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Monday, August 24, 2009

Who? Who? WHO??

First, thanks to the Nationals for conducting a second Bloggers Day yesterday. Since I wasn't able to make the first, another one was most appreciated. We were even written about in the Washington Times. That's me, Mr. Senior Citizen. I think I'm going to change the name of this to Grandpa's Blog or Droolings or something.

The Nats don't have to do this. Most teams just ignore us and hope we'll stay in our basements. There's another motive, too, let's not forget that. Stan Kasten is no dummy. He's been in the sports management business a long time. He admitted yesterday that they're still trying to figure out the Blogosphere (so are we) - but he does understand we reach people who might not otherwise be reached. So maybe it helps them, too. Nothing wrong with helping each other.

Uncle Stan and Mike Rizzo spent about 20 minutes chatting with us, and then Stan came back for some more during the game. One thing they said really intrigued me - they'd like to add a veteran pitcher to provide a mentor for the youngsters and some stability to the rotation. Not a No. 1 type - no Sabathias, Stan said - but a solid, proven pitcher who could help on and off the field.

Right away, my mind went into overdrive. Who? Who? WHO?? They can't say, of course, it would be tampering. But since I'm already thinking pretty much of 2010 and 2010 alone, I went to Cots and found a list of free agents.

One name jumps out at me, maybe not the first one who would jump out to most: Jason Marquis. Not great but much better than people think. When he pitched against the Nats the other night, MASN threw up an interesting graphic about the number of teams he's been on that have been in the playoffs.

He's won 37 games the past three seasons (including 14 thus far this season). He has 93 career victories. He turned 31 last week. He qualifies as a veteran but he has some years left. This is his sixth straight year with at least 10 wins.

Plus, he can hit. Career average of .205 and I seem to recall him being used as a pinch hitter here and there.

Another option: Kevin Millwood, though the asterisk by his name means there's an option controlled either by the player or the team. So he may not be available. He's a little older (35 in December) and not quite as good as Marquis. His best years, by far, came earlier in his career. But he is a veteran still capable of a lot of innings. And, unless he's changed dramatically in recent years, he's one of the best people I dealt with in my previous career.

I was covering the Richmond Braves way back in 1997 when they brought him up. His numbers in AA weren't that great and I remember thinking, "This is the best they have?" Well, in Richmond, he was darn near unhittable. Two one-hitters over a stretch of seven starts. He got yanked up to Atlanta pretty quick.

He won 45 games his first three full seasons. I covered a 1999 playoff game against Houston where he threw a one-hitter, maybe the best pitched game I've seen live. I thought for a long time that he was the game's next great pitcher.

That didn't quite work out but I think he still has some value. I'd rather see Marquis but I'd never complain about Kevin Millwood.

An interesting choice/risk given his injury: Brandon Webb. Without the injury, he falls into the Sabathia class and isn't even a topic of conversation.

Look over that list and form your own opinions, with that silly song "Who Will It Be Now?" playing over and over in your head.


Anonymous said...

I vote for Smoltz. I've been tellng my friends that we needed to pick him up before Boston did. Then when Boston let him go, I said we need him. He can start and he can come in in relief, and he has a proven track record for both. The topper is that he is a very smart pitcher and very smart baseball guy. Just my 2 cent.

Dave P.

MikeHarris said...

Another great guy, still has some life left as he proved yesterday.
BUT - he can't go deep into games anymore and it is just a matter of time before he breaks down.
As much as I love the guy - I'd prefer someone under 40!

Tim Taber said...

Smoltz would be great, but at this point in his career he will pick were he wants to go if there are better teams then the Nats that want him.

Softball Girl said...

Speaking of aging vets, what about Stan's pal Glavine? Is he really done? He pitched ok in his rehab starts, right? Granted, him just throwing in the towel for the year makes me wonder if he's completely out of the game but if regains any kind of arm strength maybe he gets some player/coach type status with a not-too-ridiculous salary.

And what's Pedro's status at year's end?

e said...

I don't get why so many people are writing Smoltz off as being done. Sure he's struggled this year, but it's only been 9 starts, plus he's coming back from an injury. Not many pitchers (yes, even the young ones) can come back from an arm injury and make an immediate impact.

I think Smoltz will be healthier and ready to show that he's not done come next season. Would I annoint him my #1 starter? No. Would I prefer to have him on the mound every 5th day instead of JD Martin or Collin Balestar? You betcha. Would I like Strasburg, Lannan, Zimmermann and Stammen to learn from him day in and day out? 1000% yes!

Schruender said...

Hey Mike I saw the article in the Washington Times. Congrats on getting your work here recognized like that. I hope you enjoyed the game yesterday too.

As for the veteran pitcher I think someone like Millwood would be who he is more likely referring to. Somebody who is getting closer to retirement and has the ability to look back at what went right/wrong.

DMan said...

Didn't we have that guy, exactly as described, last year in O. Perez? Still mystified why he was not resigned. No debates please on his relative talent - I know he's at best a 4 or 5 on a good team, but he did fill the particular needs of THIS team very well last year.

MikeHarris said...

I don't know how much I want to make Perez into a role model type. I remember Manny talking about him losing it on that balk call - granted a crappy call by crap umpire Angel Hernandez - and getting tossed in like the second inning. Also, he SIGNED a contract for this season and decided it wasn't good enough so he pulled a no-show. Hmmmm. Has anyone else signed him?
I think there are better options out there.

DMan said...

I stand corrected.

Gus said...

Livan it is!

MikeHarris said...

Short term, I love Livan.
Long term? Not so sure.