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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Injuries from opening day

From Nationals.com (Bill Ladson): “Center fielder Nook Logan suffered a hyperextended left foot, while shortstop Cristian Guzman suffered a mild left hamstring strain. Both players are listed as day to day.” It is noted that Kory Castro could be called up if Logan goes on the DL.

Also: “The Guzman injury appears to be a lot worse” and if he can’t play “second baseman Felipe Lopez will move over to short and Ronnie Belliard will be the second baseman.” Lopez is quoted as noting that he Lopez doesn’t want to move again.

Tonight: RHP Shawn Hill vs. LHP Scott Olsen.

Olsen has started 35 games in the majors, and has amassed a record of 13-11, with an ERA of 4.03. 201 IP, 187 Ks, 85 BB.

Hill started 3 games in 2004, but only made it to a total of 9 innings. 1-2 record and 16.00 ERA. In 2006, he started 6 games, and did much better - appearing in 36.2 IP 16 K 12 BB 4.66 ERA (1 W 3 L).

Monday, April 02, 2007


Nationals lose first game of 2007 2-9, Patterson out after 3.2 IP

First game of the season is over. Nationals lost. Patterson lasts just 3.2 innings (80 pitches) before being pulled for a rule 5 pick-up. Patterson gave up 6 runs to start the season with an ERA of 14.73. Jimmy LeVale Speigner finished the fourth, and pitched the fifth and sixth innings, giving up just 1 run to leave the game with an ERA of 3.86. Bowie came in for the 7th inning, and gave up 2 runs, leaving with an ERA of 18.00. Jesus Colome then came in to pitch the 8th inning and 9th, and while he gave up 2 walks, he also struck out one batter, and didn’t give up a hit or a run. It wasn’t pretty (30 pitches, 16 strikes, 14 balls), but Colome ended up the only pitcher on the Nationals side to not give up a run. Shortstop Josh Wilson to first baseman Dmitri Young for the last out in the top of the 9th inning. Wilson to Young?

On the Marlins side - Willis left after 100 pitches, and 6 innings, after giving up just 1 earned run (and 1 unearned), off of 1 walk and 7 hits, while also striking out 3 (1.50 ERA). Some guy named Jorge Julio came in to “close” for the Marlins. Yes, yes, I recall, Julio was the O’s closer back when I paid attention to the O’s. Jorge made it interesting, walking Church, and throwing 13 pitches in the 9th (8 balls, 5 strikes), but the Nationals scored no runs in the 9th.

Batting - Young hit two doubles, and Zimmerman hit a triple. Logan left the game with his batting average at 1.000 (1 for 1; he came out injured). I’m not certain, but Guzman apparently injuried himself swinging, and missing, the baseball. I’ll have to look later to see what happened with Guzman. He left the game 0 for 3.


First Game Underway: Nationals Losing

John Patterson vs. Dontrelle Willis

Florida up in second inning. Scored 1 run in top of first to lead off game (After 1.2 innings, Patterson has an ERA of 16.20 according to the GameDay log).

Line-Up: Nationals:
Lopez, Felipe 2B
Gusman, SS
Zimmerman, 3B
Kearns, RF
Young, 1B
Schneider, C
Church, LF
Logan, CF
Patterson, P

So far: Zimmeran got his first hit of 2007 in his first at-bat with 2 out, and Kearns immediately got his 1st LOB when he got the third out of the inning.

Giving up 2 more runs in the Second, Patterson's ERA drops to 13.50. Nationals now up in the Second, with Young leading off with a ground out. Schneider up for his first time in 2007. 2 strikes 2 balls. 5th pitch, in play, Out (Ground out). Church up for first time. Called strike. Ball, low, outside corner. Another called strike. . . . Now full count. another foul. 8 pitches so far thrown to Church. Another ball - Church walks with 2 out. Logan up for first time in 2007. Ball, in the dirt, can't really tell with GameDay. 3rd pitch - IN PLAY, NO OUT - ground ball to center - Church to 2B, Logan to 1B. Pitcher Patterson up. 2 strikes. Swinging strike - inning over.

. . . .

Game continues, I return to watching . . . and not "talking" . . .

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Quick note, mostly to remind myself

Nationals preseason games on MASN:

From e-mail just received. Now if I can remember when the date occurs, and also remember what channel MASN is on my system.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Fick rejoins the team, at least at the Minor League level; 3 Catchers?

With Harper sent done to AAA (outrighted, with the possibility someone else would claim him), the question became, who will back-up Brian Schneider? Well, Robert Fick joins the recent Rule 5 pick-up Jesus Flores as contenders for the back-up role. Jesus Flores is a rule 5 pick-up and must remain on the major league roster for the entire season (or be given back, and other odd little rules). Considering that the Nationals seemed to like playing with just one declared catcher, Schneider, in past seasons (with Fick and the like bouncing between the infielder and catcher column on the roster), the likelihood of Fick’s rejoining the team, with Flores cemented to the major league roster, would seem to be slim, no?

On the other hand, there was talk of the need for a back-up at first-base, so there is room for another utility man. Other potential back-up first-basemen appear to be less likely to join the team in that limited capacity (at least that is what I’ve read concerning Larry Broadway).

So, will the Nationals actually enter the season with three “catchers”? One that sometimes struggles at the plate (Schneider), one that struggles behind the plate (Fick), and one that was last seen in high A ball (Flores)?

Flores is now 21 and has played three seasons in the minors. He played at the Rookie level and Low A in his first season. He played a combined 48 games that season, with an batting average of .319 at the Rookie level, and .333 at the Low A level. He then spent the entire 2005 season, his second, in A ball, hitting just .216 in 82 games. In 2006, he advanced to A+, or High A level baseball. In 120 games, he hit .266 and 21 home-runs and 32 doubles. Those 21 home-runs in 2006 is both a milestone for most hit by him, and the first time he went past 7 home-runs in a season. As a fielder, he had 5 errors in the Rookie league in 2004 and 7 errors in A ball in 2005. The 2006 stats appear to be missing on Baseball Cube.

Considering Flores should probably now be exploring AA pitching instead of major league pitching, there does seem to be some need to have an extra body on the team that can fill in at catcher for small stretches.

And that’s my attempt to write a column length article about Fick getting a minor league contract and an invitation to Spring Training.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Nationals acquire two more players late last night

ok, maybe not late last night, but I first noticed it through the 8:30 pm article on Nationals.com

Two more relief pitchers added (though one is fighting to be a starting pitcher). Both signed to non-guaranteed Minor League contracts. LHP Ray King, 32, and RHP Jason Simontacchi, 33, join the fight for a roster spot on the Nationals major-league club. King could add another left-handed pitcher to the bullpen, joining Bowie, and Simontacchi wishes to be one of the Nationals starting pitchers.

King played in 67 games for the Colorado Rockies last season, picking up a ERA of 4.43 for the season. King notes that he played in mile-high Denver, and his stats should be better in Washington DC (check out The Beltway Boys for King's road/home record).

Simontacchi last played in the majors in 2004, during which he injured his arm ("tore his right labrum").

Oddly, the St. Louis Cards city paper made note of the recent signing of Simontacchi and King with the Nationals. Ah, of course. Forgot to mention that Simontacchi was playing with the Cardinals in 2004. The paper notes that Simontacchi, though currently slated to fight for a spot in the rotation, appeared in just 13 games in 2004, in relief, before injuring himself. He tried out for the Cubs in 2006 (this past season), but didn’t make the team. Mostly because he failed the physical. Apparently, what caught the Nationals attention, according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, is Simontacchi’s current record in the Dominican league.

This winter, he's pitched in the Dominican Republic and in his first four starts went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA over 22 innings. That caught the Nats' attention.

The signing of King is briefly mentioned in one paragraph in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. Something about King being traded from the Cardinals club to the Rockies before the 2006 season started.

Right, some Baseball-Reference information: Jason William Simontacchi stands 6' 2" and is reported to weigh somewhere around 185 pounds. He is right handed both for pitching and batting. He has appeared in the majors in three seasons. He debut came in 2002 with the Cardinals (entire major league career with Cards), and went 11-5 with an ERA of 4.02 in 24 games started. In the 143.2 innings he pitched in 2002, he gave up 134 hits, 64 ER, 18 HR, and 54 walks to 72 strike-outs. He also hit 6 batters and threw 1 wild pitch. He ended up ranked ninth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting. In 2003, Simontacchi went 9 and 5, with an ERA of 5.56. He started 16 games and entered 30 games in relief. In the 126.2 innings he pitched in 2003, he gave up 153 hits, 78 earned runs, 21 home-runs, and 41 walks to 74 strike-outs. Before injuring himself in 2004, Simontacchi appeared in 13 games, as mentioned, but more specifically in 15.2 innings of relief. He gave up 17 hits, 9 ER, 5 HR, and 7 walks to 3 strike-outs in those 15.2 innings to end up with an ERA of 5.28 for the season. He has a career .200 batting average.

Simontacchi did not play in 2005, and spent the 2006 season with an independent league team, the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. Simontacchi appeared in 10 games, all in relief, and ended the year with a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 0.84 (catching on as to why I noted the Nationals picked up two relief pitchers?).

Ray King stands 6' 1" and weighs a reported 230 pounds. He has had two seasons where his ERA fell below 3, and 4 more seasons where his fell below 4. In his 365 innings pitched (all in relief), King gave up 330 hits, 133 ER, 27 HR, and 156 walks to 252 strike-outs. His 8 season career ERA currently stands at 3.28. Since 2001, King has appeared in at least 67 games a season.

Other Things Noted
- None of the three Cards blogs that I had put up for the World Series mention either Ray King or Jason Simontacchi in their most recent blog posts.

- Harper outrighted, thanks for noting that information Farid. Yes, who will be the Nationals back-up catcher, now?

Monday, December 18, 2006


Roster Moves: Unless there are Problems with the Physical, Vidro now a Mariner

Since last I blogged: Roster updates:

Jose Vidro was traded to the Seattle Mariners for OF Chris Snelling and right-hander Emiliano Fruto. The trade is on hold until Vidro’s Monday physical. Vidro had a no-trade clause in his contract, but he agreed to the trade after discussing it with the Mariner’s skipper and with his wife (Vidro’s wife, not the manager’s wife). Vidro was told that he would be their DH, and backup at 1B, 2B, and 3B. With Vidro’s trade, Lopez will move to second base (played 12 games at 2B in career), and Guzman will cover the short-stop duties.

Christopher Doyle Snelling, 25 (birthday: December 3, 1981), was signed by Seattle as a amateur free agent March 2, 1999. He made his major league debut May 25, 2002 with the Mariners against the Orioles. In three major league seasons Snelling has appeared in 59 games, and his 2006 appearance in 36 games is his most ever, to this point. He hasn’t exactly shown anything, yet, in the majors, so the reason for his acquisition by the Nationals must be due to potential. In three seasons, Snelling has hit .237, with 2 SB and 3 CS, 5 HR, 1 triple, and 8 doubles. Snelling has played 38 games in RF (265 innings, 33 GS, 1 error), 14 in LF (119 innings, 14 GS, 0 errors), and 1 in CF (1 inning, ball never hit near him). For his 59 major league games, Snelling has already made $1,244,500.

As mentioned, his acquisition is based on potential, so let’s check out his minor league stats. Snelling started in 1999 at the age of 17 in low A ball. In 8 minor league seasons, Snelling has played at the low A, high A, double A, AAA, and Rookie level (for some reason, after playing 47 games in AA, and 18 games in AAA in 2003, Snelling spent the entire 2004 season at the Rookie level, unless the website I’m using is wrong). Snelling appeared in the AAA in three seasons. In 2003, Snelling played in 18 AAA games, hitting .269, striking out 12 times to 5 walks, hit 3 home-runs, and 2 doubles, picked up 1 stolen base, and his OBP was .333. Snelling then appeared in AAA in 2005 for 65 games. In those 246 at-bats, Snelling hit .370, hitting 8 HR, 2 triples and 17 doubles, while knocking in 46 runs (RBI). He was caught stealing more often than he successfully stole a base (3 CS to 2 SB), and struck out more often than walked (43 SO vs. 36 walks). In 2006 he appeared in both the majors and AAA. In AAA, Snelling appeared in 69 games, and in those 241 at-bats, he hit .216. He had 13 doubles, 1 walk, 5 home-runs, and 39 RBI. His strike-out to walk ratio suffered (60 K to 31 BB), though he managed to get more stolen bases than get caught trying to steal (4 SB, 2 CS). In the minors, Snelling has only appeared in the outfield. He has 11 errors in the minors. Apparently he isn’t particularly speedy, and/or hasn’t mastered the base-paths yet, doesn’t have great power. He has a tendency to strike-out more often than walk, though there are several seasons when he walked more often than struck-out.

Columbian Emiliano Fruto made his major league debut last season on May 14, 2006. The right-handed reliever stands 6' 3", and is reported to weigh anywhere between 170 (Baseball Cube) and 235 (Baseball Reference) pounds. In his first season in the majors (at the age of 22), Fruto pitched in 36 innings in 23 relief appearances. He ended up with a record of 2-2 and an ERA of 5.50. In those 36 innings, Fruto gave up 34 hits, 22 earned runs, 4 home-runs, 24 walks, hit 2 batters, and threw 4 wild pitches. He also struck out 34 batters. He has played 6 seasons in the minors. Like Snelling, Fruto started when he was 17. Unlike Snelling, Fruto started in the Rookie leagues. He entered the Seattle system as a starting pitcher, but was quickly transformed into a relief pitcher (starting pitcher complete first season, 13 GS in second season with 20 relief appearances). He has appeared in AAA in three seasons (2003 - 1 game, 4 inning pitched, 0.00 ERA, 1 win 2 K 2 BB; 2005 - 9 games, 11 IP, 1 win, 2 losses, 13.09 ERA, 12 K, 11 BB; and in 2006 - 28 games, 45.1 IP, 1 win, 3 losses, 3.18 ERA, 55 K, 21 walks).

Both look like the could use a little more seasoning in the minors, though both might get a chance this season. Fruto appears closer to making the transition to the majors (maybe more because the Nationals need pitching, and Fruto appears poised to make the transition).

Other roster news:
11/8/06 Signed RHP Jesus Colome to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.
11/14/06 Purchased the contract of RHP Jermaine Van Buren from Triple-A Columbus.
12/07/2006 catcher Jesus Flores and right-handed pitcher Levale Speigner selected in Rule 5 draft.
12/14/06 Signed RHPs Chris Schroder and Chris Booker, LHP Mike Hinckley, OF Kory Casto and C Brandon Harper to one-year contracts.

28 year-old right-handed-relief-pitcher Jesus (De la Cruz) Colome made his major league debut in 2001 and has appeared in 186 games in the majors. 6' 2", 170 pound Colome has a record of 11-22, with an ERA of 4.73. In 251 innings pitched, Colome has given up 244 hits, 141 walks, and 34 home-runs, while striking out 201 batters. He has three errors, and has never gotten a major league hit.

6' 1", 220 Jermaine Russell Van Buren made his major league debut in 2005. The 25 year-old has a major league record of 1-2, 9.00 ERA in 16 games (19 IP). In those 19 innings pitched, Van Buren has given up 16 hits, 19 ER, 1 home-run, and fifteen walks, while striking out just 8 batters.

2007 season
Currently, the Nationals list three starting pitchers on their depth chart:
1. Patterson
2. O’Connor
3. Hill

I’m worried.

Catcher seems covered with Schneider & Harper. 1B has Johnson, who we all hope remains healthy. 2B now has Lopez, who has only played 12 games at the position in his major league career. Castro is Lopez’s back-up on the on-line depth chart. Oddly enough, the depth chart has Guzman last, with three players ahead of him for the SS role. It is likely that Guzman will be the SS, with Castro, Zimmerman, and Lopez his back-up. Zimmerman covers 3B with Castro his back-up. Casto and Church are penciled in for LF, though there is talk that Snelling might get the chance to play LF. Logan, Church and Escobar will fight for center field. Kearns is in right with Church penciled in as his back-up.

I would not want to start the season today with three starting pitchers. When and how are we going to get the starting pitchers we need?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Manager Acta, Soriano gone, Roster moves

As expected, Soriano is no longer a member of the Washington Nationals. Soriano is now a Cub, after signing the "fifth largest contract ever". He officially became a Cub yesterday after passing a physical. He signed an 8 year contract worth $136 million.

"It's a big contract, but that's not my goal," Soriano said. "My goal is to play hard and give you a championship for the city. That's my goal. It's not about the contract."

The Nationals new manager, Manny Acta, officially joined the team one week ago on November 14, 2006. Acta was the third base coach with the Expos in 2002 to 2004, and spent the 2005 and 2006 baseball seasons with the Mets as their third base coach. While this is Acta’s first manager job in the majors, he worked as a manager in the minor leagues, and lead his team to the 1994 New York-Penn League Championship series. Acta’s 1999 Class A Kissimmee team won the Florida State League Championship. Acta moved up to the big-leagues in 2002, joining Robinson’s Expos coaching staff.

10/3/06: Released RHPs Brian Lawrence, Pedro Astacio, Felix Rodriguez, Zach Day and Ryan Drese and LHP Joey Eischen.
11/6/06: Signed RHP Tim Redding, RHP Joel Hanrahan, INF Josh Wilson and OF Michael Restovich to one-year contracts. Signed RHPs Jermaine Van Buren, T.J. Nall, Colby Lewis, Felix Diaz, Eduardo Valdez, Josh Hall, Winston Abreu, Jim Magrane; LHPs Mike Bacsik, Billy White and Chris Michalak; C Juan Brito and C Danny Ardoin; INF Joe Thurston and INF Alejandro Machado; and OF Darnell McDonald and OF Wayne Lydon to Minor League contracts; Purchased the contract of LHP Matt Chico from Double-A Harrisburg.

6 feet 200 pound RHP Tim Redding will be 29 in the 2007 baseball season. He made his major league debut in 2001 with the Astros (20th round draft pick). In 101 games, 79 started, Redding has a 21-34 record with an ERA of 5.16. Redding’s best season came in 2003, when he was 25 and amassed a record of 10-14 in 32 games starts (33 overall games), with an ERA of 3.68. In that year, 2003, Redding pitched 176 innings, gave up 179 hits, 65 walks, and struck out 116 batters. Redding has made at least $1,445,000 so far in his career (2003-2005). There is no mention of Redding’s Nationals contract amount.

RHP Joel Ryan Hanrahan will be 26 for the 2007 baseball season. The 6-2 191 pound pitcher was drafted by the LA Dodgers in the second round of the 2000 amateur draft. He was a Double-A all-star in 2003, and named "Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher". Hanrahan has never played in the majors, and has spent 7 seasons in the minors (1 year at the Rookie-level, 1 year at A, roughly 2 years at A+, parts of 4 seasons in AA, and parts of 3 seasons in AAA). Overall, Hanrahan has a minor league record of 62-45, with an ERA of 4.23 in 167 GS (174 total games). In AAA, Hanrahan’s record is: 2003: 5 GS, 1-2, 10.08 ERA; 2004: 22 GS, 7-7, 5.05 ERA; 2006: 14 GS, 4-3, 4.48 ERA. As a hitter, Hanrahan has a minor league batting average of .174 in 86 AB.

I’m not certain about Josh Wilson’s stats. If he is the Josh Aaron Wilson who played his first major league game on Sept. 7, 2005, then I have some very limited information. The 6'1 178 pound Wilson was drafted in the third round of the 1999 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins. At the age of 24, he appeared in 11 games in 2005 with the Marlins, getting 1 hit (a double) in his 10 AB’s, and striking out 4 times. He played 6 games at SS, and 4 at 2B. No errors were recorded by Wilson in those 10 games. Josh Wilson is listed as a SS on the Minor League website. In 2006, Wilson hit .307 in 89 games in AAA for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He had 4 triples, 10 home-runs, 45 RBI, 15 SB, .376 OBP, .475 SLG, .851 OPS. In 2005, Wilson hit .257 in 143 AAA minor league games. I don’t have any record for earlier work.

OF Michael Restovich started his major league career in 2002 with the Twins. Restovich has played 137 major league games over 5 years, with a career batting average of .250. 12 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home-runs, 10 RBI, 1 SB, .328 OBP, .400 SLG .728 OPS round out his career numbers. In his 5 years of major league experience, Restovich has played 51 games in RF, 35 games at LF and 13 games as the DH. He has 1 error as a left-fielder.

RHP Jermaine Van Buren debuted in 2005. He will be 27 in 2007. In his total of 16 relief appearances in 2005&2006, Van Buren has a record of 1-2, with an ERA of 9.00 in 19 innings of work (16 hits, 24 walks, 11 strike-outs).

RHP T(homas) J(ohn) Nall will be 26 in the 2007 baseball season. He has a career minor league record of 41-43, 4.18 ERA in 188 games (95 GS). He has appeared twice in AAA. In 2005, Nall played the whole season in AAA, and ended the season with a record of 6-7, with an ERA of 7.17 in 29 games (15 GS). In 2006, Nall appeared in just 2 AAA games, both in relief. He pitched 3 innings and picked up a 9.00 ERA in those two 2006 AAA games.

RHP Colby Lewis made his debut in 2002 as a 22 year-old Texas Ranger. In four seasons in the majors, Lewis has a record of 12-13 in 46 games played (33 GS) with an ERA of 6.76. In his longest stint in the majors, 2003, Lewis started and played in 26 games, winning 10 games, losing 9, and giving up 163 hits, 23 HR, and 70 walks while striking out 88 in 127 IP for an ERA of 7.30. Career minor league record: 45-37, 3.78 in 119 games (114 starts). Parts of three seasons in AAA: 2002: 5-6, 3.63 ERA in 20 GS; 2003: 5-1, 3.02 in 7 GS; 2006: 6-7, 3.96 ERA in 24 GS.

RHP Felix Diaz made his major league debut in 2004. At the age of 23, Diaz pitched in 18 games (7 GS) for the Chicago White Sox. He ended up with a record of 2-5 with an ERA of 6.75. In those 49.2 IP in 2004, Diaz gave up 62 hits, 13 HR, 16 walks and struck-out 33. In 8 seasons in the minors, Diaz has a record of 32-35, with an ERA of 4.02 in 133 games (105 GS). Diaz was 5-7, with an ERA of 3.97 in 27 games (18 starts) in AAA action in 2003. Diaz spent 2004 in the majors and in AAA. In AAA, he was 10-2 with an ERA of 2.97 in 19 games (17 starts). Returning to the AAA for the 2005 season, Diaz fell to a 6-8 record with an ERA of 5.00. I do not see any stats for 2006. 2004 - Triple-A All-Star SP

I can find no record for a RHP Eduardo Valdez, though, there is a RHP Edward Valdez listed on the Minor League website. Valdez has no major league experience, apparently, and 5 years of experience in the minors, but never higher than AA. In those 5 years in the minors, Edward Valdez has a record of 42-31, with an ERA of 4.02 in 135 games (113 GS). At the age of 26, he played the entire 2006 baseball season in AA Chattanooga, acquiring a record of 7-10, with an ERA of 3.89 in 29 games (23 GS).

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