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  1. I thought LA was still in the broadcast booth. Am I missing something?

    Comment by nickr — March 19, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  2. He only does radio now. Kalas-Wheeler-Matthews-McCarthy handle the TV now.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — March 19, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  3. “especially given Hill’s self-assessment that his arm felt good after his most recent outing. ”

    He says that every two weeks. He hasn’t pitched in about 8 months, and he can’t even make it through a reduced workload in spring training.

    There’s no reason to expect that he’s going to be healthy, and it’s likely that the Nats know more than we do — as they did last year with Patterson.

    Comment by Chris — March 19, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  4. I agree – the Gnats have more knowledge of his health than anyone else. We don’t have enough information to judge if this is the right move. I don’t believe th gnats are so inept that they would let a young pitcher with upside go unless they believe that he was finished.

    Comment by Bill — March 19, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  5. So how long until he gets wavied through MLB and the Red Sox sign him to a split contract, get him healthy, and he’s the next Derek Lowe?

    Comment by JCA — March 19, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  6. No reason to say he’s healthy, other than Rizzo saying he’s healthy now, but we can’t be sure he’ll be healthy in the future. That’s the GM basically saying they did this despite him being OK right now.

    It should be noted that this is a guy who beat them in arbitration. The money savings isn’t much: (5/6 of $775K) – MLB minimum for Martis or whichever guy promoted from Syracuse he might have bumped from the rotation. The dollars end up even being less than the reported difference between the Nats and Crow’s agent. It’s the principle – don’t mess with us.

    Comment by JCA — March 19, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  7. “Hill’s front foot plants itself way before his hand reaches his ear, meaning that the righty is basically throwing with all arm. Such a windup may lead to extra sink on the ball, as several scouts have remarked” – what’s to say that tinkering with his mechanics may not ruin the sink he gets on the ball, thus making him much less valuable?

    Comment by Reed — March 19, 2009 @ 11:01 am

  8. The point is that even if he says he’s ok now, he’s not going to be in two days. We’ve heard Hill say he’s healthy before, even at the start of spring training. And even when they babied him, he still missed time this spring because of his arm. He’s broken.

    I’m sure some of it is related to the money saved. But the decision was also probably affected by them needing the roster spot (and the dough) to sign Beimel.

    Comment by Chris — March 19, 2009 @ 11:11 am

  9. Shawn Hill has Oriole written all over him.

    Comment by math_geek — March 19, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  10. The Nats cutting Shawn Hill was way overdue. Good luck to any team that tries to sign the guy. He only really pitched 37 games in five years. Wow, big production and bit loss right there.

    Comment by DangerNat — March 19, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  11. There’s always the chance that the Gnats’ training staff is as bad as their front office. Baltimore has nothing to lose; they should give him a shot. A number of the low risk some reward guys they signed are hurt, so they may as well add another one.

    Comment by Bill — March 19, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  12. Sounds an awful lot like Rich Harden over the years.

    Not saying that Shawn Hill is Rich Harden but what was the harm in keeping him around? Doesn’t terribly cost much and has a pretty decent FIP. What’s wrong with keeping him, waiting until he breaks down, and then deal with the situation?

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 19, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  13. Correction, they’re the Nats.

    The Gnats are here: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=sf

    Comment by A's Fan — March 19, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

  14. Chris – the money involved isn’t that much. Doing it now leaves them on the hook for 1/6 of $775K, doing it at the end of the Spring leaves them on the hook for 1/5 (I go that from an article on Josh Bard in the globe today, but someone will correct the figures if I’m wrong). It is about $25K. Putting him on the roster vs. not having on the roster on opening day imakes his contract guaranteed (again, correct me if i’m wrong), so it would cost them $775K – MLB minimum for Martis. A bit bigger decision, kind of Crow like in terms of cost difference.

    Now maybe they are saying, time is short, it isn’t worth trying to stretch him out, we need to give Balester, Martis, and Chacin innings to see which is the #5, and divindg the innings further would be a problem. That would be a baseball reason. But this idea that they needed him off the 40 man now because he may become hurt again in the future, with due respect, hard for me to understand. You know this website has pounded home the observation that a significant chunk of a season (say, 16 starts) of substantially above average performance, coupled with a replacement level player for the rest of the year, can be better than a league average guy for a complete season. Given that most of the replacements, even Zimmermann, probably could profit from some more time in AAA (managed innings, lower stress), it’d seem to me that even accepting he’s going to be injured, the Nats should put a high value on having for the start of 2009 until those guys are ready. You would not want to see Zimmermann go from 130 innings at A+/AA to 180 in the majors, I’d think.

    I keep coming back to this is about sending a message to a guy the front office valued as a replacement player (given their arbitration offer). I keep thinking that they are getting revenge for him beating them before the arbitrator, a neutral who vlaues Hill higher than many Nats fans now. I keep thinking this is about sending a message. That is not kind to Rizzo and Stan, but that is also a theory some had about why they walked away from Crow last year.

    Comment by JCA — March 19, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

  15. Congrats on getting Balester spelled correctly. For our next class, we are going to learn the distinction between our third baseman “Zimmerman”, and our aspiring young pitcher “Zimmermann”.

    Comment by tomterp — March 19, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  16. The problem with your math is that you’re not calculating in the DL time. This is a guy where a reasonable expectation is that he’ll be on the DL for half the season. So you need to factor in the “extra” replacement salary there.

    Anyway, with these owners, a few hundred K IS a big thing. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.

    You say that the Nats should place a premium on having guys who are ready out of the chute — to save wear and tear on the prospects. I’d agree. Hill’s pitched TWO INNINGS this spring — after an entire offseason to rest his arm.

    So he’s not the solution for that either.

    Yes, in an ideal world, they should hold on to him. But if he’s not injured — and they’re saying he’s healthy now — and he’s not quite ready to pitch, what can they do with him? I suppose they could try to DL him, but I’m not sure he’d really go along with that. They couldn’t just send him to the minors — I’m pretty sure he’s out of options.

    Ideally, yeah, they might’ve been able to work out something to send him to the minors, but he might not have gone along with it anyway (we don’t know whether they tried or not).

    What it comes down to is that the $$$ and the 40-man spot (ie: Beimel) were worth more to the team than the 1% chance of him finally putting together more than 10 starts of being a #3-type starter.

    Comment by Chris — March 19, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  17. Thanks, Chris. I guess I would be less disappointed with “Pattersoning” him if it were closer to Opening day, they had tried to ramp up his innings, and he did not show he could take it.

    As for the Beimel roster spot, perhaps they’ve made the judgment that they’ll have a better shot at trading WMP to than Hill, so they held on to him rather than releasing him now (he has no shot at the roster). Otherwise, that is a roster spot for Beimel.

    Comment by JCA — March 19, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  18. I think they’re holding on to WMP because they think they can trade one of the other guys, or in case of injury. If nothing else happens, they’re likely to cut him as well.

    It’s also a case where the salary (and yesterday’s deadline for saving $) accelerated their timeline.

    In WMP’s case, the money is his, so there’s no harm if they wait a few more weeks.

    Comment by Chris — March 19, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  19. There are 2 issues here.

    1) Bemiel- extra solid RP. Good move. Bullpen needs help and Acta needs some form of security blanket to go to.

    2) Our SP is still a mess. More so than ever. I don’t have all the medical information but am very bummed about Shawn Hill . i saw him pitch a game when healthy in 2007 or 6 and he was dominant and I never saw a ball move around so much. It was amazing he was unhittable.

    We all know the Nats are too cheap to start Zimmermann in Majors because that triggers arbitration earlier so don’t even count on him. Maybe Mathis too or any other rookie.

    I still think Pedro Martinez could 1) greatly help this team on mound and mentoring and 2) actually generate some buzz and excitement and reason to go see a Nats game. The Nats have done nothing (except Dunn) to generate any interest the entire offseason. I find myself rooting for the caps and checking their new more than the nats and I don’t even like hockey.

    Lannan is great but relying on him to carry this team himself is just stupid.

    i just hope he bean counters are not running the team. By the same token they’ll cut Nick Johnson becuase he could get hurt. A healthy Nick Johnson before Zim and Dunn equals actual fear in opponents eyes.

    Comment by bummed Nats fan — March 19, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  20. Hill had pitched a whopping two innings in the past month. Extrapolate that out over a full season, and how many wins does he add? Oh right, enough that Dave Cameron who can’t even average three letter grades coherently would move the entire organization up in his rankings purely by virtue of having Hill aboard.

    As for JCA’s sinister argument, this decision was ALL about the roster spot. Sure, they COULD have released WMP instead, but he’ll go just as soon as they move Tavares or some other non-roster invitee onto the 40-man. Which they WILL do before the spring is over. Hill was toast all along, but not because of the arbitration thing. It was the two measly innings he was able to eke out of his arm this spring that did him in.

    Comment by Ann Ominous — March 19, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  21. I think the Nats believe that he’s at the point where he has broken down.
    He’s been battling injuries since 2004, and he’s still not overcome them, so at what point do you say enough is enough?

    Comment by Will — March 19, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  22. “A healthy Nick Johnson before Zim and Dunn equals actual fear in opponents eyes.”

    Really?

    Comment by Tim Redding — March 19, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  23. If you’re really Tim Redding, then yes. Really.

    Comment by Ann Ominous — March 20, 2009 @ 6:54 am

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