Mark Lerner’s reality was not crafted by a PR executive

Mike Rizzo, Mark Lerner, Ryan Zimmerman, Lindsay Czarniak, and Craig Melvin ; photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

From Monday’s smashing success at the Nationals premiere of the World Series documentary, Mark Lerner agreed to do another interview today. It turned out to be another of those “cringeworthy” one-on-one interviews. Clearly, Lerner lacks the ability to maneuver through the minefield of direct questions about free agents when the situation calls for a more subtle response. The interview with Donald Dell for NBC Sports Washington appears to not have been done with any prepping from the public relations department. We wrote last week that a source told us the Nats would not spend over the CBT limit of $208 million, and while people do not want to hear that, the system has limits. Both Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg remain unsigned and these stars were drafted by the Nationals and were stars for them in the postseason, and if you listen to what Lerner said they will only have room for one of them to return if they want to return. Continue reading

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Caveat emptor is the writing on some of these free agent deals!

A victory cigar; photo by Jeffery Salter

With rumors swirling like the wind, someone(s) is leaking information on every move that Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon are making. The common denominator on these two star players is the agent they share, Scott Boras, who always seems willing to let their whereabouts play in the public forums if it helps drive up the demand side of the micro-economic curve. Typically when demand increases with more buyers than the supply of players the prices escalate and that will benefit a pitcher like Zack Wheeler in this case and probably Madison Bumgarner also who are on the tier below Strasburg and Gerrit Cole. It is starting to feel like a Veblen situation when you look at the number of starting pitchers who will get deals over $100 million and the high demand for what surely is a luxury item. There is certainly a caveat emptor disclaimer on each of these players as these are humans and not a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls Royce or Bugatti built to one-of-a-kind specs. Wheeler has had shoulder and elbow issues, Strasburg has his TJ surgery on his resumé, and Bumgarner had a 3.90 ERA last season. Continue reading

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Red Carpet event for the premiere of the 2019 World Series documentary

The event kicked off with a quick Q&A with (L to R) Ryan Zimmerman, Mike Rizzo, Mark Lerner, Lindsay Czarniak, Craig Melvin

The premiere showing of the 2019 World Series documentary from Shout! Factory Productions was debuted last night to a sold-out crowd of 3,000 at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. This red carpet event was attended by Ryan Zimmerman and general manager Mike Rizzo as well as principal owner Mark Lerner, and the narrator of the film Craig Melvin. Local sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak who is married to Melvin acted as the emcee for the Q&A discussion in which Mike Rizzo talked about that he got married in Jamaica last week and said since the end of the World Series, “I’ve been drunk for a month.” That was met with applause and laughter. Much of the Q&A was met with applause and laughter as Craig Melvin asked Lerner if he could buy the Redskins. Continue reading

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UPDATED: Guerra non-tendered, Koda retires, and MAT is tendered a deal!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The first business day in December is an important day for arbitration-eligible players. By the 8:00 pm deadline tonight, all of general manager Mike Rizzo’s initial decisions with the team’s eight arbitration-eligible players were decided. Technically, Koda Glover was non-tendered but he also announced his retirement on social media. One of the good guys, Javy Guerra, was also non-tendered. The Washington Nationals had some tough decisions to make. General manager Mike Rizzo had already negotiated a 1-year non-guaranteed deal for Wilmer Difo like he did last year for Sammy Solis last year, and he also completed a one-year $1.6 million incentive-laden deal for Hunter Strickland.  If Difo and/or Strickland are cut before the first 16 days from the start of Spring Training, the Nats will only have to pay them a severance fee equal to 1/6th of their reported based deals. On Difo’s reported $1 million deal, he would be due a fee of $166,666.67 if cut before the March deadline. If the Nats retain Difo, a source has told us that they plan to use him as a super utility player where he could play both infield and outfield. Continue reading

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Can Mike Rizzo get the band back together and make the CBT limit work?

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

Can Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo meet all of his goals for the 2020 roster of penciling in a 90-win team based on the analytics plus stay under the $208 million CBT salary cap, and bring back Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Howie Kendrick, and Asdrubal Cabrera? The answer is “possibly” and they have reportedly agreed to bring back catcher Yan Gomes at $5 million a year for two years. It would not be easy though to get most key players back at inflated numbers though and stay under the cap and fill all holes. Continue reading

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Holiday Gift Guide with a World Series theme from $19 to $1 million

The FOCO World Series Bobblehead collection

Finding holiday gifts for Nats fans are easy this year due to the World Series win! There are so many choices from a few dollars to over $1 million. Continue reading

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Of Dreams and Thanks; Nationals’ Baseball

A Distant Mirror: Muddy Ruel scampers home with the Series-clinching win. October 10, 1924

There’s a sneaking suspicion that the turkey will taste better this year for Nationals’ fans.  They award a World Series Championship every year.  Washington baseball fans just had to wait out 95 of them to get the city’s second title.  There was no shortage of pain and suffering in the interim.  Sad and lengthy litanies of losing, watching teams leave, and then there were the 34 years spent wandering in baseball’s desert.  A new team was only a temporary salve.  What followed were 100-loss seasons. A promising ascent to relevance was capped with improbable and crushing playoff losses.  Prior to this World Series angst was always a core component of Nationals’ fandom.  If the fates were finally going to purge that bucket of bile it had to be done in spectacular fashion.  And, so it was.

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A Nationals’ Thanksgiving and giving thanks!


The Nationals Thanksgiving

I’m thankful the Nationals won the World Series (aren’t we all!) because:

The Washington Nationals beat the Houston Asterisks, er, Astros. In their own stadium, no less.

The Spring Training games at the Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will be lit!

Ryan Zimmerman gets a well-earned ring.

Gerardo Parra gets a well-earned ring.

Heck, even Jake Noll gets a well-earned ring!

We got to see Max Scherzer cry on Aníbal Sánchez’s shoulder. For a good reason.

Parades are cool and especially when they’re attended by an estimated million fans. 🎉 Continue reading

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Money, money, money! The winner’s share is in! Nats players split over $29 million!

The 2019 World Champions

When you win the World Series, there is a financial windfall that will cumulative for years to come. One of the first checks will come from the players share of the MLB pool that the Washington Nationals received in a total of $29,110,012.47 for winning the World Series. On top of that, the players will get World Series rings, mementos, and other gifts of appreciation, and if that is not enough, there will be trips, appearances, and memorabilia contracts. Many of the players have already signed thousands of World Series pieces that were sold to collectors, and the demand will always be there for reunions and autograph shows. It is the gift that keeps on giving!  To a player like Max Scherzer who has made hundreds of millions of dollars, the monetary sums will not matter but to a player like Jake Noll his share of cash will make a sizeable difference in his life for that walk-off walk on April 3rd. In total, 50 Nats players appeared in games this season and 51 players were on the roster during 2019. There are players like James Bourque who appeared in one game and 2/3 of an inning, Michael Blazek who appeared in four games and was DFA’d, and the most curious case of Spencer Kieboom who was on the roster for five days in two separate stints but never appeared in a game in 2019.  Continue reading

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Reminiscing about Anthony Rendon in 2011 and before and beyond!

Rendon photo exclusively for TalkNats by Sol Tucker

The Washington Nationals plan of tanking during 2008-2010 was painful for fans, but the draft picks resulting from those disastrous years yielded in succession: Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Anthony Rendon. Those are three All-Star players who have been at the top of their game for the Washington Nationals. The thought of any of them leaving will shake you at your core. Reality struck last year when Harper signed with the rival Phillies. It was a gut-punch for many. When Jordan Zimmermann left for Detroit it did not hurt as bad. But nobody wants to see other key defections. Drafting stars like Strasburg, Harper, and Rendon can change a franchise and a mindset in the fanbase. The Nationals have not picked in the top half of any draft since Rendon was chosen in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Continue reading

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