Beltway Baseball: A big offseason for the Nats
CSN Washington dot com. Hello and welcome to CSN Washington dot com and beltway baseball on chase -- this is mark Zuckerman. Not ready to talk about the nationals offseason which mark how about you but I am assuming it's going to be pretty fun to watch just with. How unpredictable they've been the last two years two years ago of course signing Jayson Werth to a long term contract no one really predicted that last year. They pulled off a treat for you Gonzales to fit in very well and perhaps most surprising signed Edwin Jackson. Last minute and want more I don't know if you remember mark but we're about to go on I'm -- -- an upset about it this off. We actually had a delay our show by an hour yes but but it was a fun it was it was -- yeah. And I think. In addition to whether something they could happen this year not the difference now between this offseason in the past and how much more people are going to be paying attention to this team both. Locally here in DC. And around baseball that a lot more attention paid to what they're doing they are gonna surprise anybody. As far as being a contending team for any big name player out there I think their name is he's going to be linked. To a lot of players out there we'll see -- that stuff doesn't and -- coming true but they are going to be among the the most talked about most reporters about teams this winter and it certainly different position than we're used to. In -- is not just to drive up the price for other players and any more right but also just the way the season ended on such a bitter note. And the fact that they have they have a lot of money to spend perhaps more financial flexibility and they will have in the coming years Wednesday at the start shoring up. Some other young players and looking -- from our perspective -- that potential means. The free agent class is deep in those positions it's kind of it seems like a good fit. But before they get into that they get to there and we're gonna get into all that all the positions and all starts with Adam LaRoche in the position of first base. Mark what have you heard regarding what roach and given that what are the chances of him coming back. Right well I mean did I can say this is the move that have to be figured out before they can do a lot of other things because there's a team domino effect. Whether he's part of the team again we're not what you're talking about all the depth -- positions. This is the one where there is. In hand if they do not resign -- it's probably gonna have to come from within a guy like Michael Morse or Tyler Moore -- and first base as opposed to go out and sign them first -- So I think. That sort of puts the wrote an advantageous position. Because he is clearly the best first baseman on the market is not a whole lot of other. Real strong choices out there and there are a couple of other teams that could use a first baseman include Boston Red Sox and we got plenty of financial flexibility now given all the of them contracts shed. During the season the Baltimore Orioles I think going to be interest in him and that's a team that it afterwards and why we want to go there well. They made the playoffs this year they've got a good young core nucleus made his chance to them making it back again. I still think Texas Rangers could possibly get involved with this that's one position that they could. Try to film session and lose Josh Hamilton he's left handed bat. So put LaRoche -- a good position. Got -- he really liked it here he really wants to stay here I think he feels like this is his best chance to win. It World Series which he's never done. -- the nationals love him and loved what he did for them and know what he meant to this team this year. So I think there's mutual strong interest in both sides I think -- want to get this done it's just a matter of what's the price how many years to get it done. Wrote I think he really believes he can get three years in the open market and it probably safe to say maybe there's Tina and give for I don't nationals go that far. I'm pretty sure the nationals are willing to go two years with an option on third year where I'm not sure is are they -- to get that third guaranteed year. I think that's what it comes down to. That's probably compromise. It's gonna take to get there and done three guaranteed years you know less than twelve million a year or something in that range. But you don't people that you don't begrudge him gross. For -- and see what's out there. And I do you think you'll get an -- -- option to match whatever offers out there he may even turned down an offer from money somewhere else to stay here. But he wants to feel like he's getting -- him. Now they're. All the teams you mentioned besides the nationals believe. American League teams which could obviously slot and -- designated hitter which. Would make a little hard for the nationals to compete in that regard in years I think that's rather if they're right exactly what he's an American League team could. Potentially -- and I just don't know. Now conventional wisdom among people and -- who follow -- that thing that will Morse could play first or perhaps Tyler Moore Michael Morse has shown he's an adequate defensive. First first baseman he's. He's obviously pretty good offensively but if that's your back up plan -- really betting on him being healthy triples. Right up -- And the one thing about America he missed a lot of 2011 -- but otherwise history in very interval. And very consistent you know what you're gonna get with them and yeah maybe he'll drop off a little bit as he gets older. But he's in good shape he's going to be 33 next season. Not very demanding position first -- I think he holds up for at least two years now more and more you don't know and also. If he's a move him to first base now what do you do in left field. Are you gonna go -- center fielder moved harper left and talk about the possibility -- Tyler Moore and all this. You project him to be a very good Major League hitters don't really know about him defensively but he's an unsure thing at this point. And your team trying to win a World Series next year. Do you go with unsure things or do you want is sure I think every position to cancel this all ties and again it. You can see how below -- removed has to be settled first before they can decide things. Well now that we talked about settling that lets talk about the outfield which you mentioned is kind of you know it's gonna be affected by this directly. There's a lot that this is that that. Part of the free agent class that I mentioned is very -- -- the nationals wanted to get a long term center fielder their options are also options for short term center fielders they want. Guys like born Upton -- gone victory you know. My question is. If they do choose to. Signs more from the outfield do they go for someone long term they go for someone short. Well an again this is where you fall and its idea okay. They've gone for all now if you want the best possible -- now or do you say we still have some kids come along. And we just want stopgap. There until one of the kids is ready it's fascinating discussion for so long at this point. In franchise history it's all been about long term plan thing it's about trying to win as best you can now -- not that expensive long term. Now -- position where they may say hey we can try to go for broke right. Michael Bourn obviously would help this team -- next season France's great center fielder has very good leadoff hitter. The problem is you can sign him for one year from him he's gonna get a lot more than that for me even five years percent infielders -- three. Do you wanna make that commitment knowing what it might be like at the end of that contract. And also the domino effect and everything else like talking about where Bryce Harper while he's -- school courses that -- left field. Forward Michael Morse. If growth is gone he's first place -- -- stays. He got a logjam now -- -- -- -- to be traded he has one more year and his. So you can do a lot of permutations how this can go. We're talking about we have kind of the system Brian do. It is one the 2011 draft picks he's playing in the fall league do very well there. He's not ready yet he could be year wait made my point fourteen so maybe -- harper was very good in center field as a nineteen year old you know get better. Let's keep status quo for another year. Then you can move him a year from now let Werth walked as a free agent. It's like Goodwin but again unproven commodity you don't know he's gonna be for sure. So a lot of possibilities there I don't think they go for a short one term one year stopgap. You mention constantly that because I think they feel like ultimate that would come down to. Let's assume for these purposes they resigned roach who they don't. Throw everything chaos -- but certainly you magazine okay is Angel got better and Michael Holmes. Harper can be either one position. So I think they would be comfortable with their linemen as it is that the case. As opposed to going out and getting traditional center field off it is for. You know wanting nothing is instinct as we've we've reached kind of I think point in my career is those career where they adjustments are getting smaller and this is a time where I feel like GMs either be stay very good hands -- become great GMs because. He he has a decision if he wants to get a Bourn safe and signed -- four years. We've seen that happen to GMs when they sign a guy and all the sudden there there -- and here if it doesn't work. And remember how many other guys they have signed long term Jayson Werth -- while he was great for them this year when he was healthy. I think everybody including Mike -- will acknowledge that come here 56 and seven of that contract he's not going to be worth the money and he's -- Becomes stuck. There either have a guy who's not perform at a high level making twenty million dollars a year and it from the -- -- -- -- few -- who knows what's gonna happen. Zero and is now -- long term we think he's going to be good for a long time you don't know. So you do have to be careful locking these guys up and look at the Phillies and there's a lot of similarities. To where the Phillies were about three years ago where the nationals are now. I have been four years those where they won the World Series. They went and locked up a lot of veterans. And you look now those who write our cost -- a lot of money from him to be. Victorino is finally gone Chase Utley is there Rollins is there you have to be very careful. Again it comes down to get more this but. Are trying to win this year -- you know what I don't care what happens when he 141516. -- -- how much money we've spent who logged enemy that. If we can win a World Series between thirteen it's all worth while. Or do you kind of stick with what you've been saying all along progressively building. Trying to build a team can win over the long haul NC don't wanna do anything -- -- -- -- Especially looking at the outfield because these guys make money with their legs you're talking if you solidify the outfield -- for the next four years. In three or four years you got born his 33 and Jayson Werth finally know how he would be at that point were harper still going to be young yet. But you know it's it's not that you don't have as much. Flexibility at that point the one position -- I think we're prime most conference they're gonna do something is with the rotation the that fifth starter there's a lot of guys out there. This year's Zack Greinke Dan Haren Kyle Lohse and -- Sanchez. Without going in the specific names -- tying them to the -- what you think is the profile that the guy that risk of looking for might. Yeah well I think there's two different ways to go. And it taxes collected. Do you just go get a guy you'd think number five starter and good solid reliable veteran. 200 innings sure thing good leaders and -- -- her house and it's time for two years Kyle -- It looks at the bigger deal -- -- Because of what he just did you think he would fit that profile right of -- -- before -- -- -- come -- career here in bank on that. Especially got forces. So. That's where they have to be careful maybe and it doesn't. Mean it's. A Dempster and throw it but. Do you go -- group or do you shoot for the moon and -- Zack Greinke is legitimate number one number two starter that costs money. But obviously it would help make this rotation maybe the best in baseball there are really good. Rizzo likes him. He went after a couple of years ago tried again trade. With the Royals was won you know several big name prospects in exchange for. It turned out Greinke nixed it because he didn't think the nationals had the chance to win in future he wanted -- could walking. Watch this situation change that -- great interest in Brett of Washington. But are you willing to spend all that money maybe talking nine figures. Getting that to give your rotation of Strasburg you would go towards and Zack Greinke -- That fantastic occasion that's gonna cost so I think if you're -- you look at one or the other you do go spend good money if it's for legitimate. Front line number one starter or you go and get guys can be yourself number five. It's new program it low so maybe it's that pilgrims. Don't want locked in three years deal four year deal is to. Start. -- looking at the rotation in 2012 they had an amazing rotation perhaps the best in the majors. But one thing they were very fortunate with was -- decide Stephen Strasburg. Being shut down and you know -- long having some issues. Jordan's Herrmann missed what one start the -- and I was pretty much it with the with the rest -- the staff. Given what we saw last year -- kind of came into the season with seven potential starters and went there anyway they signed two guys this offseason. Well -- I would put anything past Mike Rizzo and I think as we've seen it mentioned two winners. He's always good for one's surprise at least Brett. For offseason once it's coming and he's not afraid to create a long position where you would think they did rotation last year he did it catcher. Trade for Kurt Suzuki who -- sign for your two and next year so he's not afraid you'd. And I do think he's going to be keenly aware of the fact they need depth in either case -- something to keep in mind here is John. Who is still under their control his arbitration eligible for the season. The issue now though is that he's my options I cannot. Do with it last year came out and triple. At least not without exposing him to waivers and teams. Yeah what his options it's everybody Stephen Strasburg and -- there. You're not and you try to pick out. So you can't staffs that sixth start. In the minors. Unless it's something -- go out and get cute and my deal and he knows in Tripoli. So I do think there's a possibility that result goes in the spring training with six street and seventh starters. -- -- -- another loved trade Lannan. Maybe non tendered at the end of the month Christian or seasonally got to keep in -- summit they'll look at yes. You go and pretend that these guys you can't keep plan. Through spring training and then we see do we have an injury how would you rate up if not. Trade him. Or make a decision this spring training went her way. No trade. Tough decision in the road but I think what we've seen from really is that he cares about pitching -- Me more than anything else is pretty critical position that you wouldn't think he's got one but it's possible because he knows. Actually some hurt after place. Now three -- we've talked about outfield with talked about first base. We've talked about the fifth starter I mean there's some other positions you can evaluate perhaps second base. Looking at the 2013. Winning the trying to win this year. First the 2014 keeping the future in mind. It's very instinct that the nationals seem to have a prospect waiting in line for all those positions if you count the title more for first baseman Brian -- one center field. Alex Meyer could be in their patient at some point. And they ran -- could could be out looking for and that's right somewhere in the infield. So given that what I think Rizzo goes as far as going for two point thirteen or saying okay we'll let's let's get to this year and then we're gonna have -- -- coming. Yeah I think this is the most fascinating question the offseason to be honest it's not so much about individual players here there what do you put that picture in. Are they in win now at all costs mode or are they still and that development. Trying to build long term contender. And how did the way this past season and affect all the way to approach this team this season that's -- I've -- exceeded all expectations. But once they got the playoffs they expected. More -- themselves and this season and crushing fashion for them for their fans and there's got to be a lot of motivation. On south capital street right now to say. We need to get beyond that we. Think we can win a World Series next year that we were that far off from getting there -- this year you look at so. Do you say okay. 2013 is -- year we're going for broke -- that means it if it means we're gonna lose more streaky Morton who's missed free agent here for. We're gonna go sign. Got a long term given me hers down. We're gonna maybe trade some of those prospects we're talking about. Because you know we think can help us but they may also help us get somebody right now it's gonna help us win right now. These are the questions -- it to figure out. Knowing Rizzo he's such a development guy in scouting guy that long term vision guy. And I think he wants to think in those terms and doesn't wanna sacrifice the long term but. I also know how competitive and I know how much it hurt him to lose the season the way they did. And how much motivation is going to be try to win -- World Series right now and so I do expect to do something I don't know what that's going to be but something. That makes you think that he's really trying to win now maybe at the expense of. And we we thought the Strasburg decision was tough for him this is gonna keep getting harder for her for -- prison. Trying to find that balance I guess. Before we get in some reader questions us -- ask -- is there any surprise position you think they may improve just throwing this out their second baseman is could be considered a weakness. I don't know catcher went up closer. Yet second base I don't think that. They love Espinoza and -- lover goes and if something were to happen. -- catcher. They got two now and we don't know what was -- is going to be -- -- surgery that's what Suzuki. I don't think they Grogan and how that. Closers initially. -- a love story and I know he blew up in game 50 yes but. Up to that point for a -- hit. -- -- -- Corporate struggle though announced that they may use Sean Burnett as free agent that's B. Think that they have to address if not him. Left hander. Maybe you could shore adaptable with another guy who you wouldn't answer bringing to be the closer as experiencing could do something like Ryan Madson. Who missed seasons with that Tommy John that he can come back. Probably make decent money despite the injury. But somebody like that that to bolster what are you stronger. That's the kind of move the team that thinks they can win right now. -- -- Poulter are a strong position with another veteran quality guys. You think back last year I know. You talk -- -- but they signed Bradley and it didn't work out threat but that was about it. -- want insurance there and so it's not something like that I could see. Risen doing it doesn't cost as much as other positions you don't generally -- big deal. But something that really help -- we saw how important bullpen is. Having good thoughtful and people is. So. You'd think they'd be aggressive and just making making sure that that's going to be not the issue this Cameron there's. We're -- some reader questions. We got a lot of great ones this week got the first one was asked by a lot of people so we're just gonna call by several readers. Another huge question involving the nationals one little Davey Johnson's contract he would be resolved. Yeah I mean it's sort of the unspoken things that they still under contract for next season -- odd thing is the case but. Did you think it would happen by announced assuming it would be after the World Series to give -- -- -- I think it would have happened right now based on the way it worked last October 31 of last. Season and later years. The thing I remember is number one Davey Johnson is under contract with the organization for these consult. Now there are parameters in contact. Manager and to please keep your accomplishments. At the Mike Rizzo Butler family players loved it and they credit him so much for what Avery. Johnson loves work for. Your team and is highly motivated. To come back next to his seat and and certainly given away there were some questions about how he managed the game. I think he wants to that would not be when he wanted to go right so I think both sides want. -- stay together it's just a matter how much money. Big name means a lot money -- have never had paid manager a lot of money. Sixteen days -- the guy. Want to get its fair share that do you think. Some point here and figure out what that term is neither side sound particularly worried about this. Pain and suddenly recently I was managing the team he hit eight. Just matter the time you wanna get this done that you want who on more important things about between your roster. And Davey just if you mentioned as experienced obvious that we both think that went a long way and how far they went this season. But just imagine how that experience can help a young team bouncing back from and I got off to such a -- Influence brand. You know there geyser of come spring training and and be worried you know maybe -- -- visions of numbers and how. The season and Davis calming influence has such faith in his guys and support for -- guys that I think from day one spring training -- he's -- manager. Last year. That's in the past with him and I won -- games -- -- all -- for the most part we're a better team this year. I think his presence makes a huge deal regard. K moving on to the second questions from get some players. Ass will ante room don't be in the majors next channel that we talked about him earlier. Is he going to be up soon. I do think we're gonna see him at some point in point thirteen duties that there's not falling right now is do really well. Ten days playing its competition. Level -- never faced before number one player X 43 games professional. So far and missed most of season ankle injury. Only spend this month maybe even less at double a Harrisburg so. Don't have the experience level he's playing some of the top out every -- and all along that he was. Fast track guy but he was very advanced as -- the other parts -- games that are good base runners fielder's. Think he was staying out. He wasn't -- do it during the season. Hope is that that's behind that was something that will be good to go. He's not make an opening day roster question that he's gonna start doubling again maybe Tripoli but I do think we're seeing some points for the next season is over. Probably not to September since there's no injuries because you're not -- on the bench. But if somebody went down whether it was -- and Espinoza. Desmond who however that -- in line I think that would they wouldn't hesitate to call him out if it. Now we we kind of grouped them together earlier with good winning Myers and draft class. Of those guys as -- don't have the best chance -- easily yet. Furthest along most polished. Most total tools and get some of the other guys economy needs some point. Probably an easier way. Randomly for the reason that he was considered potentially one. If not for that's really all. Right K moving on to the third questions from Kevin FSU. Says. Right. Says doesn't NASA says he's interested in what is going on what is going to happen with -- this book. Yes to that question were talking about the catchers in it and Ramos and back. And the injury and Suzuki and -- -- six million dollars so where does that leave. Cases floors who has been a real trooper for this organization for awhile now -- -- with his -- injuries and has been put in some spots. There were fortunate. Haven't played almost every game on this summer when he -- wasn't up to it. Unfortunately I think it leaves them on the outside looking in hand I think what has happened is that -- this month. When it's time -- tender contracts I think you see him on Hendry and yes you could keep on bringing along spring training. Find out for sure whether Ramos is. How they're not that he isn't you -- have a catcher available but. They have other guys and organizations and Julio Jones and -- that's -- looked like. They can be capable back up. The level he wanted I think Florida has got frustrated with the situation would love. Get a chance to go play somewhere else I think the nationals would do the right thing and give him that opportunity to do maybe it's he can -- I don't know how much in return -- And ultimately I don't think you see his sources. Are fifteen to thirteen and good guys work really hard to come back from his own shoulder injury I'd love to succeed somewhere I don't think it's easy. Now -- mark before we go -- baseball writers' association. Of America awards are coming up yes we've seen some awards come out these of the official ones. An -- handicap them but do you have a prediction just first for each one is. You know there's a chance from engineer rookie of the year. And Cy Young give a quick prediction. Yeah I think manager of the year and Davey Johnson is and we. Don't question Dusty Baker finished second I think they went. I think Bryce Harper wins rookie of the year but it's going to be close. It comes down to how much did the voters wait until the very end of the season how much stock and putting his September performance which was huge. Top Frazier was the early guy he faded down the stretch we -- was kind earlier there was nothing spectacular. If voters watched where harper didn't September. And on first place team and think and things that you did in nineteen and I never done before I think he gets it and you think it's close. GO Gonzales -- once I am he'll get votes but RA -- I think had a season. Have Moyer and Joseph finished second. For third MVP they're not gonna win obviously but I'm curious to see where Adam LaRoche and -- has -- they'll get votes will be somewhere in that top ten. -- -- -- -- -- Well it's all about the off season -- what is Mike -- gonna do you rate that's that that's the question we've we've been surprised. And -- the recent recent past so we'll see. What the nationals do as -- said whether it's about 2013. Or whether it's about the future. Two -- fourteen. And beyond -- will be watching on CSN Washington and that's insider dot com. Thanks for -- about what baseball. CSN Washington dot com.