The world champions are building their 2020 roster after eleven players from the World Series roster have become free agents. General Manager Mike Rizzo is more concerned about replacing Gerardo Parra on the roster than he is about his own future. Two years ago it was a common question asked to Rizzo about his future during the Nats event at Winterfest and dozens of times during Spring Training. He’s been with the Nats for over 14 years and was the first employee that the Lerner ownership group hired when they purchased the franchise in mid-2006. During his tenure, he has negotiated six different contracts for himself averaging 2.5 years per deal. So why are fans worried about Rizzo’s next deal? A seventh contract for Rizzo is only different because now he has a World Series ring. Continue reading
Yan Gomes was acquired via a trade! (Photo by Tom Cicotello for TalkNats)
Last year, Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo was in quick strike mode. By the end of November last year, he acquired Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal, Kurt Suzuki, and Yan Gomes. A few days after the Gomes deal was official, Rizzo shocked the baseball world by signing the top pitching free agent, Patrick Corbin, to a six-year deal to form a super rotation. The media had already prepped for a Yankees signing of Corbin or he would go to Philadelphia for “stupid money” as their owner promised they would spend. Nope, the Lerner ownership group blew away the estimates to bag Corbin. By December 4th, Rizzo had five new acquisitions in-hand. The Gomes trade was a key to the Corbin signing and to nobody’s surprise Gomes became Corbin’s personal catcher. Rizzo wasted no time in the previous off-season. This year, Rizzo has a different plan as the reigning World Series champ. Continue reading
Anthony Rendon underneath Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX; Photo by Paul Kim
Most athletes crave the limelight. Being popular generates revenues and moves the clicker on the turnstiles, and when team owners are making money it usually translates to the athletes benefiting when it comes to new contracts. Case and point was Bryce Harper last year. He was not even rated as a Top-25 player yet he turned in the largest free agent contract in the previous offseason at $330 million. Opposite of the majority is Anthony Rendon who spent seven years with the Washington Nationals and avoided the limelight as much as he could. He was a virtual unknown among casual sports fans. Rendon finally got named to his first All-Star squad this year, but opted-out due to an undisclosed lower body issue. The sports world got to watch Rendon often as a clutch star in this year’s posteason. He just finished third in the NL MVP balloting and probably ended up in the Top-3 for the World Series MVP that was awarded to Stephen Strasburg. Continue reading
Baseball fans have seen Jim Abbott pitch and field with one arm, and in 1945 there was Pete Gray who batted with one arm and hit .218 for the Browns and was out of baseball after seventy-seven games as a fill-in during World War II. There is no comparison with the feats of Abbott and Gray to Trea Turner playing with eight healthy fingers, but what Turner pulled off was rather impressive given what he had to overcome. Continue reading
Was the middle finger up for “We’re number 1?”
The numbers are fun to look at for these 2019 Nationals who defied the odds to win the World Series. They won their first game of the season on a walk-off home run by Trea Turner, and they won their final game of the postseason on a Howie Kendrick home run. We all know about the 19-31 record on the morning of May 24th, and the fact the Nats won 93 games in the regular season, and they won 105 games between the regular season and the postseason. The most important number is the Nats won the 7th game of the World Series fulfilling Davey Martinez’s mantra of going 1-0. Continue reading
As we enter a new season of player movement, we observe the landscape where several aspects seem pretty obvious:
- The normally top spending teams are restrained by the luxury tax thresholds particularly potential repeat offenders. ($208 million CBT in 2020)
- A significant chunk of teams sit out the free agency season despite the fact that they field non-competitive products, their payroll is low and their finances are in the black. These are the some of the same teams who receive funds in MLB’s revenue sharing and just keep those funds to add to their profits. Teams like the Pirates, Orioles, and Tigers.
- Mid and lower end free agents have a hard time finding employment let alone market value employment.
- Most of the free agency frenzy surrounds a select few players. It so happens that this year 2 of these players are members of the 2019 Nats: Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon.
Sterling Sharp is the likeliest Nationals minor leaguer to be added to the 40-man roster this month.
It’s the offseason, and things are slow. But while there isn’t much happening in the world of Nationals baseball, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Continue reading
Howie Kendrick underneath Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX; Photo by Paul Kim
World Series winning teams need a full team effort in order to win. Without Juan Soto‘s heroics with two outs in the 8th inning of the Wild Card, there is no NLDS, NCLS, and World Series for the Washington Nationals. In the NLDS, where would the team be if Anthony Rendon does not homer off of Clayton Kershaw in Game 5? Without the heroics of Anibal Sanchez in Game 1 of the NLCS, who knows what happens with momentum. In the World Series, what happens if Stephen Strasburg was off of his game? It took an entire team to win these games. We could go through even the most obscure plays and contributions from players like Andrew Stevenson scoring the tying run in the Wild Card to a home run by Michael Taylor to a key strikeout by Tanner Rainey out of the bullpen. While Howie Kendrick was the NLCS MVP and Stephen Strasburg was the World Series MVP, you do not win without the key players who were integral to the success. Continue reading
There is apparently no fine for littering in “Braves Country.”
The manager carousel made its usual run through the league after the season, and the NL East was no exception as the Mets and Phillies both make changes with their dugout skippers. Carlos Beltran is the Mets new manager and Joe Girardi got shutout of the Cubs job and settled for the Phillies opening. As both managers look to fill their staffs, it is possible that Nats assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon could head to Philadelphia as their hitting coach. While the Marlins chose to retain Don Mattingly reportedly at a lesser salary, they did make changes on their coaching staff. What did not change was general manager positions in the NL East. Continue reading
A visit to Cooperstown
The best-laid plans, right? Back in May, when the Nationals were 19-31 or thereabouts, Spouse and I looked at each other and said, “when October rolls around, we’re going to want to get out of town ASAP because it sure doesn’t look as if the Nationals will be demanding our attention. How about we cash in that behind-the-scenes tour of the Hall of Fame we got, oh, five years ago?”
First, Logistics (skip this p Continue reading