How To Talk To Your Children About Baseball…

On Opening Day 2017, I learned that I’d neglected my duties as a father, as I hadn’t made sure that SomeDaughterInVA 2.0, The Sequel, was kept up to date on the Nats’ various machinations over the offseason. She had an orthodontist appointment that afternoon during the Nats game, and was in the back waiting to be seen, while I sat out in the lobby doing not much of anything, and the following conversation ensued:

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I learned my lesson, and I’ve been primed all winter to keep her up to date, but there’s been not much in the way of change, roster-wise, in DC, and I don’t think that’s really a bad thing.

So far this winter, they’ve addressed most of their perceived shortcomings essentially from within, re-signing Brandon Kintzler for the bullpen and Howie Kendrick yesterday for the bench. Adam Lind has been replaced by Matt Adams, and Jayson Werth will be replaced by Adam Eaton (which should be an upgrade), and the Nats will audition a bunch of guys in spring training for the roles of fifth starter and bullpen arms, but those aren’t really the kinds of roster pieces that move the needle on expectations. I’d like to see them upgrade at catcher, but Wieters’ contract will prevent them from doing much there, so hoping that either he or Pedro Severino learn how to produce on a consistent basis is maybe all I’m left with here.

While the overall stasis on the roster is likely the right path to repeat last year’s success in winning the NL East (barring injury, of course), it nonetheless seems a bit of an odd choice for a franchise that didn’t bring back Dusty because winning the NL East wasn’t good enough. On the other hand, they’re up against a bit of a budget crunch, since they’re flirting with, or perhaps on the wrong side of, the luxury tax threshold, so they can’t throw buckets of money at this year’s selections of free agents in the Boras catalog. Moreover, this may well be the last year in DC for Harper, Murphy, and Rizzo, to name just three important pieces among others, so staying the course this year while keeping at least some powder dry to play in next season’s free agent pool looks like the right move for the long-term health of the franchise. Or maybe it’s just setting them up to lose in the NLDS to the Giants, or the Cubs, or the Dodgers, or…

At any rate, pitchers and catchers report in a month! Woo-hoo!

 

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10 thoughts on “How To Talk To Your Children About Baseball…

    • And children in the seat(s) behind you on an airplane are the most horrible of all.

      I took my daughter, then five, to the Marlins-Rockies game where Al Leiter pitched his no hitter.

      Daddy, can we go yet?

      No sweetheart, he’s pitching a no hitter. If someone gets a hit we can go.

      Daddy, was that a hit?

      Well yes, but a Marlin got it.

      So can we go now?

      No sweetheart, our guy is still pitching a no hitter.

      Horrible. Horrible.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I hope you all realize (and don’t hold it against me) that I am somewhat less serious in my fanaticism than the rest of you. I am certainly less adept at advanced stats. With that in mind, I think Dusty, who I liked as a player, is even less adept at stats than me and is the worst kind of manager available. I believe he is a “players man” a la Tommy lasorda or else nobody would ever hire him again. My opinion is he uses up pitchers like a bonfire uses logs and pays no attention to matchup information and that any team that hires him is in for short-lives success and long term rebuilds.

    Given my less studious approach to fandom, am I nuts? Or am I correct that Washington is better off without him?

    On a personal note, sgiv, is the designation “2.0” not indicative of an upgrade and thus potential cause of sibling rivalry? Just sayin…

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    • I know Dusty’s reputation, but seeing him here in Washington the past two years, it was really hard to find strategic decisions to pick at, because frankly he just didn’t have to make that many. The Nats won the NL East comfortably both years, and while Dusty may be old-school in ways and deeds, it seemed like most of the players appreciated playing for him, and that he really was a players’ manager, and that’s not nothing.

      The one player who was tepid to Dusty, it seemed, was Harper, and I say that based only on a post-game interview after they lost game 5 in the NLDS, where Harper was asked a question about Dusty coming back and his reaction was pretty much “Whatever, not my decision.” Dusty took some heat when Harper got hurt for having him in the lineup in a meaningless game that had been delayed by rain for three hours, and maybe Harper blamed him, too.

      It’ll be easy this year to say the Nats are better off if they advance beyond the NLDS, but short series really are weird. Take last year’s NLDS… After three games, the Nats could say that Strasburg and Scherzer in their two starts so far combined to give up one earned run, and the Nats won the game Gio started, which sounds like a recipe for a Nats sweep, but in fact they were down 2-1 at that point and could’ve been swept themselves without the Harper and Zimmerman home runs in Game 2. Things went a bit sideways with the confusion over who was starting Game 4, but that all worked out, Joe Maddon kept sending Carl Edwards out there to pitch for some reason, and in Game 5, Max Scherzer experienced the weirdest inning ever, and still the Nats had the tying or go-ahead run at the plate in the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th; they couldn’t get the one big hit needed, but at the same time, they sure as hell didn’t quit on Dusty or themselves.

      I don’t know how we’ll judge Davey Martinez fairly in comparison to Dusty this year or beyond, but it he gets the Nats to at least the NLCS, then everyone will be happy.

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