Saturday Smorgasbord

No AFL update, but if you need a breathless preview of today’s title game, here you go.

As we’re all familiar with the offseason cycle, with the AFL’s end comes the Rule 5 protection deadline (Monday, 8 p.m.) This, of course, has become less and less meaningful as the Nats system has thinned while the big club has become a contender (and a favorite of MADD, because they’re done after one round).

Todd Boss breaks it down at NationalsArmsRace and about the only thing I’d disagree with is protecting Drew Ward – he can’t be hidden on a bench as he’s not a viable defensive replacement and is not very fast. About the only intrigue is learning which of the IFAs the Nationals feel (fear) might be the next Felipe Rivero.

No news on the transaction front but if you’re of a mind to see where the recent free agents re-sign, you can visit BA’s free-agent tracker, which is better-looking but a little more cumbersome than its previous iterations. Spoiler alert: just three FAs have signed as of this writing.

Speaking of Baseball America—and looking at you MLB—the line between editorial and advertising is getting blurred. Let’s just say that when I write an article, I put my name on it. When I write advertising, I don’t.

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.

5 thoughts on “Saturday Smorgasbord”

  1. Thanks Luke.
    After all the starting pitching traded away, the Rule 5 is a lot more stress-free.

    Ah, the Drew Ward conundrum. He’s only 22 so he has time left to prove himself and as Todd shows, there is plenty of room.
    They’ve already added Wander.

  2. Luke — I’m not clear on what you’re saying here. Are you agreeing with Todd about putting Gutierrez, Gushue, and Baez on the 40-man, just not Ward? I made my arguments on Todd’s comments so won’t repeat them here. I don’t see a lot of sense in protecting any of the guys who haven’t played above Potomac. None of these guys is Nieto, and of course Nieto himself hasn’t been back to the majors since the one season the Chisox kept him.

    1. Yes. Gushue is a catcher and would enable Rizzo to package either Severino or Read in a trade and have a fallback; not that he will, but that he could. Gutierrez and Ward are a coin flip, but at this stage of the offseason, I’d take the guy who *could* be hidden on a bench and not have another organization mess around with him until they inevitably return him. Baez is a power arm who could easily be put on waivers — that’s just a gut feeling that they’re afraid he could be one tweak away from realizing that potential (see: Rivero, Felipe).

      1. If the Nats lose a catcher in Rule 5, it’s much more likely to be Kieboom than Gushue. It sure seemed like the league figured Gushue out after the first couple of months, and the .143 he posted in AZ isn’t exactly going to inspire a lot of suitors. The Nats didn’t even think enough to send Baez to AZ for a further look, so I’m not sure what the fuss is about him, either. “Big arm,” but also big WHIP.

        Gutierrez is probably more of a “major-league” talent than either of the other two. He has enough versatility to survive on an MLB bench if a team wanted to take a Rule 5 leap of faith. It would be a big one, though, and it likely would be detrimental to Gutierrez’s development. Still, I’d be surprised if he were taken if left exposed. If he had Daniel Johnson’s 22 HRs, then heck yeah, I’d be putting him on the 40-man. But with only two, probably not.

        Rule 5 for the most part is a big bogeyman, with more perceived threat than real. There’s more threat of losing some of these guys while DFAing them later than there is from exposing them now.

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