We’re a few months away from the 10th Washington Nationals season which is hard to wrap my head around. The next event in the Nats calendar is NatsFest, down at National Harbor in PG County. I did not go last year (I think I was skiing) but I went to something similar in 2009 at Nationals Park. I am pretty ambivalent about going this year, particularly given the location. Should Charlie Slowes show up at another after-party though? Well, that might be something worth driving over over the Wilson Bridge and dropping $20 in parking or whatever it costs.
Of course, can it really be NatsFest is Jamey Carroll isn’t there?
In 2005, Carroll was a utility infielder for the first 21st century edition of the Washington Nationals. He was tiny and had no power, but played the game the right way, developing a minor folk following. He was helped by the fact that, technically speaking, one of the players he supplanted, SS Cristian Guzman had a lower WAR than me, you or anybody you know. Guzman’s WAR -1.4, so Carroll’s 0.8 looked pretty good. Spectacular even. My 0.0 was merely solid compared to Guz and I wasn’t getting $4 million a year to bring the team down.
Carroll was sold to the Colorado Rockies to make room on the 40 man roster the next offseason. Frank Robinson wasn’t happy. I’ll admit I wasn’t either. On overachieving baseball teams, overachieving players endear themselves to fans.
On the other hand, when teams are disappointing, like the 2013 Nats, utility players maxing out on their limited abilities don’t have quite the same appeal. Yes, I’m referring to Steve Lombardozzi, who seems to appeal to certain sectors of the fan base for being GRITTY.
Oh and how does 2B Danny Espinosa, benched for a rookie third-baseman (Anthony Rendon) feel about competing with 40 year old slap hitter for the role of utility infielder?
Back in the tangible world of player arbitration, the Nats avoided it with two keystones, Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, by signing them to 2 year deals. Then, they get their free agency. That gives us an idea of when the Nats contention window might shut a little with Zimmerman publicly talking about no hometown discount. Desmond, hasn’t gone that far and has good baseball make-up that Mike Rizzo seems to love.
Arbitration was avoided with Stephen Strasburg, despite having Scott Boras as an agent.
Drew Storen might be trade bait, again, which seems kind of dumb, but the overreaction to Storen blowing the save in Game 5 has always been stupid. Davey Johnson managed that series poorly too and he’s gone. Let’s see what Matt Williams does with Storen before a trade.
Tyler Clippard has somehow managed to keep his arm from falling off and wants big money. The Nats don’t want to pay it. Yay, arbitration.
A backup catcher might be nice. Nate McLouth seems like a good choice as 4th outfielder that will start 60-100 games.
Opening Day is 69 days away