Comments on the Souza Trade

The recent Stephen Souza trade was on balance a good one for the Nats.  I’m sorry to see him go, but he was not going to be a starter in 2015 for the Nats, so it’s good for him, and the Nats get Trea Turner, a shortstop with a bright future (though he is likely two years from getting to the Major Leagues).

What is interesting to me is how Mike Rizzo does a great job of keeping his wheeling and dealing out of the press!  I don’t think anyone saw this trade coming.  That is vintage Rizzo

Which Teams Have Improved Themselves so Far?

This has been a wild hot-stove season so far with trades galore.  And it is not over!  There are still some outstanding pitchers out there such as Scherzer and Hamels, and Justin and BJ Upton haven’t gone anywhere.  But some teams have made themselves a lot stronger, such as the following:  Blue Jays, Cubs, White Sox, Mariners, Padres, Astros and Marlins.

All the rumors about the Nats are a bit nerve-wracking.  But they are not talking to the media, so we fans are left to speculate:)

 

I Thought The Nats Were Looking for a Second Baseman!

That is what the team said.  But in the last 24 hours both Dee Gordon and Howie Kendrick have been traded, and NOT to the Nationals!  Both are second baseman who could certainly help the Nats.  Kendrick is going to the Dodgers (to replace Gordon) and Gordon is going to the Marlins.

I do know Mike Rizzo had been talking to the Angels about Kendrick.  I’m discouraged that the two teams could not put a deal together.  However Asdrubal Cabrera is still out there!

The Roy Hobbs Tournament

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November is when I really get serious about playing the game we love.  This year well over 200 teams converged on Ft. Myers, Florida for the 26th annual Roys Hobbs tournament.  It plays itself out over 4 weeks in 9 age divisions.  Last year the organizers added a 75+ age division.  This year a player claiming to be 80 years old hit a fly ball double over my head in left field!  I was told later that he had played professionally.  All games are played on major league spring-training fields.  The website for the tournament is royhobbs.com.

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My team is the Key West All-Stars, and most of us live in the Washington, D.C. area.  We didn’t win many games but when we did, it was a “no-doubter” 20-8.  The high point was a two-out rally when we scored 7 runs.  Bill “spaceman” Lee (who pitched for the Bosox in days of yore) always plays in this one and I heard that this year he brought 2-3 other ex-major-leagers with him.  There are numerous ex-pro players in the tourney

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Zimmerman is Not Going Anywhere

The Cubs have approached the Nats about Jordan Zimmerman.  Neither team has said much publicly about the discussions.  It has been reported that the Nats have said it “would take a boatload” to pry JZimm away from Washington.  I would be shocked it the Cubs do manage to pull off a trade—I’d say the chances are about 1%.

What I would not be surprised about would be the Nats trading either Strass or Gio Gonzales.  They are the number 4 and 5 starters, tho the Nats have shied away from admitting that publicly.

The Nats need a second-baseman and some new bench players, along with a couple of new arms in the bullpen.  They may be looking for a new “designated closer.”

That’s about it in a nutshell:)

 

Game Seven: The Play That Likely Swung the Game to the Giants

In the 3rd or 4th inning, with a KC runner on first and nobody out, Eric Hosmer poked a hard-hit grounder up the middle, looking like it would go through to center field.  Out of nowhere Panik (the Giant’s second-baseman) dove and just managed to catch the ball in the tip of his glove.  Somehow he managed to flip the ball, back-handed, to his shortstop Brandon Crawford who was at second base, getting the runner out there!  Crawford then fired the ball to first base.  But, the runner was called safe on a very close play.  The Giants elected to challenge that call, and after a very long delay while officials in NYC studied all the videos, the call was over-turned and the runner at first was called out!  So the Royals, who could have had runners on first and third with NO OUTS, ended up with NO RUNNERS on base and two out!

Had Panik not caught that grounder, there was a high likelihood of the Royals scoring at least one run and maybe more, giving them a lead.  Their great bullpen would have then soon entered the game with either a lead or a tie.  Over the last 5 innings of the game BOTH bullpens (not just MadBum) put nothing but zeroes on the scoreboard!

That is how close the 7th game really was folks!

Our Only Princeton Grad Departing!

Shucks.  Ross Ohlendorf has turned down the Nats offer of playing in AAA Syracuse in favor of testing the free-agent market.

Ross pitched well in 2013 and it was entertaining to watch his funky, old-school wind-up.  He spent all of 2014 on the disabled list with back problems.

So now our only elite-school graduate is Drew Storen, who went to Stanford!  mike Rizzo ought to keep in touch with Condoleeza Rice:)

Oh-oh, KC is now favored to win game 7!

Don’t miss Tom Boswell’s article in today’s Washington Post.  It is all about sabermetric’s analysis of the Royals chances of winning the World Series up to the start of last night’s game.  For the past 32 World Series, the team that goes home for the last 2 games becomes almost unbeatable!  And ten of those teams were BEHIND 3 games to 2 when they returned home.  The winning percentage for the home teams in those final 2 games is .885.  For American League teams in this group (think Kansas City) that means even more because they get to use their designated hitter

 

The World Series is SET!

So we now have two wild-card teams in the Fall Classic.  Who-da-thunk?

While Ned Yost’s managing has been oft-questionned, his players have silenced those drumbeats.  And so far this year’s playoffs have been the best in recent memory.  We have seen once again that when the regular season ends, the game changes radically and the teams that can get HOT at the right time, with good defense and pitching are most likely to end up in the World Series.

As for the Nats, they have all winter to wonder how all but two hitters suddenly went cold when the playoffs began.  Baseball is often inexplicable, even to the experts.