After two huge road wins over the Astros in the first two games of the World Series, the Nationals are headed back to Washington in command of the Fall Classic. Here’s the latest on the NL champs….
- Charlie Morton in a Nationals jersey? It could’ve happened last winter, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Washington pursued the veteran righty, and the Nats “believe they were the runners-up” to the Rays for Morton’s services. The Nationals made a offer similar to the Rays’ two-year, $30MM deal with Morton, though the turning point may have been Tampa’s closer proximity to Morton’s offseason home in Bradenton, Florida. On paper, it would seem like Morton’s decision paved the way for the Nats to ink Anibal Sanchez to a two-year, $19MM deal, though Sherman writes that the Nationals considered signing both Morton and Sanchez, not to mention their blockbuster signing of Patrick Corbin earlier in the offseason.
- Speaking of Sanchez, the idea of him starting Game 3 of the World Series would’ve seemed far-fetched two years ago, when the veteran righty’s career seemed to be on thin ice after struggling during the last three seasons of his five-year, $80MM contract with the Tigers. Since then, however, Sanchez has gotten back on track in a major way, as MLB.com’s Mike Petriello notes that no pitcher has a lower percentage of hard-hit balls over the last two seasons than Sanchez. Reasons for the turn-around could include Sanchez’s increased prep work between starts, or a change in pitch usage, as the veteran hurler has greatly increased the use of his cutter and mostly abandoned his slider, formerly one of his primary offerings.
- Sanchez also cited his relationship with catcher Kurt Suzuki as a big factor in his improved performance with both the Braves and Nationals, another example of how Suzuki has himself enjoyed something of a late-career renaissance. As The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required) writes, Suzuki considered retiring following the 2016 season, and was hesitant about leaving his family in California to sign a one-year contract and play across the country with the Braves. His wife convinced him to take the deal, however, and achieve Suzuki’s goal of ten full seasons of MLB service. That clock is now running at well over 12 seasons and counting, as Suzuki has enjoyed three of his best seasons at the plate in 2017-19, and is now perhaps closing in on his first World Series ring.
- Finally winning a championship would be the ultimate payoff to years of aggressive moves from GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals’ front office, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post writes. Prospects such as Lucas Giolito, Jesus Luzardo, and Sheldon Neuse were dealt to the White Sox and Athletics in trades that brought the likes of Adam Eaton and Sean Doolittle to Washington, and the Nationals are comfortable seeing their former prospects go on to MLB stardom for other teams. “It’s difficult to win consistently and have a good farm system because you use your prospect capital to acquire major league players. But that’s been our plan the whole time,” Rizzo said. It helps that the Nats have been hung onto some prospects (i.e. Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Stephen Strasburg) who have turned into major homegrown stars, while also scoring in other trades that brought other big names like Trea Turner into the organization as youngsters.
that’s no surprise he was expected to sign in Washington due to its proximity to where he lived, no?
No. His wife’s family is from Rehoboth Beach Delaware. Which is roughly 3 hours from DC if you assume very light traffic. I’m not really sure how that rumor caught so much wind because Morton and his wife live in Florida.
Nor is really any professional sports team close enough to Rehoboth Beach to make that a pleasant daily drive. Baltimore or Philly would’ve been the closest two. But you’re still looking at 2.5 hours at best there.
Charlie Morton signed a two year, $30MM deal – not $15MM
I thought Sanchez was going to be a terrible deal that blew up in their faces, and he proved me wrong.
I know I am going to get a lot of negative thoughts about this…but I bet he gets slapped around tonight…series 2-1…imo…I could be wrong
It will be interesting to see how the Nats handle the Strasburg contract sutuation. If they bring him back they will certainly have payroll restrictions on the rest of the roster. Good for them they are on the brink of a title now.
Why would that result in payroll restrictions? Stras most likely gets a few million more dollars and another year or two on his contract. The Nat’s have $18 million coming off the books from Zimmerman’s contract and potentially $18.8 million depending on if Rendon leaves in Free Agency.. Then there is the $9 million from Dozier. None of this takes into consideration the fact that the Lerner’s are the richest owners in baseball. I don’t think we’ll see much in terms of payroll restrictions.
They will probably be able to bring back Rendon because of the reasons you gave. But beyond that its hard to operate under the tax with Rendon and 3 starters with massive deals. The Lerners may be the richest but they did not like having to pay the tax in 2018.
Why the H wouldn’t ATL been serious bidders? Short term deal. Wants to on East coast. Originally from organization.
Alfred E Neuman
Perhaps he sympathizes with the native Americans who find their team name, the idiotic tomahawk chop, and probably your logo offensive.
Not as offended as he would be , by you trying to assume a Japanese guy named Suzuki is Native American, or agrees with your virtue signaling. Either way, as a NA who loves the chop and the Braves, im getting a migraine from all these hateful edgelords who happen to dislike the Braves, being so hurt and sensitive on my behalf. My eyes are rolling too hard at you. You can stop. Its ok, really. We got it covered , no need for you to save us, you Brave justice warriors. Really.
and i’d love it if right wingers wouldn’t be so butthurt about lgbt people, atheists, and people not standing up and reciting a socialist pledge, but look, idiots are gonna idiot
Vandals Took The Handles
“…. but look, idiots are gonna idiot”
Yes – and you did.
Possible to keep politics off of here? Like poop, they seem to be everywhere else.
The above comments have nothing to do with the article or baseball. Just juveniles arguing in a sandbox.
That idiot Rob Drake has a very small role in baseball and look at the absense of an article for him. I wonder why
There’s no crying or safe spaces in baseball..
Funny how it’s always the one side pointing these things out and publicly pushing their agenda. Try looking in the mirror and seeing who the real racist bigots are, It’s gotten so old and couldn’t be any further from reality.
Letting Suzuki and Sanchez go wasn’t a big factor in getting eliminated in the first round yet once again. Would have only made the Braves 100 game winners in the regular season mostly.
Arguing on the internet makes you all look stupid.
You should probably stop getting your opinions on people from CNN.
Not exactly pale faces leading the opposition for the Braves logo and chop happy habits. It’s Native American’s pressing the cause.
Yet Steve Adams told me on here that “Tyler Flowers is a better catcher and pitch framer with better defence than Suzuki”, sorry but he isn’t. The Braves made a mistake with letting Suzuki and Sanchez go. Furthermore, I’ll rely on the opinions of Scherzer, Strasburg, and Sanchez in relation to Suzuki’s catching abilities and calling pitches and ‘pitch framing’. He was always a better catcher than Flowers and always will be. There is no debate needed.
Now what was that about MLB players being “too old”? Average age of the Nationals roster is 31, I love the fact that there are guys like Scherzer, Cabrera, Rodney, Zimmerman, Suzuki, Parra who are on the roster. There would be nothing better than seeing these ‘veterans’ get a ring. Experience counts for everything, and there was nothing better in this World Series than seeing Suzuki take Verlander deep in an absolutely key clutch moment, even though I have the utmost respect for Verlander who is one of the best pitchers in all of MLB.
Steven Adams and Jeffrey Todd are young men and still finding their way in the world. The numbers don’t tell us everything; Ben Nicholson-Smith learned this, and he ended up getting a writing job with Sportsnet. Steven and Jeffrey just need to practice a little grit and intangibles, and they’ll be on their way as well.
Vandals Took The Handles
Where to start?….
This site is very stat-oriented. Sports stats can be deceiving, particularly if the person viewing them looks at an overall picture and applies results equally. That may sound like nonsense, but it’s not. It’s impossible to blanket apply statistical results to an individual player in a team sport. Maybe OK if we’re guaging hitting a golf ball off a tee at a driving range…..and even that can be deceiving if we’re talking different areas of the country – humidity, wind velocity, etc. – and time of day.
MLB teams committed to having people looking at analytics 15-20 years ago, and seem to increase the number of people doing it each year. The reason for so many – they’re looking to drill down to targeted results depending on variables. Example……
A week or so ago I stated that I saw 3 or 4 teams play on MLB.TV in the Twins park. Different teams announcers all stated that there is a jetstream – I believe just to the right of CF and going to about mid-RF – that teams recognize. They try to get their hitters to adjust their swings to get the ball up in the air there. (Obviously the Twins do as well…and obviously pitchers / catchers are aware batters are trying to do that and will attempt to counter it.) Mr. Adams came back to me stating that overall Target Field is not a HR friendly park, based on number of HR’s. Actually, it is in that area of the park.
The above example is no different then a professional basketball player knowing the dead spots on a court, or a pro tennis player knowing where there are spots on a court that the ball will flatten, pick up speed, etc. Those variables matter, and pros that can or can’t make adjustments will prosper or fail, depending.
As for Suzuki, I watched him for years with the Nationals. He can be a bit inconsistent defensively. Like many Catchers today he’s best sharing the position as it’s so physically grueling, particularly once most guys get north of 28 or so years-old. But you are correct – the experience they have makes them extremely valuable to a pitching staff.
The top 2 requirements for a Catcher are to run / call a game and handle a pitching staff. It matters…a lot (Syndergaard was absolutely correct to request a different Catcher then Ramos, watching him pitch it was obvious he was uncomfortable and less effective…and his stats showed it). Most Nationals starters enjoy pitching to him. Now, he’s not as good at blocking balls as Yan Gomes is. Consequently, up until one inning of the 2’nd WS game Gomes caught all of Patrick Corbin’s pitches this year – as his primary pitch – a hard breaking slider, hits the dirt a lot. It was simply a matter of Gomes and Suzuki sharing time catching, and Kurt had a weakness in that area while Gomes had a strength there. Didn’t stop Gomes from effectively catching the other Nationals starters.
As for Flowers, he’s not as good a hitter as Suzuki. He is renowned for “pitch framing” – possibly the most overrated statistic ever. But how does one figure out statistically what catchers are effective with what pitchers? I believe there are stats that individual teams keep on that, but a professional Manager and Pitching Coach already know that by watching….as do most broadcasting analysts and astute fans watching games.
As for Flowers vs. Suzuki – I’ll take Kurt over him. Not close.
Your comment is way too long to read. I’ll just consider you a crybaby, and I need to let you know that nobody wants to see or read your crap any longer. So just quit
Vandals Took The Handles
Your comment is childish. I’ll just consider you a thought-challenged immature moron that does not understand the subject matter, has no hope of ever comprehending it, and I need to let you know that nobody wants to see or read your crap any longer. So just quit.
Kurt Suzuki is worse than Tyler Flowers statistically at both pitch framing and overall defensively as a catcher. The difference is Kurt Suzuki is a much better offensive player.
‘Statistically’…..Yep, and that’s why Scherzer, Strasburg & Sanchez want Suzuki calling the game, enough said. You know what you can do with those paper stats……It’s no surprise that the past few years Suzuki has caught Sanchez exclusively and look at his stats, there’s a reason for it-Suzuki has helped, but do tell about his ‘pitch framing’…….Suzuki is also a better blocker behind the plate, you can just look at some of the plays in the World Series he has made so far, especially in relation to blocking bounced pitches.
I agree with you that you have a good argument about calling a game I am just saying not only statistics but statcast shows Flowers is better at framing. Suzuki would have been good for them. I guess my only point is each have different strengths. If you say Flowers is a better defensive catcher that statement is true. That doesn’t mean you aren’t correct that Suzuki may be the better catcher overall in terms of all the aspects of the game.
Heading into this season, I thought it would be the Braves and my Phillies dominating the NL East for years. Always looked at the Nats as some sort of dysfunctional family: Lots of talented players, but for whatever the reason, they failed to deliver year after year.
Well, that isn’t the case any longer. Key for the Nats is to find a way to bring back Rendon and hope Strasberg doesn’t opt out and go elsewhere. With those two back in place, Nats should dominate the NL East in 2020.
Well played Mr. Rizzo.
Dominate is a strong word and won’t happen by any team in the east, anytime soon. Now dog fight, yes.