Tanner Roark was traded which greatly changes the #Nats payroll but also leaves a hole to fill!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

For Tanner Roark, he will not have to be looking over his shoulder anymore as his rumored trade became reality tonight at the Winter Meetings. Roark was traded straight-up for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tanner Rainey who last appeared for the Reds minor league Triple-A  affiliate in Louisville. Rainey received a 2018 call-up and had six forgettable games for the Reds of his eight MLB appearances in the mid-summer. The righty reliever did have a 2.65 ERA for Louisville last year and could figure into the Nats plans in 2019. He takes Roark’s 40-man spot.  Rainey is a fastball and slider pitcher with an 11.5 K/9 for Louisville.  Continue reading

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Tuesday was Dave Martinez day at the Winter Meetings

Yesterday was Dave Martinez‘s day to step out in Las Vegas and do his interviews with the Press. The entire interview can be heard on this link:  https://www.pscp.tv/Nationals/1OyJAyknOdWJb?t=1s

The questions were flying at Davey, and after a while he started sounding like the Davey Martinez who did those post-game interviews that started to sound like his boilerplate answers on the “little things” and pitching and defense.

For Martinez, he gets a second chance and 2019 is the opportunity to prove that 2018 was due to the injuries because an 82-80 record is not acceptable, and Davey said the same while acknowledging that if they had just won 50% of those one-run games — the 2018 season would have been much different.

We learned from Davey that Michael A. Taylor is playing in the Dominican winter league, and he loves the Patrick Corbin acquisition — part of the “three horses”. He talked about working on situations in Spring Training and working on fundamentals. He talked about the Nationals pitchers must improve in two-strike counts. He also talked about when the Nats had a lead early they didn’t put teams away.

“We’re trying to get more athletic,” Martinez said. “We got younger players coming up. We have two catchers that can move pretty good. You got Robles, you got Michael, you got Eaton whose going to be healthy. Soto moves pretty good in leftfield. We’re just trying to get more athletic. We talked about going to Spring Training and really honing in on fundamentals. We lost a lot of games last year by one-run. And if you look back, giving teams 28-29-30 outs, I think that is the difference, and we have to get better at it.”

Martinez said he learned a lot last year as a new manager — we will see how 2019 is different from 2018. Of course his presser would not be complete without Bryce Harper questions, and you can listen to the interview for more on that. With the rumors swirling on Tanner Roark, the Nationals’ manager spoke as if Roark will be an integral part of the back of his rotation in 2019 — but admitted that he was good for 3 months and bad for 3 months and that seems to sum up Roark’s season.

Later in the discussion, DMart raved about Juan Soto‘s two-strike approach as well as Anthony Rendon‘s.

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Breaking: Sources say Tanner Roark is being shopped for trades!

Photo by Lynn Grody; Tanner Roark

News broke this morning in a quite public way that Tanner Roark is available for trade which hit Twitter on a tweet from Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. From the  beginning of the off-season’s roster realignments, Roark was listed by us as a question mark as to whether he would be tendered a contract. When Roark was tendered a contract two weeks ago we pointed to creative financing scenarios of “how do you keep Bryce Harper“, and the common denominator was to trade Tanner Roark and save his contractual dollars that are projected to be near $10 million. That is $10 million for a pitcher who has put up mid-4’s in ERA the last two seasons and has struggled with mechanics and command. While Roark is a popular player on the team, he just has not been effective putting the Nationals in the win column. While wins and losses do not fall solely on the pitcher of record, Roark led the Majors in losses in 2018 at 15, and he had 12-games where he gave up 4 or more runs of which seven of those games he did not get past the 5th inning.

The worst case scenario for the Nationals is that they would have to cut Roark and eat approximately $1.63 million of his salary. The best case is they retain him and he returns to “star” form with his new catching tandem of Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes. The middle ground is that Rizzo trades Roark and gets a “lotto ticket” on a prospect. You cannot expect much of a return for Roark if at all given his prior two years’ results and his age. Continue reading

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The Winter Meetings are the last event before Spring Training

The Winter Meetings are the last semblance of any baseball for Nationals fans except for some reruns on MASN and maybe a glimpse of a Caribbean winter baseball game…until we reach Spring Training which is about 60 days away from when the Winter Meetings wrap-up on Thursday with the Rule-5 draft. Continue reading

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The baseball Winter Meetings begin today in Las Vegas! Rizzo has his shopping list!

This is it! The 2018 Winter Meetings begin today in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Resort.  This is a televised event and should be the most dramatic Winter Meetings ever because Las Vegas resident and top free agent, Bryce Harper, will be making multiple appearances at the event as he meets with general managers who are interested in acquiring his services. Some have said that there are no less than a dozen teams in the running, but that just does not seem plausible if you believe recent reports which would take the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Nationals out of the bidding. The Cardinals just snagged Paul Goldschmidt in a trade and the Mets traded for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, and the Braves signed Josh Donaldson. On top of that, Las Vegas resident Kris Bryant was rumored a month ago to have been made available via trade by his Chicago Cubs team. Continue reading

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The #Nats aren’t done shopping yet!

The Washington Nationals had a great time on Friday. Perhaps you heard?

Yes, two-time All-Star and Nats top pitching target Patrick Corbin is now officially a member of the team. He was introduced to media at a press conference also attended by rotation-mates Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and both the longest-tenured National, Ryan Zimmerman, and the hereto shortest-tenured National, Yan Gomes (who made his first public appearance at Nationals Park since being acquired from the Cleveland Indians in a trade one week ago).

General manager Mike Rizzo has been involved in a flurry of activity since the Nationals’ season ended at a disappointing 82-80 record back in September. He didn’t even wait for the playoffs to end to make his first move, snapping up Kyle Barraclough for international bonus money in a swap with the division-rival Miami Marlins. Within just a few weeks, he had signed Kurt Suzuki, the Nationals’ once and future backup catcher, and Trevor Rosenthal, a former closer for the St. Louis Cardinals who missed the 2018 season due to injury. Over the past week, he added Gomes and Corbin to the Nationals roster. Continue reading

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The Nationals could still sign Bryce Harper and stay under the CBT cap!

Over a month ago, we did a simulation of how the Nationals could accomplish all of their off-season goals and re-sign Bryce Harper. Even after inking Patrick Corbin to a lucrative deal, it is still possible to bring Harper back and stay under the CBT cap of $206 million for 2019.  Currently, the Nationals are at approximately $184 million using the CBT calculation. That number does not include incentives which means the Nats need at least a $7 million cushion which would give the team only $15 million to spend on Harper — and that is where the creativity would come into play because you have to figure Harper’s AAV would be at least $27 million a year.  Continue reading

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The analytics of starting pitching has been trending to fewer innings

Photo By Andrew Lang for TalkNats

It was a generation ago when Kerry Wood and Mark Prior burned-out their golden arms due to extreme overuse. Baseball set a line of demarcation where going over 120 pitches was taboo. Few pitchers reach that mark these days. In 2000, there were 24 pitchers who pitched over 210 innings. This past season, only 5 pitchers went over the 210 inning mark. What we have learned since then is pitch counts and innings are like a car’s odometer. If you throw too many, your arm breaks down like a piston in an engine. Continue reading

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Nationals go quick strike again and snag Patrick Corbin

Smile Mike Rizzo, you have earned it. The Washington Nationals snagged the number one pitcher in the free agent pool signing Patrick Corbin to a six-year $140 million deal which will also cost the Nats a million dollars of international draft money plus forfeiting a 2nd round pick and a lower level pick (5th overall) as compensation penalty since Corbin was protected by the Qualifying Offer. As we reported on November 21st, the Nationals were “in” on Corbin and entered an aggressive market against the Yankees who were the early odds-on favorite and the Phillies who vowed to outbid everyone.  In the end, it was not just about the money but rather a confluence of factors that included family, stability, and a strong fit with the Nationals.

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Winter Meetings begin on Sunday in Las Vegas

The Winter Meetings begin Sunday, December 9 in Las Vegas, and before team personnel arrive in Las Vegas, it is the teams of the NL East who have been involved in most of the action going on with regards to acquisitions. The Nationals, Braves, Phillies, and Mets all improved this week through acquisitions. The Nats acquired Yan Gomes, the Braves acquired Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann, the Phillies acquired Jean Segura, and the Mets got Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz. There will be more moves to come.  Continue reading

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