Beltway Baseball: Mark and Amanda on how the Nats look up close
Tue, 13 Mar 2012|
CSN Washington dot com. And that's fans welcome to CSN Washington dot com another episode of beltway baseball -- presented by The Washington Times. I'm Casey's -- host with mark Zuckerman. The net's insider we'll have a man to come back from The Washington Times on the phone and just about ten minutes. Big show a lot of stuff to catch up on here we have an an an episode a little while so while we jump right in. Mark first of all what are your overall impressions of camp so far this is Davey Johnson's first camp as manager of the nationals. How do you think he's been handling things and how to think players have responded to how -- think it's definitely different tone than we've seen in the past. Davey is the kind of manager who. I want to say he's loose and carefree because he's not he cares about this stuff. But he doesn't put a lot of emphasis on long workouts really detailed work -- and those kind of things on the past. Before these games started they were going ninety minutes to hours tops. Get the work and get it done and get out of there -- he likes to do that he's also really hands on with a lot of guys he's done a lot of first and instruction. With especially infielders Espinosa Desmond -- don't that was a big thing for him and his line. The players and -- but he responding to well they like and he is a player's manager he's always had that reputation. He's also speaking pretty boldly and that team in comparisons of the Mets in the eighties and how this rotation is better than it did take this rotation over the Phillies at the moment. You know whether you believe it or not the player inside that clubhouse really responded that kind of thing they know the commanders got their back and has confidence and I think it makes a difference. We'll speak on the rotation he has a reason have confidence in the guys than it has star power there's depth we knew it was going to be a strength. Coming in but so far during spring training this rotation is absolutely dominant and it starts with Strasburg and -- both looking -- Yet that's the key is that they're both healthy and throwing bull well I know stats. In yet to be careful not to read too much in the spring training stats because the work on certain things -- couple lineups in the facing you know they're only going couple 34 innings tops at this point. So it's more important how are they throwing how they feel. And both guys can use the thrown ball very well and they're feeling great especially Strasburg is after his first start he came out with two outs in the third inning. Forty something pitches he said I felt good and on another two innings that point and that's really encouraging sign for I come back from the injury obviously. In the case of -- arm and he's all the way back now there's no more question. I don't think about this guy at all. Have a little bit of a Rocky start again if you look at the stats. From yesterday. But the reports and he threw the ball really well usually have to with it he's working on some new pitches including changeup. -- benefit he gets that thing down act has been devastating Arsenal that he would now have and so to have these two guys. Whether at the very top irritation or somewhere near the top of it having him healthy. And feeling good. One of the most important things to happen here early in spring now on the two main additions this season GO Gonzales and when Jackson both guys pitching well. Also. Edwin Jackson we now understand has changed. Some mechanics in his pitching I was he looked and how is GO. Atlanta and it's instinct as they start camp -- talking about these mechanical changes they wanna make sure he wasn't showing the ball when he pulled out a bit out of it tipping off. Annual -- that first start and had some trouble especially pitching out of the lineup which is where this issue is from the statement caddie kind of said you know what. Forget all this brought their case to go pitch the way you know how to do. And it was much better the next time out so he's gonna go tonight -- should see. How he looks like games on TV. -- Gonzales. As they've been the biggest revelation camp so far not that they didn't. Are you know that they that this guy was pretty good but he has been fantastic in his two starts. The one against the Braves the radar gun made and little off of Reading 9495. And not quite sure he gets that. But he did average overnight two miles an hour with his fastball last year and how many lefties as his team had to do that. Combined with his curve balls as best pitch. Overall I and that has looked really sharp so. Here's a guy who you know if you could say it was an unknown just coming from in the league and all that. That that maybe there's little question mark he has answered all those right off the bat made an appointment -- later that they made -- considered for opening day. Okay well. The fifth spot in the rotation is really the biggest question no one through four and that seems to be a two man race right now between -- and long and John Lannan. Who has a Bruins its long you know I wouldn't call it human race and officially is in case something happens but. Because the contract situation because of that -- limitations as far as coming back from his own injury. And not really being. A candidate for the bullpen not having a minor league option. Unless something bad happened with him he's going to be that guy and so far all things have been good. I'm early in camp that you kind of slower than everyone else will slower pace and you start wonder who is everything all right. They knew all along we -- pace ourselves with him. He has looked much better since. He's finally -- big league game the other day. The biggest difference with him is that right off the bat in the first inning second inning he's throwing good velocity over ninety miles an hour. Last year when he came back up it took a couple innings to build that back up again so the fact that he's doing that early in games I think is a really good sign. That the arm is all the way back in the stadium -- -- much -- an issue now assuming long secures the spots and there's a rumor out there in the John Lannan might be on the trading block the Mike Rizzo might be trying to trade him before opening day. Do you think there's any truth to that. Well I think it's a possibility certainly said all -- something is gonna have to give at some point here and the issues you don't wanna make this move before you have to because what if -- shoulder. Comes up -- what if something happens when the other guys you don't wanna give a guy away when it turns out you're gonna need him come opening day. So there's that and there's always still the ability to send him down I know what's. Kind of unusual to send a guy making five million dollars AAA but they have that that option if they need him. So I think the way to look at this is if somebody makes Mike Rizzo a good trade off reform he'll move. But if there isn't one that he seems worthy he's not gonna do it and I don't think he's gonna feel pressure like he have to do it. I think also waiting to late in camp. Makes a difference because teams start to get desperate need somebody else has an injury. If -- pitching while interest out him -- more suited them so I really think. One way or the other at the result but I don't think it's gonna happen until we get really into the final week ten -- -- Now while we're on the subject while we skip ahead one of the reader questions about -- -- -- I might as well bring it up fair. Said what would this is from Steve. Says what would constitute fair value in the event John -- and history but see that's the question now you're not just gonna trade him for just forensic training doing something in return. And a lot of people out there thinking hey here's a chance to get that center fielder that they really need it. I'm just not sure John Lannan gets it. He is what he has it solid. Back of the rotation left hand starter is gonna give you 200 innings and giving area for that's good stuff but there's a lot of guys like that out there. And especially his salary I'm not sure unless the nets took on a lot of that in return if they pick up some of that salary maybe they can get starting player in return. I really think it's more likely be minor leaguers. Not necessarily a front line prospect but somebody maybe it hi A or double A player that could help you out a couple years but I don't think. You're gonna address an immediate need with the -- trade which is one reason why maybe Rizzo doesn't. Make them move because of its not helping the team now land might help the more before the -- season. If a guy like -- is traded or if he trades a major leaguer for prospects do you think the the goal is to maybe replenish the pitching depth in the farm systems and that's going to be a big goal as well is something they have to care about because obviously they traded Brad peacock of Tom Malone to their top you know higher end. Starting pitchers and guys who may need. You know they have depth obviously but they've only go about seven maybe eight -- at this point. Think that next wave of guys feel a little ways off so maybe a guy like Matt perk. -- talk about here in a minute who looked really good in his first camp. Is gonna start the season at Potomac and could be on a fast track maybe a year from now that's the guy that looking -- certainly. One issue they may have is trying to develop more of a -- pitching staff. To have those options that you may need -- some point somebody goes down. Okay I think we're ready to bring in a man Nicole Mac. From The Washington Times Amanda. No not yet not yet okay we'll come back there. Okay well well speaking my younger Ozzie you know where you fly here. The trying to trying to on the new thing here except speaking the prospects the young guys all eyes are on Bryce Harper -- on Bryce Harper -- Bryce Harper always going to be on Bryce Harper. How how did he look down there and did he help his chances I'll tell you what I saw. Was a guy who looks like he belongs now I'm not saying that he's ready to be in the big leagues on opening day but physically emotionally mentally. Everything about him he just looked like he fit in a lot more this year last year it was an eighteen year old kind of stood out like a sore -- Among everyone else in the clubhouse. This year guys know him he's comfortable around them their couple around him and he's really gone out of his way. To -- behave you know but but to understand the people are really watching closely how he acts. And to say the right things to do the right things on the right attitude. I don't think they can ask for much more from the spring now I still don't know if that's enough to put on the opening day roster we talked about all the reasons why. It probably makes sense to delay that just for at least three weeks of not little longer than that and but what they've seen so far. I think. They have to be completely pleased with that and believe that whether it's opening day were slightly after that that this kid is going to be ready. Emotionally and mentally everything else that you mentioned a few weeks is that what what we should look at as a timeline for this tryout -- so we see him in spring training for another two or three weeks well. You know that's another great question is when they gonna make that decision I think it probably goes down to the wire you know Davies give him a lot of playing time nice had this calf injury. And has missed the last 45 days so that's one. One thing that's maybe delayed this and maybe who prevented him a little bit for -- in the state his -- but before that he's playing really well. Wasn't hitting for power yet but again this spring training you don't wanna read too much into it I'm really impressing guys with his hustle he had this. Basically routine ground ball to third base against the Mets a week ago you kind of did the nature of being running out of the batter's box -- slap in the third base. Raced down the first baseline and beat it out yeah and everybody including the Mets people were totally impressed with this. He plays thinking really hard and that goes a long way. You know he -- also played I think it was like the first five games in the spring I asked Davey. Johnson you can do they offered some points like. It's nineteen c'mon now -- he should have all kinds energy and what if and when he does come up that's -- the big part of his game it's not just. The physical tools. The power of the arm and all that -- the energy he plays with -- hustles that plays well we're gonna get more in this some injuries around the team and second do you think this. This hamstring calf strain and is learning and think the concern I don't think in this and and remember everything in spring training they always -- extra cautious especially early in camp because you don't want to rush you got back now have become an issue going an opening day. And actually remember Ryan Zimmerman last year had a little bit the groin issue. Came back and it turned out it was connected that'll abdominal issue that sidelined him for several months so I think in all these cases they're gonna be really cautious with soft with the -- With the -- with Morse. I think we're seeing it with harper now. As long as there's enough time left to get -- at -- to get him ready for opening day I think there is gonna -- slow and cautious here again I think it's time to bring in Amanda. So if it works that's happened Amanda -- They carry -- the -- down there. B well they -- in the sun you know Torre or. No -- is pretty warm yeah what's -- yeah. Yeah I've heard every candidate got married and I thought we missed out. Now not on the weather of what we're on the subject of injuries right now and figured it's a good time to ask you some questions. This lat injury with Michael Morse is this a concern because we know this this type injury can be -- very serious or can be -- and so. Think that they reached -- where it's really is -- -- forced EH yesterday each. He looked critically buying -- got -- Obama double. To the -- a lot of field. It just throwing it that issue and we had a cortisone shot. On Saturday though they're they're waiting for that -- -- expected he did say yesterday that he was really feeling a lot better a lot closer. -- try to loosen up that not that he. The only spot so I don't think you get to the point where I can start yet. But they do need to get it out out diligently check to get. We forget that -- -- experience in left field last Eaton we're pretty minimal because double -- or -- LaRoche. So I think that -- really like to get him out there what Bob Porter I am working on things in the outfield so. Maltby I think gonna get a couple of days and then -- northstar are throwing program. Yeah I was gonna ask you that is how far away is he from actually playing in the -- again because that is you know an -- only played one game before. The injury this spring I think it was in DH that time also so. At some point here he's got to get those reps in right. Yet we we haven't -- yet today and yesterday you know I'm more that they can't find out that the shot it. I'm you know we're gonna outfield optimal. Thing that you know the -- -- your heart that there's no rush why rational or irrational I rushed to get I don't. -- -- -- -- So I -- that if he doesn't get started on a throwing program but can it -- that it is a concern or should should write a little bit. Let's let's move on to the rookies you've gotten a pretty good glimpse of both. Matt -- and Anthony rained down. How how they look down there I understand they were cut yesterday did did they help their case at all. You are -- that indicate that -- can beat her either that they needed to get ready people here to get a little taste of what things like a big league camp but it's. Angelic they can do it and to that and I'm thankful that really impressed 80 red dawn if you ask any -- -- or even other players you know what he cigarette on playing it's like you can't you can't find enough positive words. I'm there really impressed with hands and -- and his you know aptitude in the field -- To move over to shortstop take take some some ground ball to second base to work but work there. Don't -- I don't play third base mostly this this Eden but. That Julian name me captain which can obviously with -- there are mad at third base for the long term so I'm but you know I think he really peak he'd really get everything that they were hoping for a break in the thing not for not our -- Who looked really good to -- early years I don't -- about Matt Holliday yesterday it. Thought it would interstates. You know you -- -- -- -- -- -- who has -- -- had a goal to -- this week and it's just -- kind of they kick off the things on their list to get them to that ball and we asked them you know -- -- the -- reacts. How holiday yesterday. Yeah it like just another hitters you start thinking about Patrick who got back past you know that that just thinking here a lot from a young kid who -- yeah. Was really just to get college kids recently. I and it seems like both these guys and talking and on this spring they felt like they deserve to be in big league camp -- that you know they knew they were gonna make the team. But they didn't think they're that far off they didn't seem fazed at all by the situation. I'm curious both of them they're sending the Potomac high A to start out. That seems to me like we're talking -- pretty fast track in both cases where. They perform well in the first half this is in the Potomac now you're Harrisburg around the all star break. Is that the sense that you get that the both these guys on a fairly fast timeline. Yeah I think I do I mean I think you know as you know mark they -- put on our forty man stay palate dictate -- wasting your spot. You're down that road but I didn't think. I do you think that starting at Potomac is it the grandstand and made it that way that. I think example look at -- -- will usually accuracy and stared at that had sold just by the competition at the topic I don't eat what they -- to last. Not gonna move to double -- I think it's important to. To note he's probably the best prospect that Argentina on time. 02 and I know that they. Anyway underwent a complete renovation of their last year proposition they had. But but yeah -- that's definitely the -- out of it. As far as you know -- prospects -- that is. You know allowed to go to the telmex -- I think that that's going to be interesting especially for the fans are so close to DC because people. Now based on you guys both seeing them in person like testing as a prediction -- first. When do you think -- Donald make it to the bigs when you think perk will make it. Out man it's so hard I mean there's so much capital swinging neither is guys that have played a single. Real actual professional game army -- played in the final week. Not spring treating it like that but. It I don't mean I don't know -- it -- here and get out of certainty. I think next albeit at the air for a herbal. But I think there probably two years opt out. That's my prediction. Yeah I'm think in May be rookies is like since September call ups next year might be a possibility but you know I think a lot has also been depend on. What is the status of other positions on the field you know is they're gonna be a position for -- don't. You know and and do they have to get him you know playing considerably whether it's -- shortstop second base. Or whether they've made the decision by the in the next year that Zimmerman might move over so that's a question and I'm -- case. Actually I think -- may have a better chance. A little sooner only because the back of the nationals rotation. Edwin Jackson's on one year deal -- and -- on one year deal we don't know what lands future is they're gonna need another starter from somewhere. By next year I'm not saying Perkins that the guy on opening day but if he pitches well he certainly could put himself in that mixed at some point. Well early but plenty get them to double -- here -- -- and you don't get a lot of experience this here I think that Scott. I think that he could definitely next spring could be a big spring for Emmitt it's like mark but you know that are made by the ticket count on them. Okay Amanda there's still some positions that need to be resolved some position battles down there that you I'm sure been keeping an -- Specifically what the bench spots while we start with the infield that seems to be a battle between Stephen -- or nosy and -- Blanca. I actually. But this morning because I think it's an area that there's you know a they're so you areas that that had any ambiguity but I think that that actually were starting to me I'd take staple at the beginning of the spring I felt that I you know on Bronco the needle inside out -- and -- for money. It really seemed like that they are. Planning or does he do differently is that not getting. My act up but I didn't didn't work tireless here at the -- is. The last night we were sitting in the past that. Stay around 630 you know -- got a long not that out -- lumbered. Out to protect the Tyler Moore and how. You know I mean like -- don't got to -- can't you know incumbent McCain's going to keep coach you know era. I mean -- -- the year so I'm thinking trying to take advantage of the opportunity to giving it. I think that he probably has had to backtrack on that cut block a really impressive exactly eat -- I couldn't. That wouldn't be surprised if he played at the big leagues this year there's there -- -- -- at bat but. Other I don't think you know marked it wrote those kind of a lock -- in the locker and that kind. Aren't there at the locks for a lot and I think you've been quite Roger Bernadine that. Assuming he'll consider opening day starter I had a good. Trying to get in on not on another outfield spot and I think right I have to go at it Carroll. -- he had an outfielder spot Jason Michael certainly still in contention that. But that has really opened mark Clady he likes to bring up -- today you know you got. Elect Carolyn. McLean and Terrell Owens are. Yeah I mean each. In other they're pretty high -- and you know bulk order from now when did the bulk of them -- in the Marlins organization stood on the big part of him coming over here style. I you know that I think Bolden knows what he can do in and know that he. Can get out of hand in the outfield. Stocking he'd he'd been an action he -- play and try our people national camp I think so far. We were talk about Bryce Harper before you came on I wanna get your your thoughts on an especially with this cap issue the last -- is number one. What's the time line what's the severity of a number Q you think it affects whatever chance the might be to making the team. You know these games earlier in in spring we're so important for him to make a good impression he RD started off good. -- now being delayed at least 45 days to think it throws a wrench in that all. Balding and can't separate questions we'll see what what all he and 88 and I -- bright yesterday in the -- Karen great I I rant Sunday don't don't got to try and I'm not I have not been on that yet but. And we talked to -- the -- it -- life you know I was on the training table at -- and he's he hurt a little bit -- out here are you getting a little conflicting. Answered but I think eighty would not let him in the lineup but as -- attacked. And where he is completely pain free and it goes through an entire work -- outing -- And then -- -- -- adult the next day they'll won't be any yesterday he did work out the team so I'm need to packed day but I think we're. A couple may -- chance tomorrow are our last Thursday I'm I don't need -- taking longer than that I mean I haven't even called the history and it it. They'll be accurate tight end so I think it's really just sort that they are trying to avoid turning into something else. I'm as I the second part I don't think my personal opinion is that it doesn't expect. His status as aren't making that team because the national know what he can do only cable that the player. And -- you know he played really well when he was playing so. I don't think that they're worried that. He's not very happy that I can make an impression on. I think it just more of the fact that they don't want to Russian backing you know he's gonna go hard and then you gonna get hurt and it. -- A whole other issue. Quick -- -- I don't I don't think that I don't think that his injury status actually the national Buchanan as far as making it a couple. Quickly amended before we let you go who fills up the bullpen is going to be -- usual elect that -- Gorzelanny everything -- stand to sneak in there. You know a lot of moving parts -- -- ball -- and and and I think it'll it'll be very compelling to speak on the way everything shakes out especially you know it stated that there really they really are gonna keep Tom Gorzelanny that they. Aren't Patriot John -- and aunts you know are right now it or not I think any court why Intel -- ops. But there -- a lot of good a lot of entry there over the next. Couple weeks you know Craig -- it is pitching really well bring you the good players so and they know batons so he'd need each case the telegraph happy. Good been very impressed in the spring as well but they did he don't want to only spot -- Don't think I'd say yeah I'd I'd starting. At the bank and RH butt -- a kicking -- in the area and worked intrigue. A lot of stuff to wash all the way through spring training we appreciate and Amanda thanks for joining us thanks now -- see next week. I'm mark while we get back to was going to the reader questions. We -- he did one of them so there's only two that first one is from us steady -- Asked do the performances of prospects like Geary Perez Corey brown and Michael Taylor affect the chants of Mike Rizzo. Possibly making a trade for center field yet isn't a question and everyone's talking at the center field position for so long and how they need to fill that. And everyone thinking well they're gonna have to go outside and bring somebody in maybe a big name maybe a trade your Lleyton in camp or certainly by next winner. The thing at the nationals front office will keep telling you though is that there really intrigued by a bunch of these prospects they have. I throw Brian Goodwin in that mix actually also their draft pick from last year Destin -- Destin -- to actually moved to a corner position I'm in part because I think there's so many quality in center field prospect but he's a guy that I saw a little bit of the spring and and and pressed to. So they wanna see what we have from all these guys need to see a full season and none of them are really on the verge of big the big leagues yet. I think I'm not sure if any might even be at double -- this year but they like Taylor they like Goodwin. At -- brown had a great spring the limited time that he had. Kind of surprises somebody who has sort of forgotten man because he was dumped from the forty man roster over the winter. The pride in center fielder Tripoli to start the season so they wanna see what they have here and if they can fill that position from within if they think the answer is there. They're gonna do that rather than spend money he'll get a Michael Bourn BJ Upton or whatever else. If they think they can fill from within now they have more resources. Elsewhere. They're gonna do that so I think that's another reason why. They're maybe less inclined to make a move immediately for center fielder and then also. -- have been saying all along they're fine with Jayson Werth in center field in probably for the season now it may -- and killed on opening day. But remember whenever harper comes up if everybody's healthy harper comes opens in right field and Werth is in center and I think that's what you're gonna see for most of the season. They've been playing worth a lot in center field the spring even when harper hasn't been lineup so I think they're they're getting him ready for that. I really think all this is designed to. Get us through this season and and then let's see where these prospects -- at let's see what the free agent market looks like and they can make that that decision but. Unless there was some great offer right now for a top notch center fielder I don't see them making it because I think they wanna keep their options open here. So you think the plan is they're gonna stick with the to have see how the guys in the farm system developed what do you think could inspire them to make a trade by the deadline. Well it's couple things you know if they're in the middle of pennant race and like man we've we've this is a black hole there we need some help. You know another thing that ties in all this is Adam LaRoche if he was hurt. More or -- or sister or Morse is hurt or if we'll -- it is healthy but is not playing up to standards whenever. Maybe they look to trade him at the deadline move Morse back to first base. Now you -- worth the left field and so I knew center fielder so I think there's a lot of variables there that could come and play where maybe you would look for a short term. Solution there to get you you know through that playoff push. But I really think whatever they do. At this point is not necessarily go out and get a guy is gonna help you long term unless it's just such a good deal -- -- -- -- final reader question is about a guy who is no longer a national but people still care about him a lot he's a fan favorite. From Jane -- she wants now is there any hope of someone taking pudge Rodriguez before opening. Before opening day it's not looking too good -- and running at a time it's it's sad but I guess not all that surprising that he hasn't gotten the job and I think part of the reason. Is that part isn't really pride -- guy he wants a big league contract any I want some assurance of of some playing time he really wants to get to 3000 hits. And you can't get that if he's not playing now. If he does play every game has still don't know if he's got enough left in the tank you -- the -- of the three seasons. Of consistent play to get to that points I don't know what's gonna happen. I think what he figured at this point is. Nobody's coming off with an an offer that I find acceptable let's wait it out lets see if somebody has an injury. Maybe it's night until halfway during the season it's kind of similar thing the Royals -- is doing at the moment and he still unsigned pretty remarkably but he says you know what. Some contender may need another starter come June or July I'll keep myself in shape and be ready for the call when it happens. In case the nationals. If something were to happen. Where they traded Florence and that's the possibilities -- good young catcher that could have some value his -- not gonna start at Wilson Ramos. So if that would happen or Ramos got hurt. For a reason they needed another catcher I think -- those first call would be a pudge Rodriguez and we would see him in nationals uniform now. That can't we can't rule out pending national -- at some point but again something else would have to happen first they're not you know they're not gonna bring him in. If Ramos and floors of both healthy and productive and they just don't need him but they love the guy that loved what he can do for them. And if the right situation presented itself I think that would make that phone call. CSN Washington dot com.