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Friday, October 2, 2009

Desmond and Maxwell

This should probably wait until my next poll but why wait? Let's discuss it now.

Do Desmond and Maxwell fit in with the 2010 Nationals?

I've seen enough to be comfortable with letting Desmond start the season as the regular shortstop. He's made six errors, which seems like a lot to me, but maybe we have to live with that. I like his bat, like the way he carries himself out there. Here's the key: If it doesn't work out, where do you go? If you start the season with Desmond as your regular SS, Guzman is either the 2B or gone. My bet would be gone. Someone who knows the system better than I do (and that's just about everybody) can answer the question about how far away the next prospect might be. Is it Espinosa?

I've never been anti-Guzman and I'm fine with him there another year. But does Desmond really need another year in the minors? I think the time to make that move is now.

As for Maxwell, is he a fourth OF or is he better than that? I really don't want to see Willingham/Morgan/Dukes broken up as the regular outfield. Is Maxwell a Morgan with more power? Can you make a change like that after what Morgan showed? I think not. Does Maxwell become trade bait in an attempt to upgrade the bullpen? Do you move Willingham or Dukes and create an everyday spot?

Do you start next season with a bench of Harris/Maxwell/Morse/Orr/Backup catcher? If so, I guess that leaves 2B as the only position to be decided (are you listening Orlando Hudson)?

I'm just full of questions, among other things, this morning.


Sasskuash said...

I'm probably in the minority here, but I think the Nats best move is to still obtain a middle infielder in FA, keep Guzman wherever he fits and start Desmond in AAA. He played very little time in AAA, and we don't know yet if he will be able to adjust to teams now having scouting reports on him and pitching to his weaknesses. The errors are also a concern, and hopefully he can figure that out in Syracuse. If he does fix his fielding problems and he forces the Nats to promote him, I have no qualms putting Guzzie/FA To Be Named Later on the bench, sending Pete Orr back down and having a solid option as a substitute.

I'm not a Guzman fan (personally) and I love Desmond but you hit on it when you asked what other middle infield prospects we have. Espinosa, and he's still a long way off from being ready. In front (or behind) Espinosa we have nothing. Even though Desmond has been great this fall (which he has), I want depth up the middle.

Also, re Maxwell, I think he's still a 4th OF on this team. Use him to give Morgan an occasional day off. Also, if his arm is strong enough (I don't know if it is or not) put him in RF sometimes, especially when Dukes inevitably gets hurt. Maxwell gives us a great problem to have in having 4 legitamate starting OFs. You can even rotate Willingham to 1B once a week to give Dunn a break and I'd still be comfortable with that lineup.

The difference, to me, between Desmond and Maxwell is that Desmond is 23 and can still get good use out of minor league time while Maxwell is turning 26 in November and getting to the age where if he doesn't start producing on the MLB level, he will be a AAAA player for his career. He should be entering his prime, so put him on the MLB roster, give him as many at bats as you can and see where he fits on this team. Too much depth at any position is a good problem to have!

MikeHarris said...

Yeah, no question about that. Good point, too, about Dukes and his visits to the DL.
I like that bench, too. Three guys who can play IF/OF.

My ideal 2010 Nats:
Morgan 8
Hudson 4
Zim 5
Dunn 3
Willingham 7
Dukes 9
Flores 2
Desmond 6
Strasburg 1

But I'm down with your idea, too.

DoubleH said...

I say bring Desmond up and let's see what we've got now. This team is still at least another year away (best case scenario) and Guzman, like him or not, is not part of the future. Desmond may as well be learning in the bigs. As for Morgan, he strikes me as one of those "glue" type of guys that makes all the guys around him a better.

An Briosca Mor said...

The key to where Desmond ends up next year is whether it's a veteran SS or 2B that gets added during the offseason. According to reports, this was mentioned to Guzman as a way to explain moving him to 2B next year - namely that they are seeking the best middle infielder they can find, it may be a SS or it may be a 2B, and whichever it ends up being they will put Guzman at the other spot. Even though Desmond has impressed and they do like him, I don't see them entering spring training with him designated as a starter. It will be two veteran guys (one of them Guz) with Desmond on the bench ready to step up if either of the two gets hurt or pulls a Kearns.

And everyone seems to limit the MI options to FA, but I think a trade is more likely. I could easily see Rizzo packaging the likes of Maxwell, Dukes, Orr, Bernadina, Willingham, Morse or Harris into a trade for a MI or pitching veteran. More likely a MI, since teams rarely have enough good veteran pitchers to trade one away. Rizzo will buy pitching during the offseason and trade for MI. And as for trades, there are probably only a handful of position players who are off limits to be traded. Zimmerman, Dunn, Morgan, Desmond and Flores are probably it. Not that they are shopping all those other guys, but if one or two of them turn out to be the price they have to pay to get the MI they want, they will pay it.

Sasskuash said...

Double H- I agree next year will not be a winner either, but I look at it a little differently than you. Lets keep the guys down for most of the year and let them mature in the Minors rather than get destroyed in the majors. Bring the Desmonds and Strasburgs up in August to see what they have and give them an extended look at the big show. Guzman isn't part of the future, but if we play him, maybe we can trade him for another future piece at the deadline (if he can get his BA above .300 again) and still let Desmond improve his throwing issues and focus on making adjustments so when he comes up he's a more complete player. I don't think you should be developing players at the MLB level because the MLB staff is concerned with getting results and making small adjustments while minor league coaching staffs are more focused on teaching and developing players skills. I would rather the young guys be in a teaching atmosphere, not a win-now atmosphere.

Even if we do start Desmond in the majors, I still want a FA middle infielder because I don't want Pete Orr to be an option on the MLB roster. I want Pete Orr to be the "break glass in case of emergency" reserve sitting in AAA, only called up if a real baseball player gets hurt. And despite Morse's recent success, I don't think we should rely on him, even as a bench player, on the MLB roster either. Don't know who we replace him with, but I don't trust him in the field anywhere or at the plate over the course of a full season.

Sasskuash said...

Sorry to double-post, but ABM makes a good point- I have not factored the possibility of trades into my thoughts. A trade could change the whole scenario.

Also, I think I'm going to start using the phrase "pulling a Kearns" in my everyday speech. Thank you for that one!

MikeHarris said...

Pulling A Kearns is a much more polite way to saying "turning to suck" so, yeah, we should adopt that.

Trades of course change everything - I'm still OK with no trades and Orlando Hudson.

There's also the Livan question that we will address later and the "other pitcher" question. Is Brandon Webb worth a chance at a discounted price?

An Briosca Mor said...

Of course Kearns himself pulled a Wily Mo.

MikeHarris said...

At least Kearns had a slightly better track record than Wily Mo - at least I think he did. Whatever, they're both history now.
They join the long list of ex-Nats that includes Preston Wilson, Deivi Cruz, Junior Spivey and more.

bdrube said...

I saw Espinosa at Potomac let a ball roll right between his legs on a routine grounder. Granted one play does not a season make, but he looked to me like he has a ways to go. When I saw Desmond in Potomac in 2007, he looked much more polished and had a stronger arm. Remember, he lost most of last year due to injury, as did Maxwell.

I say Desmond at short next year and Maxwell as a 4th outfielder. Neither has much left to prove in the minors.

An Briosca Mor said...

Re Kearns and Wily Mo, I was thinking more in terms of one day being a viable major leaguer, and then the next day all of a sudden they're a total piece of worthless crap. No long slow decline, just falling off a cliff. Dmitri Young kind of the same way, only with him it was clearly his physical health that cratered, not his baseball skills.

MikeHarris said...

OK, I'm a little stronger in the Desmond camp now. Dang he hit that one well.