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Nationals Park: Grass is Greener

So the grass is being installed today at Nationals Park. Crazy, isn't it? It's basically five months till the opener. This stuff needs to take root.


The infield grass freshly installed at the new stadium. (Bill O'Leary - The Washington Post)


No soccer pitch! No soccer pitch!

You can see it on the link above, or here. Pretty cool. I wanted us to send a photographer over there to take a picture of it being installed, but the Nationals wouldn't allow it. UPDATE: Judging by the above photo (which just appeared on the Journal), they got in there to get photo. It looks cool.

They'll have an official unveiling of the field on Nov. 13.

By Barry Svrluga  |  November 1, 2007; 11:45 AM ET
 
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Next: More grass, different angle

Comments

In the tradition of carrying forward:

Pitchers and catchers?
One hundred plus days looming
Sweet stadium cam...

Posted by: haiku woman | November 1, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely stunning!

It will look even better when there is a new soccer stadium across the river at Poplar Point!

Next season can't get here soon enough!

Posted by: Keenan | November 1, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Keenan,

Please don't start any of that soccer stadium talk in here.

Posted by: G-town | November 1, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to note that, unlike many of the new parks, the "keystone" is grassed.

Anyone know who or what drove this decision?

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 1, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, "keyhole" not keystone.

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 1, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Gorgeous!

Posted by: Patty | November 1, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Catcher, please excuse my ignorance, but what is a keyhole in this context?

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 1, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Wonder who's invited to the official unveiling...

Posted by: Hendo | November 1, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I repeat my gush from last post. Amazing.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 1, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I'm sensing the correct answer is "season ticket holders", but that the accurate answer might be something else...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 1, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't they want a picture of it in the paper now? By my count, that would be two hits...one now, and then one on November 14 (the day after the event). Seems odd. They could twice get people excited!

Posted by: BethsedaFan | November 1, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The keyhole is the area between the pitcher's mound and home plate. A couple of the newer parks have the old-styled dirt area between the two spots, rather than grass.

The grass does look good. I guess they'll have all the dirt down in two weeks.

Posted by: EricS | November 1, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The keyhole is the path between the mound and homeplate. As observed by Catcher50, some of them are dirt in the modern wave of stadiums, but ours appears to be entirely grassed over.

Its called a keyhole, because from above, it looks like, well, you know. Round part at the mound, straight line down to the plate. For an example, google a picture of Chase Field at Bank One Ballpark (home of the D'backs).

Posted by: faNATic | November 1, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I put forward a motion to call all homeruns into the left field porch 'cherry bombs'

Posted by: CeeGee | November 1, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

railroad that motion!

Posted by: longterm | November 1, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Old photos of Griffith Stadium have the keyhole path. The current parks in Arizona and Detroit have it, but I can't think of any others.

I can take it or leave it. It would be kind of cool to have it here, as an homage to Griffith, but all grass is just fine.

Posted by: Cosmo | November 1, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I suspect the November 13 event will be for the media and certain VIPs, but not regular season-ticket holders. Though possibly the people who buy the big suites and the presidential seats might count as VIPs.

Posted by: Cosmo | November 1, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The Nats FO SHOULD invite all season-ticket holders to the new stadium before it opens next April (or March 30). Stagger it out over a couple of days, let us tour the stadium, check out our seats, etc. How cool would that be??

Posted by: Shrek | November 1, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Given the investment the owners are putting into those high-rollers at the expense of us peons, I would consider those folks VIPs too. If they don't come after we bet the farm on them...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 1, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know what the deadline is for the Nats to non-tender Lopez, Patterson, et al?

Also who besides the above listed are potential non-tenders?

Posted by: estuartj | November 1, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

WTOP has had a couple of reports that mention a "Meet Your Seat" event, but no details yet. Can't imagine it would happen before February, depending on how much major work is still going on, for insurance and safety reasons.

Posted by: Cosmo | November 1, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

This is so much more exciting to me than it should be. I definitely need to go back to DC for a series next season.

Honestly, I thought I'd miss RFK more, but seeing that picture...

Too cool.

Posted by: John in Mpls | November 1, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, guys, for the keyhole explanations (and to FaNATic for the visual aid assistance).

I'm on board with the cherry bomb proposal!

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 1, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Everyone must be clicking 'refresh' on the cams... it is slow loading...

Posted by: Wigi | November 1, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Gives new meaning to the saying, "Watching the geass grow..."

Posted by: Wigi | November 1, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

dang...

grass...

Posted by: Wigi | November 1, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Guys,

Thanks for the quick explanation of my (apparently esoteric) term, keyhole.
I hope that they don't go all the way in duping Griffith, the Fungo Circles would be a bit much.

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 1, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Pretty scary that we can all get so excited over sod. I'd LOVE to get a tour now to see just how they build the field. How much sand/gravel/dirt? How does the drainage work? Why is the left field corner still incomplete? It would be really cool to see.

I wonder if the unveiling event will coincide with Season ticket releases?

Posted by: roman1735 | November 1, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wigi takes top honors for best off-season post to date!

______________________________
Gives new meaning to the saying, "Watching the geass grow..."

Posted by: Wigi | November 1, 2007 02:51 PM

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | November 1, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

There's a great Web cam at www.dcballpark.com

All of the infield grass is in. So is grass in foul territory along the first-base line.

Posted by: NatsFan2005 | November 1, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

haikuwoman, thanks for bringing the poetry back!

Posted by: Traveler | November 1, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

blueson - the thing about Church is he's shown a propensity to tire and, at least this year, had an OPS of .866 v. RH and only .655 v. LH. For the last 3 years, it is .856 and .742. Basically, if he is to be in CF for the Nats next year, we need a someone who hits lefties so that he can sit for about 30 - 45 games and max out his production. Maybe that's not Kielty. This year he was only .633 v. LH, but his 3 year OPS v. LH was .866. Basically, Kielty historically hits LH like Church hits RH. If your gonna show love for Church, it'd be like twins.

Oh - sorry if this is redundant, but, Hunter and Rowand are Type A free agents, which means the Nats would lose a 1st round pick if we sign them. A Jones and L Castillo are type B, which would not lose the Nats anything.

Posted by: jon | November 1, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

If you guys look at old photos of Griffith Stadium, you will notice how oddly the infield grass was as compared to other ballparks. They cut out big scoops around first and third base. It made the infield look like a giant arrow head pointed at home plate.
http://www.projectballpark.org/history/al/griffith.html

Posted by: 6th and D | November 1, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Wpost can finally replace that D Young picture we have been looking at for over a month?

Oh and nice webpage craftsmanship on adding the parking story link to the bottom of the Young story ...shows they really care enough to send the very best to us.......Even an intern in high school could do a better job with that task Barry.....

Posted by: JayB | November 1, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

the cut between type A and Type B is between Iguchi (A) and Lo Duca (B). Eckstein is an OBP SS who is a type B.

If we are loyal to the Plan, then no type A this year?

Posted by: jon | November 1, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, Traveler.

---

haikuwoman, thanks for bringing the poetry back!

Posted by: haiku woman | November 1, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I like the picture. It warms my heart.

Posted by: Dmitri's mom | November 1, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't know that it was so much that the term was esoteric, Catcher, as that my terminology knowledge was lacking.

---

Thanks for the quick explanation of my (apparently esoteric) term, keyhole.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 1, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Before you get pointlessly hostile at the author of the blog, JayB, just remember that Barry only creates the content... and is responsible for neither the layout of the site nor the layout of the paper edition.

Good luck finding a high school intern with enough pull to completely change the way a WPost [or any equivalently sized paper, really] editor, overseer of either paper or online content, runs his or her section.

To whomever IS in control, however, I join the cacophony clamoring for a change from the Meathook picture... it has definitely worn out its welcome.

Posted by: faNATic | November 1, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

That field-level picture of my baby in this post is really sweet.

Posted by: nats park's mom | November 1, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Toledo Mud Hens have a great sense of humor. Did ya'll see their offer to A-Rod?

Posted by: NatsNut | November 1, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Here it is, to save the searching:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3090231

Posted by: faNATic | November 1, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

It sure is!

---

That field-level picture of my baby in this post is really sweet.

Posted by: nats park's other mom | November 1, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for pointing that out, NatsNut. Those Mud Hens have moxie. I like that!

---

Toledo Mud Hens have a great sense of humor. Did ya'll see their offer to A-Rod?

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 1, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Oh - sorry if this is redundant, but, Hunter and Rowand are Type A free agents, which means the Nats would lose a 1st round pick if we sign them."

Nope! If we sign them, we lose either sandwich picks or second round picks (I can't remember right now) since our crappy record means our first rounders are protected. It's like what happened with the Cubs and Soriano--they couldn't lose their first round pick, even though Sori was a Type A.

Posted by: Atlanta | November 1, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta - you are right about the first rounder being protected, but I believe the sandwich pick comes from MLB. What happens if we sign either a Type B or type A (both get sandwiches back) and lose a type B? Do they net or do we get a sandwich pick?

Posted by: jon | November 1, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I, ummm, well, you see, ummm. Yes? God, I'm unhelpful.

Posted by: Atlanta | November 1, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone heard anything about our trying to sign SP Kyle Lohse from Philly? 4.62 ERA in Philly might be 3.something in Nats Park...and 182 IP and 2 complete games would be a great improvement over anything we got in '07.

Plus I think he's only 29 years old and didn't rate an A or B so we wouldn't give up our second round draft pick.

I'm sure I'm missing something so please educate me...

Posted by: estuartj | November 1, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I understand what Barry is responsible for and appreciate his attempts to keep things fresh (pic for the NJ is a great example of his efforts).

Barry also spends a good amount of time rationalizing and defending the WPosts allocation of resources and Editor Decisions. I just want him to know how poor the Wpost effort is and why I at least feel the way I do about it by keeping him aware of just how weak an effort the rest of the WPost gives us.
..

Posted by: JayB | November 2, 2007 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Estuartj- I don't think you are missing anything when you talk about the Nats trying to sign passable pitchers who don't cost draft picks. What you are missing is all the other teams that will want to do the same thing during this subprime free agent signing period. The half-decent pitchers will make a lot this year.

Posted by: Scrub Fan | November 2, 2007 5:02 AM | Report abuse

JayB and others,

A. We're fortunate that we have a Nats blog on the Post. We're also fortunate that Barry, Dave and Boswell (even though he can only answer a dozen posts per chat and their long winded) do chats a few times during the week.
B. Barry/WaPost can't be everything to everyone.
C. In this day and age you can get all the Nats news you need with all the blogs out there. It was reported in ESPN Page 2 last year that the Nationals have more fan blogs (by far) than any other major league team. Go to the Capital Punishment Nats blog and on the right hand side you'll see about 20 different blogs devoted to the Nats.

Other media sources exist for Nats news is out there...

Posted by: Loggie | November 2, 2007 5:58 AM | Report abuse

As someone who requested relocation to club seats, if you look at the photo you can see a rather large railing at the edge of the first deck. I'm not going to be too happy if I pay big bucks for the club seats only to find I will have an obstructed view for the rest of my life!!

Posted by: obstructed view | November 2, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree about Barry but......Washington Post is fortunate to have us......it is a little thing call Capitalism and Page Views....and the Post is slow to learn the game....Keep the content fresh and you can win the game.....that picture is OLD and the parking story link is amateurish!

Posted by: JayB | November 2, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

The field is looking awsome. I can't wait to be able to take a trip north for a series next season...if I can afford it!! Speaking of afford it, do any of you think that Mike Cameron might be on JimBows mind, seeing that he seems to have a knack of grabbing players with a bit of a checkered past. He'd have to sit for 25 games, but all in all, an outfield upgrade I'd say.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | November 2, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

JayB, you're right that it's a little thing called capitalism and page views (okay, two little things), but you miss out that your continued refreshing of our cheery Yule Log is 1) creating a page view that 2) sells advertising.

Given that you recognize the money-making motive of the Post.com's layout, wouldn't it make more sense to stop going to that page in order to force a behavior change? Honestly, do you think they care what you think of the page if you've proven you will go there daily, regardless?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

cameron may have dropped enough in price with that suspension to make him an interesting pickup. crappy timing for him to test positive.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Fair Point...but I think pointing it out is more effective than one less page view a day for the Wpost....I am hoping for a win win solution....they learn how to update content and I get to read updated content.....

Posted by: JayB | November 2, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I have no idea what's more effective. Probably pointing it out and not reloading. I've been going directly to the Journal from the main page since the end of the season... and I LIKE the Meat Hook picture.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I ask everyone to stop talking about signing these average FA's. I don't think the Nats should spend money simply to go from 73 to 78 wins. Save the money and sign all the draft picks again. Thats's a much more productive long term view.

I add my excitement about the stadium progress. Can we hit the fast forward button and skip the winter?

Posted by: #4 | November 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Here, here, #4. On both counts.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 2, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Dear DC United-

You must be disappointed that you lost, and are out of the playoffs.

No stadium for you.

Feel free to leave the area.

Posted by: Kevin | November 2, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Awww, I like DC United. I have no enmity towards their fans. I wish they would riot a little more, but oh well.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I have been watching the cams since the first columns went up. Grass in the infield. Its actually going to happen!

Posted by: D Brown | November 2, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Poor DC United fans....

Posted by: NatsNut | November 2, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if those sprinklers are built in to the field? Maybe they would be a hazard.

Posted by: D Brown | November 2, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

am i a bad person because i can't get the bad sexist joke about grass on the infield out of my mind?

#4, the team is going to make some forays into FA. they'll need to do so to fill some basic holes. so the question is: do you want them to dive headlong into signing top FAs this year or be more financially prudent and sign the more mid-level FAs? i think this is why people are talking about the, essentially, 'mediocre' FAs. it makes little sense to pay for the top dollar guys. and our minor leagues aren't quite ready to produce major league players.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

To my compatriot in God's own section:

Yes. Yes, you are.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

What basic holes are we talking about? I guess the point is that having say Cameron instead of Church or Maxwell in CF doesn't seem worth the money. The fans need to be more patient than that. One more year of mediocrity doesn't bother me. It would bother me though if they spent money for 5 more wins simply to placate impatient fans.

Posted by: #4 | November 2, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm on board with the P-L-A-N, but I don't mind the free agent talk. That's what the hot stove is all about, isn't it? (tssssss)

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

BTW, 105 more days, give or take a few.

Posted by: pitchers and catchers | November 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Natsfan1a.

But.....

I think discussing whether they should sign them at all is part of it.

Posted by: #4 | November 2, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

#4: Let's deal with the trade rumors for a minute. Assume, for the sake of argument, that deals are to be made during the offseason for Church and Cordero and one of the Nats' (hopefully) spare infielders.

If I'm drawing the right inference from your comments, then if these deals or any other deal must be made, you would prefer that the Nats pick up prospects as opposed to dealing for an FA.

Because, as you say, the FA presumably wouldn't win the Nats enough extra games to give us a shot at the playoffs, I would be on board with that approach -- assuming that's what you had in mind?

Posted by: Hendo | November 2, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree with #4 as well. The guys we already have are not bad enough to justify spending more money on more mediocrity. Don't buy mediocre FAs just because you can.

I'd be fine if they spent good money for a hot FA, but only if he fits into the puzzle with more than just a big bat (or OBP/OPS). Someone who fits into the clubhouse atmosphere (which is looking predominantly low-ego), is young enough to blend into "the future", and gives us more value than the dollars spent would indicate, would be worth the money (of course). But since none of the *hot* FAs seem to fit that bill, just stick with what we have.

Like this year, it's okay to hope for exciting things in '08, but to gamble silly money on mediocre FAs would be a waste. The team checked off a lot of things on its to-do list this year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The team still has a lot of building to do.

Also, I think the team atmosphere is slowing down on the knee-jerk turnover, willing to give people a little more room to grow. All the coaches returning, including Lenny Harris and Tim Tolman? Signing Belly and Meat at their ages and stages in the game?

That's not to say we couldn't use a little shaking up in the off-season. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of trades JimBow pulls off. But the point is *trades*, not FA purchases.

I'm with you, #4. Patience.


Posted by: NatsNut | November 2, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Hendo,

That's exactly what I had in mind. The Nats should be looking to get younger, not older. Just about any FA they get would make them older. Your garden variety FA would cost about 6 million next year. That's enough to sign the first four draft picks. Every dollar matters unless you are the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets. It would be a blow to the long range prospects of the franchise to blow money on Kyle Lohse and not bou be able to sign two of their first four picks.

Posted by: #4 | November 2, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

jon asks, "What happens if we sign either a Type B or type A (both get sandwiches back) and lose a type B? Do they net or do we get a sandwich pick?"

The Nats would get a sandwich pick for the Free Agent they lost. Where it came in the sandwich round would depend on where the FA ranked according to Elias' system.

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood | November 2, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

And if I'm not mistaken, we kicked Lohse's a** in September, didn't we?

Posted by: NatsNut | November 2, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

#4, the reasoning behind your approach is sound -- even if it cost the Nats a few games in the standings next season, as it might.

The thought of giving Buster "Lose 125" Olney the last laugh makes me squirm. But that would be far, far better than turning this team into a DC version of the Baltimore Free-Agent Love Boat.

Let the team-building continue!

Posted by: Hendo | November 2, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It's going to take a number of different moves to improve this team. They can't just sit and wait for the minor leagues to complete the roster. As they did with D.Y. last year, it can be beneficial to sign a FA that has something to prove, as in Cameron. His price won't be as high as it may have been prior to the amphetamine test. If it proves the price is too high, simply don't do it. In JimBow I trust.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | November 2, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Got my new computer today -it now has a desktop picture of my new favorite stadium (which stymies the urge to keep visiting the construction camera).

I'd rather see the Nats pursue Jones than Cameron at this point - maybe for a three year deal with options. Jones is not old by any stretch and could easily move over to right field if/when Maxwell is ready.

Posted by: lowcountry | November 2, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I kind of think that with Scott Boras as Jones agent, the price will not be in the liking for the Nats at this time.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | November 2, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

D Brown:

the sprinklers on most modern baseball fields utilize the same type of landscap. arch. in fancy yards. essentially its a water pressure powered sprinkler head that pops up after they are turned on. built under the ground with some sort of concealed access.

i suppose im not answering your question as to whether or not the sprinklers in the webcam are set in stone. but i am saying that it can be done easily and with minimal risk to the playing surface. even single a ballclubs have these types of sprinklers.

much less risk, i might add, than the actual drainage grates/crowned playing surface in yankee stadium that ruined Mantles legs - sans the booze.

Posted by: theraph | November 2, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

i think you're presuming FA pickups would be a la guzman and his 4 yr 16m deal.

what about FA pickups that are 1-2 yr deals? that's the kind of acquisition i would prefer to see for now. the kind of pickup that keeps you from panicking (a la baltimore) and calling up youngsters from the minors before they're really ready. it would allow us to leave maxwell in the minors until late 08 or spring 09 to develop. or, more importantly, allow us to pull in an innings-eater SP who we can count on for 200 innings, which we've had serious trouble with since livo left. too many injuries in the rotation, some of which we could foresee because these guys have broken down before.

to summarize, i'm not saying go out and sign cameron to a 4 yr 20m deal. i'm saying if you can get him on a 1-2 yr deal at a reasonable cost, that's fine. look, the FO said they were planning on spending as much as 20-30m more in salaries this season (some of which has been spent on extending belliard and dmitri). smart spending would be on short-term contracts. particularly if we could find a smart older veteran SP who can give us those 200 innings while mentoring our young pitchers, something our pitching staff sorely missed last year, i think.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

So, would Dmitri Young, this time last year, count as even a mediocre free agent? Wouldn't Belly? How about getting a Rule 5 guy who doesn't figure to play much, seeing as we have a catcher already?
No, Bowden hasn't found nothing but diamonds, but hey, a few sapphires-in-the-rough wouldn't kill us.

Posted by: cevans | November 2, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clarifying, #4. I interpreted your posting as meaning that you wanted to have FA discussions tabled.

---

Agreed Natsfan1a.

But.....

I think discussing whether they should sign them at all is part of it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 2, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

cevans, signing guys like belliard/young, as well as rule5 guys, should be a part of your plan every year. if the team is committed to increasing payroll this year, you don't have to make *all* of your FA signings be those kind of reclamation project. we're not the only team who does that, and it's unusual to get three decent to good quality guys like that in one season, so we can't count on another meathook in next year's crop. and most rule5 guys aren't the success stories.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

My point being, Bowden has proved he can find value on the cheap. With a middle-tier ($70M) budget, he can keep doing that, but also will have to find the occasional piece at full retail, so to speak. I'm sure he can do that, for position players, but I'm not at all sure about pitching. The cattle call thing only worked when 4th place was considered a good year.

Posted by: cevans | November 2, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ref: Comments about Maxwell can take over in CF when he's ready. Don't count on him ever being ready. I was optimistic after seeing him in limited action in the bigs, but he's really struggled in the AZ fall league. I think he's hitting under 200. He didn't mention that in his journal! I hope I'm wrong but I'm not optimistic.

Posted by: Loggie | November 2, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see just how much influence Boras has left. I don't know who else he is representing this year but A-Rod is going to be tougher deal than it may seem (as evinced by their earnest desire to keep the Yankees in the negotiations) and Jones is coming off a down year in which he was hurt. The Nats won't get a deal for Jones next week but he maybe more reasonable come January.

Posted by: lowcountry | November 2, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I want to sit in those seats up in the upper deck, just in fair territory on the right field line -- the occasional crushed ball, and lots of TV time.
Or else in the Cherry Bomb Pavilion (instead of throwing the ball back, fans can throw firecrackers into the opposition's bullpen).

Posted by: cevans | November 2, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Not that I would advocate such a thing

Posted by: c!evans | November 2, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Now that our team has successfully been able to crawl we damn well better fly next year!

Seriously, I think the missing pieces conversation is premature. Farm, farm, farm.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Don't count on [Justin Maxwell] ever being ready. . . . he's really struggled in the AZ fall league."

He's struggled in a lot of places. I about had him written off in the Carolina League, but he ended up doing pretty well there this season.

Hope to have a chance to see J-Max when I'm out in Peoria next week, and that he'll have found his groove (or know the reason why not).

Posted by: Hendo | November 2, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

cevens, we're not that far apart in our thoughts, then. altho i think the concept that bowden will "have to" find pieces at retail price is kind of backwards (if you meant it that way). you really want to be at the point where you're ready to find a couple of pieces at retail prices. that usually means you think you're a player or two away from playoffs and more. i think the nats aren't there yet and FA forays will still be looking for the discount guys. just not quite as discount as guys like young and belliard were. not that we can't sign those kinds of players again (esp if we can do it with minor league contracts, like dmitri). but it's time to look at guys that aren't quite as low risk/low chance of reward as dmitri.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Other 506, I think they are one position player (say, Torii Hunter, for instance) and two good starters (not Livo, pbuh, but credible >15-win guys) away from contending, i.e., 17-20 more wins than 2007, for at least a WC. They may in fact already be in the organization, but I doubt it, at least for next year. Contend, that's all I ask.
This 2007 team's identity included playing hard, all the time, even in games they didn't look to win. The FO should do as much.

Posted by: cevans | November 2, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"look to win" should be "look like they could win"

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

There's some guy named Bonds available at a discount. Made a nice play in left field against us last year. Pretty good OBP.

Posted by: Satan | November 2, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

There will be lots of guys available at a discount this December. Might not be able to use them until 50 games into the season, though.

Posted by: The Mitchell Report | November 2, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

There's a difference between "inexpensive/cheap"--which was imposed on the FO up to now, and makes ROI much harder--and "undervalued/discounted"--which may yet be expensive, but a good deal.

Being poor is expensive. Shopping is not buying.

Posted by: Aphorisms-R-Us | November 2, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

i can't say i agree that they're one position player away from contending offensively. they scored less runs than any team in baseball. and while you can contend that the stadium affected that, it didn't affect their scoring enough that tori hunter can make them contend offensively.

pitching was middle of the pack, and while that may get better next year from maturing young pitchers and returnees from injury, the park effect may nullify that.

offensively, this team has one "star" quality player (zim), one who resurrected his career last year, but is still on the downside overall (dmitri), a couple of guys who may have potential that hasn't been reached (the ex-reds OFs, altho kearns is a little old to be in that category and may fit in the next), and a bunch of "other" guys who could be great "parts" for a championship contender team, but not key offensive links.

i say that even though i really like the majority of the players and hope i'm wrong, but it's just not realistic to say you could add someone like, say, hunter, and expect him to add the 110 runs it would take to get to 17th (middle of the pack) in MLB, or the 80 runs it would take to get to 8-9 in the NL. that's where the playoff teams of the cubs and pads are offensively, but they also both allowed around 100 runs less than we did. and without the cavernous home park. and they both had more significant studs on both off/def. we only have one stud, and he's young.

hate to sound negative, but the view that we are 3 or so players from contending is a bit pie-in-the-sky.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Nothin' doing, Mr./Ms. Applegate. ;)

---

There's some guy named Bonds available at a discount. Made a nice play in left field against us last year. Pretty good OBP.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 2, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Whooee, you guys are on a roll!

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There will be lots of guys available at a discount this December. Might not be able to use them until 50 games into the season, though.

Posted by: The Mitchell Report

Posted by: natsfan1a (giggling again) | November 2, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

A couple things...

First, the stadium surprise of the day was that they were putting the green facing on the walls in the outfield. The grass looks cool... but the grass and the walls look cooler...

cevans: a >15 win pitcher these days is more than credible. I would suggest, more than 10??

As for position players, I think the Nats proper mindset would be to 1) fill obvious holes - the only one that is glaring to me is the lack of middle infield prospects... and 2) trade up where possible... and by trade up, I mean acquire by whatever means... including free agency.

The first is straightforward. The second becomes a matter of return-on-investment. Lots of people want to find a new CF... but the question is... what are you going to pay (in terms of either salary dollars, or in talent, or both) to make a significant improvement? My argument is that a CF platoon with Church and Logan, or Church and almost any right handed bat that can play CF is almost as good as any of the available CF free agents, given what it would cost to acquire them. Plus, most people believe that Church is underachieving, and probably concede that if he were to move to a new team, he might blossom into the player everyone thought he'd be... Well, we can have our cake and eat it too, because a lot of what we worry about with Church -- offense -- might be remedied with the new stadium... it certainly won't be worse.

To put it another way... we can certainly improve at CF... but to do so, we will need to spend an incredible amount of money, and we're not going to get a franchise player in the transaction.

As an aside, I wouldn't even talk to Boras about free agents. I would send the message that if you have Boras as your agent, we're not interested. That, by the way, is different than talking to him about players already under contract...

Posted by: Wigi | November 2, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

It seems rather silly to me to talk about being "one player" or even "three players" away from contending for a championship. Baseball doesn't work that way. I think instead of looking for "players" the Nats should be looking to improve certain areas. Starting pitching and defense up the middle seem to me to be the top two areas for improvement (and not at all unrelated). Another bat would be nice but I think Willy Mo alleviates some of the urgency - although we'll see how he plays out over a full season. In addition to WMP, I think offensively we can expect to see the second-half Zimm for the entire season, decent numbers from Meat and Johnson, and hopefully consistent play from Guzman. The pitching is being addressed but needs seasoning and so we will might anticipate working with a patchwork staff again next year. (I would like to see the starters able to get into the seventh inning next year).

From my perspective then, they may be some prudent moves (trades, FA signings, rule 5's) that the Nats can make to improve - without altering the plan to build from within. But I don't think that anyone should see signing Cameron, Jones or even Fukodome as getting "the player" that will lead us to the World Series - those days are done (if they ever really existed beyond the fantasy leagues).

Posted by: lowcountry | November 2, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

oh, i think there *are* times when 1-2 players, in the right positions, can upgrade a team and "put it over the hump," so to speak. maybe not as much in baseball as in basketball or football, but it's possible. having that "ace" pitcher (a true ace) can make a huge difference. particularly when you're going thru a losing streak, or when you want to have an advantage coming out of game 1 of a playoff series. but he won't mean as much to, say, baltimore (bedard) last year, as he would to boston (beckett).

that's the rub, tho. for those 1-2 guys to make that difference, you need to already be a contender. we're not there yet.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Where have the Glavine rumors gone? I would still like to pick him up as a free agent. I think a veteran 300-game winning lefty without an overpowering pitch but the brains and control to make up for it would be a great influence on our corps of guys without overpowering pitches that we want to have the brains and controls to make up for it.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

i think most people feel that glavine to atlanta is a foregone conclusion at this point. especially with jones' salary off the books. plus there are rumors they'll sign todd jones as well.

Posted by: other 506 | November 2, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the picture Barry!

Reading Bill Ladson's interview with Patterson it does not sound good. Just more of the same.....I do not want to push myself......I need to be 100 percent before I pitch......Man do we need Livo or someone to lead these guys....forget CF our most pressing need is a Vet pitching ace who is a going to take the ball for 220+ quality innings and mentally tough!

Posted by: JayB | November 2, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Kris Benson is available! The O's cut him!
This means Anna Benson, who threatened to bed the entire Mets roster and grounds crew should Kris ever stray, is also available! Sign him, quick, please!

Posted by: Nats Grounds Crew | November 2, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Amen!

http://www.analogy1.com/anna_benson.JPG

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 2, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

New post. And oh, for those interested, go and check the Nationals section of the Post site.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | November 2, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I am both a Nats fan and a DC United fan...

To those of you out there that hate on DC United makes absolutely no sense at all. If any of you saw RFK last night what was there not to like? The atmosphere was electric and anyone who thinks DC United is leaving town you can forget about it. Sure, they may end up in Maryland, but Dan Snyder didn't think that was a bad deal.

Go Nats!
Go DC United!
Go Caps!
Go Skins!

I never realized how many baseball fans are not "Sports Fans"!

Posted by: Keenan | November 2, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Love that ball park!

Wonder if the FO could keep the camera live indefinitely? We could see stills of game activity and other times whenever we wanted to.

Based on the jpg link provided by a thoughtful blogger, I say the Nats should hire Kris Benson ASAP. She could sit with JimBo (who obviously thinks of himself as irrestible to women) and have that MASN roving camera ready.

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