Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Friday, May 29, 2015

Replaycement Postscript

In this morning's post, I argued against a position that I wasn't sure anyone had actually taken. We need to replace Jayson Werth, I said, because:
  1. The Nats are going for it this year
  2. Werth was terrible before he got injured
  3. Werth will likely be terrible when he's not injured anymore
  4. The Nats' in-house options are not good enough
Now Mark Zuckerman at teh Insider has taken the opposite position.
And they’ve established they can win without him already this season. Since Werth last played May 15, the Nationals have gone 9-2. 
So the notion that general manager Mike Rizzo needs to go out and acquire another left fielder to take Werth’s place is a bit misguided.
What could be more definitive than a sample of eleven games? Eleven games, by the way, in which the Nats did not score very many runs and were carried by Bryce Harper.
For one thing, Werth isn’t out for the season. He will be coming back, and Rizzo isn’t the type who usually gets pressured into picking up a player to fill in for only 2 1/2 months.
If this team really cares about winning, he'll be coming back as a pinch hitter.
Werth also remains under contract for two more seasons after 2015, owed $21 million in 2016 and again in 2017. He’s not going anywhere.
If this team really cares about winning, they won't let sunk costs stop them from getting the team into championship shape.

Zuckerman then goes on to describe the Taylor/Moore/Robinson crap chimera that's getting Werth's playing time. He acknowledges that they're not any good before showing us the bright side.
Take Werth’s stats out of the mix, and the Nationals’ remaining left fielders have been just as productive, even more so in some cases: a .215 batting average, .271 on-base percentage, .329 slugging percentage and .600 OPS. Still below-average, but the guy they had for most of the season’s first six weeks was producing at below-average levels to begin with.
So on the one hand, Werth is going to come back so we can't fill his spot. On the other hand, Werth was playing so badly that we don't lose by playing scrubs in his place. If the second part is true (it is), then the first one doesn't make any sense.

There are a lot of silly assumptions here, like that since the Nats have been winning so far while getting nothing from left field, they're bound to continue winning if left remains a black hole. Or that the rest of the lineup is such a murderers' row that we can punt on LF anyway.

When it comes to the people actually making the decisions, I'm worried that bit about "$21 million in 2016 and again in 2017" is going to loom larger than it does in either my or Zuckerman's analysis.

No comments: