Nationals Notes: Molina, Tanaka, Payroll

The Nationals had interest in Jose Molina as the club's backup catcher in 2014, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports, but Molina instead chose to re-sign with Tampa Bay.  This leaves Chris Snyder (signed to a minor league deal two weeks ago) and prospects Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon as the current candidates to spell Wilson Ramos behind the plate.  Ladson discusses the Nats' middle infield options, a possible lineup and other topics as part of his reader mailbag piece.  Here are some more Nationals-related items….

  • James Wagner and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post have a Nationals mailbag piece of their own, which includes Kilgore's opinion that the Nats won't pursue Masahiro Tanaka "in any meaningful way" since he'll command too high a price.  That said, the Nats have scouted Tanaka and like him; the baseball operations department feels Tanaka is "pretty close in quality to Yu Darvish" except they project Tanaka as a dominant ground-ball pitcher instead of a big strikeout arm.   
  • Rather than spend on Tanaka, the Nationals will use their remaining funds on extensions for Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann.  Kilgore opines that the Nats could sign Tanaka and then use Zimmermann as trade bait (as they may explore trading him next winter anyway if he can't be extended), but he firmly says that this scenario is just his speculation and it's "not happening" in real life.
  • Based on past indications by ownership, the Nationals' payroll will never rise much higher than $140MM in the near future.  The Lerners could eventually change course and elevate the payroll to nearer the luxury tax level, Kilgore writes, if they believed such spending would generate more revenue.
  • The Nationals could bolster their roster with five lower-tier free agents, Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com writes.  Jeff Baker and John Buck would add veteran depth for the bench, Mike Gonzalez or Oliver Perez would fit as more left-handed depth in the bullpen and Fernando Rodney could be a surprise closer signing if the Nats are still unsatisfied with the back end of their bullpen.


29 Responses to Nationals Notes: Molina, Tanaka, Payroll Leave a Reply

  1. David 2 years ago

    I’m sure the “Lerners are cheap” crowd will be out in full force again, as if $140M isn’t enough money to complete. Particularly given the fact that the Nationals have a joke of a TV deal. If the MASN situation were to be resolved, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the payroll climb even above that.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • Brandon Sans 2 years ago

      As a Braves fan I WISH our payroll was 140 million.

    • LazerTown 2 years ago

      Honestly I still think it’s kinda high. Dc is a big metro, but people don’t really seem to care about the Nats down here. And the people that do like mlb like the orioles or are transplants.

      • Nat Williams 2 years ago

        You sound like an orioles fan

        • LazerTown 2 years ago

          Yankees fan from up there. Baseball following is nothing down here like it is there.

          • JCCfromDC 2 years ago

            Heck, I’ve been rooting for the Yankees from DC for long enough to give me a longer perspective, and I can tell you that the reason the Yankees are followed more is rooted in two factors: (1) much larger population; and (2) success. When the Yankees weren’t successful, in the 1960’s and the 1980’s, their attendance and interest fell off. The fact that they’ve been to the playoffs 17 of the past 19 seasons helps keep the bandwagoners and casual fans on board. And even with that the Yankees’ attendance has been falling off steadily the past three years.

      • Natsfan89 2 years ago

        “People” is sort of subjective. As a life long DMV resident, “people” only care about who’s winning (Redskins excluded). The Caps and Wiz have gone through ebbs and flows relevance wise based on how well they were doing. Despite their terrible play at times last year attendance was still good. The Nats are also hurt by the fact their games are televised on the black hole of a network that is MASN instead if the regional Comcast channel.

        My point is DC likes winners. Even transplants who cheer for other teams will turn out for Nats games if the Nats are winning because its a hip thing to do. The Lerners have deep pockets and if they ever get a better tv deal there’s no reason to think a $140 million payroll is high

      • JCCfromDC 2 years ago

        As a DC native, lived here all my life, etc., I can tell you that my experience is very different from yours – i.e., there are a lot more baseball fans than you think. And while some of them used to be Orioles fans, a LOT of O’s fans in the DC Metro area have gone over to the Nationals. There are some holdouts, of course, and the numbers vary as you move from MD into DC and ultimately VA.

        But it’s not generally a Yankees/Mets or Cubs/White Sox kind of deal. While there are a vocal minority of Nats fans annoyed with MASN/Angelos, and a minority of O’s fans who are concerned that the existence of the Nats undermines the O’s, most are content to root for both teams except when they play each other.

  2. Lefty_Orioles_Fan 2 years ago

    Tanaka is “pretty close in quality to Yu Darvish” except they project Tanaka as a dominant ground-ball pitcher instead of a big strikeout arm.
    Well, that sounds like a good fit at Camden Yards or another hitter friendly park.

    • Daniel Copans 2 years ago

      The O’s going hard for Tanaka would make way too much sense. So as you know, there’s pretty much no chance of it happening.

  3. Pennsy 2 years ago

    I’ve been hoping to see Oliver Perez come to the Nationals for awhile now. He has a half a chance of being really good, I think others are underselling his upside.

    • Chris Weaver 2 years ago

      Agreed. I hope the market is also undervaluing him so we can swoop in and get a steal. In regards to the catching situation, I really hope Sandy gets the job. He completely tore up winter ball this year.

      • Nat Williams 2 years ago

        Would love the move too. I want another lefty for ST, personally. I think Williams will want 2 lefties.

  4. Dale Pearl 2 years ago

    anyone have news on the proposed Kemp to Reds trade that is being floated around? It was mentioned on a baseball network is all I know but I don’t have the details

    • LazerTown 2 years ago

      I doubt the reds can take on that much salary.

  5. BG921 2 years ago

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve watched Tanaka pitch for the past few years and he is very prone to getting ground balls. That’s why I’m hoping he chooses to go to a team that has solid infield defense. Even if the Nationals were interested, he wouldn’t mesh well because of their poor infield defense.

    • David 2 years ago

      Errors are a poor metric to judge defense. They were middle of the pack in infield efficiency. Strasburg, despite his high K’s, gets a lot of grounders as does Jordan Zimmermann. And now Doug Fister. He’d do fine.

    • Nat Williams 2 years ago

      The infield defense is not “poor”

      As he said, errors are a poor metric to judge defense. They struggled in the beginning of the year but Zim, Desi and Rendon pulled it together. Have to remember with Espinosa at 2nd the year before the nats had close to an elite infield defense.

      • Chris Weaver 2 years ago

        Agreed. I would have to say the least of my worries is the defense.

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