Fedde gets the start in Jupiter; Scherzer wants in!

In today’s game against the Marlins, top prospect right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde gets another start for the Washington Nationals.  The stands will have scouts and fans in attendance at this game. It is unclear why the scouts are tracking Erick Fedde, and it could be wishful thinking on their club’s part as Erick Fedde is the Nats “next man up”. Fedde faced the Mets “A” team on Saturday and went 3 innings of one-hit baseball. The key today is going 4 innings with the same dominance against the Marlins.

Photo of the front gates of Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter by Sol Tucker for TalkNats.com

In yesterday’s minor league camp, Max Scherzer got his final tune-up before he makes his Grapefruit League debut next week. Scherzer pitched pain-free as he has been recovering from a fracture in the knuckle on his right ring-finger in his throwing hand, and this was the first time this spring that he was able to grip his fastball with a normal two-finger grip. Scherzer had been working for a few weeks with a three-finger grip on his fastball to alleviate the pain. Continue reading

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Mets visit TBOTPB as Gio starts; Updates on Roark, Murphy, Norris, Zim & Scherzer

If you watched the Team USA game last night in San Diego, you saw a come-from-behind thriller as Team USA won 4-2 in front of a small crowd (16,635) against Team Venezuela. It didn’t have the raucous crowds of the games played in Miami that almost went into delirium each time a great play was made or a run scored.

Here is your WBC stats for Team USA and you will certainly notice Daniel Murphy at the bottom. One game played and Murphy went 0-for-4 with a hard luck line-out on a diving play made in left field on his final at-bat which was back in Team USA’s first game on March 10th, six days ago. Murphy has been glued to the bench ever since.

Team USA is carrying only 4 outfielders, but an imbalance of 8 infielders. Of the 8 infielders, 3 of them are 2nd baseman. Daniel Murphy has only appeared in one game as the DH.

Manager Jim Leyland knows Ian Kinsler and he has started all 4 games thus far at 2nd base and leading off. Jim Leyland used to manage the Tigers, but never managed Kinsler, rather he got to know Kinsler through his role as a special assistant to the general manager.

On Team USA, Tanner Roark signed on and pitched in relief in Game 2 and was pulled quickly after surrendering 3 runs in 1 1/3 innings to Team Dominican Republic in Miami on March 11th. Roark signed on as a DPP which is the acronym for Designated Pitcher’s Pool, and it was expected Roark would pitch once and be returned to the Nationals. That did not happen and Leyland kept him, and it was reported by Jon Morosi that Roark was supposed to pitch in relief last night and that never happened. Continue reading

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UPDATED: Nats are the road team at TBOTPB; Decision Day on Derek Norris

Today is the day that Section222 pointed out yesterday is the day of trepidation as Derek Norris could be Patterson’d. Before the 2008 season started, the Nationals used the mid-March calendar to release John Patterson who was an arbitration-eligible player but oft-injured.

Patterson would never appear again in the Major Leagues. He went from the Nats ace in the 2005 inaugural season to bouncing around the minors with other teams. Patterson was a Top 10 pitcher in WAR and ERA in 2005 and he was out of baseball essentially 3 years later.

Derek Norris is not injured and difficult to try to compare with the Patterson situation. A mid-March release of an arbitration-eligible player is rare. We hope Mike Rizzo does not release Derek Norris, but we also do not know the underlying issues and behind-the-scenes inner workings of why this is even a possibility. The cash savings over Jose Lobaton would be less than $2 million if Lobaton was traded given the Nationals would still be on the hook for approximately $688,000 (1/6th of his annual pay) to pay-off Norris who was traded to the Nationals from the Padres and signed as an arbitration eligible player for $4.2 million. Continue reading

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UPDATED: Kornheiser, Povich, Gary Williams, Bubes, and Dan Kolko

Those are some powerhouse names in the title. Most of them don’t need an introduction in D.C.  How are they all related? That is an easy answer: Chads. Chads? No, it has nothing to do with hanging chads rather Chads the bar and restaurant that has been hanging around Friendship Heights for more than three-decades.

ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser, along with Maury Povich, former Terps coach Gary Williams and businessman Alan Bubes all joined forces in January of 2017 to purchase Chads (nee Chadwick’s), the Washington, D.C. bar and restaurant located at 5247 Wisconsin Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. in the posh Friendship Heights neighborhood. Don’t get too comfortable with the name ‘Chads’, it could be changed shortly according to Tony Kornheiser who has been accepting ideas for new names on his podcast. The suggestions have ranged from creative, to funny to the somewhat offensive. Can you envision a Mount Rushmore logo with their four punims on it?

Photo from Chads page on Facebook

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The Tigers make their long trip to TBOTPB; Verlander and Strasburg

Let us begin with some housekeeping of misconceptions on Derek Norris. He was put on revocable waivers, and not Designated for Assignment or given his outright release (although that could still happen as well as a trade). Norris is actually in the starting line-up today at 1:05 against the Tigers at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and will be the designated hitter as Matt Wieters will catch Stephen Strasburg today.

On the other side is Justin Verlander who is making the start today for the Detroit Tigers, and that is always interesting as not only is he a great pitcher, but there is usually gawking time as his fiancé the last few seasons has made the trip East and promoted animal rights along with Max Scherzer‘s wife. Kate Upton and Verlander appeared over the weekend in People magazine on animal adoption and animal rights. Continue reading

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Why not Dusty Baker in 2017? #Nats

For TalkNats.com by JJgraphics38 on Twitter and Instagram

You most likely have heard that Dusty Baker is in the final year of the two-year contract he signed early in the off-season after Matt Williams was let go after the 2015 season.  The 67-year-old Baker is a cinch for the Hall-of-Fame if he can hoist a World Series trophy as a manager and would then join the pantheon of great managers as a shoo-in if he gets that World Series hardware. But Washington, D.C. has not won a World Series since 1924 when Walter Johnson was the MVP  of that season at the age of 36. Dusty Baker just got his 36-year-old pitcher less than two weeks ago when the Nationals signed Joe Blanton. Whatever the magic formula is, Dusty Baker plans to get it.

“We’ll win it here, too,” Dusty Baker said to the Washington Post. “We’ll end it here for the whole city. That’s my goal. Not just ending it for the organization, but for the whole city.”

Continue reading

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Nats and Astros at TBOTPB; Derek Norris wavering on waivers

On the baseball calendar, March 15th loomed as a date when a team could literally dump any arbitration-eligible player and eat just 1/6th of their 2017 salary. It rarely happens that an arbitration-eligible player is released in this manner. The rumor mill has been swirling since the day that Matt Wieters was signed that Derek Norris‘ fate and relationship could end in an excruciating fashion via a release.

Norris has done all that has been asked of him. He has played very well behind the plate flashing his defensive skill set in pitch framing and throwing out base runners from his knees, and on offense he is batting .400 with a 1.200 OPS including two home runs.

Derek Norris home run trot. Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

So what is Mike Rizzo’s issue with Derek Norris? Is there a Derek Norris issue with the Nationals? Is this about the money? Is this about Matt Wieters? We do not know what this is about. Maybe we will find out shortly. If it is about money, the net gain of keeping Lobaton over Norris is about a net gain of $2 million. That is pocket change for a team that just shelled out $10.5 million for Wieters which was considered by many to be a sizeable overpay given his 2nd half statistics in 2016 in which he batted just .227 with a .294 OBP. One of the rubs on Wieters was also his batting away from Camden Yards. Matt Wieters is far from a sure thing, and we have not even seen him take a dozen at-bats this spring to see how he looks. Continue reading

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Washington Nationals give Erick Fedde his 1st start; Harper: en fuego; Many others: frío como el hielo

Dusty Baker is giving Erick Fedde the most momentous start of his career today against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie facing their “A” team. This will be the closest Fedde has ever come to pitching in an actual Major League game.

For the Nationals offense, Bryce Harper has been absolutely en fuego as he continues to pepper the outfield berm with home run balls. Unfortunately, most of Harper’s teammate have been the opposite going frío como el hielo. Bryce Harper has 7 hits in 21 at-bats and of those 7 hits, Harper has slugged 4 home runs plus a double. His slugging % is .952 and his OPS is 1.369. Derek Norris and Anthony Rendon lead the regulars with  batting averages of .385 and .368 respectively, but it is downhill from there with the remaining starters.

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The Nationals have scored a total of 12 runs in the last week and with the day-off on Monday that averages to only 2 runs scored per game. If you look at the regulars, only Harper, Rendon and Norris have driven in runs in the last week. The rest of the runs were driven in by reserves like Wilmer Difo, Michael Taylor, and Grant Green while they have faced non-starters. Continue reading

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Talk Nats Ticket Exchange

A number of Talk Nats commenters (as well as writers) are season ticket owners.

In the comments for #Nats stay home for Cardinals: Leake and Gio Gonzalez to start, Drazthegr8 mentioned the idea of the Talk Nats community creating a way to share tickets. Basically the idea is to allow those Season Ticket holders to list tickets that are part of their plan that they can’t use in order to sell them to others (or perhaps trade). Draz created a initial Google Docs spreadsheet for that purpose and DonH made a few updates to make it easier to review what is available. Continue reading

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Team USA and Team Colombia Murphy, Roark, and Solano

Four three Nats are part of tonight’s WBC opener of Team USA and Team Colombia.

There will either be two happy Nats and two unhappy Nats after this one depending on who wins.

Daniel Murphy and Tanner Roark are with Team USA and Adrian Sanchez and Jhonatan Solano are with Team Colombia.

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