Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

A look at Minor League options — Nats style

Here is a look at the Nationals players with or without Minor League options. A player without options like infielder Alberto Gonzalez can’t be sent to the Minor Leagues right away. He has to be designated for assignment, which means the Nationals have 10 days to trade him, reassign him to the Minor Leagues or release him.

A player with an option can be sent down to any Minor League affiliate. Here is a look at the team’s 40 man roster. See how many options each player has left.     

Nats players without Minor League options
OF Rick Ankiel                                        
LHP Sean Burnett
RHP Tyler Clippard
RHP Todd Coffey
INF Alberto Gonzalez
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
OF Mike Morse
RHP Henry Rodriguez
RHP Chien-Ming Wang
OF Jayson Werth

Nats players with one Minor League option left
RHP Collin Balester
OF Roger Bernadina
LHP Ross Detwiler
INF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr.
RHP Livan Hernandez
RHP Jason Marquis
RHP Garrett Mock
OF Nyjer Morgan
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Doug Slaten
RHP Stephen Strasburg

Nats players with two Minor League options left
SS Ian Desmond
C Jesus Flores
1B Adam LaRoche
LHP John Lannan
RHP Yunesky Maya
LHP Atahualpa Severino
RHP Craig Stammen
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

Nats players with three Minor League options left
OF Corey Brown
RHP Adam Carr
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Cole Kimball
1B Chris Marrero
C Ivan Rodriguez
RHP Drew Storen
3B Ryan Zimmerman

*Pitchers Brian Broderick and Elvin Ramirez are Rule 5 picks.
** Outfielder Bryce Harper has yet to pick up options.   

Bernadina has impressive game vs. Marlins

Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina showed how much he wants to be an everyday player.

During Washington’s 8-4 victory over the Marlins on Wednesday, Bernadina started in center field and went 2-for-4, including a three-run homer off right-hander Josh Johnson in the second inning. However, his most impressive hit came two innings later, when he bunted the ball past pitcher Mike Dunn for a base it.

The Nationals want Bernadina to bunt more often. After all, he has the speed to do it on a regular basis.   
 
“That is something I want to work on during Spring Training. Today, it worked out well. I just want to keep working on it to get better,” Bernadina said.
  
Last year, Bernadina played nearly a full season in the big leagues and hit .247 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs for Washington.      

Meredith to have Tommy John surgery

Nationals right-hander Cla Meredith will have Tommy John surgery in Washington DC on Wednesday. Dr. Wiemi Douoguih will perform the procedure.

Meredith started having elbow problems about two weeks ago while having his first bullpen session of the Spring. He was hoping that scar tissue was breaking up inside the elbow.

Meredith took time off and then started feeling pain Friday while playing catch. This past offseason, Meredith had bone chips removed from the elbow.

Meredith signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals last month. He was competing for a spot in the bullpen. Last season, Meredith played for the Orioles and allowed nine runs in 15 innings.       

“If he didn’t make the team, he would have been a nice option to have in the Minor Leagues,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “He was the unlucky one this year. It has happened all over baseball.”         

Nats agree to terms with 16 international free agents

The Nationals have agreed to terms on professional contracts with 16 international free agents, highlighted by catcher Raudy Read and outfielder Randy Novas.
 
Read, who was  signed out of the Dominican Republic, is considered a player with great instincts behind the plate. The 17-year-old right-handed hitter has demonstrated a powerful bat with plate discipline.

The right-handed hitting Novas, who is also from the Dominican Republic, has great range in the outfield and has consistently demonstrated power to all fields.  
  
The Nationals have also signed: left-handed pitchers Joel Barrientos (17, Dominican Republic), Brian Escolastico (18, Dominican Republic) and Hector Silvestre (18, Dominican Republic); right-handed pitchers Anderson Martinez (18, Venezuela), Gilberto Mendez (18, Dominican Republic) and Felix Moscat (20, Dominican Republic); catchers Pedro Severino (17, Dominican Republic) and Jorge Tillero (17, Venezuela); first baseman Arialdi Peguero (18, Dominican Republic); shortstop Yewri Guillen (18, Dominican Republic); third baseman Diomedes Eusebio (18, Dominican Republic); and outfielders Juan de los Santos (17, Venezuela), Wilman Rodriguez (19, Dominican Republic) and Dioncio Rosario (17, Dominican Republic).

Atilano designated for assignment

The Nats designated right-hander Luis Atilano for assignment Wednesday. The move was made after Major League Baseball approved Adam LaRoche’s  contract. Last January, Washington signed LaRoche to a two-year deal. 

As for Atilano, the Nats have 10 days to trade him, reassign him to the Minor Leagues or release him.

Last season, Atilano pitched in 16 games and was 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA for Washington before having surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow.

Atilano has a history of elbow problems. He had elbow reconstruction a few months before the Nationals acquired him from the Braves for outfielder Daryle Ward in 2006.

In other news: Every Nationals pitcher and catcher reported to Spring Training except for right-handers Elvin Ramirez and Henry Rodriguez, and catcher Carlos Maldonado  All three had visa issues and are expected to report in the next few days.

Twitter Poll: Did Nats have successful offseason?

On Monday afternoon, I asked my Twitter followers this question: Did the Nats have a successful offseason? Yes or No? Why? A lot of the followers responded to this question and the results were mixed. Here is what they had to say. 

@JHell3: Yes. They no longer have the cheapskate image.

@Natss9: Overall, I like what they did. The Nats’ defense is better and the pitchers in the rotation are MLB pitchers. General manager Mike Rizzo tried his best!

@nationalsreview: Defense and starting pitcher are better. The offense is similar, plus Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa are a year older so they should improve.

@BDadant: I feel they’re one pitcher and one proven bat short. I hope Nyjer Morgan proves me wrong and the current pitching staff does as well.

@thebrowncoat: They tried, but, ultimately, they didn’t quite get there. Lack of a No. 1 starter leaves the rotation with a lot of question marks.

@ZachMyles:  No, because they got worse offensively and the only “front-line starter” they were able to get was Rick Ankiel and he doesn’t pitch anymore.

@WillFacc: Yes. Improved defense, athleticism, long and short relief, kept key youngsters and made leaps by paying a high profile player.

@eenyy820: Even though nobody thinks they can compete with the Phillies, signing Jayson Werth proves they’re committed to building a winner.

@pbsenerchia: The Nats are an improved team, stuck to their principles, didn’t panic, but made moves, got people talking. It will pay off with next year’s free-agent/trade class.

@therealarosen: I’d give them a 6. The Nationals picked up a few above-average position players and a good pitcher. Didn’t land an ace though. The pitching is still shaky.

@CraigMac: The team is better than it was in September. Pitching is an issue with just about every team. Lineup, bench and bullpen are strong.

@CDublin: No. I was hoping for a solid No. 1 pitcher.

@Fazeshiftalec: The Nats’ offseason was a success. They made a splash with Werth and will have a great rotation battle. They will finish third in the East.

@ghue: Absolutely not.

@SodaPop6548: Not really, while we got a few good players, we lost quite a few.

@BigDaddyDemps: The Nationals didn’t get a frontline starting pitcher, were embarrassed by Zack Greinke while overspending for Werth. However, they did good job acquiring Adam LaRoche and trading Josh Willingham. 

@IBALLZACH: I suppose so. They improved their defense, but the main goal of improving the rotation wasn’t reached.

@DArkMEATHOOK: They didn’t re-sign Adam Dunn and didn’t get a top-line starting pitcher. However, that doesn’t mean the Nationals will not have a successful season. It was considered a successful offseason when the Redskins signed Brandon Lloyd, Adam Archuletta and Antwawn Randle El and hired Al Saunders as coach. Look how well that ended.

@DinoFTW: It depends. Pitching wise — no. We are relying on our “young” pitchers. We needed a big-time pitcher. But I also think we picked up some nice pieces from a position standpoint. Our outfielders will be more reliable and our first baseman is a huge upgrade.

@natsnq: In terms of quantity, yes, but the quality of their pick-ups don’t seem to match what was promised.

@jamiemac3: Yes

@Dapple_Juice: They improved the team without depleting the farm system or giving up Desmond and Espinosa

@BDadant: The Nats are you concentrating a lot on pitching. I feel unless Morgan produces, we are going to need another bat.

@HendoDC: No. Too many missed chances. It hurt not to pick up a starting pitcher of the caliber of Jorge De La Rosa or Cliff Lee. Also, postponing the fanfest was understandable but wrong.

@Tbridge: Yes and No. Some good signings, but too many swings and misses. I’ll also second @HendoDC in saying the postponement of Fanfest was not good.

@kevin_reiss: Yes, if you judge by the process. No, if you judge by the outcome.

@Evolution33: They shored up the defense without taking too much of an offensive hit, and the starting pitching should be marginally better.

@gopherballs: No. They failed to address the biggest concern — starting pitching — and were forced to make “frantic” moves late in the offseason.

@jpminter: They upgraded at every “hole” in their lineup. They probably spent a little too much money, but I’m OK with that.

@szul: Yes. They became much more athletic and defense-oriented. Improvements by the middle infielder are key now.

@md_schmidt: Made incremental-plus progress in offense and pitching. Improved defense through subtraction.

Talks progressing between Nationals, LaRoche

Talks between the Nationals and free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche are “progressing,” according to a baseball source. The negotiations are expected to continue sometime on Monday.

The source said the two parties are not far apart when it comes to getting a deal done.

It was revealed on New Year’s Eve that the Nationals have offered LaRoche a two-year deal. Terms of the offer were not disclosed. 

Phone messages to LaRoche and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo were not returned.

The Nationals have been looking for a first baseman ever since they allowed slugger Adam Dunn to become a free agent. LaRoche, 31, brings consistency with the bat and glove. He is coming off the best season of his career, hitting .261 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs for the D-backs. He is also an above-average defensive first baseman. This offseason, the Nationals have put an emphasis on defense, which has been below average the last three years.          
   
If he signs with the Nationals, LaRoche will be reunited with center fielder Nyjer Morgan and reliever Sean Burnett. They were teammates for two-plus seasons from 2007 to 2009 in the Pirates organization.  
       
In early December, LaRoche told MLB.com that he had interest in playing for the Nationals. 
   
“If we come on the same page, I would definitely have interest in playing for them,” LaRoche said back then. 

LaRoche said he believes the Nationals are going in the right direction after signing outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract. 

“I think it shows how serious the Nationals are about getting the organization back on track and become a contender in the National League East,” LaRoche said. “They are probably tired of watching other teams [spend money and winning]. With the ballpark [Nationals Park] and a little money to spend, they are looking to start over.”

LaRoche has played in the big leagues for seven seasons. He is best known for playing with the Braves, but he has also spent time with the Red Sox. During those seven years, LaRoche is a .271 career hitter with 161 home runs and 569 RBIs. 

LaRoche comes from a baseball family. His father, Dave, was a solid relief pitcher for the Angels, Yankees and Indians in the 1970s and ’80s, while his brother, Andy, played third base for the Pirates the last three years before becoming a free agent.

Nationals offer LaRoche two-year deal

After missing out on Derrek Lee, who agreed to terms with the Orioles, the Nationals continue to search for a first baseman. According to a baseball source, they have offered Adam LaRoche a two-year deal.
 
Terms of the offer were not disclosed. The source said getting a deal done “has been a slow process.” Published reports indicated that LaRoche would like a three-year deal, but Washington is not willing to a go to a third year.
      
Phone messages to LaRoche and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo were not returned.  

LaRoche is a player whom the Nats have had their eyes on for several months. He is a solid defensive first baseman and is coming off the best season of his career, hitting .261 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs for the D-backs.
   
In early December, LaRoche told MLB.com that he had interest in playing for the Nationals.
   
“If we come on the same page, I would definitely have interest in playing for them,”  LaRoche said back then.  

LaRoche said he believes the Nationals are going in the right direction after signing outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract.
 
“I think it shows how serious the Nationals are about getting the organization back on track and become a contender in the National League East,” LaRoche said. “They are probably tired of watching other teams [spend money and winning]. With the ballpark [Nationals Park] and a little money to spend, they are looking to start over.”

LaRoche has played in the big leagues for seven seasons. He is best known for playing with the Braves, but he has also spent time with the Red Sox and Pirates. During those seven years, LaRoche has a .271 career hitter with 161 home runs and 569 RBIs.
  
If they are unable to sign LaRoche, the Nationals will consider Casey Kotchman, an above average defensive first baseman, but limited with the bat.

This season, Kotchman played for the Mariners and hit .217 with nine home runs and 51 RBIs. He is best known for his years with the Angels. In 2007, he hit .296 with 11 home runs and 68 RBIs.

During his seven-year career, Kotchman has made nine errors in 4,875 chances.

Greinke rejects deal to Nationals

The Nationals had a deal in place to acquire right-hander Zack Greinke, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com. However, Greinke used his no-trade clause and rejected the deal.  

Instead, the Royals traded Greinke to the Brewers for prospects. Published reports indicated that Greinke will accept the deal to Milwaukee. An official announcement is expected Monday. 

No reason was given as to why Greinke turned down the deal to Washington, but he made it clear this past season that he would like to play for a team that won on a consistent basis. The Nationals have yet to finish with a record over .500 since relocating to Washington.

“My only motivation now is winning. … When we’re 20 games out, it’s hard to get excited to come to the park,” Greinke told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel in September.

It’s not known who the Royals would have acquired if Greinke accepted the deal to Washington. Published reports indicate that reliever Drew Stroren, infielder Danny Espinosa and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann may have been part of this deal. 
        
The Nationals have been looking for an ace pitcher this offseason, but have come up empty handed — so far. Last Sunday, it was learned that the Nationals were out of the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. Lee ended up signing a five-deal with the Phillies.

However, the Nationals are still in the mix to acquire Carl Pavano and Brandon Webb. They could also try to trade for Rays right-hander Matt Garza, but would have to give up a lot in return. The Rays are looking for high-level prospects and bullpen help.  
  
General Mike Rizzo, who was not available for comment, said this past season that he wanted to acquire starting pitching and put players in their proper places in the rotation. For example, the Nationals don’t consider John Lannan an ace pitcher. They consider him a No 3. or 4 starter on a good team.       

Twitter Poll: Nats fans react to Werth signing

On Sunday night, I asked my Twitter followers this question: Did the Nats make the right decision signing Jayson Werth? Yes or No. Why? A lot of the followers responded to this question and the results were mostly positive. Here is what they had to say.   

@JeffSchiffman: No way. Is he going to be worth $18 million when he is 38 years old?

@jpminter: They’re loaded with talent and ready for a playoff run sometime in the next few years.

@JackoBeam: Yes. It makes them relevant and gives Ryan Zimmerman protection. It sets the tone for style of player in next five years. 

@Kenz_aFan: Yes on Werth. Signing Werth opens the door to more and possibly bigger deals, not just the smaller ones.

@eenyy820: He has great talent and he’s an awesome athlete. But it’s tough to see him being productive when he loses his bat speed when he is 38.

@UnkleWheez: It was the right decision. I’m fine with money and years. We are not only paying for Werth, but also for Respect and Attention.

@md_schmidt: The Nationals outfielders were a major letdown in 2010. Werth is an instant upgrade on the field and in the batting order.

@RickandBach: No, no, no for many reasons, but yes because at least they’re trying. 

@PeterKrafcik: No, too much money.

@BrockTalk: I love the Nationals picking up Werth. Who cares about the salary? It’s not my money they’re using. Whatever it takes to win!

@billjanetcsu: This is great day for Nats

@JoannHutch1976: I’ll admit I wish Phillies would have signed Werth, but I’m glad he’s going to a team where he can be a leader.

@McNicollb: Not a big fan of this deal. In seven years, he barely will be walking on those creaky knees, let alone running or hitting.

@JFLANland: A good signing. Need to overpay guys to get them to play in DC right now. Add Carlos Pena and Carl Pavano next. Also give Ryan Zimmerman a  Troy Tulowitzki deal.

@TexasRangers_HQ: Great day for Washington.

@zaronow: Can there be a copout third answer? For example, “It’s too much, but the Nats had little recourse?”

@jpminter: I think it’s good. The Nationals need a veteran with a big bat to sell some tickets. They can’t rely only on No. 37 for that.

@johncarls: I don’t see how Werth is so much better than Josh Willingham. That $126 million couldn’t be used elsewhere.

@ryan_the_great: Yes on signing him but the money is a bit suspect for a 31 year old with a career batting average of .272 hitter. He has only three good years.

@mikecarlucci: A year before Strasburg is back, but Werth and Zimmerman are the core with Harper and Desmond leading the youth movement.

@junoyeopTV: Not at all

@JoannHutch1976: Yes, Yes $126 million times yes.

@wood1953: Too much length and money to a corner outfielder

@RAM0018: It puts them on the map.

@gopherballs: Signing Werth to a contract of this magnitude with the team in it’s current state was not wise.

@zwarse: Bigger crowds, a leader and playoff experience. I could go on.

@JWerthsBeard: YES

@Ryan_Gaydos: I think you know that I’ve been following baseball all year round and it just doesn’t make sense to take a big risk for a young club

@comish4lif: Probably not a good deal in years, but most definitely a necessary deal.

@CDublin: They desperately needed to do something to get out of fifth place. We had to overpay. It’s the only way a good player would come.

@LAWLandMine: Yes although I do think they paid a bit much for him. Werth is a solid talent. I’m happy to see him in a Nats uniform.

@Jeffrey_Bergin:  A legit everyday player who can create runs. Only bad if deal precludes them from extending Ryan Zimmerman and other young talent.

@Matt_B_Cole: What’s wrong with adding more talent and protecting Zim in the lineup?

@jfast3: The Nats made a great decision. 

@tbridge: While I have doubts about years six and seven of that lengthy contract, this is a solid pickup and it’s a good day.

@steveglissman: Werth is too old with only two good seasons. Adam Dunn is the same age with better production. They should have given Dunn a fourth year.

@ColinPCraft: The Nationals are in a big market and can eat contracts.

@lwb2: Great addition to team and No salary cap. Only ones that care about this deal are other GMs trying to get free agents.

@theFrap: The Nats needed a strong hitter like him. He can shape the team and hopefully turn them around.

@Edwincnelson: They have to make a stand and decide to win.

@ryscoziro: They needed to give something to their fan base, which was dejected after Dunn’s departure. 

@HendoDC: Without Dunn, they badly needed a run creator.

@thebrowncoat: Of course. The contract is too long.  They overpaid, but you have to in order to prove you’re legit players in the market. They had to show the fan base they were in this to win after Dunn’s departure. Werth is a worthy replacement.

@khillock: Does the contract include any no-trade clauses? Because for the last three years of that deal, Werth might be a DH.

@sbiel2: For an overpay like this, the Nationals have to make the playoffs by 2013. And they won’t.

@CraigMac: Overpaid? Yes. But it was necessary.

@TheNatsBlog: They needed to shell out the extra money to become relevant.

@kennygartner: This was a great way to begin replacing Dunn, and with Werth potentially a late bloomer, seven years might not be too bad.

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