Possible Opening Day Roster for Nationals

If the season started this week, this is what the Nationals Opening Day line up could look like.  You can’t be comfortable going into Spring Training with Alberto Gonzalez and Danny Espinosa has your only two options for second base.  GM Mike Rizzo has added Chris Marrero to the roster this off season.  He spent last year at Double A Harrisburg.  For the Senators he hit .294, 18 home runs and 82 RBIs in 141 games.  I would not be surprised to see him starting first base for the Nats this season.  Even further I would not be surprised if he started Opening Day at first.  Mark it.

As for second base, Rizzo has to try and find a veteran to come in or will have to ride it out with Gonzalez and Espinosa.  Now the reason I am calling out Marrero for first base and not someone like Mike Morse is because Rizzo has already said Morse is not being considered for the starting first baseman role.

Nyger Morgan 8

Ian Desmond  6

Ryan Zimmerman 5

Jayson Werth 9

Josh Willingham 7

Ivan Rodriguez 2

Chris Marrero 3

Alberto Gonzalez 4

I am not even going to touch on starting pitching right now.  The rotation could see a major overhaul here in the next couple weeks.  Rizzo did say the signing of Jayson started Phase 2 of the Nationals plan.  Apparently Phase 1 was building a system and drafting the right guys.  Phase 2 is all about winning games and eventually championships.

Oh, I know a lot of you guys don’t like the idea of Morgan in center field. But at this point Rizzo says they are going into Spring Training with Morgan as the starter.

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Nationals prove their Werth

The Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo says
this is a monumental day for the Nationals organization.  And indeed it is.  Only days after Washington saw their
slugging first baseman pack his bags and head to the windy city, they have
signed another big bat for their lineup. 

Dubbed the most attractive free agent not named Cliff Lee,
Jayson Werth was coming out of Philadelphia finally living up to his 5-tool

The Nationals will give Werth $126 million over seven
years.  When his contract is
finally up, Werth will be 38 years old. 
Amazing any team would give a 31 year-old a seven year deal. 

The thing to remember here is Werth is not the savior.  This Nationals are still at least two
years away from winning with Stephen Strasburg missing next year and Bryce
Harper probably not ready until 2012/13. 
But when you combine Werth with Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Willingham, Mike
Morse and company they will have a good core group for years to come.  Willingham could become disposable with
Harper coming up and Roger Bernadina able to play outfield.  And play it well. 

The Werth signing does not make the Nationals a playoff
team, not even close.  But it does
take a lot of the pressure off Zimmerman, who I am sure has been feeling it
when Adam Dunn was not resigned. 

Rizzo says right now they have Werth penciled in to hit
middle of the order and play right field. 
He hinted to the fact it was still early in the offseason so things
could change.  Are the Nationals
really looking at another signing?  Highly unlikely. 

However, I do agree, it is still early.  Things could a lot more exciting from
here on out.


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Dom Brown debuts, Oswalt to Phillies almost done

One of the most anticipated call ups in Phillies history, Domonic Brown made his major league debut last night for Philadelphia in right field wearing the number nine.  Brown was called up after Shane Victorino was placed on the DL with an oblique strain.

Brown would not disappoint. In his first at bat, he came inches from hitting his first major league home run in his first official at bat.  Instead he smoked a double off the right field wall knocking in the game’s first run.  He then scored his first run as a Phillie later that inning.  Overall he went 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs in the sixth spot of the lineup.  
Other news swirling around Philadelphia is the possible acquisition of Houston’s Roy Oswalt.  Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston is reporting there is a deal in place to send Oswalt to the Phillies and is just waiting approval from the pitcher.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has said the players involved are ‘pretty much agreed on’ with Phillies lefty JA Happ rumored to be involved.    
If the deal does go through, it should be before the end of the day today.  Oswalt’s next scheduled start is tomorrow.  The Phillies will be in DC taking on the last place Nationals for weekend series.  Could be a smooth transition for the Wizard.  

Strasburg gets second chance against Braves tonight

Strasburg.jpgPart of the Rookie of the Year ballot with be on display at Nationals Park tonight as Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals take on Jason Heyward and the Atlanta Braves.  

The Braves rookie right fielder Heyward will get his first taste of the Washington flame thrower.  Since coming of the DL, Heyward has 14 hits in his last 26 at bats.  Many people around baseball feel the Heyward/Strasburg matchup could spark a whole new rivalry inside the NL East.
Heyward is still homer-less since coming off the DL and even worse hasn’t hit a home run in 18 straight games not to mention 41 of his past 42.  Don’t worry Braves fans, he will not stay down for long.
The Nationals are a three game skid and Strasburg is looking to help them over the hump.  He has won his last three starts with the Nats winning his last four.  It will be a perfect time for the team to get back on track and for Strasburg to avenge one of his only two losses for his career.  
The last time he faced Atlanta, Strasburg went 6 2/3 giving up three earned runs and striking out seven.  After the game Strasburg said he went away from the his breaking ball too early.  Look for him to mix it in more to keep the hitters off balance.  

Strasburg looks to avenge loss the Braves

Part of the Rookie of the Year ballot with be on display at Nationals Park tonight as Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals take on the Atlanta Braves.  

The Braves rookie right fielder Jason Heyward will get his first taste of the Washington flame thrower.  Since coming of the DL, Heyward has 14 hits in his last 26 at bats.  

Hamels tosses gem, Phillies complete sweep

Yes a Phillies win.  And yes a four game sweep of the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds.  All is good in Philly.  Right?  I don’t mean to get personal in a post game wrap up but this four game sweep doesn’t really make me feel any better.  Yes, don’t get me wrong, a sweep is exactly what the Phillies needed going into the All-Star break.

However, playing against such a potent offense like the Reds you would think a sweep means the Phillies were back to their normal ways of smashing the ball and putting up crooked numbers.  Not the case.  Except for the ninth inning Friday night, every inning the Phillies have scored in this series has only been the one run.  It did work don’t get me wrong.  But nothing is fixed.  The starting pitchers, minus Kentucky Fried Blanton, really stepped it up.  The trio of Kyle Kendrick, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels threw a combined 23.1 innings and allowed only 14 hits and one earned run.  It was exactly what the Phillies offense needed only supporting their efforts with six runs over those three games.

The one good thing about the offense is they are putting the ball in play only striking out four times in this game.  Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz each had a walk and a hit while Jimmy Rollins contributed the other two hits including an RBI single in the third inning scoring Ruiz for the only run of the game.

That was all Hamels would need.  He didn’t allow a run for the first time in his 18 starts this season.  This does not mean he is back to his ’08 form yet but he is getting there.  He worked out a bases loaded with no outs jam in the fourth.  Hamels only struck out three but was able to trust the defense with balls in play.  He also had three walk throwing 112 pitches.

After escaping a jam in last night’s game, Brad Lidge came in for the ninth to record the final two outs for his sixth save of the season.  He needed only five pitches to end the game.

Worth noting: The Mets beat the Braves 3-0 which puts the Phillies 4 1/2 games behind the Braves and only a 1/2 game behind the Mets.

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Moyer sets HR record, Phillies offense pounds Blue Jays

After taking the night off yesterday, the Phillies offense
got it going early and often today against the Toronto Blue Jays in the series
finale of what was a road series in their home ballpark at Citizens Bank
beating the Jays 11-2.

Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Ben Francisco each had
three hits apiece for the Phils who have been on a scoring tear for the past
four series.  They are averaging
almost six runs a game while playing the Yankees, Twins, Indians and now
Toronto winning 8 of 12.  They
scored all their runs today without help from the long ball, which should be a
good sign their offense is clicking.

Jaime Moyer broke Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts’
record of home runs allowed in a career. 
Moyer gave up number 506 to Vernon Wells in the third inning but by then
it was already too late.  Philly
bats chased Toronto’s starter Brett Cecil in the fifth inning after he allowed
seven runs and threw 97 pitches. 
Phillies starters were showing patience at the plate, seeing almost four
pitches per at bat.  Another sign
they are seeing the ball really well.

Record breaking jitters aside, it was business as usual for
Moyer.  Other than the homer to
Wells, Moyer only allowed five hits and struck out seven before finishing out
the seventh inning.  He is now tied
for the team lead in wins with Roy Halladay at nine.  Over his last three starts, Moyer has thrown 23 innings and
only allowed five earned runs while striking out 17.  The Phillies, not surprisingly, are 3-0 in those games.

The Phillies were without Placido Polanco for a second straight
game after he said he aggravated his elbow making a play in Friday’s game.  He is scheduled to receive another
cortisone shot today which will likely keep him out until Tuesday at the earliest. 

The only Phils starters without a hit were Jayson Werth and
Wilson Valdez.  They both went

Worth mentioning: Rollins,
Francisco and catcher Dane Sardinha each had two RBIs.  I know all of you started him in
fantasy.  Right?

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