The premiere on MLB Network of “Dusty: A Baseball Journey”

Tonight you will get to see “Dusty: A Baseball Journey” which premieres on MLB Network at 9:00 p.m. and tells some key points of the life of Johnnie B. Baker Jr. known affectionately to his friends as “Dusty”.

Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Hosted by legendary broadcaster Bob Costas

Technically Dusty Baker was born in the 1940’s and more specifically in 1949 and he has seen a lot of life and a lot of baseball. Dusty debuted as a 19 year old with the Braves but didn’t stick in the Majors until he was 23 years old. Dusty looked like a star that season but couldn’t match that season the following year and struggled for a few seasons, and then had a great season at the age of 28 as he found his power stroke with the Dodgers.  Dusty then lost that power stroke for a couple of years and then at the age of 31 was #4 in the MVP vote. At the age of 32 he won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.

Like the wine Dusty makes, he aged like a fine wine with some of his best seasons in his 30’s and his 1st 2 All Star appearances in his 30’s.

A total of 2,039 games were played by Dusty Baker in the Majors, and all of them were in the National League.  Dusty finished with a solid career with over 1,000 RBIs and 242 Home Runs. Dusty got that World Series ring in 1981 on that iconic Dodgers team.

Life after playing baseball led to managing and more success.

Let’s watch and listen to Dusty: A Baseball Journey.

 

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The Opening Day roster and the Best 25 Go North! #Nats

Every year there seems to be a few surprises emerge from Spring Training in Viera Florida.

In 2015, it was Minor League journeyman Clint Robinson who earned a spot on the Opening Day roster and remained on the Nats roster the entire season. In Spring Training of 2015 Clint Robinson was a 30 year old who hadn’t reached rookie status in his career as he had amassed only 13 career games and 14 plate appearances to go with his 3,836 career Minor League plate appearances over his 8 years  in the Minors.  Robinson was certainly a long-shot to make the Nats roster as Robinson was an under the radar signing who inked a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite on December 12, 2014.
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A NatsLady view of the Hot Stove event: Part I

On a lazy Saturday morning, while I was sort of listening to Mike Wallace on “Nats Talk” talk about how pitchers prepare for Spring Training, I got a message from Steve M. with an invite from Bob (Section 222) to Mike Rizzo’s Hot Stove meeting. Luckily my hot water and printer were both functioning. A quick shower, print the ticket and, off to the Park.

I literally forgot my usual route, that’s how unfocused I’ve been in the off-season. But I got there in plenty of time. The Park was neat, clean, and COLD. The cherry trees don’t even have buds.

rose1
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It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Baseball!

Many of the Washington Nationals coaches and players will be headed to Viera this week to get ready for Spring Training, and here’s a pic you probably never thought you would see: Bryce Harper sporting a Washington Redskins cap!

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Updated: Report from the Hot Stove #Nats #Rizzo

“I am a firm believer in the American people. If given the truth, they can be depended on to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”–Abraham Lincoln.

And yes, there were beer and cider samples at the Hot Stove, but only after the Q & A ended. They’re smart like that!

First, from Valerie Camillo – Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer for the Washington Nationals Baseball Club :

1. Concessions:
Concessions will be expanded in several ways in 2016. Mike Isabella will be bringing Catchfly (Southern) and Kapnos to the Gallery level. They have definitely heard that they need to upgrade the food in the gallery level.

They will have e-cash lines at more locations.

The Shake Shack will be expanded by moving the next stand over to another location, so the lines should be shorter (as well as adding the e-cash line).

Last year, the most popular new food was the biscuits: 18,000 sold.

There were a lot of participants in the Pitch your Product event: and between three and six of those concepts may be at the Park (vegan options and tater tots seem to be on the horizon).

2. Park:
The Nats expect to take over direct management of their team store, which they expect to result in lower prices and more merchandise variety. That’s the reason the store is currently closed. Continue reading

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Intentional walks via HBP. Bryce Harper has a target on his back.

On May 29, 2015, Tony Cingrani came in as a reliever to face Bryce Harper with 2 outs, and Span on 2nd base with 1st base open.  The world knew Cingrani wouldn’t give Bryce anything to hit, and possibly would just intentionally walk Harper who was ‘en fuego‘. Instead on pitch #1 thrown by Cingrani, he nailed Harper square on the spine (see video link below) with a fastball measured at 93.7 mph that was hard enough to crack bone and seriously injure Harper.

cingrani harper
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Where is the #Nats thin ice?

We are now less than 2 weeks to the official start of Spring Training.  Metaphorically speaking, every team this time of the year has that thin ice warning for the areas of their team that lacks depth and screams of danger.

The Nats have said goodbye to several key players and this Jordan Zimmermann tweet (below) from the ice is a perfect spot to bring up that Rizzo didn’t add another frontline starter to replace Zimmermann for the 2016 rotation and instead chose to go with existing team depth.  It now looks like the Nats will go with Joe Ross and Tanner Roark at the back of the rotation with AJ Cole and Taylor Jordan as 40 man depth as well as Yusmeiro Petit who can make spot starts. Lucas Giolito is not on the 40 man roster, and he could and most likely will make his debut in 2016 for the Nats. Bronson Arroyo is an intriguing addition to the Nats, and like Giolito is not on the 40 man roster.

  1. Thin Ice Warning #1 is the back of the rotation and depth and quality of starters

The next area of concern is counting on the health of Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman and their declining output.  Health is everything and both players have had their share of injuries.  This is a year that the Nats must hope that their players can be healthier and put up better numbers.

2. Thin Ice Warning #2 is the depth on the roster and in the minors in case of injuries

The bullpen will rely on Papelbon anchoring the back of the bullpen, and when the Nats traded Storen, the team left themselves without a proven closer behind Papelbon.  Papelbon’s stats with the Nats plummeted from where he was with the Phillies.  ERA went from 1.59 to 3.04 and K/9 went from 9.1 to 6.1.  The back of the Nats bullpen will rely on the youngster Felipe Rivero and free agent Shawn Kelley.

3. Thin Ice Warning #3 is the depth in the back of the bullpen

Shortstop will transition from Ian Desmond to a competition with Danny Espinosa, Stephen Drew and Trea Turner.  While we all feel great about Trea Turner, there is a cautionary tale there that Rookies take time to adjust to full-time exposure in the MLB. Byron Buxton who was the #1 prospect last year got schooled in Minnesota.  Trea Turner is the 11th rated prospect in baseball and should be a future star.  You hope Trea will look like a Rookie of the Year candidate.

4. Thin Ice Warning #4 is the production from the shortstop position

thin ice

The Nats could still make some moves going forward and the team has been proactive adding their new Medical staff to the organization. The Nats as a team at this point in the off-season look better than many others who still have roster holes.

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Questions to ask at the #Nats Rizzo Hot Stove Session

This coming Saturday, February 6, 2016 the Nationals will be hosting a Hot Stove Session with Mike Rizzo for season ticket holders with a full season plan. Each account holder gets two tickets for the event. Here are the details from the email

The Washington Nationals are excited to present you and a guest with the opportunity to attend an exclusive Hot Stove Session featuring President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo and Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Valerie Camillo. The NATS PLUS Hot Stove Session will take place in the Norfolk Southern Club at Nationals Park on Saturday, February 6 from noon – 1:30 p.m.

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Revisiting Mike Rizzo’s quotes from November + Stat projections

Below are FanGraph′s projections that we have compiled in a graph for the 2016 Nats. We took a graphic look at where FanGraphs have the Nats projected on the standard slash:

Batting Average, On-Base-Percentage, Slugging %, OPS

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2016 Nationals Projections (sorted by OBP)

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Ian Desmond is still part of the #Nats future! Sign/Trade strategies!

It is February 1st and do you know where Ian Desmond is? Unfortunately Desi is one of the high profile free agents who still has not signed with a team.

If Ian Desmond is signed by any team (other than the Nats themselves) as a Free Agent prior to the June 2016 amateur draft, it will have a future impact on the Washington Nationals as the Nats would receive draft compensation no worse than the 31st pick overall in the 2016 amateur draft.

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