Crisitian Guzman's chances of being the Nats' starting shortstop in 2010 have taken another hit, with news breaking that he'll have arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder today. Guz should probably start getting really comfortable with the idea of taking up residence at second base next year. Via Nationals dot com:
Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman will have his right shoulder scoped on Thursday. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Wiemi Douoguih at The Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.
Best wishes to Guz for a speedy recovery. We'll send balloons!
The procedure may be routine, but it will sideline Norris for at least two months. So that means he won't be able to play in the Arizona Fall League as planned. This won't really hinder his overall development; the guy remains several years from reaching the majors. But it will prevent him from catching Stephen Strasburg this fall, something the organization would have liked.
"It was terrible. It was horrible. You lose 100 freaking games, you obviously didn't do very good...That's the number one thing you take out of this season: We're really not that far off. If we were, I would tell you. I'm not going to blow smoke. I really know we're a couple of pieces away from being really good." (Adam Dunn, via Washington Times, 10/6/2009)
Not rotten to the core, says Rizzo.
You can't keep everybody, says Riggles.
Not blowing smoke, not that far off, says Dunn.
So if a massive blowup isn't necessary for the Nationals, but everybody can't come back next year, and they're not that far off: who stays, and who goes?
Clearly, the most pressing needs for the 2010 Nats are as follows:
Manager. Jim Riggleman: in or out? And if not, Mr. Riggles, then who?
Veteran starter(s). Bringing back Livo - and he wants to be back, and he can probably be had for cheap - won't cut it, obviously.
Second base. With Desmond at SS, Guz, Gonzo, won't cut it.
Bullpen. See if Julian Tavarez is available, if only for the quotes.
Catching help. Would be nice to add a veteran to the mix (sorry Jamie Burke. *cough* *cough* welcome back Brian Schneider?)
Meanwhile...we're still trying to get comfortable with our postseason horse, the ex-Senators.
(Photo of TV by Nationals Enquirer Staff. Do not adjust your television. You know it's October in NatsTown when the Nats aren't playing baseball, and TBS field reporter Craig Sager is sporting his trademark heinous jacket with an even uglier tie.)
So: are Nationals fans supposed to root for, or against, the Twins, considering the overdone sob story of how the Washington Senators were shipped out to Minnesota at the end of the 1960 season, only to be replaced with the expansion Washington Senators (who eventually became the Texas Rangers in 1972)? Given that the Washington Post's Tom Boswell is probably the only person still holding a grudge for the Senators skipping town twice, it's probably okay for Nats fans to cheer on the Twins. And don't forget ex-Nats, now Twins, Jon Rauch & Brendan Harris. So, until they get eliminated, we're Washington Senators fans.
(Grainy photo of TV by Nationals Enquirer staff. Stephen Strasburg jogs off the field with his right arm still attached, following the first inning of his professional debut against the Tigers' instructional league squad.)
The votes have been counted, and card-carrying members of the DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association (for more info about the DC-IBWA, go here) have spoken. But first, a big thank you to Dave Nichols of Nationals News Network for all his work on this project. Now, without further ado, the winners of the inaugural DC-IBWA Post-Season Player Achievement Awards are as follows:
Goose Goslin Most Valuable Player Player most valuable to the success of the Washington Nationals: 1st: Ryan Zimmerman (92 points, 16 first place votes) 2nd: Adam Dunn (41 points, one first place vote) 3rd: Nyjer Morgan (25 points, three first place votes) Others: John Lannan (19), Josh Willingham (3)
Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year Excellent performance as a starting pitcher 1st: John Lannan (96 points, 18 first place votes) 2nd: Jordan Zimmermann (42 points, two first place votes) 3rd: Craig Stammen (22 points) Others: J.D. Martin (6), Garrett Mock (4), Livan Hernandez (3), Ross Detwiler (2)
Frederick "Firpo" Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year Excellent performance as a relief pitcher 1st: Tyler Clippard (80 points, 13 first place votes) 2nd: Mike MacDougal (55 points, six first place votes) 3rd: Sean Burnett (29 points, one first place vote) Others: Jason Bergmann (6), Joe Beimel (5), Ron Villone (3),Saul Rivera (1)
Sam Rice Hitter of the Year Excellence in all-around hitting, situational hitting and baserunning 1st: Ryan Zimmerman (81 points, 14 first place votes) 2nd: Adam Dunn (39 points, two first place votes) 3rd: Nyjer Morgan (26 points, three first place votes) Others: Josh Willingham (14), Nick Johnson (9, one first place vote), Cristian Guzman (6)
Frank Howard Slugger of the Year Excellence in power hitting 1st: Adam Dunn (100 points, 20 first place votes) 2nd: Ryan Zimmerman (46 points) 3rd: Josh Willingham (27 points)
Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year Excellence in fielding 1st: Ryan Zimmerman (88 points, 14 first place votes) 2nd: Nyjer Morgan (69 points, six first place votes) 3rd: Willie Harris (12 points) Others: Alberto Gonzalez, Elijah Dukes, Nick Johnson (3), Wil Nieves (1)
Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year Player who overcame biggest obstacle in the preceding season to contribute on the field 1st: Nick Johnson (50 points, 10 first place votes) 2nd: Mike MacDougal (20 points, one first place vote) 3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (18 points, three first place votes) Others: Jason Bergmann (16), Josh Bard (9), Ron Villone (8), Josh Willingham (7), Mike Morse (7), Justin Maxwell (5), J.D. Martin (4), Nyjer Morgan, Livan Hernandez, Ross Detwiler, Elijah Dukes (3), Adam Dunn, Ian Desmond, Jorge Padilla, Sean Burnett, Garrett Mock (1)
Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year Player who meritoriously gave of himself to the community 1st: John Lannan (72 points, 12 first place votes) 2nd: Ryan Zimmerman (44 points, four first place votes) 3rd: Wil Nieves (21 points, three first place votes) Others: Josh Willingham (9), Nyjer Morgan, Willie Harris, Elijah Dukes (3), Tyler Clippard (1)
Minor League Player of the Year Minor league player most destined for big league success 1st: Derek Norris (54 points, nine first place votes) 2nd: Ian Desmond (53 points, nine first place votes) 3rd: Drew Storen (41 points, two first place votes) Others: Bradley Meyers (16), Chris Marrero (7), Mike Morse (4), Daniel Espinosa (2), Ross Detwiler, Jorge Padilla (1).
Here lies the 2009 Washington Natinals. When they pitched, they couldn't hit. When they hit, they couldn't pitch. Sometimes when they pitched and hit, they couldn't field. When they had a lead, the bullpen almost always blew it. But just when you thought they were about to quit: they didn't.
And they signed Strasburg.
One of the joys of blogging is being able to look back and read all the half-baked, really dumb thoughts that make their way from brain-to-keyboard-to-internet over the course of a 162 game season.
Time to bury the 2008 disaster, put the Winter of the Nationals' Discontent behind us, and hope like hell that 2009 will mark a turning point for an organization that's sorely in need of proving that it is headed in the right direction. Our gut tells us that in the end, this won't be a historically bad team, just a run-of-the-mill sub-.500 one -- with a lot of interesting young pieces to keep tabs on. And because this is the Nationals, lots of big, burning questions.
One question on our minds this morning: does a bad start (and with a brutal April schedule against the NL East on tap, it's a possibility) cost Manny Acta his job? But enough negativity! Let's think positive thoughts!
Without further ado, here are the Official Nationals Enquirer 2009 predictions.
Nationals final record: 76-86, good for 4th place in the NL East. Here's how the East shakes out in '09:
Oh well, so much for that. Hey, we were only off by 17 Wins. And we DID (sort of) predict Manny Acta's visit from Stan Kasten's Axe. But our hopes for a run-of-the-mill sub-.500 team were dashed on an almost nightly basis by often spectacular displays of miserable baseball; matched only by the often spectacular displays of organizational failure. It was often ugly; but things seemed to get a little better as the season wore on.
So where do we go from here? Is the organization headed in the right direction? We'd like to think yes, but it's hard to look beyond 59-103 and two straight 100 loss seasons. Still so many question marks; but thankfully a few glimmers of hope. We'll save our thoughts on the future for another day. For now, we're going to sulk: because there's no Nats game on tonight. We already miss 'em.
(AP Photo by John Amis. Alberto Gonzalez scored the tying run in the 7th, and knocked in the winning run in th 15th.)
"I'm just very proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves. Under the circumstances, with our record and late in the year, to be playing with that kind of intensity, I think it's really a credit to them." (Jim Riggleman, via Chatter/Washington Times, 10/4/2009)
Thank God, it's finally over!
But give 'em credit: just when it looked like they were going to quit on Riggleman a few weeks ago, at least they played hard for him the final week of the season.
We'll repeat the tidbit that's being repeated everywhere: Nats are the first team in MLB history to start the season 0-7, end the season 7-0. But let's not forget that 59-103 is still the worst record in baseball.
Breaking news: For the second day in a row, snowball fights reportedly breaking out in Hell. Also, Logan Kensing pitches two shutout innings, holds on during heartattack 15th to earn the win.
We'll be back tomorrow with a look back, and a look ahead. For now, time to rest.
Here's your Closing Day 2009 Washington NAAAtionals lineup:
Justin Maxwell CF Ian Desmond SS Pete Orr 3B Elijah Dukes RF Mike Morse 1B Josh Bard C Alberto Gonzalez 2B Jorge Padilla LF J.D. Martin P
Jim Riggleman doesn't give a crap about the streak, apparently: runs Syracuse Chiefs out there one last time. NAAAts have a chance of ending the season winning 7 games in a row; but Adam Dunn won't get a shot at 40, although, it sounds like he couldn't care less:
"Yeah, it would have been cool, and yeah, I should have hit 40 this year. But I didn't. I'm not going to sit there and cry about it. Numbers -- and I mean it when I say this -- they don't mean anything, unless you win. If you win, then you should get the accolades. But if you lose 100-something games, who cares?" (Adam Dunn, via Chatter/Washington Times, 10/4/2009)