Across the Affiliates 08/17/09

Today is the big day. Some time over the next 15 plus hours, we will find out if the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg will agree on a contract or whether the Nationals will have to settle for the 1A in 2010.

My gut feeling is that a deal will get done. Both sides have too much to lose not agreeing to a deal if the rumored numbers are to be believed (somewhere between $12 and 16 million). My personal hope is that the Nationals are willing to push the limits of their bonus to around $18-20 million. Boras’ demands of $50 million and comparisons to Daisuke Matsuzaka are silly, given that Matsuzaka was procured under a different process. But I also think using a deal from eight years ago (Mark Prior) as the baseline is also questionable, things have changed.

I understand people’s concern with that amount of money for an unproven pitcher, but the time for taking a principled stand was before Strasburg was selected. The Nationals draft and signings to date appear geared towards keeping the lion’s share of the budget available to sign Strasburg. Unlike many MLB teams, the Nationals have yet to break MLB’s slot recommended bonuses by an appreciable amount. In fact, they have made several below slot signings with all indications that they are earmarking those dollars for Strasburg. My question is if they do not sign Strasburg, where are those dollars going to go? Are they again going to make some last minute agreements with some unexpected draft picks? Or do those dollars simply go away.

At the end of today, we will know the answer but I honestly believe the Nationals cannot waste another first round selection. While the story that is being sold to us is that they’ll find value at 1A in 2010, assertions by some that the Nationals will find 90-95% of Strasburg there in 2010 are at best absurd. The expected value of the #2 player is nowhere near what the first overall player will be. Next year’s draft (if it includes Strasburg) will be Strasburg and Bryce Harper in some order at 1 & 2 and then a huge gap before the third best player. If the Nationals are hesitant to get into a large dollar negotiation with Strasburg & Boras in 2009, how can we expect them to want to wade into negotiations with Bryce Harper (& Boras) in 2010 when I believe the bonus demands are going to make the Strasburg ones look minimal?  And given the fact that I doubt Strasburg would grant the Nats the right to redraft him, the Nationals are looking at no better than the third best player in 2010. And to be honest with you, I do not foresee the Nationals selecting the third best player in the draft at 1A because that player will know the Nationals are over a barrel with that pick as it is not compensated again for being unsigned. That means the Nationals will reach for a less talented player who might be more of a #10-15 but willing to take a deal to sign at 1A. Not the ideal return on a pick that is now Strasburg.

I hope (and expect) a deal to get done and if you were ask me to guess, I’ll put the final deal at $17-18 million. The bonus will be somewhere around $8-9 million with the rest in a major league deal designed to get Strasburg to arbitration and free agency as quickly as possible.


  • Friday – Defeated Rochester 4-3 (box). LHP Ross Detwiler won his first game of the season, holding Rochester to five hits over six scoreless innings while striking out five. RHP Josh Wilkie pitched a scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit and striking out one. And RHP Zack Segovia earned his fourth save with a scoreless ninth. RF Kory Casto was 4/4 with a run & RBI; 3B Pete Orr was 1/3 with one RBI; DH Dayrle Ward was 1/4 with one RBI; SS Ian Desmond was 0/2 with a walk & run scored; and CA Jhonathan Solano was 1/2 with a walk, run & RBI.
  • Saturday – Defeated Rochester 9-3 (box). LHP Horacio Ramirez gave up on run on six hits and two walks over 6IP with two strikeouts. RHP Clint Everts pitched 2/3 of an inning striking out one and LHP Jack Spradlin pitched a scoreless inning, also striking out one. CF/LF Norris Hopper was 2/4 with a double, run & RBI; Orr was 2/5 with a double, homer, three RBI & three runs scored; LF/1B Mike Morsewas 1/4 with a three-run homer; Casto was 2/5 with a run scored; and Desmond was 3/4 with a double & two runs scored.
  • Sunday – Lost 8-1 to Rochester (box). RHP Andrew Kowntook the loss surrendering six runs on seven hits and two walks over 2 1/3IP. Spradlin gave up a run on three hits over 2 2/3IP with three strikeouts. Hopper was 1/3 with two stolen bases; Morse was 1/3 with a double; and Desmond was 2/3 with a double & run scored.
  • Today – Syracuse RHP Shairon Martis (3-2, 4.98) at Rochester (pitcher TBA) 12:05PM


  • Friday – Lost to Trenton 4-3 (box/gamer). RHP Luis Atilano took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk over 6 2/3IP while striking out four. LHP Cory VanAllen struck out one over 1 1/3 innings of relief. SS Freddie Bynum was 2/5 with a run scored; CF Francisco Plasencia was 1/3 with a run & RBI; 2B Leonard Davis was 1/5 with one RBI; and RF Ricardo Nanita was 2/4 with a double & run scored.
  • Saturday – Defeated Trenton 2-1 (box/gamer). LHP Matt Chico threw five no-hit innings, walking one and striking out five but did not factor in the decision. LHP Justin Jones threw two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out one. LHP Atahualpa Severino allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk over 2IP with two strikeouts but picked up the win when Joel Guzmanwas hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth. Bynum was 2/3; Davis was 1/4 with a run scored; and DH Marvin Lowrance was 2/4 with a double and RBI.
  • Sunday – Defeated Trenton 3-1 (box/gamer). RHPs Brad Meyers and Drew Storencombined on the six-hit victory. Meyers allowed a run on five hits over 7IP with seven strikeouts and Storen allowed one hit over 2IP with two strikeouts to earn his third save of the season. Davis was 2/3 with a double & two runs scored; 1B/LF Bill Rhinehart was 1/3 with one RBI; and CA Sean Rooney was 0/2 with a sacrifice fly.
  • Notes – Geoff Morrow of the Patriot News has a feature on Storen
  • Today – No game scheduled.


  • Friday – Defeated Wilmington 8-1 (box). LHP Tom Milone allowed an unearned run on four hits over 7IP while striking out six. RHP Cole Kimball and LHP Pat McCoy pitched the final two perfect innings. RF Michael Burgess was 3/4 with one RBI; 1B Chris Marrero was 0/3 with a walk & run scored; SS Danny Espinosa was 0/3 with a walk & run scored; 3B Tim Pahuta was 3/4 with a double, homer, two runs & two RBI; and 2B Michael Martinez was 1/5 with a double, run & two RBI.
  • Saturday – Defeated Wilmington 3-1 (box). RHP Brad Peacock picked up his second win for Potomac, allowing an unearned run on three hits and two walks over 6IP with two strikeouts. RHP Hassan Penastruck out three and walked two over 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. And, Kimball earned his seventh save getting the final out. Burgess was 0/2 with two walks & a stolen base; Marrero was 0/4; Espinosa was 1/4 with two stolen bases; CA Devin Ivany was 2/4 with a double; and CF Boomer Whiting was 2/4 with a triple, run & RBI.
  • Sunday – Defeated Wilmington 4-3 (box/gamer). LHP Will Atwood gave up two runs on five hits and three walks over 5IP with seven strikeouts, but did not figure in the decision. RHP Dan Leathermanpicked up the win with three scoreless innings of relief. Espinosa was 0/4; DH Jesus Valdezwas 2/5 with a triple & RBI; Burgess was 2/5 with one RBI; Marrero was 2/5 with one RBI; and Martinez was 3/3 with two doubles, three runs & one RBI.
  • Today – No game scheduled.


  • Friday – Lost to Augusta 6-3 (box). RHP Marcos Frias gave up two runs on five hits over 6IP with four strikeouts. CF Chris Curran was 2/5 with two doubles, a run & RBI; 2B Stephen Lombardozzi was 1/4 with a run scored; 1B Tyler Moore was 2/4 with one RBI; and LF Robby Jacobsen was 3/4 with a run scored.
  • Saturday – Lost to Augusta 5-4 (box). RHP A.J. Morrissurrendered four runs on four hits and three walks over 5IP while striking out two. Lombardozzi was 2/4 with a stolen base, run & RBI; CA Derek Norris was 1/4 with a run & RBI; SS Steve Souza was 1/3 with a double & stolen base; and 3B Nick Arata was 2/4 with two doubles & a run scored.
  • Sunday – Defeated Augusta 4-1 (box). The Suns snapped a seven-game losing streak as RHP Pat Lehman struck out five over 6IP, allowing a run on four hits. LHP Ricardo Pecinapicked up the win with three scoreless innings of relief, striking out three. Curran was 1/2 with a stolen base & RBI; Lombardozzi was 1/3 with a double & run scored; Norris was 0/3 with a walk & run scored; Moore was 3/4 with two RBI; and Arata was 3/4 with two runs scored.
  • Today – Augusta (pitcher TBA) at Hagerstown RHP Paul Demny (2-9, 4.94) 7:05PM


  • Friday – Defeated State College 5-3 (box/gamer). RHP Matt Swynenberg allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over 4 2/3IP while striking out three. LHP Clayton Dill picked up the win, striking out four over two scoreless innings of relief. 2B Francisco Soriano was 2/3 with a double & two runs scored; SS Sean Nicol was 0/2 with a run & RBI; RF J.P. Ramirez was 1/4 with a stolen base; LF Destin Hood was 1/2 with a homer & three RBI; and CF J.R. Higley was 0/2 with one RBI.
  • Saturday – Defeated State College 4-3 (box/gamer). LHP Paul Applebee made his Vermont debut, allowing two runs on four hits over 5 1/3IP with two strikeouts. LHP Evan Bronson threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and RHP Jose Pinalespicked up the win with a scoreless inning. Nicol was 2/4; Soriano was 0/3 with two walks; Ramirez was 0/4 with one RBI; Hood was 0/4; 3B Justin Bloxom was 1/2 with a run scored; and DH Yhonson Lopez was 1/4 with a triple, run & two RBI.
  • Sunday – Lost to State College 10-5 (box/gamer). LHP Chad Jenkinssurrendered five runs on four hits and three walks over 2IP. Soriano was 1/5 with a run; Nicol was 1/4 with a run; Ramirez was 2/5 with two runs & one RBI; and Hood was 1/4 with a run scored.
  • Today – No game scheduled. NY/Penn League All-Star break.

GCL Nationals

  • Friday – Defeated GCL Astros 18-5 (box). LHP Graham Hicks gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk over 5IP whiles triking out seven. RHP Dean Weaver pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out three. CF Eury Perez was 3/5 with a double, run & two RBI; 3B Adrian Sanchez was 1/5 with a double & run scored; B hendry Jimenez was 2/3 with one RBI & three runs scored; 1B Brett Newsomewass 4/5 with a double, homer & five RBI; SS Justino Cuevas was 2/6 with a double & three runs scored; DH Yeurys Tejeda was 2/5 with a homer, three runs & five RBI; and LF Naoya Washiya was 3/5 with two runs & two RBI.
  • Saturday – Defeated GCL Mets 4-3 (box). RHP Brandon Kingpicked up the win, allowing two hits over five shutout innings while striking out six. Perez was 2/4 with a run scored; Cuevas was 2/4 with a double, run & RBI; and Newsome was 2/4 with a double, run & RBI.
  • Sunday – Game with GCL Marlins postponed by rain.
  • Today – No game scheduled.

DSL Nationals

  • Friday – Defeated DSL Cubs1 5-2 (box). RHP Manuel Rivera gave up two runs on four hits and three walks over 5 2/3IP while striking out three. LHP Raudy Almonte picked up the win with 2 1/3 shutout innings of relief and RHP Rafael Guerrero picked up the save striking out two in an inning of work. CF Jesus Morales was 2/4 with a run scored; LF Elvin Rodriguez was 3/4 with two runs scored; CA Bill Pena was 3/4 with a run & RBI; and 1B Juan Urdaneta was 2/4 with one RBI.
  • Saturday – Lost to DSL Orioles 9-0 (box). LHP Gregory Baeztook the loss, allowing just an unearned run on one hit and two walks over 6IP with three strikeouts. Urdaneta had the only DSL Nats hit.
  • Sunday – No game scheduled
  • Today – DSL Nationals at DSL White Sox 10:30AM

  1. #1 by rosco - August 17th, 2009 at 08:39

    Tell me what he has that other pitchers do not besides hype? Is what he has worth THAT much more money?

  2. #2 by Brian Oliver - August 17th, 2009 at 08:46

    Is he worth it? Yes and no. I have a hard time picking sides in a negotiation between a billionaire and a potential millionaire. At the end of the day, I want the team I root for to do what it takes to make themselves better. The Nats will be better with Strasburg than they would be with the 1A in 2010.

    But the underlying point is that it was well-known he was demanding “THAT much more money” when the Nationals selected him. If the Nats made the selection they had to know that there was a possibility that he was going to hold firm to “THAT much more money” and if they were not willing to go there, then they should have went in a different direction with the pick.

  3. #3 by ‘Nats fan in NJ - August 17th, 2009 at 08:52

    For $20M, you have to sign him. Those are crazy numbers, but I think the Nats have more to loose. At $25M and above, then it’s just ridiculous and I can understand why they would walk away.

    Brian – Any of our other unsigned picks have a chance of signing, by chance?

  4. #4 by Brian Oliver - August 17th, 2009 at 08:56

    This is from BA’s Jim Callis … “With [Miguel] Pena, sounds like the Nationals gave him one ultimatum too many earlier in the summer”

    That’s disappointing, because I believe teams should sign all of their round 1-10 draft picks and ideally all of their top 20-25 guys.

    As for others, I hope to see a surprise or two but not ones like last year where Marcus Jones and JP Ramirez were signed once it was clear HWSRN was not going to sign.

    Give the fans Strasburg plus a couple of other names.

  5. #5 by Ted Leavengood - August 17th, 2009 at 09:00

    I hope they realize that he is worth more. I think Boswell’s estimation of $16 million in ticket sales lost if he walks and quite a few gained says what the guy is worth. Even if he blows his arm out next June, they will get that much in retained season ticket holders and new season ticket sales. So he is worth $20 million easily to the franchise, much more if he stays healthy.

    The slow but steady development of Detwiler, Brad Meyers and Storen would look great as part of that story. The Nationals are starting to have some rotation depth if they can keep some of these guys healthy. They just don’t have the front of the rotation guy with Zimmermann down and that is why this franchise has to sign Strasburg if they are serious about turning the situation around.

    What will drive me near the edge will be having to watch Stan Kasten spin it if the whole thing blows up. Everyone has a role to play in this charade, but I would really prefer to keep his character off stage. I really would.

  6. #6 by cjrugger - August 17th, 2009 at 09:02

    I know it’s a pointless stat, but it’s pretty amazing it took Detwiler 22 starts to get a win this year

    Dissapointing year for Hicks, I had hoped he could make the jump into the top 10 this year

    And Eury Perez is a stud! Brian- do you remember what his bonus was? Hope to see him pushed to Hagerstown next year

  7. #7 by Brian Oliver - August 17th, 2009 at 09:04

    Perez bonus was not anything of note for the international talent pool IIRC

  8. #8 by cjrugger - August 17th, 2009 at 09:16

    Wow, thanks. Great find

    Intersting story from the draft, Angels signed Univ Washington QB Jake Locker but he’s still going to play football (been rated as a 1st rounder for next year)

  9. #9 by sportsfan882 - August 17th, 2009 at 09:18

    Brian, you would rather have that moron Aaron Crow over Drew Storen? seriously?

  10. #10 by Brian Oliver - August 17th, 2009 at 09:21

    sf – Did I say that?

    No I did not.

    What I said is that the Nationals cannot afford to be principled at this point. Whether or not you like Crow is irrelevant. The Nationals wasted a year of development … regardless of who was selected/not signed. It appears that Storen is giving them a good return on investment but the Nats cannot afford to repeatedly gamble like that.

  11. #11 by Robin - August 17th, 2009 at 09:23

    Brian, I will probably get attacked for this but the real Nats fans will continue going to the games regardless of whether they sign Strasburg or not. I agree with Rosco in questioning if he worth the money they are asking.

  12. #12 by Nick - August 17th, 2009 at 09:23

    Good Morning Brian. I noticed that a lot of teams similar to the Nats in terms of cheapness (Pirates, Royals, Astos) really rolled the dice at the draft and won. They went for the previously thought unsignable types and spent the money to sign them by going way above slot. I know that the Nats needed to save the money to sign(?) Strasburg, but I’m starting to wonder wether they should have done it the Pirates way. They were aggessive and really had an impressive draft. Any thoughts?

  13. #13 by cjrugger - August 17th, 2009 at 09:27

    If they didn’t think he was worth the money (15mil +) then they shouldn’t have drafted him. At this point they need to pony up

    Robin- How many “real” Nats fans are there? I’d say I’m a big fan but my interest will decrease if he isn’t signed tonight

  14. #14 by Brian Oliver - August 17th, 2009 at 09:30

    Robin – You won’t get attacked by me. It is a lot of money for a pitcher. But my issue will remain that this was all known before the draft. If Nats were concerned with risk/reward, they should have drafted differently. My issue is with wasting picks and years of development

    Nick – Teams are going overslot. And you are right that they are teams that normally don’t do this. I have always been advocate of exploiting the draft rules by signing multiple guys overslot. I understood the Nationals were not likely to do this in 2009 with the Strasburg pricetage, but that implies he gets signed. I

  15. #15 by Upperdec - August 17th, 2009 at 09:44

    If the Nats don’t sign Strasburg AND don’t sign a significant number of players and overslot amounts, this draft will be a collosal failure that the ownership and management should have to answer to.

    That would be 2 years in a row of having one of the lowest investments in player development in the majors for a team that has the worst record.

    Hoping it doesn’t happen but if the two happens it will piss me off about Nats management.

  16. #16 by Dick - August 17th, 2009 at 10:03

    Will we ever get over Crow? At this point, Storen is tearing up AA after tearing up A earlier. Crow is still unsigned.

    That Nats didn’t waste any time with the Crow pick. Storen is surely going to get to the Majors first.

    It becomes clearer by the day that the problem was Crow, not the Nats. Short of having a Godfather signing, you know either your signature or your brains will be on the contract, Crow wasn’t signing with us. It appears he might not sign with KC. I suppose it is fair to assume the scouts should have determined the guys was nuts before we drafted him. One has to assume that having a big league career is not on the top of his list of priorities.

  17. #17 by dd - August 17th, 2009 at 10:06

    Has Norris hit a wall? At first, I thought it was due to a possible focus on catching, but boxscores show he has still been DHing.

  18. #18 by Brian Oliver - August 17th, 2009 at 10:09

    dd – It is his first full season of pro baseball and as a catcher I have to imagine there is a certain degree of wear/tear that has caught up with him

  19. #19 by Steveo - August 17th, 2009 at 10:15

    sportsfan: Its not only a matter of comparing Crow to Storen, but who they could have had last year. If the Nats had taken Smoak or Wallace then we would have had our “impact bat” and 1B of the future. Jemile Weeks would look pretty nice on our 2b depth chart, and Aaron Hicks could be the next Carlos Beltran.

    Storen is a nice pitcher but at the end of the day he’s a closer, and that value will always be lesser than a starting pitcher or position player. On top of that Storen was no better than the 15-20th best player in the draft and we took him 10th. I understand the reasons why, and hopefully it works out for the best for the Nats. But if it does that is a sign of luck not good strategy.

  20. #20 by Steveo - August 17th, 2009 at 10:21

    Dick: Storen may get to the majors first but I’d still rather have a Starter (if Crow wasn’t crazy) or an everyday allstar like Smoak, or Hicks than a closer. 15 years from now will we really care that Storen made the majors before Hicks when he’s going to his 12th straight allstar game. Or Smoak is winning silver slugger and gold gloves year in year out. The fact of the matter is we shouldn’t have drafted Crow to begin with. That’s on our scouting department/GM, regardless we lose value from pick 9 in 2008 to 9a in 2009.

  21. #21 by Ronny/Daggerrrrrr - August 17th, 2009 at 10:29

    Brian, you remember I asked you who you thought was better between Tom Milone and Will Atwood and you said that Atwood should have the better career because he was more talented. Given how these two are performing now, do you still think Atwood is the better pitcher now and long term?

  22. #22 by Dick - August 17th, 2009 at 10:33

    I’d rather have had Joba Chamberlain than Colton Willems. Not many people had a problem when Crow was picked; in fact, many pundits thought we had ’stolen’ the best right hander in the draft. If we knew then what we know now, we wouldn’t have picked Crow, would we? Mercifully, we are getting a new GM and scouting department soon.

    Moral of the story, I guess we never get over Crow, do we? There is nothing Storen could ever do to exceed what Crow might have done.

    Better sign Strasburg then! Brian is absolutely right that the 1a options pale by comparison.

  23. #23 by Andrew F. - August 17th, 2009 at 10:44

    $20 million is only large in the context of money given to draft picks. That’s it. While I understand that’s the only context there should be, you can’t tell me it’s not worth $20 million (or more) to try to find out if you have a potential ace. It’s worth the chance when you see the dollars thrown around these days for run of the mill free agents.

    Yes, it’s two different worlds, but you almost have to look at both to paint this picture.

  24. #24 by Bill Wanner - August 17th, 2009 at 10:45

    dd— the latest talk about Norris is he might wind up being the first baseman of the future. he seems to have hit the wall as you say, numbers here are kind of stagnite right now.

  25. #25 by Steve - August 17th, 2009 at 11:22

    Yes it’s a lot of money. Yes there is a good chance that SS never lives up to the hype. However, Ryan Zimmerman said it best “If you’re an organization that is going in the right direction and wants to get better, you have to sign No. 1 draft picks”. Like it or not if the Lerner’s fail to sign SS it does send a message to other potential baseball players. The Nationals by a set of circumstance, some beyond their control and some due to mismanagement are not in a very strong bargaining position. The risk reward ratio here is that if the Nationals due not sign SS the organization will suffer a large setback. If SS becomes a top notch pitcher for the Nats both will be rewarded financially and image wise. If SS becomes a top notch pitcher for another team he will always be looked at as the one who got away. Very few fans remember the signing bonus amount of their players. Almost nobody looks back at the Prior signing and thinks that the Cubs were foolish. This is a player who is the consensus number # 1 pick, if he does not work out there will be very little second guessing inside the baseball community which is where the Lerner’s need to learn how to play ball.

  26. #26 by bdrube - August 17th, 2009 at 11:58

    If the Nats fail to sign Strasburg, I will not be renewing my season tickets. I’ve paid thousands of dollars over the past three seasons to watch a AAAA club and I’m getting sick of it.

    Not signing him, for whatever reason, is an indication that the team is not serious about getting better. The pattern in that regard is clear now, from not signing Crow, to not firing Bowden immediately after last season’s debacle to not firing Acta after they started 1-10.

    For perspective, I’ve been a Ravens season ticket holder since the came to Baltimore. They also were lousy the first few years, but they were obviously committed to getting better and by season five won the Superbowl. By contrast, the Nats in season five are the laughingstocks of MLB.

  27. #27 by Scooter - August 17th, 2009 at 13:11

    If I’m not much mistaken, that sweep of Wilmington vaults the P-Nats into first place. Well done, boys.

  28. #28 by Andrew Stebbins - August 17th, 2009 at 14:36

    Brian, Jim is right about Pena. “This is the final offer” loses its meaning after the first three times.

  29. #29 by Jane - August 17th, 2009 at 17:30

    Nice article on Drew Storen!!!!!!!

  30. #30 by RD - August 17th, 2009 at 17:57

    According to SI, the team offered Strasburg 12.5mill and he turned it down, which led to the reports about possibly not signing him.

    I know that even two days ago was still relatively early in the negotiating process, and it all comes down to now.

    But if the Nats play hard ball at that price, he’s not getting signed. To me, you had to know it was going to be AT LEAST 15mill. I understand if left room for the team to negotiate and act like they were coming closer, but they better improve the offer, because there’s no way they thought they’d get him for that price tag.

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