Posts Tagged ‘Free Agents’

Nats Sign Towers

January 15, 2009

The Nats signed right-handed pitcher, Josh Towers, to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Towers is 31 years old with a seven year major league career between Baltimore and Toronto. He has an overall record of 45-55 with a career 4.96 ERA. However, he spent all of 2008 with Triple-A Colorado Springs in which he struggled with a 6-7 record and a 6.27 ERA in 31 games. Towers’ best year came in 2005 with Toronto in which he started 33 games with a record of 13-12 and a 3.71 ERA. He will have to perform very well to earn a spot in the Nationals’ rotation to make the opening day roster. High expectations for Towers don’t exist, which is why this has the potential to be a solid pick-up for the Nats.

Update: Swisher, Nady

January 13, 2009

The Nationals have expressed interest in acquiring Swisher and Nady from the Yankees, but that would mean they would have to give something up. So far the Nats haven’t released any information about who they would be willing to give up and its very possible that they aren’t willing to give up anybody at all. I wouldn’t mind the Nationals giving up a guy like Austin Kearns, but it isn’t likely that the Yankees would be interested in Kearns. Its more likely that they would be looking for top prospects, but it doesn’t really make sense for the Nationals to give up any of their prospects. The Nationals plan has been to revamp their minor leagues to develop their own talent and trading that talent away could hurt the future that the Nationals are building around.

That being said, I think that Adam Dunn might come back into the picture. Currently, he is asking for a 4 year/$56 million contract, which the Nationals have already said is too high. However, this asking price may come down based on several factors. Primarily, Dunn doesn’t have a very long list of suitors at this point. No front office has expressed a sense of urgency to acquire Dunn at his current price. Furthermore, teams like Atlanta and Washington have expressed that they are seeking to adjust their roster through trades rather than free agency. The fact that Washington has expressed interest in trading for Swisher and Nady hurts Dunn a lot. The Nationals made it no secret that Dunn would be their next target if Teixeira didn’t work out. However, the Nats were not going to be used by Boras to drive the price up of another one of his clients. Thus, talks involving Nady and Swisher take the team that has expressed the most interest in Dunn right out of the picture–at least, temporarily. Another factor that may drive the asking price for Dunn down is Pat Burrell recently signing a 2 year/$16 million contract. If any combinations of these factors results in Dunn’s asking price being reduced, then I would expect the Nationals to abandon trade talks for Swisher and Nady to go after the guy they originally wanted. That is why there is still a possibility of seeing Adam Dunn in a Nationals uniform in 2009.

Nats Aren’t Signing Free Agents

January 9, 2009

The free agent market is still pretty large with a lot of talent that hasn’t signed yet. However, the Nats are no longer seeking the services of Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson. In fact, sources have stated that the Nats are no longer looking to the free agent market for solutions. Dunn has been linked to the Dodgers and Hudson is believed to be talking with the Mets. Both guys are no longer in the Nationals price range. Furthermore, the Nats have stated that they aren’t willing to pay Derek Lowe $10-$15 million a season because he is 35. Any roster moves that the Nationals make at this point are likely to come through trades.

A lot of people are griping about the Nationals not being willing to spend big money on free agents. I’ve heard people say things like “I’m not going to pay big league ticket prices to go see Triple-A talent.” I can sympathize with this type of thinking to a certain extent. Yeah, I would’ve liked to see the Nats be able to get some of these guys, but AT THE RIGHT PRICE. Bowden has made it no secret what his plan has been. He said he was unwilling to spend big money on mediocre talent so that he could spend more resources on developing young talent. It might come as a surprise to some people, but Dunn, Hudson, and Lowe are not going to put the Nats on everybody’s radar as a pre-season play-off pick. Of course, all of these guys are capable of helping any team win and they will all do fine wherever they end up. Signing Teixeira wouldn’t have put the Nats in the play-off picture either, but Bowden was willing to offer him big bucks because he fit into their long-term plans.

I would still like to see the Nats try and find a first baseman who can stay healthy. A healthy Nick Johnson is a great player, but he doesn’t take care of his body and hasn’t been able to stay on the field. I think he’s probably lazy and doesn’t rehab his injuries seriously. He looks more like professional beer drinker than a professional athlete. The Nats could benefit a lot by putting more resources into their team doctors, trainers, and strength training to keep more guys on the field. They have plenty of young talent, but have suffered a lot from guys on the disabled list.

The Nats are not going to the World Series this year and probably not the next year either. But in a couple of years the Nats are going to be a play-off contending team. They have completely revamped their minor league system and will start to see it pay-off. They might not sit on top of the NL East over the course of the next two years, but they still have the potential to be a fun team to watch. A guy like Derek Lowe may guarantee a few more wins, but isn’t going to be a part of the Nats long-term. A few more wins would be nice, but only at the right price.

The Nats are a young team and most players still have their best years ahead of them, but here is what the Nats current players have done in their best years:

Josh Willingham (2006): .277, 26 HR
Wily Mo Pena (2004): .259, 26 HR
Elijah Dukes (2008): .264, 13 HR
Lastings Milledge (2008): .268, 14 HR
Austin Kearns (2005): .240, 18 HR

Ryan Zimmerman (2007): .266, 24 HR

Christian Guzman (2008): .316, 9 HR

Angel Hernandez (2008): .333, 0 HR (Out of 81 AB’s)

Nick Johnson (2006): .290, 23 HR

Ronny Belliard (2005): .284, 17 HR
Willie Harris (2008): .251, 13 HR

Jesus Flores (2008): .256, 8 HR
Will Nieves (2008): .268, 1 HR

Nationals Offseason: Are They Making The Right Moves?

January 7, 2009

The Rays proved that a team can go from last place to the World Series in one year with young talent. The Nats may be just a few pieces short of that type of turn-around.

The Nats failed to land Teixiera and they just recently lost out on Milton Bradley to the Cubs. Honestly, I’m not that disappointed that they didn’t acquire either of these players. I liked the fact that Bowden was willing to offer Teixeira a huge contract. I think it shows that the Nationals are serious about turning things around at the major league level. At the same time, its a much bigger risk for a team like the Nats to take on rather than the Yankees. Overall, I think Teixiera may have been a good get for the Nats, but without him they have more money to go after other needs. Missing out on Bradley’s services doesn’t upset me at all. I don’t think he’s what the Nats need right now. I’m glad they are going to stick with Milledge and Dukes competing for the centerfield job.

Currently, they have decided to target Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, and Randy Wolf. Dunn could replace an injury prone Nick Johnson at first base and be the major-impact left-handed hitter that the Nats are seeking. I’m a little tired of Bowden’s Reds coming over to the Nats and fizzling, but Dunn has stayed healthy and hits bombs. Hudson is an All-Star fielder that would be the Nats lead-off if they can sign him. Both Dunn and Hudson would make an immediate impact and could be in the long-term goals, as well.
Randy Wolf in 2008
I like the fact that they seem to be planning on using the Teixeira money on pitching. I have mixed feelings on Randy Wolf being the guy. On one hand, I see an average 12-12 pitcher with a 4.30 ERA, but on the other hand I see an experienced lefty with many intangibles that could help the young starters. He also finished the year very strong for the Astros. The Nats do a nice job not overpaying average players and I think Randy Wolf could end up being a steal.

If they end up getting these guys their line-up could look like this:

2B Hudson
SS Guzman
3B Zimmerman
1B Dunn
RF Dukes
CF Milledge
LF Willingham
C Flores

SP Lannan
SP Wolf
SP Olsen
SP Cabrera
SP Balester/Zimmermann/Hill/Martis

I wouldn’t mind if the Nats took a stab at getting Sheets, Garland, or even returning Perez. A team at the bottom can afford to take risks at the right price.