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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A 'sign' of the times?

Well now. I woke up this a.m. hoping to get a little good news and instead got kicked in the chops by a double dose of bad news.

First, of course, is the NewNationals are no longer perfect. I fell asleep at 2-0 good guys and that became 8-2 thanks to the bullpen finally reverting to form. Seriously, did anyone expect it to last? You can spray some perfume on a pile of shit and it will smell OK for a while but it is still shit and will smell again soon enough. With Rauch gone, does anyone feel truly comfortable with any of the relievers? Is Shell now the head of the class? I'm OK with Shell in the game, with Hanrahan and, usually, Rivera. I have zippy confidence in Ayala and Manning, even if does own Ken Griffey.

Why isn't Guzman on the DL?

The news of one game wasn't as bad as the news I found on - Uncle Stan casting doubt on the possibility of signing the top tier among JimBow's draft picks.
The obvious reaction is to go crazy and start throwing things. I thought we were no longer a part of What the hell?

But before I go that route, I'd like to hear some things from the other side. Are they being unreasonable? Are the Nats being ridiculous? The answer is probably a little of both.
So far, I've seen JimBow and Uncle Stan talk about it. Heard nothing from Aaron Crow or any of the others (please send me a link if you've seen anything). I suspect they've all 'agented up,' which is even worse than being lawyered up. The agents won't let them talk and - shocker - the agents won't exactly present an unbiased side of things. I still want to read/hear what they have to say.

Crow is the most puzzling. With the slotting that goes on, first-round picks should be the easiest to sign, unless I'm missing something obvious.

It is going to be an interesting 10 days. The recent roster changes gave us long-suffering bastards a reason for a little hope. Signing your picks is a bigger part of that whole future thing and signing just one of the top five would count as a major disappointment.

On the other hand *** if it hastens the departure of the GM, maybe it is a worthwhile sacrifice.


Brian said...

I am tired of the Nationals posturing or negotiating in the press. While there are other teams that do the same, the Nationals do it too often. And the value added from it is limited in my opinion. If anything, the message it sends is not we are principled and are not going to overpay, it's disingenuous and only gives the naysayers more ammunition for criticizing the plan.

All they need to say is we are talking with Player x and our goal is to continue to rebuild the farm sytem.

An Briosca Mor said...

Any angst over the non-signing of draft picks should be saved until said draft picks actually go unsigned. The deadline for that is August 15th, over a week from now. Until then, anything that happens - be it statement, non-statement, ultimatum, whatever - is merely part of the negotiation process. Sometimes the negotiation process is conducted publicly, sometimes it is not. Sometimes both parties talk with the press, sometimes only one party talks with the press. We who are not party to these negotiations will not know how they turn out until either the players sign or August 15th, whichever comes first. Save the post-mortems until the patient is actually dead, please.

MikeHarris said...

Good point - though I see no reason for Stan to say what he did. Does that turn up the heat on the picks?

Brian said...

Does that turn up the heat on the picks?

My guess is that it accomplishes very little. I have said it many times over but it bears repeating, the final judgement needs to wait until August 16. My problem is the fact that the message being repeatedly sent out by the Nationals does not need to be "we aren't sure if we are going to sign them all." Why can't it simply be non-statements that basically communicate that it is an ongoing process and things are still to be determined? Just leave the promises of 100% signings as well as any creeping doubt out of it.

Jim said...

Someone also needs to point out that we have no idea what kind of figure Crow or the others are demanding. Is it 25% over slot? 50% over slot?

We have no idea. We can but surmise that the agents of these draftees can read internet blogs too and use these kinds of fan ravings to gain their own leverage.

These agents could very well demand HUGE signing bonuses, knowing full well that Kasten et al will be burned in effigy if they don't pony up.

MikeHarris said...

That's why I want to hear something, anything about what the other side is asking - I'm OK with the Nats not letting themselves get held up. If I'm going to throw stuff, I want an idea of where to aim.

An Briosca Mor said...

Keep in mind too that if this same scenario had occurred last year, i.e. if it had been Detwiler holding the Nats at gunpoint for more money than they were prepared to pay, all of the comparable angst would have been spilled over a guy who's crapped the bed in A ball this entire season.

My point being that if anyone has an irrational sense of a particular draft pick's worth, it's much more likely that it's the draft pick (or more likely his agent) than it is the team. Why is it automatically a good idea for the team to vastly overpay an unproven HS/college player, but a bad idea for them to overpay a proven major league player such as Guzman or Young? Each case needs to be judged on its own merits, which is hard to do when one doesn't know all (or indeed any) of the specifics of the negotiations.

Sam said...

One negotiating through the press, if anything it strengthens the player's hand. The only public reaction to such statements is going to be critical and the player's team can only help but say that as an indication of the pressure the team is under to sign.

One other point -- sometimes in negotiations, you just have to accept that the other party has more leverage and agree to tough terms because that is where the power lies. Sure, Crow has pressures on him, but in my opinion the Nationals have greater need to get this done. Crow's demands may be unreasonable -- certainly we have no reliable information one way or another -- and if that's truly your judgment then of course you walk away. But the Nationals themselves need to be reasonable in deciding what's unreasonable. They are sitting in a free shiny new stadium, they just paid $16M for two years of Cristian Guzman, they didn't hesitate to pay big $ for PLD and Estrada, what exactly could Crow be asking that would be a bad risk for the Nationals given the franchise situation?

Jim said...

Concerns have been voiced about the public spin nature of these negotiations. For Kasten et al to divulge the precise number demanded by the other side, however, would turn this public display nuclear.

Yes, it would indeed add valuable perspective to us armchair GMs, but would be perceived as EXTREMELY antagonistic by the player and his agent.

George Templeton said...

What I can't understand is going above slot for Detwiler and McGeary was no problem last year (I mean they gave McGeary a lot of money and paid his college tuition for heavens sake!) then what is the problem this year?
The draft and the farm system is so important, being cheap here makes zero sense!

MikeHarris said...

Did they go above slot for Detwiler?

George Templeton said...

I am not sure (I don't even know what the slot is for the ninth pick in the draft), but the Nats spent the third most money on its draftees next year (only the O's and the Yanks spent more) and paid way over for McGeary (a sixth round pick).
I thought that was a statement of how important the draft was and it was consistent with the team's state philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Last year, Detwiler signed in early July. And anyone who has seen him this year see's the significant improvement he has made since the "brass" messed with his delivery. Box scores in a developmental league (like High A) are meaningless.

Hendo said...

Has Detwiler stopped throwing across his body (or learned how to do so effectively)? And has he developed an out pitch?

Neither was evident the last time I saw him, a few weeks ago. But if I just didn't see it, or he's improved since then, I'd be glad to know it.

MikeHarris said...

I have only seen Detwiler once - would like to try and get another look before the year is out.
Has anyone seen Crow? Is he worth all our angst? Only guy I know who knows anything about him says he's really good.