Nats, News, & Notes: Winterfest happenings

No, Gerardo Parra was not part of the Nats alumni at Winterfest, and technically right now Ryan Zimmerman is part of that alumni and he was not in attendance either even though he lives thirty minutes away from the stadium. Two of the most popular Nationals alumni, Brian Schneider and Chad Cordero from the inaugural 2005 team were there in attendance. Most notably missing from the Nats personnel at the event was manager Dave Martinez, and we were told on Twitter by someone that he is on a vacation. Sure, Trea Turner was on a long-planned vacation in Jackson Hole Wyoming and he flew back to D.C. cutting his vacation to only a few days so he could attend the Winterfest event. Martinez is not the only one missing from the personnel under contract who were not there, and a couple were at Matt Grace‘s wedding in Hawaii like Joe Ross and Michael Taylor, and Adam Eaton had a family emergency. Whereabouts unknown were new signees Will Harris, Starlin Castro and Eric Thames but also Howie Kendrick, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Daniel Hudson (not officially signed) who were all key players on the 2019 World Series championship team were no-shows. Also not seen were Patrick Corbin, Tanner Rainey, Roenis Elias, Wilmer Difo, and Yan GomesContinue reading

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The #Nats have signed all of their arbitration eligible players!

As of this evening, Mike Rizzo has settled up with all of his arbitration eligible players. He tied up Michael A. Taylor yesterday, and today negotiated deals with Roenis Elias and Joe Ross before today’s deadline which avoided arbitration — and with a little drama the team announced a deal about an hour ago with Trea Turner at $7.45 million.  Continue reading

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Winterfest eve as the World Champs are back in D.C.

This year’s Winterfest at Nationals Park is sold-out on Saturday, and it will feel more like Springfest as temperatures in Washington, D.C. will feel like early April. So Play Ball! The World Champion Washington Nationals are back in town! This is a celebration, and for fans, they will get to see their team up close and personal. The Nats won the World Series on the road where most fans could only watch on their televisions, and the parade for most of the crowd was a distant view.  Continue reading

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If the Nats offseason is over, their Fangraphs number is +42.9 WAR

If the goal is to build an offseason roster projected to win 90-wins, it looks like Mike Rizzo is two wins short of the goal. The team is at +42.9 WAR now, and that roughly translates to 88-wins. A year ago, they were at +45.8 WAR before the last major acquisition of Brian Dozier was signed. With all of Rizzo’s acquisitions recently, the Washington Nationals are ready for Opening Day and will need to prove the analysts and computers wrong to win their 90+ games. The Braves did it last year as they were at a +35.4 WAR, and they won 97 games. Take a look at the charts below, and see where the Nats can improve. Continue reading

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Add it all up, Mike Rizzo showed that he has game!

Mike Rizzo has every reason to smile; Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

As the first snow hit Washington, D.C., general manager Mike Rizzo was back at work as he is trying to finalize his 2020 roster. A week ago he was being criticized for a lackluster offseason even though he had six weeks before training camp was set to open. Sure, he was waiting on Josh Donaldson, but on Friday he pivoted to his Plan C and pulled off five key signings that added up to 5.0 WAR in four days. He added star reliever Will Harris and postseason star Daniel Hudson as well as Asdrubal Cabrera and then went outside the organization for “launch angle” convertee Starlin Castro and got the big lefty thumper in Eric Thames. The sum of the parts has once again added up to more than the whole. He spread the risk and spent $26 million on that quintet. Continue reading

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Daniel Hudson is back with the #Nats because he wanted to return! Rizzo adds the lefty thump with Eric Thames!

Some thought that the signing of Will Harris meant that Daniel Hudson would not return. Some were convinced that the pursuit of Josh Donaldson was a financial restraint that would not allow any more acquisitions, but general manager Mike Rizzo has also added back Asdrubal Cabera and Starlin Castro over the weekend as well as Daniel Hudson on a 2-year deal for $11 million plus incentives on a deal that was announced this afternoon. Continue reading

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Mike Rizzo is in another walk year on his current contract, is he worried?

Embed from Getty Images of Mike Rizzo

No, Mike Rizzo is not worried at all about his future with the Washington Nationals. During his tenure, he has negotiated six different contracts for himself averaging nearly 2.5 years per deal. He has joked that when he was a scout he always worked on one year deals which is the life of a scout. They keep you motivated and hungry when you are performing on your paycheck that isn’t guaranteed for a day over a year from the time you signed the last deal. Rizzo is a Chicagoan by birth, and a Washingtonian by adoption. Rizzo came to Washington, D.C. fourteen years ago in 2006 as the Lerner’s first hire when they bought the team from Major League baseball. Since then, he became a homeowner in 2017 after renting for more than ten years in the District, and he married a Washingtonian, Jodi, in November. He has real roots in this city and could find himself one day permanently enshrined by a bronze statue at Nationals Park just like Walter Johnson who won D.C. the only other World Series.  Continue reading

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What would the #Nats look like if Mike Rizzo was done?

Modified graphic from the Nationals twitter

First off, we do not believe that Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has completed his lineup for 2020. But we can take a glance at the World Series Game #7 lineup for a glimpse into what the middle of the order could look like behind Juan Soto with Howie Kendrick just like he did many times in 2019. With Asdrubal Cabrera coming back, he provides that switch-hitting bat behind Kendrick and Starlin Castro could bat after Droobs. Fangraphs thinks the Nats are currently a +42.2 WAR team, and that should translate to 86-88 wins. Should. Could. That probably tells you Rizzo is not done.  Continue reading

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The Nats offseason is like a great crime novel! Starlin Castro emerges! UPDATE: Asdrubal is back!

The Washington Nationals offseason is as good as a great crime novel. The young CEO and two of his managers were killed while the star salesman was near death and survived while the longest tenured employee contemplates retirement. You can put names to the characters like Anthony Rendon, Brian Dozier, and Gerardo Parra. The survivor could be Stephen Strasburg, and the person contemplating retirement could be Ryan Zimmerman. The main suspect is Josh Donaldson of course, but in a strange twist Starlin Castro emerges. This is so 2015! We have been through this before. There was Ben Zobrist, Brandon Phillips, and Daniel Murphy back then. If you search for names, you will see Castro mentioned last month as a possibility for this 2020 roster just like he was back in 2016. There was a time when Castro was a top prospect who caught Rizzo’s eye, but he had his struggles. His bench coach with the Cubs, of course, was Dave Martinez. If Davey wanted Castro, he has been there for the taking as a free agent, but in traditional metrics, he does not move the needle a lot — and that is why you have to dig deeper to why Castro makes sense.  Continue reading

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Willie Harris Part Deux; Also reading the tea leaves in NatsTown

Will Harris watches as Washington Nationals’ Howie Kendrick circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning of Game 7 of the baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

We loved you before we met you Will. Now you are inked for three years with the team that cost you a ring. Just like Trent Grisham, one singular play can change whether your old team wants you back. Sure, maybe it was all about the money as to why the Astros were not going to pursue keeping William Taylor Harris. The reliever grew up in Slidell, Louisiana and some called him Bill and others called him Willie Harris, but that nickname was already taken by a former Nat, William Charles Harris. Both players crossed over in 2012 which was Will Harris’ debut season and Willie Harris’ final season in the bigs . There will be a big ovation for Will Harris on Opening Day in Nationals Park this year when he is introduced as a member of the Washington Nationals. It was Harris who threw that nasty cutter low and outside to Howie Kendrick that was barreled up, somehow, and clanked off the foul pole as the decisive RBI in the 2019 World Series. One man’s elation became another man’s pain. Some would call it the ultimate irony that Harris now joins the team that cost him a World Series ring in 2019. Grisham got traded by the Brewers shortly after he watched Juan Soto‘s single change directions on him in the Wild Card game. At least Will Harris got to choose his next destination, and cashed in on a three-year deal worth $24 million from the Nats. Continue reading

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