The Washington Nationals have clear priorities for this 2021 season. But the Nats won’t sniff the postseason if the starting rotation repeats their failures of 2020 when they had a Nationals’ franchise worst 5.38 ERA from a starting rotation that cost over $100 million in total for 2020. This year, FanGraphs is projecting a rather mundane 4.39 ERA for the starting staff. Sorry, that will not cut it. You might as well fold the tent if the Nats cannot pitch better than the ERAs in that graphic (above).
Let’s be clear, the Nationals are not paying Stephen Strasburg a salary of $35 million to pitch to a 4.08 ERA. The same could be said for Max Scherzer who will earn $30 million this year, and Patrick Corbin will collect $24.4 million. New pitching coach, Jim Hickey, will have his work cut out for him. You can do the math with Joe Ross‘ $1.5 million contract for 2021, the Nats already have $90.9 million invested in those four pitchers with one spot open in the rotation.
Aramando Cruz signs for the cameras; Photo from Baseball America
Today is a big day for the international scouting groups as it marks the start to the international signing period for free agents. The Washington Nationals made a big splash by signing shortstop Armando Cruz who is currently ranked № 2 in the projected amount paid ($3.9 million) in a signing bonus among all of the international free agents according to Baseball America. On MLB Pipeline’s list, Cruz ranks 4th overall among all of the prospects. This teenage Dominican prospect turns 17 tomorrow and will have a very happy birthday. He immediately will be a Top-10 prospect in the Nats system once the prospects are re-rated. Continue reading
Down on the Farm; Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats
The Josh Bell acquisition cost the Washington Nationals their seventh rated prospect when Eddy Yean went to the Pirates as the centerpiece of that trade. Subsequently, there have been rumors swirling about other potential trades involving Kris Bryant and Eugenio Suarez.
Wisely, as Jon Heyman pointed out on December 18, the Nats do not want to deal their top prospects in Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli as well as 20-year-old Luis Garcia who technically exceeded his rookie status and can no longer rate as a prospect. Heyman basically tweeted the same again yesterday about Eugenio Suarez, Rutledge and Cavalli sans Garcia. Currently, Rutledge and Cavalli hold the top-two spots in both Baseball America rankings as well as MLB Pipeline. Continue reading
With Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, and Josh Harrison all signed, what moves will Washington Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo have up his winter sleeves? With a 40-man roster showing five vacancies, we can expect at least five moves and most likely more moves on the minor league side after the international signings become official on Friday and Riz adds more non-roster invitees to his spring training roster. The issue at-hand, if Fangraphs is your guide, is that they are projecting the Nats for only 84 wins today, and if there are only two Wild Card spots, the Nats would not make the postseason. Continue reading
Don: So that is the question of the day. Given the budget, who the available FAs are; and lack of tradeable assets, platoons seem like the best/only option for the Nats. TalkNats commenter DChamps asked us to do:
Here is what I would like to see if you can do it is take 2019/2020 combined and do a platoon split to see what a
Brantley [Substitute Schwarber] platoon would look like with Pillar or Duvall. Do the same for Bell and Zim and Luis Garcia and Harrison and at catcher Gomes for 100 games and Jason Castro for 62 games and in CF Robles for 110 games and Stevo for 52 games.
Steve: Wow, I would love to see platoon splits or what Rizzo likes to call matchups for 2 players at the same position. Riz has never liked the pure lefty/righty thing. I think we have to determine how many at-bats those players would get because Duval and Pillar would play more than the 30 starts a year against lefties. This is also much different to look at since Josh Bell is decent from both sides of the plate as a switch-hitter.
Andrew: I think that is smart. This could be the Nats reality. My fear is that if they go with
Brantley Schwarber that they play him too much.
BREAKING: Deferred by a day because the Nats have signed Kyle Schwarber. So we will replace Brantley with Schwarber in DChamps list.
Wrigley Field, Photo by NavyYardNats for TalkNats
We had several scenarios for a Kyle Schwarber signing with the hopes he could play first base for the Washington Nationals. After the Josh Bell signing, the thoughts of adding Schwarber faded until rumors had surfaced from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that the Nats were considering Schwarber in leftfield.
Today, that move came into focus as general manager Mike Rizzo has signed Schwarber to a one-year deal with a mutual option. He was recently non-tendered by the Cubs to become a free agent. A source told us that Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez was instrumental in his desire to add Schwarber to his lineup, and there was mutual interest for Schwarber to reunite with the Nats’ manager. Prior to 2018, Martinez was the bench coach for the Cubs and knew Schwarber well and was a key in converting him from a catcher to an outfielder. He also knows that Schwarber was defensively challenged in the outfield, but the need for big offense is greater. The Nats take a risk as Schwarber slumped with the bat in 2020 with regards to his .188 batting average — but he did manage a .308 OBP and a .701 OPS with his immense power. Continue reading
The Mets and Indians pulled off a blockbuster trade today that brought the team in Queens some royalty in the form of Francisco Lindor and his +5.6 WAR. If that was not enough, they also got starting pitching help in that same trade package as Carlos Carrasco joins a very good Mets rotation.
The rest of the NL East are looking up at the Mets now. In fact, FanGraphs ranks the best teams in all of Major League baseball with the Dodgers, Padres and Mets as one, two, and three respectively. Keep in mind that the Mets probably could make one more splash in an outfield acquisition and could improve even more. George Springer is a +3.8 WAR player and a free agent signing like that would make the Mets the tops in the NL. Continue reading
Photo by Craig Nedrow for TalkNats
Don: Joseph Goebbels is quoted for saying
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
And there are claims made and repeated often enough that they come to be accepted as the truth regardless of whether they have ever been fact checked. So this exchange between you two (Steve and Andrew)
Ghost of Steve M.
One thing in common, no pitching stars turned yet.
That is a Nats system development issue.
in The international signings period begins in a dozen days! #Nats could add some key prospects to the farm like Armando Cruz! caught my eye. Continue reading
As an average college student in America, there are a few common things that we all look forward to when we go back to our hometown for winter break. Sleep, hang out with friends (and over the past year that has become pretty iffy), and play video games.
According to the 2019 Evolution Entertainment Study, 73% of Americans aged 2 and older play video games, up 6% from 2018, and according to a poll conducted by Pew Research Center in 2003, 70% of college students play video games, with 65% of college students saying they are occasional or regular video game players. This shows how remarkable the video game industry truly is. Personally, I am in the minority among most of my friends, as I leave my gaming console at my house during the school year. Half of the reason I do this is to focus on my schoolwork, my podcast, and fish tanks- yes my fish tanks- and the other half is that I have such little confidence in my technical ability that I am afraid if I unplug my Xbox and re-hook it up somewhere else, I will find some way to mess it up.
Most of the Major Leaguers play video games, and as TalkNats showed in photos throughout the summer, players would leave the stadium clutching there Gaems cases to play video games on the bus and plane rides. While many of them play Fortnite, they are also playing some of the games that we will show you below. MLB The Show had a tournament in March 2020 and Amir Garrett defeated Blake Snell and then in a May 2020 tournament it was Snell who beat Lucas Giolito to take the title. As Nats fans know, Giolito’s dad, Rick, works in gaming development. MLB even has their own gaming Twitter. It is big time.
Photo provided by Andrew Lang for TalkNats
Baseball equipment has become flashier over the years in the designs of colorful cleats and painted bats, and whimsical patterns on gloves and catcher’s chest protectors, but technology in baseball equipment gets lost in it all. Baseball bats that are machine lathed to exact specs to get it to .001 of an inch in detail by a Locatelli seems like cheating the art form of craftsmen hand lathing them like the old days, but the need for precision is best served by robotic blades guided by lasers and computers. Rawlings started supplying gloves to Major Leaguers back in 1906 and have patents to back up their glove technology that continues to innovations we see evolving 115 years later. Continue reading