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  1. Everybody knows that the Byrd is the word

    Comment by Expos67 — December 30, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  2. The important thing about the Harper plan is that the Nationals have to hold him back for at least a few weeks. They would have to be insane to allow him to accrue a full service year in 2012. As poised as they are to compete, 3 weeks of 19-year-old Harper in 2012 is easily trumped by the prospect of an entire season of Harper in 2018. Even if he’s getting paid $25 mil via arbitration and poised to walk.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — December 30, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  3. Boo! You didn’t do it!

    Note: Was a running joke for the Low Budget FM podcast. I personally loved the comment.

    Comment by Cody — December 30, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  4. With all the chatter around the Nats in the free agent market, I’m surprised at how little anyone mentions Mike Morse. You’ve got to figure that he’s at least similar to Fielder in mileage/seasons left, he’s a legitimate cleanup hitter, and plays on the cheap. If the Nats sold the farm on Gonzalez, spent their trust fund on Werth, and are hoping on a few 20 year olds, they’ve gotta shore up the rest of their roster with some serviceable veterans who can get on base – a la Byrd, Damon, Matsui. Or whatever, give a 10 year deal to a 280 lb. future DH.

    Comment by hifilofi — December 30, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  5. FWIW, The Nats didn’t blow the trust fund on Werth. The Lerners are ridiculously rich. I mean even for pro sports team owners they’ve got bank. When they play cheap it’s by choice, not necessity.

    That being said, Fielder just doesn’t fit and I’d be shocked if they are anything more than a rumor for his services.

    Comment by David — December 30, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  6. Harper is extremely unlikely to be in the majors before June even if he appears to be ready due to super-2 issues. Coco and BJ would be coming from the AL to the easier NL, that should cause a small increase in their projected value in 2012.

    Comment by kds — December 30, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  7. is last year’s al west really harder than this year’s nl east?

    Comment by Jordan — December 30, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  8. Rizzo has mentioned recently that he wants to be a player in the more robust CFer FA market next year, when the aforementioned Bourn, Byrd, and Upton are available (none will be extended before then – Rays can’t afford Upton going forward and can slide Jennings to CF in 2013). He seems to be hoping to get by this year as his team improves a bit, instead of going all out in 2012, and avoid selling prized prospects for a guy they have a good shot at next offseason. With LaRoche gone after this year, he is likely planning to move Morse to 1B, Werth to LF, and Harper to play RF at 20 in 2013. This would explain his hesitancy around Fielder, at least in part – he may jump on him if the asking price drops to 5 years, but maybe not even then. Also, it explains why he wouldn’t sign a guy like Crisp or Ross, who aren’t real game-changers and likely want a 2 year deal and a starting spot guaranteed. If they only want a 1 year deal or are OK with being a potential 4th OFer in 2013, he might bite. There is virtually no way Harper comes up before September, if then.

    As I mentioned, it looks like the Nats are looking more to contend in 2013 than 2012, and are lining up their pieces accordingly.

    Comment by DD — December 30, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  9. Cubs fan’s dream: Cubs give up: Matt Garza, Marlon Byrd, Bryan Lahair
    Cubs get: Bryce harper

    Comment by Dscott — December 30, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  10. i assume eric didn’t forget about morse and is instead penciling him into left field. right?

    Comment by chiefglockandhummer — December 30, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  11. Agreed, I don’t think Rizzo is that dumb, though I wouldn’t put it past Johnson, if he had the final say (which he doesn’t).

    It looks like the Nats are prepared to put out a pretty crappy product for the first 3 months, when they’ll promote Harper, and hopefully trade LaRoche, and move Morse back to 1B, where he’s better defensively.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they used a platoon of Bernadina (or Ankiel if he resigns) vs RHPs and Cameron vs LHPs.

    Then in 2012 sign Upton, Victorino or Bourne without having to give away prospects to get them.

    Comment by Will — December 30, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  12. why not throw in soriano and get strasburg while you’re at it?

    Comment by Trashman — December 30, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  13. The owners’ wealth aside, their payroll in 2011 was only $68.3mil, this year they should come in at around the same factoring in some raises in arbitration.

    The average MLB payroll is much closer to $100mil, so the Nats could add 3 more Jayson Werth-sized contracts, and still only be around league average.

    Comment by Will — December 30, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  14. Well I guess if you’re going to dream, you might as well not live in reality.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 30, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  15. LOL, Washington would never go for that horrible contract.

    Comment by Dscott — December 30, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  16. Now come on,, would the trade not make the Nationals better this year? lol

    Comment by Dscott — December 30, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  17. Luckily for the Nats, with their rotation, that “Crappy product could be well over .500 since the lineup should at least be better than last seasons.

    Comment by D0nc0smic — December 30, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  18. Super two issues are only about money, and it’s worth spending money when you’re a contender. With super-two status growing and the cut off date getting later and later, I think that lots of teams are just going to start promoting rookies who can contribute faster. It’s basically just the equivalent of paying for a free agent to do the same job, but paying the FA in three years instead of now.

    Comment by philosofool — December 30, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  19. Why do you think there is “no way” Harper arrives before September?

    It seems to me like only two things need to be true for Harper to get called up in May or later:
    (1) The team feels like it is contending.
    (2) It feels like Harper will help the team contend.

    I don’t know whether either of these will be true, but both could be, in which case he will probably arrive before September.

    (I secretly suspect you are trying to lower his value on draft day for your fantasy leagues.)

    Comment by philosofool — December 30, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  20. Good breakdown of the available options. I’d like Werth as the stopgap and then have speedy Harper gradually get some experience at the position. I know Boras was the one suggesting the RF position for Harper, but he’s not the GM. They already made him give up the catcher position; it’s hardly unreasonable to ask a teen phenom with fresh legs to help the team out at CF.

    Comment by Bo — December 30, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  21. I’ll bet they start the season off with the hoopla of Strasburg and then rejuvenate the fan base with Harper’s arrival in July/August if the team looks like it isn’t a serious contender.

    I don’t know if the Nationals have the luxury of postponing too many prospect arrivals for financial gain. On the other side, saving a few million dollars could help the Nationals retain Zimmerman or Zimmermann, the 2 most crucial pieces of the current window. If someone isn’t ready to be promoted, that’s one thing, but the playoff clock window started ticking when they dumped all that money on Jayson Werth and it’s ticking even faster with the Gio deal.

    After dealing away their pitching prospect depth for Gio, the Nationals narrowed the length of their window a bit, and I think, they placed an ultimatum for needing to make the ultimate splash by 2015. I can’t see how they’ll be able to spread enough money around to retain important pieces and transition smoothly beyond that point if they fail to make that type of showing. And if the Nationals are competing well during this stretch, that’ll make dealing away their most valuable upcoming free agents for scattered rebuild pieces impossible. We’ll never see a draft stretch again like the one they experienced, and compensation picks only get you so far.

    They really need to go all in for the 13-15 seasons at this point.

    Comment by baty — December 30, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  22. Because Rizzo has said over and over that they will not rush him. They are less likely to contend this year than next. Also, if your team as currently assembled is contending, why on earth would you add a 19 year old to the mix? So that he can struggle and hurt their chances? If he’s called up before September, he’s not going to ride the bench, so they would likely need an injury to happen and Harper to have an insane year for what you are describing to happen. Contending in May doesn’t count for anything – the Pirates were in the playoff mix and the Indians were in first place in May 2011.

    Comment by DD — December 30, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  23. I’m assuming here that Victorino resigns with Philly btw, but he’s available too.

    Comment by DD — December 30, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

  24. Harper can’t be a center fielder, and Werth’s best defensive days are behind him. The two would only be very short term solutions. Stick Harper in a corner spot and let him hit. Having an athlete like him in a corner would be a tremendous compliment to a strong defensive center fielder (if the opportunity to grab one is there).

    Comment by baty — December 30, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  25. Take Byrd as a short-term solution. Good clubhouse guy, just not a run producer, swings too early in counts in RBI situations. In 2013, sign either Upton/Bourn, move Byrd to 4th/5th outfileder, would likley be a decent bench option. He likely wont require much to get in a trade, either. Hes certainly better than the faded Mike Cameron.

    Comment by the sandman — December 30, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  26. The rotation still has plenty of cracks that need to be sealed. You can’t expect Zimmermann to confidently take on a completely full load until ’13, and Strasburg until ’14, all the while hoping that they don’t suffer a Josh Johnson-esque setback.

    Comment by baty — December 30, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  27. are you on drugs?

    Comment by jim — December 30, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  28. Wins in May are worth just as much as wins in september. You don’t get double points for late season wins.

    If your team has a replacement level right fielder and you seriously believe that you have a superior alternative in your system, adding him in May is better than adding him in July. Once you’ve decided he’s an upgrade, then you probably don’t care if he is ninteen or ninty. I guess you could worry about the development of a nineteen year old, but if you really think he is a contributor, you probably don’t think he willbe seriously stunted by early promotion.

    Also, you can never read too much into what a GM says. His job in interviews is to manage expections, not tell the truth.

    Comment by philosofool — December 30, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

  29. I don’t see why Harper can’t be a CFer. He’s got the tools. Its about teaching him the position.

    Comment by AA — December 30, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  30. Major League ballclubs do not trade 19-year-old outfielders who can hit 600-foot home runs. Harper already has a massive signing bonus, and projects to be a .275 / 40 / 100. So… no, this won’t happen.

    Comment by JWO — December 30, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

  31. For a year or so while they wait for a solid free-agent market in CF, I don’t see what would be wrong with bringing Marlon Byrd back to DC, if the Cubs’ demands aren’t outrageous.

    Comment by Timmer — December 30, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

  32. Storen for Stubbs, the Reds turn around and sign Crisp – Nats make Clippard their closer or sign one of Coco/Madson.

    Comment by M W — December 31, 2011 @ 12:33 am

  33. marlon byrd is honestly too great a guy to have to play on this team next year. we are going to stink HARD, he’s a good soldier and would take it, but if there’s a fit they should definitely trade him for just about anything as long as it’s under 22 years old.

    Comment by Chris — December 31, 2011 @ 4:10 am

  34. BRYD!

    Comment by shthar — December 31, 2011 @ 5:03 am

  35. Rizzo refused to trade Storen at the deadline for a longterm answer at CF/lead-off in Denard Span, so he certainly won’t trade him for less than that.

    Due to the new CBA, the new Super-Two timeframe is now the last week of June or more likely the first week of July.

    Harper has struggled for up to a few weeks at every next-higher level he’s played at/been promoted to going back to before he was in high school, then he catches-up and dominates. Watch for the same thing to happen when he reaches AAA (where he might start the season if he has a strong camp), this will allow Rizzo enough time to justify keeping him down until the Super-Two date has been reached. If he’s knocking the cover off the ball by the first week in July, he’ll be in DC from that point on, where you can almost bet the farm that he’s going to struggle at first, which will be awkward if the Nats are in the wild card chase, as they should be.

    Comment by DaveB — December 31, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  36. Weee! 100 RBIs!!!

    Comment by BlackOps — December 31, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  37. Byrd struggled last season w/risp but for his career the difference in total OPS and RISP OPS is .005.

    What’s a run producer? I’m sure by saying that you just mean he has below average power, which can also be said by saying he has below average power.

    Comment by BlackOps — December 31, 2011 @ 7:44 am

  38. Byrd is horrible, why is this even being suggested? I would not sign him as a free agent, nevertheless give up prospect(s) for him.
    His stats link, which oddly was not provided in the article:

    Maybe his power is the convincing factor?
    12 HRs in 580 ABs in 2010
    9 HRs in 446 in 2011
    21 HRs in 1026 ABs in the last two years, borderline pathetic as Ramos will likely hit that this year as a catcher along with every other starter in the lineup.

    If it is not his power then it HAS to be his speed, right?
    Not AT ALL, 49 SBs in his career or on 3,692 ABs.

    He hit a respectable .276 last year with a slightly inflated .316 BABIP, but that hardly makes up for the lack of power and speed.

    His UZR/150 last year? 3.0, also respectable, but we are talking about a CF rapidly approaching 35.

    In no way would I consider him an option, especially not with Coco an his blistering speed on the free agent market who will undoubtedly sign for less than his value on a short-term contract and cost no prospects.

    In other words, Byrd is not the word…is the name of an aging OF who would soon be unable to handle CF and thus make his lack of any other tool exposed where he will then find himself with Melvin Mora, watching baseball from home.

    Comment by Justin — December 31, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  39. My apologies, all the stat links were right out the gate and his link was provided.

    Trading for Upton also sounds like a bad move as he crosses me as someone that is undoubtedly going to test free agency and go to the highest bidder. I am not saying that is irrational or dirty, but the farm just raided and further depleting it for a one year rental does not add up. Rarely, does a team have a player that can produce at C, SS, and 2B so if having a stopgap instead of a stud at CF has to happen I think it will suffice.

    Comment by Justin — December 31, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  40. The theory of bringing Upton in is that he’d be more likely to sign since he’s from Virginia. I don’t know why he crosses you as someone that would pick the highest bidder; that sounds like some kind of baseless judgment on his character. He’s had good money since he was 17.

    Comment by BlackOps — December 31, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  41. It seems hasty to guarantee that Harper should be in DC next year on the merits, when his 2011MLE was apparently .206 / .271 / .322. Not to say that he shouldn’t take a big step forward, and DaveB may be right that he just needs adjustment time at a new level, but it doesn’t seem implausible that he might need a full year in the minors on the merits.

    Comment by matt w — December 31, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  42. Harper might be ready, but there Are also some maturity issues. He might be well served to spend another half season riding buses.

    Comment by JWO — January 1, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

  43. Coco gives you better speed and defense, but you take the chance of only seeing him for about 50 games. Byrd doesn’t play a whole lot of games either, but still averages more.

    Comment by Cory — January 1, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  44. I agree; to the best of my knowledge, Harper has been playing mostly the corner OF positions, and only a little bit of CF … he suposedly has the legs, and a strong throwing arm, why NOT put him in CF?

    Comment by BAS — January 4, 2012 @ 11:59 am

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