Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Clutch of Life and the Fist of Love

I've been reflecting on those we lost in the offseason, and I think Doug Fister is the only one I miss.

"This is Doug Fister reminding you on behalf of my good friends at PepsiCo to stay hydrated this season. Together, we can pitch a shutout against thirst!

What? No, I don't know whose hand that is."
This is going back to 2013, but that was such a nifty trade! The Nats gave up a couple relief pitchers, one of whom might have been useful but whatever. They also sent along one of those inexplicable fan favorites, which speaks well to the organization's character.

Steve Lombardozzi isn't really a major league player, but people loved him. He played all the positions, and you could call him "Lombo" - maybe that's all it takes to develop a cult following. He was well on his way to becoming our own Super Joe McEwing, and the fact that the Nats thought as little of him as he was worth is a good sign.

The Tigers were roundly mocked at the time for giving up Fister for so little. Hell, they only held on to one of those dudes, and it wasn't even the good one. It turns out that one of the main things that determines that I'm going to really like a ballplayer is if my team ripped another team to get him, and that's certainly the case here.

The Nats got one really good year out of Fister, and then I got a really good year out of Fister, and then they let him go to Houston because he couldn't pitch any more.

And that's how you run a ball club. Neither end of Fister's tenure with the Nationals was a franchise-altering masterstroke, but the whole episode evinces a reassuring competence.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Drive Like a Demon from Station to Station

The Nationals pulled off some North American free trade in January. Remember Drew Storen? Not our problem any more. He's a Blue Jay now. Let Trudeau worry about him.

We got Ben Revere, who, according to various advanced metrics I won't be sharing here, will be at least useful.

Is he the solution to our outfield challenges? He can't do everything to fix our woes, obviously - it would take an MVP performance from Jayson Werth's parole officer to do that - but he should help.

I'm second to none in my affection for and mockery of the tiny-headedness of Michael A. Taylor, but the dude's a born fourth outfielder. The Nats know this - did you see some of the cockamamie schemes they were devising to keep Taylor from being the starting center fielder? I'm glad we didn't have the wherewithal to pay Yoenis Cespedes. They actually would have made him stand in center every day.

So now we have Ben Revere, and this could wind up being a lot of fun. Revere got on base over 35% of the time last year, and after I make my it's-not-1998-anymore adjustments, that turns out to be pretty good. Also, he completely runs like hell all the time. He stole exactly twice as many bases as any Nat last year, and that's always an entertaining dimension for a baseball club to have.

He might be lousy at defense. Opinions are mixed, and I guess we'll find out. Gotta be better than Cespedes, right?

The cost to pick up Revere was one Drew Storen. I'm glad to be rid of him for two reasons.

1. Drew Storen is a very good closer in laboratory conditions. He can get the job done as long as there aren't any loud noises or other relief pitchers with more saves than he has or Pete Kozma. As long as everyone sits quietly and believes in him really hard, he's an asset.

I don't have to tell Nats fans that a closer with those attributes is of limited utility. Maybe he'll thrive in the clinical environment of the Rogers Centre. Maybe he won't. I don't care.

2. Drew Storen reminds me of the human condition, which is depressing. I'm glad I don't have to look at him anymore.

Last year, I plagiarized the Oedipus to talk about Storen's situation, how he seemed to be in a pretty good place until it suddenly came crashing down around him. It was definitely more pretentious than it was edifying or amusing, but I meant every word of it.

Storen's breakdown was instructive, but it was also ominous, and I don't feel like being reminded of it every time the Nats have a lead in the ninth. I don't want Storen on my baseball team any more than I'd want Oedipus to be my king. I feel real sorry for the motherfuckers, but I have my own problems.