I go out to get my wife a birthday present and find out that Adam LaRoche has signed a 2 year deal to remain with the Washington Nationals. The first baseman had a strong 2012 after an injury-filled, shortened 2011 season.
Hey, a local Nats beat writer even broke the news!
Here’s Adam Kilgore’s first take for The Post: Adam LaRoche, Nationals agree to terms
The final contract details are not yet known. The original offer LaRoche was weighing was believed to be roughly $25 million.
LaRoche wanted a 3-year deal, but there wasn’t one out there. His consolation is playing on the reigning NL East champions and not having to relocated. Oh and $25 million.
Good signing by the Nats.
The LaRoche signing likely ends the tenure of OF/1B Michael Morse whose best defensive position is DH. Morse still has a year left on his contract and should bring something valuable back in a trade. However, the Nats would be unwise to unload him any time soon since they don’t run out of a place to play him until April 1. The outfield is set with Bryce Harper, newly acquired Denard Span and Jayson Werth, but I think GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson will keep Morse around through a good chunk of spring training. Any injury to LaRoche or the three outfielders makes Morse pretty valuable. Morse will probably find a new home around March 25 or so.
Speaking of Harper, I had to unfollow him on Twitter. Following a pro athlete is kind of silly since half the tweets end with “ha ha ha” or “LOL” but especially so when he’s asking everybody to pump up his chance to be on a video game cover.
83 days until Opening Day
The end of the Washington Nationals 2012 season in the final game of the NLDS was sudden and cruel for the team and fans. An early 6-0 lead powered by a Jayson Werth lead-off double, a Bryce Harper triple and later a home run, along with homers from Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse had the Nats leading the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals with 18 outs to go and a visit from the San Francisco Giants for the NLCS looming.
The Nats slowly came undone — as described so expertly be Barry Svrluga in The Post. While not an all out sense of dread, the mind wandering to thoughts of a “mayor’s bet” with a friend in San Francisco fought with the the insecurity of a 6-0 lead, then a 6-3 lead and so on. It was a group loss with pitching breaking down from starter Gio Gonzalez to closer Drew Storen and just about everybody in-between. A double-play ball yielding only an out here and there as the Cardinals pecked away at the Nats lead. An insurance run in the bottom of the eighth wasn’t enough either. Storen had the Cardinals down to their last strike over and over again, but couldn’t seal the deal. The loss is his according to the record books, but he’s not on an island. Davey Johnson’s managing was curious, not terribly engaged late and his decision to put in Edwin Jackson seemed like he was trying to hard. Why put in a starter coming off of two subpar outings after a couple of days of rest? I really wonder if Davey was too tired in the dugout. At 69 years old, having dealt with serious health problems too, the late start may have taken a toll. Nobody in the bullpen retired the first batter of an inning either, just brutal.
The loss, not inevitable, but not surprising as the game went on was tough. The 12:29 a.m. finish wore me out and the next morning came quickly. I hardly had time to pout though – an energetic 4 year old bouncing off the walls, floors and parents prevents that. He cared not that the Nats loss, though he had celebrated the walk-off win the night before. Perhaps he had the right idea and whether by design or as a way of coping, I pretty much went along with it. There is another factor too – the events at my alma mater over the last year or so have forced a perspective on mere wins and loses and how much they matter. Trust me, I’d gladly be in the position of other Nats fans who are still hurting over a shocking elimination. Maybe I’m still in the “derrrrrp, we have a team mode” and need to get over it too.
In the end, the Nats had an astonishing regular season, beating my wins prediction by 12. They were in first place most of the year, but ran out of gas late. Nationals Park came alive and BeltwayLand embraced the team more than ever. Being “the Nats guy” in the office was fun and an icebreaker for the first time. It is never easy going into as Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler say, “the season of silence” (particularly with the Capitals locked out) but the good overwhelmingly outweighed the bad.
Spring training is about four months away, Opening Day, less than six…
So, all Washington Nationals are washing finding their lucky t-shirts, eating and drinking the same thing as they did on Sunday, right? In this 5-game series, a 2-1 deficit seems like one that cannot be conquered, right? Particularly after giving up 20 runs in two games to the defending world champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. DOOM had descended on Natstown. Bad Natitudes seem rampant on Twitter.
Ross Detwiler, a Missouri native, is the starter for D.C. He’s not been good lately. Against the Cardinals too. Jordan Zimmermann may be called in if Detwiler falters. Because he pitched so well in game 2?…..
On the bright side, this is a real elimination game instead of the ones that used to happen in September and August. Maybe July.
Apparently, Mike Rizzo shutting down Stephen Strasburg has made the Washington Nationals the most-hated team in MLB (USA Today). Interesting. Other GMs aren’t really happy that Rizzo put the player’s/agent’s future ahead of the game. In the short-term, they ought to be happy the Nats aren’t at all full strength. Of course, even a rank amateur fan is aware that if you don’t score, you can’t win and that was the the Nats problem yesterday too. About a dozen runners were left on base yesterday. Ouch.
Michael Morse left five runners on base in his first two at bats. That’s painful. Lots of questioning of his future on Twitter.
Frank Howard is throwing out the first pitch today. Hopefully the Nats bring him aboard in some capacity moving forward.
WELL PLAYED CARDINAL BANK, WELL PLAYED
Cardinal Bank revises Metro ad – DC Sports Bog, The Post
DON’T WORRY, CHICKEN MAN IS ON IT
PLAY BY PLAY
I think I’m happy to have Dick Stockton’s 1-2 errors an inning over the strange Long Island/Midwest hokum of Bob Costas. Game time is 4:07 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2012 Washington Nationals regular season came to a close with 5-1 beatdown of the rival Philadelphia Phillies. Behind Edwin Jackson‘s six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of 1-run ball, the Nats won their 98th game of the season, exceeding everyone’s expectations. Home runs by Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Morse fueled the Nats attack as they tied up the season series with the Phillies in the final game.
Zimmerman’s 4th inning home run off Cliff Lee came right after Teddy won the President’s Race for this first time. The man know how to rise to the occasion.
Moore knocked in Morse after a double in the 4th. Moore also homered in the sixth.
Morse homered in the 8th.
Jackson’s win was his 10th in 21 decisions.
Over 37,000 tickets were sold for the Wednesday afternoon game, pushing the season average over 30,000.
So, what do I do about my mayor’s bet with the Ombudsman? The Cheesesteak/Half-Smoke Challenge ends tied at 9 each. I joked the other day that we needed to stuff a half-smoke in a cheesesteak and split it two ways.
I predicted the Nats would win 86 games this season; they won 12 more and have a chance to win up to 11 more in the playoffs. Wow.
The Nats travel to either St. Louis or Atlanta to face the Cardinals or Braves in game 1 one of the NLDS on Sunday, time TBD. Count on an afternoon game though.