizzo will dangle some middling prospects and see what happens.
We had the opportunity to talk to some of the Top Prospects to see how their off-seasons were going. Both Carter Kieboom and Juan Soto were having great seasons in Low-A Hagerstown last year until they had injuries. Kieboom seriously pulled his hamstring and Juan Soto had an ankle injury. Erick Fedde‘s shoulder was fatigued and Mike Rizzo finished his season early as health is important. Victor Robles was healthy most of the season besides some bumps and bruises and was a surprise September call-up by the Nationals and made the post-season roster followed by the Arizona Fall League. Continue reading
Jayson Werth in his first year with the Nationals – Photo by Andrew Lang
Where were you on December 5, 2010 when the signing heard ’round the Capitol happened? I remember where I was when the news broke that the Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a seven-year deal that exceeded $125 million. It was exactly 7-years ago when Nationals fans found out that their team was getting serious about winning.
You have heard this before from Charlie Slowes, “Remember where you are — so you’ll remember where you were”. Charlie would save that message when there was a moment of historic proportions. Continue reading
General Managers Traveling in Different Directions
Some could wonder why Shohei Ohtani and his agent Nez Balelo of CAA asked 30 teams to submit responses to their questionnaire then pared it down to a final 7 when Ohtani knew he did not want to play for an East Coast team. Maybe that was out of respect for everyone. We believe the final grouping of 7 is part of Japanese numerology where the Shichi-fuku-jin (七福神) represents the 7 “Gods of Luck” in Japanese folklore. In the end, there will only be 1 lucky GM and 6 very disappointed GM’s who have traveled to Los Angeles to wait out what could be 17 more days that Ohtani has to choose a team from this final 7 as there is a December 22nd deadline. The final 7 teams that Ohtani has chosen is now between the Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres, and Rangers.
While the New York Yankees’ beat writers are rationalizing that Ohtani spurned the Yankees to seek a smaller market team as their headlines read in the NY Times — uh, they would be wrong at this point in time. The final 7 includes mega market teams out of Los Angeles and Chicago which rank behind New York City as the 2nd and 3rd largest cities in population in the United States. On top of that, Chicago and Texas are not west coast teams. Continue reading
Like 29 other teams in major league baseball, the Washington Nationals could have really used the services of Japanese phenom and international megastar-in-the-making Shohei Ohtani. Among the items on the Nats’ to-do list this winter are finding a fifth starter for their rotation and figuring out how to replace lefty slugger Adam Lind on the bench. Ohtani would have ticked both boxes, as the 23-year-old is both a power pitcher who can and very likely will start in the big leagues and a power-hitting corner outfielder who reportedly models his left-handed swing off one Bryce Harper.
In essence, to find a player who can bring what Ohtani could have brought to the Washington ballclub, the Nats will need to find two players. Continue reading