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  1. Is it too late for them to get in on the stimulus package or the bailout bill?

    Comment by t ball — March 9, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  2. Very cool idea for a series. Have you considered maybe including a financial prospective in the front office section? It could shed a some light on how a club does business.

    I’m excited to read the entire series.

    Comment by Joe — March 9, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  3. Are these going to be offered in reverse order of organization health or in order of last year’s record? Just curious.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — March 9, 2009 @ 11:33 am

  4. I’ll give them credit for Strasburg when they actually sign him.

    Comment by John — March 9, 2009 @ 11:56 am

  5. Dave, nice idea. I’m looking forward to the series.

    I would disagree with your letter grades for the Nationals slightly though. First, they have a decent offensive core at the major league level. Zimmerman, Willingham, Dukes, Milledge, and Flores. The pitching is woeful-

    But the minor league depth chart is awful too. I’d have that well below a C.

    Comment by Josh S — March 9, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  6. Outstanding idea for financial health, both long and short term. That would make a very intriguing series of articles. I’d be especially interested in revenues for the past few seasons vs the estimates for the next two.

    Comment by Bill — March 9, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  7. Like mentioned above, I think including financial health would be a very important factor. Some of the other stuff is subjective.
    vr, Xei

    Comment by Xeifrank — March 9, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  8. Right – because its impossible to tell with the Nats going first!

    Comment by alskor — March 9, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  9. Nice.

    Finally get the sequel to the post done by Dave over a year ago at USSM (which was more of an overview). I’ve become more and more fascinated by how front offices operate, particularly the ones that have gone through a major overhaul recently.

    Really looking forward to this series.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 9, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  10. You average a C, a C- and a D- together and get an F? That right there tells me that you’re in far worse shape than the Nationals are!

    Comment by Ann Ominous — March 9, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

  11. Okay, good suggestion, it’s going in all future writeups.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 9, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

  12. Reverse order.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 9, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

  13. Willingham isn’t much of a player, and given his escalating salaries, I’d say its unlikely they even tender him arbitration next winter.

    For the minor leagues, I’m giving them credit for the #1 pick in the draft.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 9, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  14. It’s not an average.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 9, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  15. Thank you! I very much appreciate it.

    Comment by Joe — March 9, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  16. So what is it?

    Seems like for this to be understandable to your readers, there has to be some logical way that you get an F out of three higher grades. Is there a curve or something?

    Just curious.

    Comment by ChapelHeel66 — March 9, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  17. It’s a grade.

    Think of it in terms of a baseball team – the Nationals were the worst team in baseball, but they didn’t score the fewest runs or allow the most. It was the combination of being bad at both that made them worse than everyone else.

    Being bad at everything leads to an F, even if you’re not the worst at anything.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 9, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  18. Are they bad at everything?
    By my understanding a C is average. According to you, they’re about average with minor league and major league talent, then pretty bad in the front office. How does that make an overall F, especially when they’re a Zduriencik-hiring away from being average or possibly above average in that category?

    I’m a Nats fan, and I actually think you’re being a little generous on minor league talent, granted picks #s 1 and 9a could change all that. I guess it just seems that your overall grade seems arbitrary and unnecessary. Either a GPA-based approach (which would give the Nats a 1.44 or slightly above a D+) or just eliminating the overall grade would make more sense, since ranking the Nats last is basically the equivalent of a failing grade, anyway.

    Comment by Will — March 9, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

  19. If I take anything away from this, it’s if the Nats make the right move on two things (the next GM and the draft), they could easily vault themselves to the front of the middle of the pack.
    Picking a smart GM would instantly improve their grade to a B or A, and successfully signing Stephen “The Best Prospect Ever” Strasburg, pick #10 and the rest of their top 10, would improve their minor league talent to the B or A range as well.

    Too bad major league talent is the only thing that really matters in the end…

    Comment by Will — March 9, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

  20. So I guess we can expect to see the other 29 teams get better than C, C- and D in those categories, eh? I better see that, or I’m giving you an F. It won’t be an average, it’ll be a grade.

    Comment by Ann ominous — March 9, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

  21. This just isn’t that difficult to grasp. If you can’t get your mind around why the worst run team in baseball deserves an F, then I don’t know how to help you.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 9, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  22. So, what kind of grade would you have given the FO if they’d named Rizzo GM? Because they’ve given him the job in all but name. He has all the authority of a GM. if he does a good job, he’ll get the title. If he screws up, they’ll bring in someone better. Are you categorizing Rizzo as a D- GM? If so, why?

    Comment by Ann ominous — March 9, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  23. Your grading system has all the logic of a doctor telling his patient “all your vital signs are there, yet somehow you’re dead.”

    Comment by Spam castin — March 9, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  24. I just heard that exact quote while watching House.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 9, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  25. I’m not sure one can grade the Nats based on last year. They had so many injuries that rating their talent based on the numbers from last season significantly undersells them. Even in the minors they suffered quirky injuries so to suggest they have little or no talent there is just not doing the due diligence. Baseball America rated their system as the 9th best last year and they certainly didn’t graduate a propenderance of their prospects. They have the youngest team in the majors and teams like that will certainly experience growing pains, but this organization is most certainly not the worst in baseball. And given how much talent Bowden acquired for basically nothing during his tenure – Soriano, Dukes, Kearns and Lopez most notably – and the years the Nats have gotten out of guys taken from the scrap heap, it’s intellectually dishonest to say he brought no positive value to the franchise.

    Comment by Longgandhi — March 9, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

  26. Also, I think most teams would love to have a “role player” who has hit at least 40 home runs in each of the last five years and has a career OPS just shy of .900.

    Comment by Longgandhi — March 9, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  27. You’re right. Who needs all this wonderful information on this site about offensive value, defensive value, and how it adds up to the total value of a player in WAR when you know the guy hits 40 home runs and OPS’s over 900?

    Silly Fangraphs. Wasting your time like that with all that analysis.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — March 9, 2009 @ 11:44 pm

  28. Like the others, I don’t get your math. And I think you’re being a bit lazy on your analysis, looking mostly at last years statisitics.

    Sure the Nats had the worst record in baseball last year — which had a lot to do with miserable management and injuries. Bowden is GONE. And, for the Nats, he wasn’t necessarily a total failure as GM — we are beginning to see some of his work bear fruit.

    I’m thinking you don’t agree with the projections for players like Zimmerman, Milledge, Dukes or Dunn — or the breakout potential.

    Last year the rotation was a wash coming into ST — this year they at least have major league level guys fighting for positions. 3-4-5 starters, yes, but definitely major leaguers.

    For what its worth, I think a better analysis will put the Nats at more like 20-25 in ranking. The season will bear this out.

    Comment by Kamau — March 10, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  29. Daniel Cabrera Major League level guy. There’s a reason Baltimore let him go. He throws 89-93 mph with no control. Even in the NL, he will be brutal.

    Comment by Bill — March 10, 2009 @ 6:59 am

  30. Sorry, it took out my not equal to sign. Daniel Cabrera is not equal to a Major League level guy.

    Comment by Bill — March 10, 2009 @ 7:00 am

  31. A ‘better’ analysis? Or an analysis which comes closer to what you think of this organization?

    I don’t think Dave is trying to make these rankings line up with how a team is going to do this year….these are organizational rankings moving forward, not just how they might finish in 2009

    Comment by Ryan B — March 10, 2009 @ 8:09 am

  32. So are you suggesting those numbers have no value? or that his defense in left is so bad as to negate it? It says on this site that Dunn is in the top 50 in baseball in both in RAR/150 and WPI. Top 50 doesn’t sound like a “role player” to me. Is there some other metric you’d like to point out that shows his contributions are completely average?

    Comment by Longgandhi — March 10, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  33. How about the one he just pointed out? You know, the one that ranks Dunn 123rd among position players over the last three years?

    If you think UZR has been a bit too harsh on his defense you can bump him up a few dozen slots, but any way you care to slice it, Adam Dunn is not an elite player. Not even close.

    Comment by jhrekrojhf says: jhrekrojhf — March 10, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

  34. I don’t recall saying that Dunn was an elite player. Perhaps you don’t have a category between “elite player and “role player”; I do – major league regular. To me, a role player is a guy who comes off the bench or provides part of a platoon and Dunn doesn’t fit that category. Did I miss the definition of “role player” in the glossary?

    Comment by Longgandhi — March 10, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  35. A front office is about more than just the GM. In a good front office the GM should be listening to his scouts and analysts, parsing the data, and making the final decision. Without good people under them, even the best GM won’t look like it.

    Comment by Nathan — March 10, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  36. Out of the AL east, and into the NL east, Cabrera will be a near shoe-in to post average MLB pitcher numbers. He played in the most homer friendly ball park in baseball over the last few seasons. He was called the team Ace and all the added pressure doesn’t help. He got poor run support which added pressure. Plus, now he plays in an average park with much lower expectations, weaker lineups that also have pitchers to face. He will get them an ERA in the mid to low 4s and pitch 200 innings as long as he stays healthy. That is a decent guy for a measly $2.5 million.

    Comment by Brian — March 24, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

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