2023 Washington Nationals: "Juuust a bit outside..."

JimRiceHOFer

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Updated roster/moves for the 2023 Nationals:

Starting Lineup (Projected):
C - Keibert Ruiz
1B - Dominic Smith
2B - Luis Garcia
SS - C.J. Abrams
3B - Jeimer Candelario
LF - Alex Call
CF - Victor Robles
RF - Lane Thomas
DH - Joey Meneses

Bench: Riley Adams, Ildemaro Vargas, Michael Chavis, Stone Garrett

Starters:
SP - Patrick Corbin
SP - Josiah Gray
SP - Trevor Williams
SP - MacKenzie Gore
SP - Jake Irvin

Closer - Kyle Finnegan

Bullpen - Carl Edwards Jr., Erasmo Ramirez, Mason Thompson, Thad Ward, Hobie Harris, Hunter Harvey, Andres Machado

Coaching Staff:
Dave Martinez - Manager
Jim Hickey - Pitching Coach
Eric Young Jr. - 1st Base Coach
Gary DiSarcina - 3rd Base Coach
Tim Bogar- Bench Coach
Darnell Coles - Hitting Coach
Henry Blanco - Catching & Strategy Coach
Ricky Bones - Bullpen Coach
Pat Roessler - Assistant Hitting Coach
Bill Mueller - Quality Control Coordinator
Ricky Gutierrez - Run Prevention Coordinator
Dana Sinclair - Mental Skills Coordinator
De Jon Watson - Director, Player Development

Minors Shuttle/Backups/DL:
P - Stephen Strasburg (IL-60), Cade Cavalli (IL-60), Tanner Rainey (IL-60), Victor Arano (IL-60), Josh Rogers, Joan Adon, Jackson Tetrault, Sam Clay, Jarlin Susana, Tommy Romero, Jackson Rutledge, Matt Cronin, Andres Machado, Wily Peralta, Anthony Castro, Sean Doolittle, Paolo Espino, Evan Lee, Francisco Perez, Chad Kuhl (IL-15), Anthony Banda
OF - Jeremy De La Rosa, Robert Hassell III, James Wood, Derek Hill, Yadiel Hernandez, Corey Dickerson (IL-10)
IF - Carter Keiboom (il-60), Jake Alu, Lucius Fox, Yasel Atuna, Jeter Downs, Matt Adams
C - Israel Pineda (il-60), Tres Barrera, Kevin Plawecki

Departures:
Nelson Cruz - signed with San Diego
Erick Fedde - signed with the NC Dinos (KBO League)
Luke Voit - signed with Milwaukee
Anibel Sanchez - free agent
Joe Ross - signed with San Francisco
Cesar Hernandez - signed with Detroit
Reed Garrett - signed with Baltimore
Steve Cishek - Retired
Will Harris - retired

Arrivals:
Matt Adams - signed to a Minor League contract
Thad Ward - Rule 5 pick from Red Sox
Erasmo Ramirez - Resigned with Nats
Jeter Downs - claimed from Red Sox
Dominic Smith - signed as a free agent
Michael Chavis - signed to a Minor League contract
Corey Dickerson - signed as a free agent
Wily Peralta - signed to a Minor League contract
Kevin Plawecki - signed to a Minor League contract
 
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Scoops Bolling

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RF would currently come down between Alex Call and Stone Garrett, with my guess being Call in RF and Garrett at DH (as Call is a solid defensive OF, whereas Garrett is not).
 

Sad Sam Jones

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I feel sorrow for any fanbase that has to discuss the future potential of Alex Call in December. Maybe something really did click for him AAA last year and he's a late bloomer, but when I used to watch him in Akron he looked every bit the appropriate return for the carcass of Yonder Alonso.
 

LogansDad

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RF would currently come down between Alex Call and Stone Garrett, with my guess being Call in RF and Garrett at DH (as Call is a solid defensive OF, whereas Garrett is not).
I'm a big Stone Garrett fan, and would like to see him do well. No reason, really, just the story of a guy with that name toiling away in the minor leagues for a decade finally breaking though would be pretty cool.
 

JimRiceHOFer

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JimRiceHOFer

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Steve Cishek Retires after 13 year career

https://www.masnsports.com/blog/cishek-retires-after-pitching-for-nats-in-13th-mlb-season?fbclid=IwAR0TFLaT8aqn9ya_iDNzWkFhlmbJT4Cg3pvMgL3Qfrc7X0ghjX4MA2lCNLw

Cishek, 36, was one of the sport’s most consistent and durable relievers over a lengthy career spent pitching for eight different organizations. He finished with a strong 2.98 ERA and 1.200 WHIP, making 737 big league appearances, earning a save in 133 of them.

A fifth-round pick of the Marlins in 2007, Cishek spent six years in Miami, then later pitched for the Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, White Sox and Angels before coming to D.C.
 

E5 Yaz

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Steve Cishek Retires after 13 year career

https://www.masnsports.com/blog/cishek-retires-after-pitching-for-nats-in-13th-mlb-season?fbclid=IwAR0TFLaT8aqn9ya_iDNzWkFhlmbJT4Cg3pvMgL3Qfrc7X0ghjX4MA2lCNLw

Cishek, 36, was one of the sport’s most consistent and durable relievers over a lengthy career spent pitching for eight different organizations. He finished with a strong 2.98 ERA and 1.200 WHIP, making 737 big league appearances, earning a save in 133 of them.

A fifth-round pick of the Marlins in 2007, Cishek spent six years in Miami, then later pitched for the Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, White Sox and Angels before coming to D.C.
Falmouth's own
 

mikeot

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Rebonded with my late dad through Nats games from the team's inception. Totally invested fan now. Was at the 2012 playoff loss nutkick, still can't believe they won it all in '19 (too late for Dad, who passed the previous year), maybe because the pandemic elminated a celebratory season to follow. Waiting for the new ownership and what transpires next overall. Right now it would seem to take a miracle to get them out of the bottom of the division.
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Petey Bienel

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I think Garrett is penciled in on most depth charts as the LF, but I think Smith (or perhaps Thomas with Meneses in right) gets some time out there. Dom says he signed to play 1st, but Martinez has said before the signing that he liked Meneses at 1st. Adams is on a minor league contract with a spring invite, so it might be a while before he's called up. I suspect that if Kieboom is healthy he's given 1st dibs on 3rd base and that the team works out some sort of rotation among Garrett, Meneses, Smith, and Candelario among DH, 1st and left. Candelario is a pump and dump signing they hope to trade at the deadline, so I imagine he's a regular between 3 positions (1st/3rd when Kieboom sits/DH). With Robles's bat being such a liability against righties, I wonder if Thomas gets some time there in sort of an offense first then defense sub alignment.

Rainey of course starts the year on the 60 day IL due to his TJS on 8/3/22. I'd be very surprised if they used the top pick in rule 5 on Thad Ward and he didn't find a way onto the roster. May mean Mason Thompson doesn't start the year on the 26 man roster, or Doolittle has to wait to be called up (he's also not on the 40 man roster). Cory Abbott may be on the shuttle, too. Perhaps they keep him stretched out in Rochester given the presence of Espino / Erasmo / Ward on the active roster, but he could break camp if any of the rotation is hurt.

Longish comments on the roster, but they main reason I stopped by is a couple of thoughts on how the Sox managed their home grown stars vs. the Nats since the 2018-19 world serieses (that's the plural, right? :) ). It's cringe-worthy to group an established team with a prolonged stretch of success since '67 and 4 World Series wins plus a few ALCS runs the past 2 decades with the Expos transplants, but Jon Couture's commentary on the Devers signing (https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-red-sox/2023/01/05/rafael-devers-red-sox-contract-details-commentary/ ) hit a nerve with me, particularly the last third of it ("There's a Huge Value in a Reset").

To me, there's a lot of comparisons, starting with both basically being bottom-dwellers in their divisions since their world series wins. Also:
- home grown, big hall HoF candidates (or at least consistent WAR leaders) traded or allowed to walk (Betts, Bogaerts, Rendon, Turner, Soto, plus Harper the year before the WS). Benintendi and Vazquez were below that level, but pretty good home grown players not retained.
- Sale / Strasburg tying up money while providing not that many innings post-WS.
- big declines in TV audience and declines at the ballpark with the start of an alienated fanbase.
- waiting for Mayer to backfill an MI slot while the Nats wait for Brady House.

The comparison can be pushed way too far and of course breaks down. The Sox still are spending to bring in Story, Yoshida, Jansen, etc... and overall have a much more competitive roster. But as the Couture article points out, the Sox found a way to keep the last, home grown potential HoF guy this week in Devers. The guy kids identify with and the "jersey guy." The Sox are not stripping all the way down even if they have some pretty tough divisional opponents they'd have to climb over. As Couture puts it:
At some point, no matter how sports-rabid your fanbase is, you have to give them a jersey player. Signing big free agents is great, but there simply has to be someone too good to let walk.
There's still an "our guy" to root for and identify with. It's a pretty decisive difference from the Nats approach, which is basically we'll take your money for the next 2-4 years while you wait on Wood and Green. I don't quibble with the return on Soto and think the move had to be done and was done well. But man are the Nats hard to stay interested in. Kudos to FSG for keeping trying to bridge to the next crop of home grown talent.

Were the Nats to have kept any of the "jersey guys," I'd think it probably could have / should have been Turner. I'm not giving up on Josiah Gray, but there's a decent chance that the only >2 WAR multi-year player they got out of the Scherzer / Turner deal is Keibert Ruiz. Perhaps that's just a rear-view mirror look at it, but that one seems awful light for a return.
 
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wonderland

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The Nats did keep Strasburg as the home grown guy. Unfortunately, it looks like the WS win shot his and Corbin’s arm which changed the trajectory of things with Turner and Soto.
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Nats sign Corey Dickerson

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/01/nationals-to-sign-corey-dickerson.html

The Nationals and free-agent outfielder Corey Dickerson are in agreement on a one-year deal worth $2.25MM, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The Excel Sports Management client can earn another $750K via performance incentives. The Nats Report first reported that Dickerson and the Nationals were in agreement on a deal.

Dickerson, 33, will join his eighth big league team with this agreement — and his third in the National League East, having played prior stints with both the Phillies (2019) and Marlins (2020-21). His 2022 season was spent with the Cardinals, where he logged a .267/.300/.399 slash with six homers, 17 doubles and a triple in 297 plate appearances. That slash is at least somewhat skewed by an awful start to the season which saw him bat .180/.237/.213 through his first 97 plate appearances; from June 1 through the end of the 2022 campaign, Dickerson recorded 200 trips to the plate and posted a hefty .307/.330/.484 batting line.

In reality, Dickerson’s true talent level likely lies somewhere between the two extremes. The 2017 All-Star and 2018 Gold Glove winner is a lifetime .281/.324/.481 hitter but has settled in closer to a league-average bat since the 2020 season, slashing .266/.313/.403 in 872 turns at the plate.
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Nats sign Juan Soto's brother as International Free Agent

https://www.mlb.com/nationals/news/nationals-sign-elian-soto-13-other-international-free-agents

On Sunday, Elian -- a lefty-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic -- was among 14 international free agents who signed with the Nationals on the first day of the 2023 international signing period. The others are Agustin Marcano, C (Colombia); Andy Acevedo, OF (D.R.); Carlos Batista, CF (D.R.); Manuel Cabrera, SS (D.R.); Jose Feliz, RHP (D.R.); Eikel Joaquin, INF (D.R.); Hector Liriano, OF (D.R.); Juan Obispo, CF (D.R.); Leuris Portorreal, RHP (D.R.); Edwin Solano, SS (D.R.); Carlos Tavares, OF (D.R.); Juan Reyes, LHP (Panama); and Enyerber Rivero, RHP (Venezuela).
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Nats sign Wily Peralta to a Minor League Contract

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/01/nationals-sign-wily-peralta.html

He’s been invited to Major League camp this spring, per the team.

Peralta, 33, was a starter early in his career with the Brewers but has pitched primarily out of the bullpen dating back to 2017. He’s spent the past two seasons with the Tigers — ’21 in the rotation and ’22 in the ’pen — for whom he’s logged a combined 2.93 ERA in 132 innings of work.
 

B H Kim

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Ted Lerner dies at 97 from pneumonia. Gotta think the kids sell asap?
I doubt they sell before the litigation with the Orioles over MASN is resolved. The leading candidate to buy the team is a group that includes Ted Leonsis, who owns another RSN in the DC market and, as of a few weeks ago, reports were that the Lerners were not expected to sell this year because of the uncertainty over team valuations due to the litigation.
 

Petey Bienel

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With Cade Cavalli out for the season due to Tommy John Surgery, it looks like the Nats are going to insert Chad Kuhl as their 5th starter, per multiple reports. Too bad. Cavalli looked very good in his few appearances this spring. MLTR runs through other options, like trying to stretch out Wily Peralta turning to Joan Adon or Cory Abbott, or even signing old friend Anibal Sanchez again.
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/03/cade-cavalli-to-undergo-tommy-john-surgery.html
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Nats cut down roster, narrow Bench and Bullpen races

https://www.masnsports.com/blog/garrett-ferrer-valera-cut-call-named-fourth-outfielder?fbclid=IwAR2qxPLTSMn6lHaObxEKLzSI9Ci1SeM2pHeh9XMhdzj7JH5-ZIZQ1WmOIj4

Those demotions leave three remaining healthy players in camp battling for one remaining spot on the Opening Day bench: infielders Michael Chavis and Jeter Downs, plus veteran first baseman/designated hitter Matt Adams. Chavis provides defensive flexibility, Downs has the highest upside as a former top prospect of the Red Sox and Dodgers and Adams has the most significant track record and the ability to hit for power off the bench.
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Nats recall Jake Irvin to make MLB Debut

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/05/nationals-to-recall-jake-irvin.html

The Nationals are recalling right-hander Jake Irvin from Triple-A Rochester, manager Dave Martinez told the team’s beat (relayed by Andrew Golden of the Washington Post). He’ll start tomorrow evening’s game against the Cubs in what’ll be his big league debut. Washington optioned right-hander Cory Abbott to open a spot on the active roster.

Irvin, 26, has been in the organization for four-plus seasons. The Nats selected the Oklahoma product in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. The 6’6″ hurler has appeared towards the back half of the organization’s top 30 prospects since that point. Baseball America has slotted him between 10th and 23rd over the past four years, including the #22 placement last winter.
 

Ale Xander

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Strasburg with severe nerve damage per ESPN (and everyone else)
Have to figure career is over
 

Petey Bienel

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Fangraphs' Effectively Wild podcast for 7/7 discusses a weird record the Nats are contending for. Nats have been surprisingly good on the road and just awful at home. By a couple of measures, they may in worst place. The difference the Nats overall winning % and their road winning % is close to the worst all time. 1994 Cubs are slightly worse. The Nats have a greater % of their wins on the road (if i understand the measure). The discussion starts at 1:09:55 of the podcast, a little over 6 minutes.

Trade season has started, which has been the most interesting time for Nats fans since 2021. The level of talent isn't a shadow of what was moved recently, but they do have some players who might generate interest, starting with Jeimer Candelario and Lane Thomas, plus two relievers in Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey, and a utility infielder in Ildemaro Vargas. There are a few more vets that they would like to move, but it's harder to think there will be much interest - Corey Dickerson, Dom Smith, and Trevor Williams. I don't take seriously the talk about Patrick Corbin but some beat writers and others connected to the team mention his name as somebody they are trying to move.

Candelario is hitting like his good 2021 (and 2020) with a little less OBP and bit more pop. still a doubles machine but more homers. He's also been having a good year defensively at 3rd. 2.5 fWAR, which leads NL 3rd basemen. A bit of a surprise he wasn't the All Star selection instead of Josiah Gray. He signed pretty cheaply ($5 million with no options), so it would take a serious injury for him not to be moved. I'd be shocked by a last minute extension because there's some talent in the minors that should help by 2025 (Alu, Lipscomb, House).

Thomas is having some luck (.375 BABIP) but .301 / .348 / .501 with 14 homers has some fans and writers wondering if he is piece to keep to add to. 134 OPS+. Washington Post's Jesse Dougherty wrote the Rizzo is pretty proud of his Jon Lester for Lane Thomas trade back in 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/06/29/lane-thomas-nationals-trade/ He's under team control through 2025, so that's another sort of value for a team that doesn't want to pay free agents but is willing to pay arbitration salaries.

Finnegan's overall numbers are poisoned by his first week this season when he was shelled twice by the Braves and the Rays. since 4/7, he has a 1.87 ERA and a 3.17 FIP over 33.2 innings, with 8.82 K/9 and 2.94 BB/9. Hard thrower, turning 32 in september, with 2 years of team control left. Has been shifted back to set up. Harvey has put things together as a reliever who has been staying healthy. Throws 99 with a 4 pitch mix. Added a slider this year, he's less reliant on his fastball than Finnegan. He doesn't turn 29 until December, and has 2 years of team control (sound familiar?). Has been moved to closer. 3.29 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 10.33 K/9, 2.82 BB/9, over 37 appearances and 38.1 IP. Caveat would be he's already matched his MiLB + MLB inning total from last year, which was his most since he still started in the O's system in 2019. I suppose the Nats will listen to offers on both, but the price on Harvey should be higher.

Vargas is 31, a multi-position neutral defender who is having pretty good year offensively (.328 wOBA, .349 xwOBA, .286 / .318 / .440). Became the Nats starting 3rd baseman after the Soto trade last year, steadying the defense, has played short, second, and left for the Nats. He could probably steady an infield position with a bat not much worse than league average as a regular. TBH I sort of wonder if a guy like him would be a fit for the Red Sox if they continue to hang around the fringe of the wild card. He's not a stud, but probably a cheap upgrade at 2nd.

Corey Dickerson was hurt at the start of the year and has been used in a left field platoon. Average is back but his power hasn't shown up. he's on a $2.2 million 1 year deal. Dom Smith has another year of team control. For a while this year, his power rivaled Pete Gray, but his ISO is now up to .071. Has become a nice fielder who has saved a lot of errant throws from CJ Abrams and others. Williams has been providing 5 innings a start with a 4.45 ERA. He's failed to go 5 innings four times in 18 starts, and has given up as many as 5 runs twice. He was a very effective reliever last year, but the reason he signed with the Nats was he wanted to start. He signed for 2 years, $13 million. I think he's more the type of starter a contender would try to upgrade from than bring in as an upgrade, but he could potentially lengthen a bullpen down the stretch. Corbin is probably not movable even if a team were looking for innings or saw him as a reliever due to his contract. He's owed something like $37 million more than Williams, so I just don't see him as movable even if a team could make him middling.
 

LoLsapien

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Sorry if this was covered in the other thread, but do the nats get salary cap relief from Strasburg's retirement? I know they will pay his salary in full but it wasn't clear to me the cap implications.
 

B H Kim

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Rough week for the Nats. Their head of international scouting quit, they canned at least ten scouts, the Strasburg retirement press conference has been cancelled (because it appears that the team may have second thoughts on paying him for his entire contract), and there’s an escaped accused murderer running around DC with a giant Nationals logo tattooed on his throat.