Posted tagged ‘Washington Nationals’

Ballpark Review: Nationals Park

May 10, 2015

Franchise: Washington Nationals

Year Opened: 2008

Capacity: 41,418

Game Attended: September 5, 2014 v Philadelphia Phillies

Section 409, Row 1, Seat 1

With the third ballpark review, I take on Nationals Park. It’s a nice park with some cool aspects to it, but it fails to single itself out from the other modern parks. Despite that, I enjoyed my time and recommend knocking this park out next time you visit D.C.

1) Aesthetics- 16/25

Exterior- 4/5

The exterior is pretty modern looking and different than most parks so I like it. Also, the left field gate is my favorite gate of any stadium so far. You just walk past the entry and boom, you’re on top of the field left seats as players are taking BP.

Interior- 7/10

I love the scoreboard and the stadium is nice (as it should be when it’s less than 10 years old) but there isn’t anything special about the place. There is no cool skyline in the distance, no unique design to the fence or its alignment, or any other distinguishing feature. It is about as regular as a park can look without being a cookie-cutter stadium.

Backdrop- 5/10

From select seats in the upper deck you can see The Capitol building which is really cool, but only a handful of fans get that view. Moreover, there is a lot of construction and ugly buildings visible in the backdrop, which hurts its rating. That said, it still has a solid look to it.

2) Seats & View- 12/15

Sight lines- 4/5

I sat in the upper deck and had a great view of the game. On the third base side I could still pick up what kind of pitches were being thrown and had a great vantage point of all the players so I could track their movement. From walking around, I could tell there were other great views. I thought the left field seats were really cool. When you walk through the main gate in left, the seats are right there, straight ahead. I’ve never seen a stadium with a design like that, but I thought it was awesome and it gave a great view of the game, the bullpen, and the scoreboard.

Proximity- 4/5

Like most new parks, seats are built closer to the action than ever before.

Comfort- 4/5

No complaints from me.

Best Seat- Left field

3) Atmosphere- 11/15

Fan Participation- 4/5

Even though the team has been good the past few years, I wasn’t expecting much of a fan base. I was pleasantly surprised at the game I was at. Fans were vocal in support and they have even had a special “Nats” chant for each run scored. This fan base has potential so long as the Nats keep winning.

Attendance- 3.5/5

I went to a September game, on a Friday, in a season where the Nats won 96 games. It was crowded, but they could have drawn more.

Fan Knowledge- 3.5/5

4) Attractions- 4/15

Museum & Team History- 1/10

There is no team history. And through no fault of their own, there is little team history to show off.

Stuff to See and Do- 3/5

Much like The Bank, there isn’t much in the way of anything at the park.The boardwalk area is alright and featured a live band. The team store was really big with a nice selection, but it was the only such store I saw. Also, there is a cool wall with fat heads of the players and a height chart, so that you can measure yourself compared to a Nationals player.

5) Food & Drink- 7/10

Hot Dog- Ballpark foul. I didn’t have one.

Best of the Rest- 7/10

There was a good amount of food choices, especially in right field where they had some boardwalk-esque atmosphere going on. From what I remember though, the food there was relatively expensive. But they had anything from burritos to Caribbean jerk chicken. I ended up with chicken fingers, which were alright, but extremely salty.

6) Game Entertainment & Presentation- 5/5

The Brewers may have started the mascot races in the Majors, but the Nationals mastered it. The Racing Presidents are by far the best racing mascots in baseball and they get physical with it. Some fans might enjoy this more than the game itself.

7) Cleanliness- 4.5/5

The park was clean, as it should be when it’s new. The concourse is pretty open and the bathrooms were nice.

8) Local Scene & Location- 1/5

There is none. You have to take a crappy transportation system and the stadium is kind of in the middle of nowhere. There are food carts and a restaurant right outside the stadium, but that is it.

9) Access & Cost- 2/5

Tickets are a little bit on the costly side, but it is not too bad and the upper deck tickets are pretty cheap. However, you will find yourself spending a lot on food, drink, and transportation getting there. Otherwise I would have given a better cost score as far as their game tickets go.

Access is terrible though. Driving is tough and using the location transportation is terrible. You definitely need to take time to plan out how you will arrive here.

10) Misc +2

Stats & Info- 1

Concourse- 1

Tradition- 1

The president’s race!

11) Personal Opinion- 3.5/5

I think the park is better than what my overall score will show. As I have mentioned, it is a nice, clean park with a good atmosphere and a couple cool aspects such as the player height chart and the boardwalk area. But overall, there is no special quality to the stadium to separate it from the other modern stadiums (like PNC has with the skyline or ATT with the bay). I do recommend a game here.

Overall Score- 68/115

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Tigers Trade Doug Fister to Nationals

December 3, 2013

This evening the Detroit Tigers traded starter Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray, and Ian Krol. The Tigers continue their busy off-season but I’m not so sure I’m a fan of this deal.

Doug Fister is a very sold #2-#3 pitcher. From 2010 through 2013 he has posted fWAR’s of 2.6, 5.2, 3.5, and 4.6. He has consistently posted a mid 3’s FIP and has excellent control. While he may not strike a lot of batters out, he has a great walk rate and ground ball rate, so he doesn’t give up many home runs. The result of walking few batters and allowing few long balls means he’s effective at not giving up runs. He will be turning 30 in 2014 and is cost-controlled through the 2015 season.

Steam projects Fister to have a 3.3 fWAR in 2014. At $5mil a win, that’s $16.5mil in value. If he is a 3 WAR pitcher in 2015 at $5.25mil a win, that’s $15.75mil in value for a two year total of $32.25mil. Fister made $4mil in 2013 after his season arbitration eligible season. Using the 40/60/80 rule we can expect Fister to make $9.9mil in 2014 and $12.6mil in 2015. However, I don’t think that’s realistic. One reason being that his salary increase from 2013 to 2014 would be over a 100% increase. I think we can more reasonably look at a $6.5mil contract for 2014 and a $9-$11mil contract in 2015. As a result, his net value for 2014-2015 is an estimated $16mil.

Steve Lombardozzi will be cost-controlled for the next four years. He is a second baseman but can be used in the utility role for Detroit between second, short, third, and the corner outfield. While he has a great minor league track record, he has struggled mightily in his first two seasons at Washington. His above average BB rate in the minors has fallen to 3.7% through 700+ PA leading to a career wOBA of .281. Ouch. Now, he may still have potential yet because he is young and has a minor league track record. But starting in 2015 he will have to be paid a few million dollars to produce at replacement level production.

The Tigers will also be getting relievers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray. Now, Ray still is a starting pitcher. But through three minor league seasons he has struggled with walks and home runs, which points to a career as a future reliever if he can’t fix his problems. Ian Krol is a former starter himself before the Nationals converted him to a reliever. He is a lefty which is valuable out of the pen and had a decent rookie season. The Tigers have been trying to fix their pen for a couple seasons now so one can see where they are coming from in this trade.

I just don’t think you trade a great starting pitcher for your utility guy and a couple relievers. The Tigers don’t have any ready replacement for Fister in the rotation and his production at the ML level over the next two seasons will be greater than anyone they are getting back in the trade. As a team that is looking to win it all NOW I don’t see how the team helps them NOW.

As for Washington, they get a solid starter for their backup second baseman and utility player and some relievers. I like it from their perspective. They have a good rotation as it is and the addition of Fister will help separate them in a relatively weak division (outside of Atlanta). I don’t think the package Washington is giving up is worth the $16mil of value they will be getting from Fister.

 

Divisional Preview: NL East

March 20, 2011

Not much of a prelude here, the NL East by far is the best division in the National League. The Braves and Phillies are probably the best two teams in the league, and Marlins would be competing for the divisional title in the other two divisions.So lets get to the predictions.

1) Philadelphia Phillies (93-69)

They are the best team in the league, easily in my opinion. Between Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt I just don’t see how they can falter, even if the Braves have a great season. That’s three probable HOF pitchers, still on the top of their game, and another AS-caliber pitcher. They will be contending in just about every single game they play this season. The bullpen may be the team’s weakest point, but it’s not bad enough to be of major concern. Brad Lidge may be Mr. Inconsistent, but Ryan Madson is a good reliever who will make important appearances late in games.

The biggest blow to their title run is the probable loss of Chase Utley. It’s such a shame because Utley has probably been the best player in baseball outside Albert Pujols the past half decade. Yet he never got the MVP hardware he deserved and more than ever it looks like we will never see the 7+ WAR Utley again. Don’t me wrong, the skill is still there, but he has the body of a 70 year old man. I don’t want to say his career is over, because that’s quite dramatic, but it’s on life support in my opinion. Losing Utley is devastating because Polanco and Rollins and Ibanez aren’t young doves anymore, and replacing Jayson Werth with Ben Francisco and a raw Domonic Brown isn’t going to lead to more runs. The offense has been a strong point for the Phillies during their recent power grip on the NL East, but the 2011 version could be their worst offense of the past few seasons.

That said, the Phillies should win the division once again.

Players to watch: Domonic Brown, Shane Victorino

2) Atlanta Braves (90-72)

Although the Phillies appear to be the easy favorites, the Atlanta Braves have a real chance of winning the division. The rotation isn’t as good as the Phillies ungodly rotation, but it’s still one of the best in the NL. Tommy Hanson is a stud, and as long as their healthy, Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, and Jair Jurrjens make a good 2-4. Moreover, Mike Minor should be a big asset for the Braves at the bottom of the rotation. Last year in nine starts, he had a K rate above 9, a BB rate in the 2s, and an FIP of 3.77. Are those numbers he would have kept up across a full season? Probably not, but the point is the kid is the real deal and I expect big things from him. And despite the loss of Billy Wagner, the bullpen will be a strength once again with Johnny Venters, Craig Kimbrel, Scott Linebrink, etc.

Now here is where I make a bold prediction. The Braves offense will be better than the Phillies offense. Brian McCann is a severely underrated catcher, Freddie Freeman is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Uggla is one of the best hitting second baseman in baseball, Chipper Jones can still produce with the bat, Martin Prado is an above average bat, and Jayson Heyward is already an MVP candidate in just his sophomore season.The Braves can get on base, they can slug, and they can score runs.

I don’t think they’ll catch Philadelphia, but they sure will give Philly a run for their money.

Players to watch: Jayson Heyward, Mike Minor

3) Florida Marlins (84-76)

The Marlins will be 2011s biggest surprise. In the NL East they are overshadowed by Philadelphia and Atlanta, but they have a winning roster capable of contending and winning in the NL West and NL Central. The staff is led by Josh Johnson, a stud pitcher who should have won the 2010 Cy Young award if he had not hurt his back. After him, the Marlins have a pair of solid pitchers in Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez. Rounding out the rotation are question marks in Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad, but if they work out the Marlins will have a tough rotation. Florida also completed a bullpen overhaul in the off-season and now have several good arms to complement Leo Nunez, Clay Hensley, and Burke Badenhop.

The Marlins have a very young offense that has the potential to be scary good in the future, and possibly 2011. They are led by Hanley Ramirez who is already one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball history. Also leading the attack are young players in Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan, and power hitter Mike Stanton. They may not have the firepower to hang with Philly and Atlanta, but make no mistake, Florida is a good team.

Players to watch: Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson

New York Mets (79-83)

Ah, the poor old New York Mets. Between the mistakes of Omar Minaya to the Ponzi Scheme, the Mets have become a giant joke in baseball. But with the hiring of Sandy Alderson, the Mets seem serious about making a return to prominence. Unfortunately for Mets fans, that return won’t be in 2011. First off, the rotation is shit considering Johan Santana will miss most of the season. That means the Mets will have to rely on the likes of Mike Pelfrey, RA Dickey, Chris Capuano, Pat Misch, etc. I actually like Jon Niese, but he is not a top of the rotation pitcher. And outside K-Rod, the bullpen isn’t good either.

The lineup is a little bit more potent, but it’s not exactly good. Ike Davis is an up and coming first baseman, and even with “struggles” the past couple years, David Wright is a star player at third. Even Jason Bay could have a good offensive season. But what can they expect from Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Angel Pagan? Was Pagan’s 2010 season a fluke? Can Beltran still play? Will Jose Reyes return to his old self? If not, 2011 could be a long and dreary season in Queens.

Players to watch: Jose Reyes, Ike Davis

5) Washington Nationals (69-93)

The future is bright in DC. 2011- not so much. With Bryce Harper figuring to make his debut in 2012 and with Stephen Strasburg ready to return in 2012, the Nationals could soon be a contender. But for now, they are still a last place ball club.

Without Strasburg, the rotation is not good. Jordan Zimmerman has a future, and Tom Gorzelanny is okay, but they will be giving lots of starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, and Jason Marquis. On a positive note, the bullpen is good, led by Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Sean Burnett.

The lineup should be more potent than the past with the acquisition of Jayson Werth to team up with Ryan Zimmerman, but as a whole the lineup is nothing special. The Nationals are hoping Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa can emerge as good everyday players, but they may still experience growing pains in 2011.

Players to watch: Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmerman

 

Nationals acquire Tom Gorzellany

January 17, 2011

From the Chicago Cubs for two pitching prospects and outfield prospect Michael Burgress.

 

Color me unimpressed. Yes, Burgess lost his organizational top 10 prospect status. But he has still has high potential and real talent. Scouts love his tools and rave about his defense. So even if there is concern about declining power and high K rates, it’s all good if he can be a plus fielder and average at the plate. Whether or not it’s a good deal will hinge around the other prospects, but for a guy like Gorzellany, Burgess seems like a high price to pay.

Not to pile on the guy, but Gorzellany isn’t special. He is 28 and by the time he is a FA in three seasons, he will be 31. So he’s not a young kid. His career K/9 is under 7, his career BB/9 is over 4, and his career HR/9 is just under 1. He is not special and has not shown the ability to be a good or great pitcher. Granted, his FIP over the past 180 innings or so is around 3.9. But he is not good at any of the things a pitcher can control- walks, K’s, and HR allowed. His GB% is below average. So why trade for him? Because he’s cheap and under team control? If so, that’s a bad reason, when the price you’re also paying is a prospect like Michael Burgress and two other potentially good prospects.

UPDATE: Another prospect is AJ Morris. He is 24 and hasn’t pitched above A level. So he isn’t a top prospect because of his age. BUT he has posted good numbers and BA says he has the best slider in their system. What was Washington’s motive in this deal? I don’t see it.

Jayson Werth is a Washington National

December 5, 2010

In what has to be the most surprising news of the off-season, the Washington Nationals have signed Jayson Werth to a 7/$126mil contract. WOW.

This is totally out of nowhere. I really thought Werth would be headed to Detroit, Boston, or stay in Philly. If you recall, I had Werth worth about $99mil over five years. When I project it out further, I think he’ll be worth about $121mil over seven years. So the Nationals are overpaying a little bit. But not by much.

For Washington, I love the move, but hate the contract details. They are relatively close to contending so I like that they are trying to make a splash and bring in a quality player. It keeps the fans happy and makes the current team better as they wait for Strasburg to get healthy and Bryce Harper to develop. BUT, seven years is a long time. By the time the Nationals young talent is ready to aim for a playoff spot, Werth figures to be done as a high impact player. Once those days are over, he will be vastly overpaid for his talent and the contract will handcuff the franchise.

So I give the contract a C+ for the team. They do get better and bring excitement back to the ball club, but by binding themselves to Werth for so long, it could hinder their ability to make moves in the future, which is when they are going to want to make moves as their young talent will be ready for lift-off.Moreover, this seemingly takes them out of the running for Cliff Lee so it appears that FA battle will be a showdown between the Yankees and Rangers.

As for Werth…I’m surprised. I would have thought he would want to go to a team where he could win the World Series. Boston, Philly, or even Los Angeles and San Francisco. But money speaks and more importantly, I take it he likes the security of seven years. But where is the loyalty these days? Juan Uribe went to Los Angeles just weeks after winning in San Fran and now a Phillies favorite is going to a divisional foe. I remember the story of Jackie Robinson retiring because he was traded to the Giants from the Dodgers. Nowadays, players would welcome the trade with open arms.

 

Chicago White sign Adam Dunn

December 2, 2010

In baseball’s big news of the day, the White Sox have signed slugger Adam Dunn to a 4/$56mil deal. Dunn will be paid $14mil per yer through his age 31-34 seasons.

Dunn is a fantastic hitter who has lost a lot of value over the years because of atrocious defense. But now it appears that Dunn has accepted the fact he is better suited at first base or DH, rather than the outfield. In the end, that could save him some value, although the DH penalty is still severe enough that he needs to hit no matter where he plays to have any significant value.

The contract will cover Dunn’s early 30s, which could have no impact or a negative impact. Players do get worse as they age, but age 31-34 isn’t so old anymore. He should still be able to mash the ball and the age won’t impact his defense if he is at DH or 1b. However, his body type usually does not age well. Again though, 31-34 isn’t that old anymore, so we might not see his decline just yet.

Dunn will be going into a homer haven, much like the one he played in during his Cincy years. That could possibly boost his numbers, at least at home. In the end though, analyzing Dunn is tricky. He has been a consistent, great hitter over the course of his career. He shows no sign of decline, except for age. But we do know that his body type does decline earlier than most and we don’t know how he will react if he becomes a hit only player in Chicago.

I started Dunn out at 3 WAR and decreased it by 0.5 each season as he gets older. In the end, using my estimates, the White Sox will overpay for Dunn by a total of $10mil, or $2.5mil per season. That’s a fair amount, but it’s not that bad. Moreover, it’s possible Dunn does continue to hit well and outperforms my predictions. I ran this with him producing total WAR’s of 10.5 and 11, each of which brought him closer to the $56mil salary he is being given. Moreover, Chicago has been dying for a power hitting lefty for sometime now. He is a great addition to the lineup, so he could be worth more than his projected $46mil value to Chicago. The White Sox figure to build teams that will contend each season, so Dunn should be worth more to them than to the Kansas City Royals, for example.

This may have been a slight reach for Chicago, but they get the player they want at a decent price and Dunn gets his money.

 

My take on a Justin Upton trade

November 21, 2010

The biggest rumor swirling around baseball these days is a potential Justin Upton trade. At first it seemed like Arizona was just toying around, but apparently they are serious and a few other teams want to get serious with Arizona. A potential trade of this magnitude has probably never occurred before in baseball  history.

I mean, we have a 23 year old All-Star, with a VERY FAVORABLE contract for the next five seasons, who has HALL OF FAME potential. A player like that isn’t put on the trade market very often. As Dave Cameron wrote back in July, “he’s not a star yet, but not only could he become one, he could be the best player in baseball”. I’d have to agree.

So lets do some calculations!

So for those keeping score, that’s a net value of $104.25mil! No joke. And if you ask me, his WAR estimates might even be a little too conservative. The scary part is that by age 27, he should just be entering his best seasons.

Using Victor Wang’s prospect value chart, we know that a top ten hitting prospect is worth $36.5mil, a top 11-25 hitter is worth $25.1mil, and a top level pitcher is worth about $15mil. So yeah, trading for Upton means trading away any prospect of value in your system.

As a Yankees fan, a trade is intriguing. We’d be getting a potential Hall of Fame, at the ripe age of 23, and chances are he’d be a Yankee for life well beyond 2015. As the Yankees deal with lofty contracts belonging Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, among others, Upton will be relatively cheap. Especially from 2011-2013. Swisher will be gone after 2011 or 2012 anyway, with no internal replacement in sight. Trading for Upton would allow New York to trade Swisher, who could fetch a couple decent prospects which would somewhat “re-stock” the system after a possible Upton trade. But who would the Yankees give up?

The first name to pop up is obviously Jesus Montero. He is the number one positional prospect in baseball and many project his bat to play like Frank Thomas or Manny Ramirez as a catcher, if he can stick there. Would I give up him? Yes, but it would hurt. It would hurt since he is so close to joining the team after so many years of being awesome the minors. I’ve been waiting forever for him to debut. But he is still just potential. He could flop and fail. Upton has succeeded in the ML already and has Hall of Fame potential, as I’ve mentioned. Give me the sure thing. Especially since he would then probably remain a Yankee well past 2015 when his current deal is up.

Who else would the Yankees have to give up? I’d imagine some names would be Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos, Hector Noesi, and Ivan Nova. Outside Banuelos, I would give all of them up. Dellin could be a beast, but he does have a poor record of staying healthy and I don’t want to miss out on Upton because of the potential of a health-risk prospect. Despite giving up so many good pitching prospects, the Yankees would still have solid arms in Adam Warren, Jose Ramires, and Graham Stoneburner. Plus, we would still have Austin Romine, who I liken to Kurt Suzuki, and Gary Sanchez. Sanchez may be years away, but he is Montero 2.0 and could make us forget Jesus Montero, even if Montero goes onto a stellar career himself.

So if I’m the Yankees, I would seriously look into Justin Upton. What other team should get in on Upton? The Washington Nationals.

It’s time for winning baseball to return to the nation’s capital. They have a growing core in Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, and Bryce Harper. Trading for Justin Upton would give the team a dynamic group of superstars to build around. Zimmerman is arguably the best third baseman in the game. Upton and Strasburg could become the best in the game at what they do. Many think Harper is a prodigy. Having all four superstars on one team would be insane. The Miami Heat of baseball. Plus, they have the pieces to get a deal done. Derek Norris, Jordan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler, Michael Burgess, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen, and so on. Let Arizona pick from anybody in the organization besides their current big three. I really hope Washington is one of the teams getting serious.

The final question is why is Arizona trading Upton? To be honest, I don’t know. He is the face of franchise and while he would bring back a lot of great prospect, why not just take the production he will give you for a well below market value contract? It’s not like Arizona is a shitty team. In the NL West they could easily compete sometime soon. Moreover, while he should fetch the equivalent of $100mil in value, I don’t think Arizona will get that much in actuality, so I think they will be ripped off. I would keep him, but I don’t know what direction Ken Towers want to take the franchise. So we’ll see how this plays out.

It should be fun.