Posts Tagged ‘Washington Nationals’

The Five Best Free Agent Pitchers Left On The Market

February 7, 2010

While everyone is getting ready for the big game, I am writing about baseball. Such is the life I have chosen.

Yesterday, I wrote about the five best hitters left on the free agent market, so today I will focus on the five best pitchers who have yet to find a home for the 2010 season.

Here are the top-five free agent pitchers left on the market:

1. Kiko Calero, Relief Pitcher. At 35-years-old you would think that Calero has been around for forever, but he hasn’t. Kalero has only been in the majors for seven years and perhaps his 2009 season was his best.

In 60 innings pitched with the Florida Marlins, Calero had a 1.95 ERA, 69 strike outs, and only allowed 36 hits in those 60 innings. Those are some impressive numbers.

What was just as impressive was that Calero was equally effective against righties and lefties. He held lefties to a .187 batting average and righties to a .176 average.

Calero would be a valuable addition to any bullpen. The Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays were rumored to be interested earlier in the offseason.

2. Jarrod Washburn, Starting Pitcher. Washburn was off to a fast start in 2009 and then he was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the trading deadline and things fell apart.

Washburn may be forced into retirement

Washburn suffered a knee injury down the stretch and stumbled to a 1-3 record with a 7.33 ERA with the Tigers. His last start was Sept. 15 against the Kansas City Royals and lasted an impressive one inning and gave up four runs.

Washburn is 35 now and is now even considering retirement if he can’t get an offer from either the Minnesota Twins or Seattle Mariners.

3. Joe Beimel, Relief Pitcher. Beimel is the youngest of any pitcher on this list (32), but his value is not really strong. He is coming off a year where he had a 3.58 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies, which is not bad at all.

However, there is one is problem with Beimel–he doesn’t do anything particularly well.

He doesn’t strike anyone out and as a left-handed pitcher, he isn’t that effective against left-handed batters. Lefties actually had a higher OPS (.781) against Beimel than righties did (.741) in 2009.

A lefty who can’t get left-handed batters out is like a pass rusher, who can’t sack the quarter back. Beimel is like the Vernon Gholston of baseball.

4. Chan Ho Park, Relief Pitcher. It seems like Park has been around forever. It was a really long, long, long time ago that Park was an up-and-coming pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Park is 36 now and is coming off a year where he had a 4.43 ERA in 83.1 innings with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was actually used as an old-fashioned swing man last year. He was used in relief and made seven starts.

Park is much better suited to be a reliever at this stage in his career. Park had a 2.52 ERA last year in relief and pitched rather well for the Phillies out of the bullpen in the playoffs. He had a three ERA in nine innings during last year’s World Series run.

I wouldn’t trust him in a big spot to save my life, but he should find a home pretty soon.

5. Braden Looper, Starting Pitcher. Looper went 14-7 with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but don’t be fooled by those 14 wins and his 194.2 innings pitched. Looper was pretty bad last year.

Looper was not impressive with the Brewers in 09'

Looper led the National League in runs allowed (113), home runs allowed (39), and finished fourth in hits allowed (216). He also had an ERA of 5.52. It was like he was going for the anti-triple crown of pitching.

I think Looper will have a hard time getting a major league contract and will most likely sign a minor league deal with incentives.

That’s all for today. Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone!!!

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Nationals Lose Out On Orlando Hudson, So Turn To Adam Kennedy

February 5, 2010

Adam Kennedy’s future was mostly dependent on Orlando Hudson. Hudson was the premier second baseman left on the market and teams weren’t going to move on Kennedy until Hudson was signed. Kennedy essentially became the fallback option.

Now that Hudson has found a home with the Minnesota Twins, the Washington Nationals have found their fallback option. According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, the Nationals have signed Kennedy to a one-year, $1.25 million deal. The deal also includes a $2 million club option for 2011.

Kennedy was a fallback option for the Nats

Poor Adam Kennedy. If Hudson had signed with the Nationals or Cleveland Indians, he could be in Minnesota with a chance to play in the playoffs in 2010. Now he is going to Washington and to probably a last place team next season. It’s like being rejected by your dream job and settling for a job that pays 25 percent less and has no long-term growth.

However, the reality is Kennedy is even lucky to have a major league job in 2010.

Kennedy was released by the St. Louis Cardinals in the winter of 2009, then signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, and then was traded to the Oakland A’s for Joe Dillion. Kennedy had an up-and-down year for the A’s in 2009.

He got off to a rip roaring start, hitting .390 in May, but then dipped to .218 in June, got back on track in July hitting .296, stumbled again in August hitting .224, and then ended the season on a tear hitting .349 in September. Kennedy ended the season hitting .289 with 11 home runs and a .758 OPS in 128 games.

I don’t expect Kennedy to come anywhere close to his 2009 numbers in 2010. Especially his power numbers. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know why the Nationals signed Kennedy in the first place.

Why are the Nationals signing a 34-year-old second baseman? I don’t mind when a team signs a veteran for one year as long as it doesn’t prevent a young player from getting a shot. With this signing, the Nationals are preventing a young player from getting a shot.

With Kennedy in the fold, Cristian Guzman with his surgically repaired shoulder and poor UZR will remain at short and Ian Desmond is out of a starting job. Desmond hit .280 with four home runs in 82 AB’s last year. I know it’s not a great sample size, but what can Kennedy do that Desmond can’t?

Bill James predicted a .282 season from Desmond with 13 home runs and a .770 OPS. Now he will be sitting on the bench while some veteran who has no long-term future with the club gets his AB’s.

I appreciate the fact the Nationals are trying to put a competitive product on the field. In this economy, a team has to do whatever it can to sell tickets, but they are going about it the wrong way. They should try to win with guys like Desmond, not have him sit on the bench or go down to the minors.

The Nationals would have been better off investing this money in their bullpen. Kennedy was a poor investment by the Nationals.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Kris Benson On The Comeback Trail?

February 3, 2010

Is it me or does it seem like there is an unusual amount of pitchers trying to make a comeback this offseason? It seems like everyday we are are hearing about a pitcher who hasn’t pitched in a couple of years and is holding a workout for major league clubs.

This offseason, we have seen Ben Sheets, Derrick Turnbow, Noah Lowry, and others hold a workout in front of clubs and attempt to make a comeback. Now, we can add one more pitcher to the list of pitchers trying to make a comeback.

Benson is trying to make another comeback

According to John Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Kris Benson is trying to make a comeback and a number of teams are monitoring his progress this offseason.

Morosi is hearing that the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and Washington Nationals are the teams keeping track of where Benson is at this offseason. This should just tell you the state of pitching in the game of baseball today.

Benson hasn’t been an effective pitcher in the majors since 2006 and even then he wasn’t that good. In that year with the Baltimore Orioles, Benson finished with a 11-12 record with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

Benson pitched in the minors and had a cup of coffee with the Texas Rangers last year and was terrible. He gave up 33 hits in 22.1 innings and had a 8.46 ERA in eight games.

A pitcher like Benson is just living off the fact that he was the No.1 overall pick in the draft. But that was almost 14 years ago.

25-30 years ago, Benson wouldn’t even be given a second look. Now, because teams are so desperate to find pitching anywhere they can, scouts are hoping that someone like Benson has something left.

Pitching in baseball has become quantity instead of quality. It seems like now if a guy can just throw a baseball, a team will give him a look. It’s a problem that really doesn’t have an answer.

Until someone comes up with an answer on how to get more quality pitchers in the major leagues, guys like Benson will always been given a shot.

By the way, if you noticed I didn’t give the expected answer of “Well at least we will get to see Anna Benson again,” in regards to Benson’s comeback. I never really understood what the big deal was with her. She never did anything for me.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

MLB Network Announces Top-50 Prospects In Baseball

January 28, 2010

Last night, MLB.com announced their top-50 prospects in baseball through a special on the MLB Network. While there were few surprises on their list, there were a couple of players that caught my eye.

No. 8: Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates. When the Pirates promoted Andrew McCutchen to the major leagues last season, Alvarez became the jewel of the Pirates’ farm system. The Pirates really need Alvarez to become the player they think he can be.

No. 24: Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay Rays. Beckham was the No.1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. As a matter of fact, Alvarez was the No.2 pick in that draft.

The Rays took a chance on the less polished Beckham and he struggled somewhat in his first year of professional baseball. Beckham is only 19, so he has plenty of time to figure things out, but 2010 is a big year. The Rays could have drafted Buster Posey.

No. 28: Casey Kelly, Boston Red Sox. Kelly and the Red Sox organization were faced with a big decision in 2009. Where was Kelly going to play full-time moving forward? Shortstop or pitcher? Kelly is now a full-time pitcher and it was the right decision.

Kelly had a 2.05 ERA in 95 minor league innings last year. He could be in the Red Sox starting rotation by 2012.

No. 30: Yonder Alonso, Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are going to be faced with an interesting decision a year or two from now. Alonso is a first baseman and the Reds already have a star in waiting at first in Joey Votto.

Alonso isn’t as athletic as Votto, so I suspect Votto will be moved to the outfield. A broken bone in Alonso’s hand limited his power in 2009, but this guy can rake. Once he figures out how to hit lefties, he will be good to go.

No. 40: Drew Storen, Washington Nationals. Not only is Storen fun to follow on Twitter, but he is also on heck of pitcher. Stephen Strasburg is getting all the hype, but Storen isn’t far behind him.

Storen is being groomed at the Nationals’ closer of the future. He could be their closer by 2011.

The Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals led the way with four players in the top-50. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets (Ike Davis could have been on this list), and St. Louis Cardinals were the only teams not to have a player in the top-50.

You can find MLB.com’s complete list of top-50 prospects here.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Rotation: National League East

January 21, 2010

Earlier in the week, I took a look at the starting rotations for each American League team. Now it’s time to switch gears and focus on the National League.

I will start in the National League East and go from there. The NL East is home to perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay and Johan Santana. Not only are there superstar pitchers in this division, there are also some great young arms like Josh Johnson and Tommy Hanson.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League East team as presently constructed.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Roy Halladay, RHP

2. Cole Hamels, LHP

3. Joe Blanton, RHP

4. JA Happ, LHP

5. Jaime Moyer, LHP

Quick Take – The Phillies made the big move this offseason trading for Halladay. In doing such, they had to trade playoff hero Cliff Lee. While I have no doubt Halladay will be a Cy Young candidate in 2010, this rotation will only be as good as Hamels is. They really need him to bounce back this year.

Atlanta Braves

1. Derek Lowe, RHP

2. Jair Jurrjens, RHP

3. Tim Hudson, RHP

4. Tommy Hanson, RHP

5. Kenshin Kawakami, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has so much depth, that the Braves were able to trade Javier Vazquez. I like this rotation because it’s a good mix of young (Jurrjens and Hanson) and old (Hudson and Lowe). If the Braves give him any run support, Jurrjens could be a Cy Young candidate in 2010.

New York Mets

1. Johan Santana, LHP

2. Mike Pelfrey, RHP

3. John Maine, RHP

4. Oliver Perez, LHP

5. John Niese, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation reminds me of those Boston Red Sox rotations back in the late-90’s. They had Pedro Martinez and a bunch of question marks. This is a big year for Pelfrey. Perez is reportedly got in the best shape of his life this offseason, so let’s see if that translates to his performance on the mound.

Florida Marlins

1. Josh Johnson, RHP

2. Ricky Nolasco, RHP

3. Anibal Sanchez, RHP

4. Sean West, LHP

5. Chris Volstad, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation is young, tall, and talented. Johnson leads this staff and is an early favorite to win the NL Cy Young award in 2010. At 6’8″, 240 lbs, West has a ton of potential. This staff also has top pitching prospect Andrew Miller waiting in the wings.

Washington Nationals

1. John Lannan, LHP

2. Jason Marquis, RHP

3. Scott Olsen, LHP

4. J.D. Martin, RHP

5. Craig Stammen, RHP

Quick Take – The addition of Marquis will help this staff, but overall, it’s still pretty weak. I really like Lannan. He is a good pitcher, who unfortunately plays on the worst team in baseball. Of course, all eyes will be on the development of Stephen Strasburg. There is a chance he could join this staff by the end of the year.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the National League Central.

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Reds Shock Baseball, Sign Aroldis Chapman

January 11, 2010

There were a lot of teams rumored to be in the hunt for 22-year-old Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. We heard the Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, and Toronto Blue Jays all express interest in Chapman.

However, it was a surprise team at the end of the day that was able to land the left-handed pitcher. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Cincinnati Reds have swooped in and signed Chapman.

Chapman goes from Cuba to Cincinnati

The Reds have signed Chapman to a five-year, $25 million contract. There is an option for a sixth year and the Reds will pay out Chapman’s salary over a 10-year period.

I think there are a couple of ways you can look at this signing.

I think the first question people have–like my friend Justin–is why would the Reds sign Chapman? There are a couple of reasons.

First, Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo and their combined $24 million can come off the books after the 2010 season. The Reds figured they can suck it up for one year in order to give themselves long-term success in the future.

Secondly, the Reds are building a young, dynamic team for the future and Chapman can be a part of that. In 2011, the Reds could have a pitching staff that consists of Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Chapman.

That pitching staff along with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Yonder Alonso, and Todd Frazier could make the Reds NL Central favorites for years to come.

There is also a another way to look at this signing. I think this signing is good for baseball.

I know every New York Yankee fan and Red Sox fan thinks it’s their right to sign every foreign free agent. As today proves, that is not the case.

It’s good for baseball when teams like the Reds or Blue Jays are in on a free agent like this. I clearly know that it doesn’t work this way, but the Reds signing Chapman is what revenue sharing is all about.

Of course a signing like this doesn’t come without risks. Many have questioned Chapman’s maturity and some question whether or not he is major league ready.

If you were to ask me, I believe Chapman will start the year in the minors and the Reds will gradually bring him along depending on what he does in the minors.

For those of you not familiar with Chapman, here is a scouting report by ESPN.com’s Keith Law:

“Chapman is the wild card of the free-agent market, as his track record is largely unknown, he has barely thrown for clubs since defecting and he is represented by agents who haven’t handled a free agent of this magnitude before.

“When Chapman is on, he’ll show No. 1 starter stuff, with a fastball in the mid-90s (and yes, as high as 101 mph) with good tail and a mid-80s slider that will show plus with legitimate tilt, although the latter pitch isn’t consistent. He does have a soft changeup, but he lacks feel for it and pushes it out of his hand rather than selling it with good arm speed.

“His command isn’t good, and he’s more thrower than pitcher, with a very loose arm that makes the velocity come out easily. Since defecting, he has worked on his body, and scouts who’ve seen him recently say he’s stronger and in better overall shape.

“He might be a No. 1 starter; he might be an ace closer; he might be a mountain of frustration. Is that worth $60 million? Or the fourth- or fifth-biggest contract of the offseason?

“Not to me, but he’s worth some eight-figure amount because of the almost limitless upside.”

Chapman will undergo a physical and the deal should be officially announced today.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Austin Kearns Signs Minor League Deal With The Indians

January 5, 2010

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Not that ever Austin Kearns was ever really mighty, but he was once one of the top prospects in the game. Now, 10 years later, he is barely hanging on.

Today, Kearns signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.

I have to admit, I was a big Kearns fan back in the day. I really was on the Kearns’ bandwagon in the early 2000’s.

Kearns never materialized in Cincinnati

I, along with the Cincinnati Reds organization, thought Kearns and Adam Dunn would be the cornerstones of great Reds’ teams for years to come.

Kearns was drafted with the seventh pick in the 1998 draft and made his debut in 2002. Kearns came out firing that season and it looked like all the hype surrounding Kearns was real.

Kearns hit .315/.407.500 with 13 home runs in 107 games and finished *third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Unfortunately, that was the last productive season for Kearns in a Reds’ uniform.

Injuries limited Kearns’ playing time and even when he was in the lineup, he failed to give the Reds anything like he did in 2002. The Reds dream outfield of Kearns, Dunn, and Ken Griffey Jr. never materialized.

In 2006, Kearns was sent to the Washington Nationals along with Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner for Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris, and Daryl Thompson. Just after fours years after looking like a star, Kearns was no longer wanted in Cincinnati.

In his first full year in Washington in 2007, Kearns played in 161 games and hit .266 with 16 home runs and a .765 OPS. It appeared all Kearns needed was a change of scenery.

However, Kearns went back into the same injury habit in 2008 and 2009 that ruined his career in Cincinnati. Kearns in those two years played a total of 166 games and hit a stellar .209.

The Nationals even started Kearns at the beginning of the 2009 season in order to build up his trade value. That strategy didn’t work as Kearns hit just .230 in April and May.

Now at the age of 29, Kearns is nothing more than a fringe major league player hoping to get one more shot at the big leagues.

Kearns is yet another example of how top prospects are never a sure thing in baseball.

*2002 NL ROY – I took a look at the voting break down for this award and I couldn’t believe that none of the players who received votes that year had a lasting impact in the major leagues.

Jason Jennings, Kaz Ishii, Brad Wilkerson, Mark Prior, Josh Fogg, Damian Moss, Ryan Jensen, etc…all received votes and none of which accomplished much in the majors.

As a matter of fact, out of the 11 players who received votes, only Kearns, Fogg, and Jennings were on major league rosters in 2009. 2009 was only seven years after fact. Very surprising.

Prior had a superb 2003, but injuries ended his career before it even began. 2002 was just more proof that being considered for the ROY is not a spring-board into a successful career.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Nationals Find A New Closer, Sign Matt Capps

December 24, 2009

Last week I wrote a post titled “Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold.” The reasoning behind the post was that with no other options in Washington, it looked like Bruney would become the Nationals’ closer in 2010.

Whoops!

That’s what the kids call these days as “Jumping the gun.” Bruney’s reign as closer in Washington lasted maybe two weeks.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, the Nationals have signed former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Matt Capps to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Capps can earn another $425,000 based on the number of games finished.

Capps is the new closer in DC

So far this offseason, the Nationals have added a solid starter in Jason Marquis, an eighth inning set-up man in Bruney, and now their closer in Capps. I won’t mention the Ivan Rodriguez signing because that was a terrible move.

But overall, the Nationals have had a very active and productive offseason. The Capps signing was a good move for both clubs for a couple of reasons.

For Capps, he had offers from the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, but chose the Nationals because they give him the best shot to be a closer and to re-establish his value for next offseason.

After having solid 2007 and 2008 seasons, Capps really fell off in 2009. Capps had a 5.80 ERA and registered the highest BB/9 rate of his career (2.8/9).

He also registered the highest K/9 of his career as well (7.6/9). Perhaps Capps just needs a change of scenery. The Nationals will give Capps that change of scenery in 2010.
For the Nationals, this is another move to help try to improve upon a disastrous bullpen in 2009. I don’t mind a rebuilding team signing veteran players as long as A. It doesn’t block a prospect from getting a shot and B. the contract doesn’t become an albatross in the future.
The Capps signing doesn’t do either.
Capps will not block Drew Storen’s development as the closer of the future and Capps only signed a one-year deal. No harm, no foul.
Plus, if Capps does have a bounce back year, the Nationals could always trade him for prospects in July or August. Contending teams always are looking for bullpen help down the stretch.
Capps will be 27-years-old next year and has a career 3.61 ERA in five seasons with the Pirates.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Marquis Jetting To The Washington Nationals

December 22, 2009

So I called my dad yesterday, as I do after every excruciating, but yet classic New York Jets’ loss–and Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons was as classic as it gets– just to make sure he was in good health.

He is still in good health, but I can’t repeat the conversation because I would like to keep this a PG site. After he got done with his Joe Benigno-esque rant, we had this conversation…

Me: Did you hear the Washington Nationals signed Jason Marquis?

Dad: No, I didn’t. Didn’t he want to play for the Mets?

Me: Yup.

Dad: So why didn’t the Mets sign him?

Me: I have no idea. I guess signing a Jewish kid from New York made too much sense.

Dad: Idiots.

I really have no idea why the Mets didn’t sign Marquis. He openly campaigned for the Mets to sign him and it’s not to often a player openly admits to wanting to play for the Mets. Players don’t knock on their door like they do the New York Yankees.

But the Mets loss is a division rivals gain. As I mentioned above, the Nationals signed Marquis and they signed him to a two-year, $15 million contract.

The Mets missed out on Marquis

I am kind of torn about whether or not I like this signing.

On one hand, I look at this signing and ask the question–why? What’s the point of a team that is probably going to win 70 games next year signing a guy to a $15 million contract?

This is very similar to the Adam Dunn signing last year. By the time the Nationals are contenders, Dunn and Marquis probably won’t be on the team.

On the other hand, I say what’s the harm in signing Marquis? It’s not like they signed him to a five-year, $60 million deal. A two-year contract will not affect the Nationals in the long-term.

The Nationals finished 15th in the National League in starter’s ERA (4.97) and 13th in starter’s innings pitched (901.1) in 2009. Marquis will help the Nationals in both areas in 2010.

Marquis finished with 216 innings pitched with the Colorado Rockies in 2009, which ranked eighth in the National League. He also had a 4.01 ERA, which was Marquis’ lowest since 2004 (3.71).

Perhaps most importantly for the Nationals, Marquis can serve as a mentor to the young Nationals’ pitching staff. Guys like John Lannan finally now have  someone they can learn from.

There is also one more side to this deal, which I don’t have a hand for. It’s called the business side of baseball.

The Nationals have now signed Jason Marquis and Ivan Rodriguez and traded for Brian Bruney. Two out of three of those players are name guys.

The Nationals finished 24th out of 30 teams in baseball in attendance in 2009. These moves are not only being made to improve the ball club on the field, but to improve ticket sales as well.

Afterall, Marquis has played 10 years in the majors and in all 10 years his teams have made the playoffs. So the Nationals will be going to the playoffs in 2010 right?

Well, maybe not.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg