The Nats Are Broken, Let's Fix Them
There is probably not a more selfless group than anonymous internet commenters. They have more baseball knowledge than perhaps anyone else involved in the game, but instead of using that knowledge for personal gain they stay anonymous. It's about time these people get the recognition they deserve, so I've put together nine - because that seems like a nice baseball number- of the best suggestions I could find for fixing the Nationals this offseason. Mike Rizzo better watch out, because these guys are coming for his job.
1. Get rid of Rafael Soriano
"I believe Soriano is going to crash and burn this year. If not for some spectacular defensive plays last season, he would have had many more blown saves. The dude has no out pitch and his untuck act has grown old. Get rid of him. Put Storen back as the closer or find someone new. Just no more Soriano. He's a bad fit for this young team." – Sterlres
No player is more loathed out there on the message boards than Rafael Soriano. It is a near consensus that his time has passed and he is nothing but a leech on the Nationals and kills their team chemistry. Clearly, this is a guy that needs to be gone ASAP. We don't care what we get back, we just want him gone.
This now opens up the question of who should be closer in 2014. Our dear commenter here suggests Drew Storen be given his old job back. That sounds like a fine idea, except for our next move.
2. Drew Storen needs to go too
"Storen has to go. I like him, personally, but he will never be the same in DC. He needs a fresh start. We move him for some prospects, preferably a middle infield one, or moved as part of a deal that gets us a starting pitcher." – Slateman
Yes, like Soriano, Storen's time with the Nationals has passed and he needs to be given a fresh start elsewhere. Our dear commenter suggests moving Storen for some prospects; however we aren't really concerned with the return. We're in win now mode and are focused squarely on the Major League roster for 2014. And we know Drew Storen should not be on it.
So without Soriano and Storen you're probably wondering who the closer will be in 2014. Luckily, our brilliant minds have thought of that too and have the perfect solution.
3. Make Tanner Roark closer
"Roark = closer" – econundertow
This was part of a much longer soliloquy on how to fix the Nats going forward, but I don't want just one brilliant mind hogging all of the attention, this is a team game, so I have picked out the most pertinent part. Truly its brilliance lies in its simplicity. No long, rambling explanation, just straight to the point, Roark equals closer. It's hard to argue with that logic.
So we're now off to a rousing start. We've rid the team of two cancers named Soriano and Storen and have found the perfect replacement going forward. Man this job is easier than I thought, what is Rizzo doing all day? Let's move on.
4.Get rid of Adam LaRoche
"Laroche gets moved or cut. Stupid deal was stupid and is more so now." – Slateman
Adam LaRoche is the position player equivalent of Rafael Soriano, you would be hard pressed to find anyone out there who wants him back in any capacity. So he's gone. Again, we aren't concerned with how he's gotten rid of, or who we might get back for him. That's loser talk and we don't want that around the Nats, which is why LaRoche is out of here.
Now we need a starting first baseman and our think tank has the perfect solution.
5. Make Tyler Moore the starting first baseman
"Tyler Moore (or as I call him Tyler 2) was burning up AAA with his bat because he was playing regularly; maybe he should start at first base or alternate between first and the outfield." – imzadi
Sure Tyler Moore was worth -1.2 wins above replacement last season and had a wRC+ 39 points below LaRoche, but that's simply because he didn't have regular playing time. If Moore or "Tyler 2" was finally given the regular playing time he has deserved since April 2012, the Nationals would have a true masher at first base. Pencil Moore in for 30 home runs and a lot of good times in the clubhouse. In fact, write that one down in pen, this kid is special.
Okay, we've now fixed the closer role and first base. But there are clearly some more work to be done. Let's see what we need to do next.
6. Trade Denard Span for Carter Capps
"He can certainly be traded to a team like Seattle for a hard throwing reliever like Carter Capps and maybe another bullpen arm." – Mattionals
Denard Span was a real drag on the Nationals this season, don't be fooled by his 3.5 WAR. His offensive production was putrid and the Nats need to upgrade now. But instead of just casting him off like Soriano, Storen and LaRoche, we can kill two birds with one stone by getting back some much need relief help.
Carter Capps is a 23 year old fireballer who would be the perfect return for a cheap, starting center fielder. Sure Capps had a 5.49 ERA in 53 appearances last season. And yes, maybe a 1.627 WHIP isn't ideal. But the kid stuck out 66 batters in 59 innings, he's a commodity the Nats just have to have.
Okay, so we've gotten rid of the anchor that is Denard Span and have even shore up another need in the process. So, who do we get to fill in at center field?
7. Move Bryce Harper to center field and add a corner outfielder
"How about Bryce in CF and a signing of corner OFer Corey Hart and he serves as insurance at First Base in case LaRoche comess up small again in '14?" – goodbye26
See you, like myself, were probably too simple minded to see the bigger picture. While we saw a hole at center field that needed to be filled, our brilliant commenter is one step ahead and has come up with a much better solution. Moving Harper, who is coming off of a major knee injury, to the more running intensive center field is a slam dunk. While our beloved commenter suggests Corey Hart as the man the Nats should sign to take over the corner outfield spot, another has an even better solution.
8. Bring back Michael Morse
"Bring Mikey Mo back" – Optics
That's right, it's time to bring back fan favorite Michael Morse. Now while some think he could be a good bench player, those people are just not thinking big. Morse, who is coming off a season where he hit .215/.270/.381 and just had wrist surgery, is the perfect candidate to slide into that vacant corner outfielder role. With Morse back the Nats will regain the 2012 magic that they were missing in 2013.
Okay, we've really improved this team, but it has just been small, needs to be done, moves. If the Nats truly want to shake off the demons of 2013 they need to do something big. Luckily, one commenter has the perfect idea.
9. Trade Drew Storen, Anthony Rendon and prospects for Max Scherzer and then trade Jordan Zimmermann for bullpen help.
"Storen + Rendon + Prospect or two for Scherzer. Trade Zimmermann for bullpen help" – Slateman
Remember earlier when I told you that we didn't care what we got in return for Storen? Well I lied, sorry, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise. The Tigers need help in the bullpen and at second base, and what more could they ask for than Drew Storen and Anthony Rendon. The Nats will throw in some prospects to sweeten the deal, but getting Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer for a year is worth it.
Now you may be asking yourself why the Nats would then need to trade Jordan Zimmermann, but that's because you just aren't as smart as our commenters. First, once the Nats have Scherzer, Zimmermann becomes redundant. You can only have so many right-handed second aces. But more importantly, Zimmermann is about to see a big step back this year, as our brilliant commenter notes later on, "I'm unimpressed with his second half splits."
As we stated before, the Nats need some bullpen help and that's the perfect return for Zimmermann.
Well in just nine moves we have completely fixed the Nats. We got rid of crappy players like Soriano, Storen, Span, LaRoche, Zimmermann and Rendon while adding key contributors in Scherzer, Morse and Capps.
Let's just take a look at our handiwork. I've filled in some of the holes with my best guesses based on my research into these geniuses' work.
- Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
- Bryce Harper, CF
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
- Michael Morse, LF
- Tyler Moore, 1B
- Ian Desmond, SS
- Jayson Werth, RF
- Wilson Ramos, C
- Stephen Strasburg
- Gio Gonzalez
- Max Scherzer
- Ross Detwiler
- Taylor Jordan
- Corey Brown
- Scott Hairston
- Zach Walters
- Jeff Kobernus
- Jhonatan Solano
- Closer- Tanner Roark
- Set Up Man - Tyler Clippard
- Set Up Man - Carter Capps
- Middle Reliever - Reliever acquired for Jordan Zimmermann
- Middle Reliever - Craig Stammen
- LOOGY - Ian Krol
- Long Reliever - Ross Ohlendorf
I think we can call this a job well done. Thank you anonymous internet geniuses, for sharing your work so freely and selflessly and Rizzo, you're welcome.