Happy Holidays… And A Programming Note

Hitting the road, so posts will slow…

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate the holiday, and for those that don’t… enjoy the quiet or your ritual of choice during this time of year.

As the pic suggests, the “Dinems” are hitting the road soon to visit family in New England for the next few days. I’ll have my bag o’ electronics, which includes a netbook, but posts will invariably slow down since I’ll probably only have WiFi access at the hotels.

Hope everyone is happy, healthy, and safe today… and everyday.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

18 thoughts on “Happy Holidays… And A Programming Note”

  1. What in tarnation is that vehicle?? Going off to see Uncle Randy Quaid (National Lampoons Family Vacation). LOL!!!! Great ride! where is Ruth Gordon? on the roof???
    One Christmas comment amidst the holiday hellos: Jonathan Tucker was a minor league 1b tossed into that deal Montreal Expos made with Dodgers involving Vlads brother, g-man, carlos perez….not to gossip, but his wrist ailment with the bottle downed his career….
    perhaps, perhaps, poerhaps..Adam LAroche still an option for LH bat @ 1b for Nats? plz, santa Rizz!

  2. Rizzo tries to be inscrutable but he does seem to do well Scott Boras and his clients. Looks to me like Derek Lee or Morse are the 2 right choices (sans acquisition of a true first base MLB ready prospect. In 2012 it sure looks like Prince Fielder. If Rizzo’s infield performs reasonably well that one addition could be enough to put them over the top.

    LaRouche doesn’t seem to fit the future look/model that Rizzo and the FO appear to be pointing toward? At this point the only prospect for 1st base looks like switch hitting Bloxom who will likely be in Potomac this year. I don’t think Moore or Marerro fit. But Fielder just might at age 26-27.

  3. SHAME on you for pursuing a personal life. 🙂 I feel in good company, as Jeff E shows his age with the Ruth Gordon reference.

  4. I seem to recall that Billy Butler was a poor defensive first baseman. If not, I’d love to see the Nats trade for him. Anybody help me out there?

    1. Jackson: Taking a quick glance at Fangraph’s numbers, Butler is a rough equivalent to Dunn at 1B – about a -3.1UZR, with a .750 Range Factor in 2010.

      Here are the comparables for 1B the Nationals have been ‘linked’ to –
      Adam LaRoche had a 5.2UZR, and a .769 Range Factor in 2010.
      Derrek Lee had a 2.1UZR, with a .795 Range Factor in 2010.
      Prince Fielder had a -7.4UZR, and a Range Factor of .663 in 2010.

  5. And have a happy holiday Sue, and others on this site. NationalsProspectsCom is my favorite go-to for baseball information, so thanks for that.

    1. Anytime. I’m in the LaRoche camp, just because he hits from the left. But if LaRoche (& his agent) are demanding three years, let BAL have him & grab D.Lee on a short-term deal – his R/L splits aren’t bad.
      Just don’t want to see the team miss out on both of them.

  6. Looks like they are going to stick with Norris at catcher. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. I strongly suspect they prefer a left handed hitter at first if they can find the right asset/prospect?

    This makes Norris more valuable both as a potential starter in their plans and as a possible trade chip.

    Fielder does make less sense given the emphasis on athleticism, fielding and
    speed. Nick Johnson anyone? But it sure feels like they are thinking of going
    for Fielder …

    1. Peric: I think they’ll give Norris at least one more year to prove himself as a catcher – His defensive numbers were better in 2010 than they were in 2009. Randy Knoor (a former CA, btw) found a fair bit to praise about his play behind the plate, and never touched on his offensive potential in his recent interview. Norris is still a year or more out, but could be ‘a player of interest’ in late 2012.

      Prince Fielder is a bat to be respected, but is extremely limited as a 1B. Good hand-eye coordination and ‘soft hands’ make him above-average at taking throws in the dirt, but his overall bulk (5’11”, 260) gives him the range of a dump-truck. I admit to bringing up his name as a possible Dunn replacement on other boards, but “upon further review, the call has been over-ruled”.

      As to Nick Johnson – You’ll need a back-up capable of 120+ GP at comparable value in place. At this point, he’s nearly a 50-50 bet to tear a muscle getting dressed in the morning; Not someone to be counted on for even replacement-level performance, imo.

  7. BinM: On Nick Johnson. I just realized they already have a guy like Nick who may have more power, is younger and might be a pretty fair fielder at first base? I am speaking of former Cleveland #1 (11/2003) draft pick Michael Aubrey who bats and throws lefty. He has a lot of talent but more like Nick the Stick, and to a lesser extent Mike Morse (injury in 2008 and suspension) he has had some serious injury problems. He has been referred to as a China doll because he has been unable to complete a season without an injury.

    However last year he did hit 22 homers for Baltimore’s AAA affiliate and might (like Morse) be maturing as a hitter from the left side? Seems like both he and the younger Corey Brown will be given every opportunity to show that they are still possibilities this spring and in AAA Syracuse under the watchful eye of Randy Knorr.

    It sounds like they are still playing “Bowden ball” to some extent. And why not? Why pay for someone who is above 30 and injury prone? In the end I believe they will either go for Fielder (Boras) or seek to acquire a blocked top first base prospect. But what if they manage to develop that in-house? What if Brown and Aubrey are late bloomers and finally come around? Why is this different from Bowden? Perhaps the depth they are acquiring in under 30 guys like Bixler, Aubrey, Brown, and perhaps McConnell allow them to the flexibility to be able to pull a trigger on a major trade for desperately starting pitching? Combined with some of their relief pitching talent? As the season unfolds they can execute trades and still be able to fill holes until the prospects in the lower minors develop.

    Having so many still under 30 guys in Syracuse as “veteran depth” seems pretty new and different as well?

  8. Peric: Almost every player signed to a minor-league contract and assigned to AAA is an ‘insurance policy’ for the team. They’re sole purpose is to play well at that level & stand ready, should a catastrophic injury or suspension occur at the Major-League level.

    As a result, Aubrey backs up Marrero, Morse, or a hopeful FA signing at 1B; Players like Bixler, McConnell, & Antonelli back-up any major problems at 2B-SS between AGonz, Desmond, & Espinosa, and lord help the team if WSH loses both RZim & AGonz for any period of time.

    The minor-league rosters are comprised of four types of players, imo; 1) Prospects (freshly drafted or traded players, plus advancing earlier draft picks), 2) “insurance policies” (signed 3-A/2-A players with MLB experience), 3) Unknowns (Mid-round draftees / trades with 1-3 years experience & little advancement),and 4) depth/’institutional’-level players (signed players with 4+years in the same orginization, or 6+years in professional baseball).

  9. From Corey Brown’s bio:

    … played for Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League following the season and hit .333 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 25 games…led the AFL in RBI, ranked second in total bases (65), tied for second in home runs, tied for third in extra base hits (15) and fourth in hits (35).

    Might be Rizzo wanted him. He looks like he may be ready to have a break through season? They could end up trying him in CF. What would they have to lose given the other alternatives?

    1. He’s old and strikes out, though. Those AFL stats are from 2009. I think he’s got about as much of a chance of breaking out as JMax. 129K in 534 PA in 2010 doesn’t make my heart go pitter pat. Certainly, he’ll be somebody to watch at Syracuse, but he’s certainly a prove it to me guy.

      1. Souldrummer: Peric has always shown an affection for the ‘next new thing’, either by trade, draft, or MiLB signing – It’s just the way he is. Brown is at least younger than Maxwell, and hasn’t failed against MLB pitching the way Maxwell has, September grand-slams aside; On that point alone, I’d give Brown a better survival chance through Viera, version 2011. Although, barring any further roster changes, I have them both at SYR to start the 2011 season.

        1. I think there’s also something to be said about the opposite case, too. That some guys are thrown under the bus because we’ve been talking about them so long and they’re not where we thought, or were told, or (more accurately) hoped they’d be by now. There are also some guys that seem to get chance after chance after chance and we wonder why they’re not gone yet.

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