Dec 032013
 

In a trade reminiscent of two Decembers ago, the Nationals have traded LHPs Robbie Ray and Ian Krol along with utilityman Steve Lombardozzi for Tigers RHP Doug Fister.

Fister, who was not drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks but rather the Seattle Mariners in the 7th Round of the 2006 Draft, turns 30 in February but is only in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He cannot become a free agent until after the 2015 season, providing Washington with a in-his-prime pitcher who’s exceeded 200 innings twice in the past three seasons and averaged more than six innings per appearance for his career.

Trade reaction is generally in the direction of adulation (trust me, I wanted to use a stronger word than that; think Apple fans and Jobs) for Washington GM Mike Rizzo’s latest trade or disdain for Detroit GM Dave Dombrowksi.

Then there are those who take the contrarian point of view:

Have to believe Tigers know something about Fister the rest of us don’t. Dombrowski isn’t dumb.
— David Laurila, Fangraphs via Twitter (@DavidLaurilaQA)

Of course, like a hermaphrodite’s knife, this cuts both ways: maybe Rizzo knows something about Ray or Krol like he presumably did with Brad Peacock, who has underwhelmed relative to the expectations set from his rise from AA to the majors in 2011. This is de rigeur with any trade that seems lopsided at first blush, though ultimately, it’s really hard to say that Rizzo “won” the Gonzalez trade. Oakland GM Billy Beane did get a cost-controlled pitcher and catcher and used Peacock to acquire an underrated everyday third baseman, fulfilling his mission to get talent on the cheap [insert "Moneyball" reference here].

From our perspective, it’s yet another reminder that for all our yearnings to see “our guys” with a curly W cap in DC, there’s always the chance that they’ll make The Show elsewhere. While that may be disappointing to some, it’s the reality of a system that’s not been highly regarded in the aggregate in the past couple of years, yet has been generating major-leaguers nevertheless.

This is actually a good sign, evidence that the organization is in the “Replace/Reload Mode” that ultimately is the most important measure of a system: generating players that can play in MLB.

Apr 262013
 


Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 8-12, T4th place I.L. North, 6½ games behind

Good Erik Davis 0.63WHIP, 10K in 8IP (7 appearances)
Bad Carlos Maldonado .237OPS (2-for-24, 0BB)
Interesting Six rain-affected games out of 20

HARRISBURG SENATORS 9-11, T4th place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good Brian Goodwin .342/.405/.632 in last 10 games
Bad 15HR allowed by SPs, 24 errors on defense in 20 games
Interesting Ian Krol 0.84 ERA, 0.66WHIP, 2.07 FIP in 8 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-11, T3rd place C.L. North, 1½ games behind

Good Taylor Jordan 1-1, 1.48ERA, 0.99WHIP, 2.58 FIP
Bad Adrian Sanchez 4E in 18G
Interesting Offense: 1st in runs, 2nd in SBs, 4th in Ks, 5th in HRs, 6th in 2Bs

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 11-10, T2nd place Sally North, 2 games behind

Good Wander Ramos .268/.412/.585, 15RBI in 13G
Bad Ronald Pena, Pedro Encarnacion — both 10BB in 17&#8531 IP
Interesting Team 37SB is 2nd in Sally League (McQuillan, Renda both with 7SB)
Mar 202013
 

Other Shoe DroppedThe other shoe has dropped on the Michael Morse trade, as the Nationals announced that LHP Ian Krol is the infamous “player to be named later.”

Krol was drafted in the 7th round out of Neuqua Valley HS in Naperville, IL in 2009 and put together a 9-4, 2.65 season in 2010 that put him into the Top 10 (#9) of the A’s system, per Baseball America. Unfortunately, elbow problems and issues between the ears effectively turned 2011 into a waste.

Last year wasn’t much better (2-9, 5.20, 1.361 between High-A and AA), but as John Sickels put it:

Krol avoided injury problems and Archie Bunker outbursts last year… but struggled in the unforgiving California League. He pitched better as the season progressed, showing a better changeup in particular. He gave up some runs after moving up to the Texas League, but his K/BB and K/IP ratios were quite good and that’s more important for his future projection.

Krol features a low-90s fastball, but his curve and change have been praised as “plus” in the past, but what’s been missing is consistency on the field, and maturity off the field (he was also suspended in high school). He turns 22 in May, so suffice to write, there’s still time for him overcome this adversity and return to form.