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June 24, 2013

11
A.M.

Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Total Responses: 23

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Thomas Boswell

Thomas Boswell

A Washington Post columnist since 1984, Thomas Boswell is known for the many books he has written on baseball, including "How Life Imitates the World Series" and "Why Time Begins on Opening Day."

About the topic

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins, the Capitals, the Nationals, the rest of D.C. sports and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats
Q.

Desmond

Do you think Davey will move him up in the line up?

A.
Thomas Boswell :

You need to bat Desmond in a spot where he can be aggressive, not worry about on-base percentage and do damage. No. 6 seems excellent for that. But there may be a day for him to hit 5th, maybe '15 after LaRoche's contract is up. He's still probably not as good an all-around middle-of-the-order hitter as Harper, Z'man, LaRoche. But Desmond does keep improving -- this year his defense is even better after the early errors. Now he's on an errorless streak. How many here would ever have predicted that? Shows how much hard workers can improve.

Right now, he's probably the model player on that team -- for two-way performance, fiery leadership on field and quiet clubhouse leadership, baseball smarts, durability, dealing with fans and media, a sense of appreciation of baseball. No wonder Tony LaRussa, long before Desmond had "broken out," called him his "favorite player." That doesn't take anything away from others like Ryan Zimmerman. But Desmond is the one player who doesn't quite get his due because, in part, he doesn't seek much attention for himself. 

– June 24, 2013 11:03 AM
Q.

Tim Duncan

Will Tim Duncan be the last NBA player in the Hall of Fame to have played four years of college basketball?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Great question. Chatters, any guesses on anyone who might follow Duncan in that distinction?

– June 24, 2013 11:03 AM
Q.

Booing

Boz - love your work, and thanks for having these chats. I was wondering about your feelings about booing hometown players. I was at Saturday's Nats game, and Haren got booed pretty heartily. I felt bad for him, and I really don't believe in booing hometown players unless they are dogging it. Trying hard and not succeeding is not, to me, a reason to boo. Sitting silently gets across the disappointment without the meanness of the boo. There is no indication that Haren is dogging it, and how does booing him help the situation at all? I know these guys are making a lot of money, so maybe booing is one of the things they have to endure, but I just don't like it. What do you think?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Haren's reputation as a teammate, competitor, class act and durable star during seven excellent years when he made three All-Star teams is unquestioned. So he is the perfect test case for "do you boo hometown players?" He has done everything -- including mechanical, workout and style-of-pitching tweaks -- that the Nats have suggested. He's at his wit's end.

But he really has been the worst pitcher in baseball this year. And Nats have lost his last eight starts. If he'd gone 4-4 in them -- which would have been the nearly universal assumption when the Nats got him, they'd be two games behind Atlanta and every Nats conversation would be different. Yeah, if, if, if...

If I were a fan, I'd probably have booed him on Saturday, but not loudly. Haren said he'd probably have booed himself.

BUT by and large, hometowns that boo their own players when they are merely slumping -- rather than being ranked No. 100 out of 100 starting pitchers -- are damaging their own team in most cases.

– June 24, 2013 11:03 AM
Q.

Nationals and Dan H

Uncle Tom, Thanks for your many years of sports columns! Like most Senators/Nationals fans I had high hopes that this would be the season where all of years of angst would come to an end. What do we need to do to turn this season around? Does Dan H need to go? Are we going to be looking for another power bat? Your thoughts please? Kathmandu based Nats Fan!
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Thanks. At least you didn't call me great-great-grandpa! As I wrote this morning, the Nats need a quality fifth starter -- the obviously available choices are Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco (both $10-11M players) or Scott Feldman. You have to dream up costly and somewhat exotic deals to imagine aces or near-aces like Yovani Gallardo, David Price or even Cliff Lee (still has more than $62M in guaranteed money on his deal) coming to DC. But there is NO REASON the Nats can't get one of these starters. They'll try other options first -- in part because the teams in position to trade want to use the leverage of the 7/31 deadline to get the best deal.

Also, Nats need a RHed power bat to help an OF than often seems to have injuries (Harper, Werth) or disappointments so far in '13 (Moore, Marrero) or needs punch against a LHed starter.

Yes, Michael Morse or a player in that mold.

BUT I think it's clear that the Morse for Ian Krol, A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen was a good one, maybe an exceptionally good one for the Nats. I'd do it again in a second. The Nats only had Morse for one year before he's a FA. Krol looks really special. A 22-year-old power lefty in the bullpen that you control for '13 and then six MORE years is a ton of value. Most assume that Cole, 21, will be in the Nats rotation someday. He's been dominating in recent starts at A+ and has topped at 98-99 mph. Treinen's doing OK at AA. But if you get 12-13-14 years of performance from Krol & Cole for one year of Morse, how big is that!? And, much as everybody likes the Beast, Morse already misses a lot of games -- about 20 already in Seattle. 

– June 24, 2013 11:03 AM
Q.

Ohlendorf

Will he get a spot start over Haren?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

I'd certainly go with Ohlendorf. Give him a couple of starts. BUT the Nats bullpen is finally fixed and Davey doesn't want to mess with it -- and Ohlendorf is a big piece of the reason why. You have a back end of Soriano, Clippard and Storen, who is pitching well again. You now have two lefties in Kroll and Abad. Has Abad moved up a level from previous years? He's 1-13 career in MLB, though with a ~4.25 ERA? He's certainly doing well now, except the two times Davey put him in spots where he could lose -- and he did both times -- the only two runs he's given up. With Ohlendorf as long man that allows Stammen to be used in almost any role from key middle-inning guy to long man. That's a VERY good bullpen with Mattheus (in a month) and Christian Garcia still presumably coming back. But Ohledorf is a key to the whole thing syncing together.

That's why I keep hearing Taylor Jordan's name. (At AA.) I've never seen him. Cards hit him hard in spring training.  He's 24 and a 9th-round draft pick. Sometimes there is a player having a perfect season in the minors (8-1, 0.95) and it seems like the skies have opened to give him one clean shot to jump up in the organization and show what he can do. If he grabs the chance and outperforms anything expected of him then great for the team and for him. If he doesn't, then in his fifth year in the minors and at an age when his arm should be fairly mature, he got his chance.

– June 24, 2013 11:14 AM
Q.

Ian Desmond

He's becoming my "love/hate" relationship on this team. His fielding is greatly improved and he keeps delivering power. But then he has days like yesterday when the game is on the line and he falls behind 0-2 and doesn't seem to adjust his swing and strikes out. Even now, he's hitting .280 but his OBP is .318! It's weird to say this about a guy who might make the All-Star team, but he's really an incomplete player and may never put it all together. What are your thoughts on him?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Desmond is a complete player and an All-Star.

Everybody strikes out in clutch spots. They play the guys on the other team, too. Desmond homered in three straight games last week, had a game-winning grand slam vs Phils and after he failed to drive in The Onion from second with the score 7-6 in the 8th, he was just beside himself as he walked away from plate. Didn't slam bat, but looked like he wanted to hit himself in the head with it. You can't want a guy to grind more than he does. But with the power -- which is his special gift as a hitter -- comes a hard swing, strikeouts and some first-pitch outs when he gets a first-pitch fastball strike. That's him.

I didn't mean to make this Ian Desmond Day. But that's okay. The last two years combined he's hitting .288/.329/.504 --.832 OPS. Cal Ripken hit .276/.340/.447 --.788 CAREER. Even in his whole career, Desmond is .272 and .747 OPS.

In the minors, Desmond was an error machine with a .936 fielding percentage in 630 games at short. It is almost impossible to find a guy with those minor-league error totals who ever becomes a .970-.975 fielder in MLB. (For reference Ripken was .979 career at SS). I was right in line to cite all this AGAINST him ever becoming a dependable, rather than just a spectacular-play shortstop. I was completely wrong.

This is Desmond's progress in his full seasons as Nats SS: .947 (34 errors), .966, .970 and now .977 with seven errors in almost half a season.

Nats fans, and local media (yeah, like me) should appreciate what we get to watch in Desmond. Hope he doesn't get jinxed by praise because he is going to get plenty of it after his last year-and-a-half performance.

 

– June 24, 2013 11:26 AM
Q.

Section 316

Tom, When can I expect the DFA for Haren? Thanks, Ross Ohlendorf
A.
Thomas Boswell :

It's easy for fans/media to treat players like raw meat. The "he's bum, throw him outta here" school. I try not to be guilty of it, but it's an occupational hazard and I'd hate to see a career list of my sins. Any fan who knew Haren would be rooting for him to get his career back on track, with the Nats or somewhere.

It would be insane to give up on him. Why? Because it's rare to find a 100-win pitcher with a healthy arm who doesn't find a way to recreate himself and have a second and often third act to his career. Chien-Ming Wang, 33, is doing it right now and helping the Jays on their 11-game winning streak. He's added a splitter to his sinker (now 90-92 mph) and slider. In nine starts at AAA he had a 2.33 ERA and in three starts with the Jays it's 2.18 including a very strong 6.1-IP win over the (mighty) Orioles on Saturday. He looks very solid. If Wang, who practically had to have his shoulder reattached to his body, is on the verge of a comeback, nobody's going to tell me that Haren might not have 2-3-4 more 10-to-13 win seasons in him for somebody. Maybe not. But definitely "maybe." He's just a total mess right now.

However, there's nothing much wrong with his arm. He's averaging 89.3 mph on his fastball. That's the same as 4/5th of the Braves staff! Minor 89.9, Tim Hudson 89.6, Chris Medlen 89.4 and Paul Maholm 86.9. Bunch of precise mush-ballers! You just have to have the right complimentary pitches and excellent command.

It's Haren's command that's been awful -- leaving many pitches in the heart of the plate, not just the oners that end as gopher balls, and having his arm slot drop down (Davey says) making his cutter flat and fat.

Just wanted to say that the much-maligned Espinosa is in this category, too. Not as charming and articulate as Haren, buit as tough play-hurt as they come. 

In his last 14 games with Nats and now in AAA, Espinosa has just gone down a black career hole -- 4 for 51 w 22 K's w Nats and now 5-for-40 with 24 Ks in AAA. That's just a player in a profound career depression who's lost. He deserves support and encouragement. Until the 4-for-51, which was partly the pressure of knowing Rendon would probably be back up to claim his job, Espinosa's year was primarily defined by his incredible bad luck on balls hit in play (.202 average vs his career level of .306, which is normal.) If he'd had normal luck, he'd have had 13 more hits, probably four of them doubles and his average w2ould have been .234 vs his '10-through-'12 average of .239.

He had an awful year. But he also had terrible luck. The general twitter/comment/booing response -- jump up and down on him. That's normal. It's part of the job. But there are people under all those numbers and they hurt a lot when they fail.

Unless this breaks his spirit, and I don't think it will, Espinosa will eventually be some team's very good defense shortstop, his natural position, and a .235 hitter with 55 extra-base hits a year and a .725 OPS. IOW, a real nice MLB middle infielder. It probably won't be with Nats. But he'll have a second, and maybe a third act, too.

Even I have to shake my head when I give an answer that long to a 12-word question. Sorry.   

– June 24, 2013 11:42 AM
Q.

Werth's injury

So, is this another case of somebody trying to be a "gamer" and come back too quickly, get hurt and turn a 2-3 day injury into a stint on the DL? They still haven't learned anything?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Werth keeps playing when he's sick. You'd be surprised how many germs congregate in MLB (all pro) clubhouses and constant plane flights. I saw a stat (!) once on the percentage of people who get sick if one person on their plane is sick -- something like 40 percent, though I find that impossible to believe. More guys get run down and play sick than you'd think.

OTOH, Werth keeps saying he gets these pulls from playing "dehydrated." After the game, we were taking turns in the press box thinking of how to help. Me: Just put a PAIL of water in RF, like you'd leave a salt-lick or water for a cow on a hot day. Others: Hang an IV on the RF fence. Or, a popular choice, a saddlebag. Here's a link if Jayson thinks it'd work: http://www.saddlebackleather.com/Waterbag

– June 24, 2013 11:49 AM
Q.

Wiz Pick at No. 3

I have a fear that the Wiz will do "higher ceiling" pick and go with Bennett. I'm a huge Porter fan and think he will have a very solid 10-12 year career at SF for the Wiz or some other lucky team. He seems the perfect fit for Wall and Beal. What do you see the Wiz doing if those two players are on the board when the Wiz pick?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

If Porter is there and they don't take him, I think it's a big mistake. But (amazing) I've been wrong before.

Top Hoya players have a very strong record of NOT flopping in the NBA. In recent years it's not just Roy Hibbert but Greg Monroe (16 ppg the last two years) and Jeff Green (three fine years in OKC and two useful ones with Celts).

Don't out-think yourself, especially when it's a high-character local player from a NBA-prep program who fits your needs. Jeez, is this really hard?

– June 24, 2013 11:55 AM
Q.

Tim Duncan

I think the only way another player will stay four years is if (pick one): his family is very, very rich and he loves college life; he starts college at an extremely young age; or if between his junior and senior years his game skyrockets from mediocre to early first round.

A.
Thomas Boswell :

Yes, a lot of thing have to go right.

You'd be amazed how FEW MLB players have completed their college degrees even though about 1/3 of all of them GO to college. That's why it's impressive when a Mussina garduates in 3 1/2 years or Ohlendorf has a Princeton degree in something like (from fading memory) Management Systems and Financial Engineering.

– June 24, 2013 11:57 AM
Q.

Haren/Espi

Funniest thing I saw in a Comment to the WaPo: Haren should pitch BP to Espi to build his confidence at the plate! HA! Maybe that would work. But seriously, I really can't see either one of them starting another game this year...
A.
Thomas Boswell :

OK, funny.

Espi career is far from over. Haren, don't know. But I bet he adds a pitch, changes arm angle, stops pitching so much in the top half of the zone (which helps him expand the plate for his inexplicably high strikeout rate) or some other "fix" and has a couple of years of future value to somebody. 

– June 24, 2013 11:59 AM
Q.

Hometown Booing

I agree completely with your earlier chatter, I just don't boo my own players when they get bad results but are giving full effort. I believe the only hometown player I have ever booed, and will continue to boo until he finally retires for good, was Jaromir Jagr who pouted after he got here and put out what looked like 50 percent effort much of the time. He quit on his team and got himself traded, which was what he wanted. That is boo-worthy, not someone like Haren who just may have hit the end of his very good career.

A.
Thomas Boswell :

Well said.

– June 24, 2013 11:59 AM
Q.

Davey/Harper Riff

Is there a riff on the rehab?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

No. But I think Harper is having a workout today with coaches and Rizzo while Davey takes a day off. Ha.

Davey is compulsively honest and while he knows almost everything about baseball he sometimes forgets that he is not really Dr. Johnson. Every time he opens his mouth on a medical subject, somebody somewhere screams -- often Rizzo. That's Davey. And that's the one part of him that the Nats will NOT miss. He's going to let the cat out of the bag periodically and the other manager will know who is NOT available to pinch-hit. Or he will say that so-and-so will probably be back in two days or a week or a month when current "protocors" might, instead, say a week or two weeks or six weeks. It's Tough Guy clubhouse with Werth, Harper, Davey, etc., setting the one. It's not working out too well this year. It's not extreme, but it's in the air, imo. Some are such gifted athletes or so tough that they can play (well) with pain. Other don't.

Davey is very "optimistic" about recoveries from injury. His timetables are honest -- in the sense that his timetables worked for Frank Robinson, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken (oh, yeah, he never had an injury timetable) and Davey himself. Every time you hear Davey say he is giving somebody an "extra day," just chuckle -- or growl -- because it is often in the context of Davey thinking that it's still '68, '78, '88 or '98 when it comes to How Fast They Return.

– June 24, 2013 12:07 PM
Q.

AT&T National

Boz - I'm planning to head out to Congressional this weekend for the first time. Looking forward to the experience. Sure, everyone's disappointed Tiger won't be competing, but what's your impression of the strength of the field overall this year compared to recent years?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

With Tiger it would have been a remarkable field for a Washington tour stop. Even without him I'm impressed. These are the world rankings of some players in the field: Justin Rose, US Open winner (3), Adam Scott, Masters winner (4), Brandt Snedecker (8), Jason Day (18), Hunter Mayhan (22), Furyk (28), Haas (29), Fowler (30), Billy Horschel, hot at the Open (35), titanically long Nicolas Colsaerts (41). That's a lot of Top 40.  (Okay, 41).

Also Angel Cabrera, No. 32 on PGA Tour money list and multi-majopr winner. Others of interest, including past major winners or Oldies But Goodies: Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, last week's first-time Tour winner at age 44 Ken Duke, Lucas Glover, Robert Garrigus, Trevor Immelman, past winner at Congressional and local favorite KJ Choi and at least six others that'd enjoy following.

There are Tiger Fans and there are Golf Fans. The golf fans will be satisfied and Congressional is always a summer pleasure. It's too bad Tiger is hurt, but as I wrote from the Open, he really needs to take care of himself with all the injuries he's had. Every major is precious to him now and when he winces about 10 days in four days, then his elbow is really bothering him. He barely winced that often when he won the Open five years ago on a broken leg.

– June 24, 2013 12:19 PM
Q.

Davey

What was your take on Davey's response to not pinch-hitting LaRoche? It basically sounded like he thought LaRoche would be the better choice, but wanted to see what the young guys could do. It sounds like he's almost playing for the future as opposed for this season. What do you think?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Davey likes to give 'em all a chance is the decision isn't absolutely clear cut.

I thought, and think it was a mistake. LaRoche has to get an at bat in that game. The cheap second guess is to hit him for Marrero who popped up the first pitch with the bases loaded. (But Solano also swung at a 1st pitch and had a two-run double.) The Rox would have brought in a tough LHer to face LaRoche. But his whole career, though not as much this year, he's hit LHers.

I just think he HAS to get up in a one-run game, even if he hits for Lombardozzi with two outs and nobody on base in the ninth. But it's a good Subject For Debate.

– June 24, 2013 12:22 PM
Q.

Espinosa

You gave a lengthy answer about his hard times, but never mentioned the fact that he has an injured shoulder. Isn't that a big contributing factor to his failure to hit, and why hasn't he gotten surgery instead of continuing to play with a torn rotator cuff? Is it his choice, the team's choice, both?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

The Nats medical opinion is that both Espinosa's injuries where 1) definitely injuries but 2) injuries that are always viewed as "playable" at the MLB level. And by playable they mean an injury that also doesn't usually prevent a player from performing at or near his usual level.

This is one of those times when I give you THEIR internal view. MY view is that I'm not Dr. Boswell.  

– June 24, 2013 12:25 PM
Q.

Why support Espinosa when he was just looking out for himself?

It drives me nuts when I hear (or read) stuff like (about Espinosa), "He deserves support and encouragement." This is a guy who acted like he was entitled to the second-base job. He was hurting the team, but that didn't matter to him; all that mattered to him was that he hang onto that job. Then, when they DLd him and told him he'd have to go back to AAA, he pouted! What in the world is there to like, admire, or support about that? To me, that's a perfect picture of a selfish player, not a team player.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Would you have given up YOUR position? Especially if you were not in serious pain and the medical staff told you that you had a "playable" injury that wasn't going to get worse and wouldn't alter your career? 

Almost all hitters are streaky and they know from experience that they are often just one day, or one at bat, from "finding it" and tearing up the league for a month or two. You cling to that and, probably, convince yourself it's also best for the team because you feel so "close." Little bit of playa hata in the house?

 

– June 24, 2013 12:29 PM
Q.

Re: NBA Hoyas

Roy Green? You mean Jeff Green, no? Oh, and how 'bout them O's hon? Despite running into the buzz saw that's the Jays, they're still in the thick of it and when they trade for a starter it'll put them over the top.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Sorry, Jeff, of course.

I'm a little worried about the O's. Garcia's expiration datye has arrived. Just as the Nats can't possibly continue to hit as badly as they have, it's almost as unlikely that the O's continue to hit as well. And that's they have.

Fans get amnesia easily. The O's were 14th in runs-per-game last year, four spots BELOW the Nats even though the Nats didn't have a DH. And now the O's are No. 3 in MLB while the Nats are 29th? And that is LOGICAL? It's not. Nats will move up quite a few spots and O's will probably fall several. Is Chris Davis going to keep up his pace for 58 homers and 151 RBI. Will Machado have 72 doubles? Will David, Hardy and Jones combine for 122 homers and 362 RBI? That's their pace. Will nobody in the lineup have a bad year?

But I ALSO do not think that the O's have the second WORST pitching-and-defense in baseball. Nowhere close to that bad. Yet they are 29th in runs allowed per game. So maybe the two even out and they stay in contention that way.

– June 24, 2013 12:40 PM
Q.

Bobble Bungled

So we to to game arrive at 12:20, no more Bryce bobbleheads. Such is life. Then we go to team store and the same bobbleheads are for sale so long as you also buy a Bryce shirt. I'm thinking the Nats deserve bad press for this. You?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

I'm usually tough on the Nats "fan relations." But this time I think they gave away 15,000 of 'em and there was enough demand that there was a line at 10:45.

Also, I suspect that a Bryce Harper shirt has uses -- maybe an Xmas gift -- or just has value in itself. Doesn't hit me on first reading as a problem.

– June 24, 2013 12:42 PM
Q.

NBA Finals Games 6 and 7

Bos, thanks a million for these chats. You are the best sportswriter ever (OK, I only go back 60 years, 30 in DC--never regularly read Red Smith Shirley P, etc.). With the Wiz being where they are, we only rarely get to hear your basketball thoughts, which is a shame. So let's hear your thoughts on NBA finals, especially games 6-7. One of great finals ever? Different result if Parker's hamstring not hurt? Was Game 6 the closest a team ever came to title without winning ( Detroit in Game 6 1988 may have been closer)? ******And what about absence of two foul calls at end of OT Game 6 ---Allen grabbing Ginobili's arm with 5 seconds left, Spurs down only 1, then Bosh's block/tackle of Green at buzzer? Van Gundy said they were both fouls, but not in the final five seconds of the game----does that make any sense to you, isn't a foul a foul at any time? There was also the view that if Bosh blocked the shot cleanly without hitting Green's ARM, then the body contact should not be called---but isn't it much easier to block a shot up high when you are allowed to simultaneously crash into the shooter's body? Lastly, while the foul by Allen was in the middle of traffic, hard to see, there was a ref on the sideline perfectly positioned to see the Bosch/Green play---did that ref choke, as players often do? Thanks much for any thoughts on the game/series.

A.
Thomas Boswell :

I saved this one until late because you were too nice at the beginning. But it's the only long, really good question on the NBA Finals which I was really into, especially Games 6 and 7.

I think Ray Allen's trey to save the Heat and James legacy in the last seconds of Game 6 is one of THE most memorable moments, clutch shots, of my lifetime. I've really liked him since "He Got Game." It was just such Best Of Ball -- instant reflex reaction to events, step backs inches behind the line, let fly, splash.

Everybody likes Pop, but I thought -- at the time -- that it was an awful mistake not to have Tim Duncan on the floor in the last seconds for exactly what happened -- get the damn defensive  rebound if they miss their three pointer. The Pacers gave the Heat Game 1 of their series by taking Hibbert out for the final seconds and James scores down the lane. What's the deal? Think long, think wrong?

I understand that the Spurs had to defend the three-point line in that spot -- but that doesn't mean all five players have to defend it. And who says a 7-footer like Duncan can't jump out and alter a three-point attempt? Just a huge "where is he?" moment.

Almost all NBA refs have "eaten the whistle" at the end HUGE playoff games. That's the tradition. Both teams know it. You play to the code of your sport.

To me, the main reason the Spurs didn't win is because, except for one really clutch performance in Game 5, Ginobili was not only terrible but he kept staying at the center of things instead of letting the game come to what's-left-of-him. Too bad Neal and Green couldn't stay semi-hot from deep in 6-7 combined. But that's why you play for home advanatge -- because good but not-great players seldom beat you on the road with A title at stake

Give Shane Battier credit for those threes, especially early in Game Seven. Role players, like Battier, DO tend to come through at HOME in Game 7s.

– June 24, 2013 12:52 PM
Q.

Trades

Hi Tom, IYO who would the Nats have to give up to get a Cliff Lee or Gallardo? Who would be an untouchable? Certainly Rendon right?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

At this point, it would just be sportswriter rumor mongering. Which doesn't mean it would be fun.

Getting Price, if he looks physically A-OK, would give the Nats a rotation of Strasburg, Z'mann, Gio and Price for '13-'14-and-'15. !!! What WOULDN'T you give up for that? You can always get a FA 5th starter before '14. So that puts Detwiler in the picture along with Rendon. Yes, you don't get a Price without paying a BIG price. That's why it's risky. And it would take more than that. I won't put a whole trade together b ecause I have no idea, at this point, if either team has even thought about it.

Lee, if the Phils were sellers, is owed more than $62M and is old. So that's risky. But it also lowers the price some because it clears so much salary for the Phils to rebuild. And it's clear that they need to restock.

It's the Garza, Nolasco, Feldman trio that's a natural fit. Both Garza (whom the Nats have tried to get before and is only 29) and Nolasco make $10-$11M. But Nats can afford it, as I wrote, and also go after vet RH bat. Maybe we'll get THAT list together next week.

Baseball, and fandom, is supposed to be fun. And, at 37-38, part of the enjoyment is realizing that the local team has options and ways to -- maybe -- change trajectory. That's never been the case before for DC baseball. Not go nuts like Yanks/Dodgers, but make sane aggressive moves that prosperous popular teams can make -- so that they remain prosperous and popular.

See you all next week. Thanks for the excellent questions. 

– June 24, 2013 12:59 PM
Q.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates

Are the Pirates this year's Nats of 2012? Young team with some veterans finally making a breakthrough. (Though it looks like the injury bug has hit the Buccos starting rotation.)
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Yes, the  Bucs have a very Piratical Attitude. FWIW, Justin Wilson is their hard-throwing lefty like Krol.

Just because I found it interresting, it appears that the fastballs of lefthanded pitchers "play" about 2-to-2.5 mph faster than righthanders. The response I get from ex-players is just, "Yeah, well, it's always been true." But no explanations. But it explains why the fastest, and most effective hard-throwing southpaws do not throw nearly as fast as the hardest-throwing RHers.

Here are the current fastest LH SPers.

Derek Holland 93.6, Chris Sale 92.6, Kershaw 92.5, Gio Gonzalez 92.5 (tie), Matt Moore, 92.4, John Lester 92.4, Detwiler 92.1 (7th), Hamels 91.9, then Patrick Corbin, CJ Wilson, Kuroda, Lee, de la Rosa, Bumgarner and CC Sabathia. That is ALL the lefties over 90.0!

Shows you why Krol 93.9 and Abad 92.7 can be overpowering at time while RHer who throw 93-93-04-05 have to depend more on secondary pitches. Krol, an ex-starter, was using four pitches yesterday because he was a less pressured situation. Good change. 2-0-0-0-0-4 and some very ugly swings from some very good hitters.

– June 24, 2013 1:09 PM
Q.

Playa Hata?

Man, I would not have pegged that as a phrase you'd break out in a chat. So where do you stand on the ethics of hatin' the playa vs. hatin' the game?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

That stuff has been around for many decades now. I'm still listening to Chuck Brown's "Fiesta" in the car with the volume up and the windows down and he was born in '36. Cheers.

– June 24, 2013 1:14 PM
Q.

 

A.
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