Archive for category Washington (MLB)

Plotting Out Strasburg’s Debut

Now that it appears that Stephen Strasburg is ready for the majors, I wanted to take a look an see how his starts might map out over the next few months.

First, here is a calendar tracking the schedules of both Washington and Syracuse.

I figure the Nationals are lining up Strasburg to make his major league debut at home some time during the June 4-10 homestand against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It makes sense from a business standpoint to have Strasburg debut at home (see CapPun).

Here are two ways things may play out …

Scenario One: He stays on his regular turn, going every fifth game.

  • at Pawtucket on 5/17
  • VS TOLEDO on 5/22
  • at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on 5/27
  • at Buffalo on 6/1
  • VS CINCINNATI on 6/6 [MLB debut]
  • at Cleveland on 6/12
  • VS CHICAGO (AL) on 6/18
  • VS KANSAS CITY on 6/23
  • at Atlanta on 6/29
  • VS NEW YORK (NL) on 7/4
  • VS SAN FRANCISCO on 7/10

That’s not bad. They get one more home start for Strasburg in Syracuse and five of his first seven at Nationals Park, including a 4th of July showdown with the Mets.

Scenario Two: Throw in some extra days of rest.

  • at Rochester on 5/18 (+1 day of rest has been rumored)
  • VS TOLEDO on 5/23
  • VS SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE on 5/29 (+1 day of rest)
  • VS CINCINNATI on 6/4 (+1 day of rest for his MLB debut)
  • VS PITTSBURGH on 6/10 (gets an extra day due to an off day on 6/7)
  • at Detroit on 6/16 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS KANSAS CITY on 6/21
  • at Baltimore on 6/27 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS NEW YORK (NL) on 7/2
  • VS SAN DIEGO on 7/8 (an off-day for the Nats is included)

Once again, the Nats get five of his first seven major league starts at home, but they have Strasburg facing the Pirates instead of the White Sox (Chicago seems likely to draw better). And he also wouldn’t face the Mets on July 4 which is likely to draw regardless of who may be pitching. The added benefits here are an extra home start for the fans in Syracuse along with a benefit for DC fans, having Strasburg start up the road in Baltimore vice down in Atlanta (plus it throws a bone to MASN).

The only wild card I could see is this schedule

  • at Rochester on 5/18 (+1 day of rest)
  • vs Toledo on 5/24 (+1 day of rest)
  • at San Diego on 5/30 (MLB debut at home for Strasburg)
  • VS CINCINNATI on 6/4
  • VS PITTSBURGH on 6/10 (gets an extra day due to an off 0n day on 6/7)
  • at Detroit on 6/16 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS KANSAS CITY on 6/21
  • at Baltimore on 6/27 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS NEW YORK (NL) on 7/2
  • VS SAN DIEGO on 7/8 (an off-day for the Nats is included)

Would the Nationals give Strasburg the chance to debut in his hometown?


Confirming the News

The news has been released elsewhere and I wanted to confirm the story. The Washington Nationals have granted media credentials to five “online-only” Nationals blogs (I have no problem calling myself a blog). Nationals News Network, Federal Baseball, Nationals Daily News, Nats320, and I have media credentials for the 2010 season at Nationals Park. I’ll leave it to Patrick and Dave to discuss the specifics.

First, I want to thank the Nats for granting me this opportunity. I never intended to receive any such consideration when I started this site back in 2005. I consider it a compliment.

It’s surreal to think that a site created to track the progress of Ryan Zimmerman in Savannah and Harrisburg has led to this.

Second, and more importantly, I am trying to get my head around this. As the guy who has tracked the minor leagues for almost five years, I am not sure how much new content I can provide at Nationals Park itself. I see the value when players like Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen make their major league debuts. Additionally, I see some value in facilitating some in person relationships with Nats management, specifically the guys who run the scouting and player development.

I am trying to determine how I can most effectively utilize this new responsibility.


Mock Down; Bernadina Up

Courtesy of Mark Zuckerman, the Nationals made some major league moves today. They placed Mike Morse on the DL with a strained calf and recalled Roger Bernadina from Syracuse. Hopefully, Bernadina will get some regular playing time in RF and not just sit on the bench. With Ryan Zimmerman’s hamstring injury, maybe Willie Harris can play some 3B while Bernadina handles right field (though apparently Adam Kennedy is starting at 3B today).

Additionally, the Nats made room for Livan Hernandez, today’s starting pitcher, by sending Garrett Mock to Syracuse. The Nats don’t need to worry about another SP until later in the week and an extra arm in the bullpen should help.


Couple of Items

  • The Adam Kennedy signing is official. This again puts the Nats at 41 on their 40-man roster. A corresponding move is being made but has yet to be announced.  My guess is it’s going to be an arm. The names that jump out at me are Luis Atilano, Jess English, or Doug Slaten.
  • The Post has apparently brought Adam Kilgore back to replace Chico Harlan on the Nats beat (H/T to Mike Harris). Kilgore has been covering the Patriots for the Boston Globe but has some history covering baseball. It’s a solid hire.
  • And Baseball America has their latest round of minor league transactions: Nats signed: LHP Mike Venafro and re-signed OF Edgardo Baez. The 36-year old Venafro was born in Takoma Park, MD; he has not pitched at the professional level since 2007. While Baez returns to the Nats in 2010. The 24-year old Baez will have to sit out the first 17 games of the season as he completes his suspension for violation of the drug policy; I’ll say he starts in Harrisburg.


Report: Nats Sign Chien Ming Wang (Update)

Pete Abraham of has just that former Yankees RHSP Chien Ming Wang has decided to sign with the Nationals.

From’s Bill Ladson

Wang is still recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery that he had in late July. As of last week, Wang was throwing from 120 feet and is not in any pain. There is no timetable as to when Wang will throw off a mound.

I really like this gamble. Entering the off-season, there were three rehabbing pitchers I hoped the Nationals. Ben Sheets was my #1 guy but Wang was a close #2. As a sinker ball pitcher, I think any potential loss in velocity is minimized.

Update … it seems that Abraham may have jumped the gun. Mark Zuckerman, Ben Goessling, Chico Harlan and Bill Ladson are all reporting that no deal is done


Goal Reached …

Thanks to those who contributed. If you check the counter on IE vice Firefox, you’ll see that Mark Zuckerman reached his $5,000 goal in less than 36 hours.

For those who contributed, thank you.

If you haven’t, you should still feel free to contribute. The cost that Mark estimated was $5,000 but I am certain he cut that estimate to the bone. Any extra can help him in carrying his work over into the regular season (i.e. getting to out of town locations [hotel, travel, food]).

It’s amazing and impressive what a grassroots effort can pull together. We’ve all given Mark the resources to get to and stay in Viera for spring training. Now, he has the opportunity to deliver on his plans for Nats coverage from mid-February through early April.


The Times

It appears that some time over the next few days, the Washington Times sports section will be no more. I’ll refer you to Dan Steinberg’s Bog posting for the details.

I wanted to take the time to thank them for everything they’ve done with regards to Nationals coverage. While the Post only had one beat writer following the team, the Times employed two guys to cover a team that just turned in back-to-back 100 loss seasons.

The Times was the one local media source that provided regular coverage of the minor leagues for the Nationals.

Putting aside the politics of the Times as a whole (which really had no influence on the sports coverage), we as Washington sports fans and specifically fans of the Nationals are going to be considerably poorer when the inevitable end of the sports section arrives.

I want to thank the entire Times sports staff and wish them best of luck.

But I would like to single out Mark Zuckerman and Ben Goessling. They have been tremendous resources for me here at NFA and I am, without question, going to miss their coverage.

So when you are toasting in the new year, please consider thanking these guys for what they’ve provided and wish them best of luck wherever their future may take them.

I know I will.


Whitesell Returns; Nats Add Bruntlett

Just released from the Nationals

The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with first baseman Josh Whitesell and infielder Eric Bruntlett on 2010 minor-league contracts that include invitations to big league Spring Training. Nationals Senior Vice President & General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Whitesell returns to the Nationals after two seasons in the Diamondbacks organization, including 46 major league games in 2009. He seems destined for Syracuse in 2010.

Bruntlett is an interesting signing. He has spent the past two seasons in the utility role for the Phillies. He can handle any spot but CA so it wouldn’t shock me to see him make the 25-man in 2010


Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Back on July 12, 2006, the Nationals made what at the time was a huge deal for them.

The Washington Nationals today acquired outfielder Austin Kearns, shortstop Felipe Lopez and right-handed pitcher Ryan Wagner from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-handed pitcher Gary Majewski, left-handed pitcher Bill Bray, infielder Brendan Harris, shortstop Royce Clayton and right-handed pitcher Daryl Thompson.

Why do I bring this up today? Well, according to Cincinnati reporter , the Reds today ourighted Thompson from the 40-man roster, ostensibly ending what ended up being a pretty uneventful deal.

The only players remaining with their respective team is Bray who underwent Tommy John surgery this year and Thompson.

The other principles of the deal have either been released, traded or outrighted from the Nats or Reds. And for the most part without much to show for it on the field.

Here are their respective stats just for their next organizations

KEARNS 390 1503 1286 177 311 63 4 34 159 7 8 179 270 242 346 376 484
LOPEZ 325 1354 1202 147 301 58 8 13 97 49 20 119 223 250 320 344 414
WAGNER 3 5 5.05 40 0 7 0 46.33 56 32 26 5 23 29 1.71 4.5 5.6 1.3
CLAYTON 50 164 149 13 35 8 0 2 13 6 3 11 32 235 290 329 9
HARRIS 8 11 10 2 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 4 200 273 500 5
BRAY 7 6 3.84 111 0 22 3 89.00 99 45 38 8 38 91 1.54 3.8 9.2 2.4
MAJEWSKI 2 6 7.38 88 0 18 0 78.00 134 67 64 10 22 46 2.00 2.5 5.3 2.1
THOMPSON 0 2 6.91 3 3 0 0 14.33 20 11 11 3 7 6 1.89 4.4 3.8 0.9

None of the three players acquired by the Nationals returning anything near the results anticipated with Lopez playing his way out of DC, Kearns cratering in his final two seasons, and injuries forcing Wagner to retire.

The returns for the Reds was not that much more impressive. Majewski immediately came up lame (which led to much complaining and a protest from Cincy). Bray is injured and likely will not be ready until late in 2010 at the earliest, Thompson had a cup of coffee, Clayton finished the year with the Reds with less than stellar numbers, and Harris hardly played before being dealt to Tampa Bay in the off-season for an unknown return.

It goes to show that even as big a deal that appeared at the time, the final results (still TBD to some degree) have fallen far from huge.


Updated Organizational Chart

I have once again updated my best guess of the Nationals hierarchy. There are still some unknown players in the chart (my pet rock of an overseer of the Pacific Rim a prime example).

The next step we have is the announcing of the coaching staffs. To date we have …


  • Manager: Jim Riggleman (returning, had interim tag removed)
  • Bench Coach: John McLaren (replaces Pat Corrales)
  • Hitting Coach: Rick Eckstein (returning)
  • Pitching Coach: Steve McCatty (returning)
  • First Base Coach: TBD (replaces Marquis Grisson)
  • Third Base Coach: Pat Listach (returning)
  • Bullpen Coach: TBD (replaces Randy Knorr)

Overall Minor Leagues

  • Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Spin Williams (returning)
  • Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Rick Schu (replaces Ralph Dickenson)
  • Minor League Field Coordinator: Bobby Henley


  • Manager: Trent Jewett (replaces Tim Foli; Jewett was Potomac manager in 2009)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD (replaces Darnell Coles)
  • Pitching Coach: TBD (replaces Rich Gale)
  • John Poppert served as the bullpen coach in 2009, no idea if this role will be retained


  • Manager: Randy Knorr (replaces John Stearns)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD (Troy Gingrich in 2009)
  • Pitching Coach: Randy Tomlin (returning)


  • Manager: TBD (replaces Jewett)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD (Jerry Browne in 2009)
  • Pitching Coach: TBD (Paul Menhart in 2009)


  • Manager: TBD (Matt LeCroy in 2009)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD (Tony Tarasco in 2009)
  • Pitching Coach: TBD (Franklyn Bravo in 2009)


  • Manager: TBD (Jeff Garber in 2009)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD (Sergio Mendez in 2009)
  • Pitching Coach: TBD (Mark Grater in 2009)


  • Manager: TBD (replaces Bobby Henley)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD (Paul Sanagorski in 2009)
  • Pitching Coach: TBD (Joel Sanchez in 2009)
  • Cesar Cedeno was a coach in the GCL in 2009, no word if this position will be refilled


  • Manager: TBD (Juan Bernhardt in 2009)
  • Hitting Coach: TBD
  • Pitching Coach: TBD