For those who have suggested that Boz writes one thing one day and the opposite the next, the quotes below are from an on-line chat on Monday, a full TWO days before he wrote the column ripping into the Lerners.
Here's a different way to interpret the Nats willingness to hold what they have, build a bench __hey, lets get started on that, fellas__ and see if a trade for CF develops.
Who have the Nats added? The question might be rephrased: Added since when? Who do the Nats have now, when ST starts, that they didn't have at the All-Star break?
*Stephen Strasburg (full recovery, 25 starts, not 5 in '12).
*Jordan Z (for 32-33 starts, not 25).
*Adam LaRoche, for 145 games, not 30-40 bad ones. Career OPS .815.
*Chien-Ming Wang (for 25-30 starts, not 10).
*Bryce Harper (for 80 games, not 0, maybe if called up in June).
*Brad Pea****, for whole season, not September.
*Tommy Milone, for full season, not September.
*Steve Lombardozzi, for full season, not just September.
*Ross Detwiler, for full season, not just half a season.
*Ryan Mathues for full season, not 60 games.
This may be rationalizing inactivity. But it's still interesting.
In response to: "I think it is now safe to say that the Lerners are cheap."
I'm quite sure you're wrong on this. Once you go $126M for one player, and you have SS and Harper coming, plus lots of others, you have committed yourself long-term. That doesn't mean they are committed specifically to spending for '12.
The Nats did NOT think thjat, as a group, Pea****, Milone, Matheus, Lombardozzi, Marrero, etc., would develop this fast. That makes '13 and '14 look better as a time to spend for your first big push, rather than '12-'13.
They still need to get cracking. And I still think Oswalt is worth a 3-year deal. But the bad years from Werth and LaR, coupled with the good years from so many kids, may have changed their internal time table.
I know Davey Johnson, though he doesn't phrase it this way, thinks thjat Job 1 right now is to find out exactly which of the young players are part of a postp-season quality team and which aren't. Then, as he says, "Put on the icng AFTER the cake is baked."
If you want "blame" Davey a little. He really likes what he's holding __if you upgrade the bench. And he wants to know that the Big Buy actually fits the Nats needs when they have a chance to win __whether he's the manager then or not. He really is a long-view guy.
Rizzo has the authority. But he wants to keep it! He really has a good sense of Ted, imo. Rizzo wants value and, as he said to me recently, "Once I get a number in my head on what I think a player is worth, I don't change much." That's who he IS __a talent evaluator. That's what he brings. If he thinks __and he does think these things __Buerhle isn't worthy four years; Oswalt isn't worth three years; Cepedes isn't worth $40-50M; Darvish isn't worth God-knows-how-much; BJ Upton isn't worth a key Nats player just to control him for one year; Pujols and Fielders aren't worth THAT to the Nats because they're set up fine at 1st base.
Is this stubborn? Yes. But if you are a team builder, you can't sway with the wind. You have to stick to your guns. If you are right enough, you get to be in a parade. If you are wrong enough, you get fired. He was right, when the world was mostly wrong, on Dunn. (he won't say it because he likes Dunn so much, but he saw a significant downward trajectory to his career, but nothing like what happened in '11. So far, he looks very wrong on Werth __a huge miss, if it works out that way.
Why do I still wonder, against all logic and every view that various Nats have given, that they';ll be tempted to jump into Fielder. Naaah. That's the stubborn part. He's just not going to do it because he thought about it all season. He's not going to let the market tell him what he thinks. Mr. Market is there to be taken advanatage of. But it's fatal is you listen to Mr. Market.
To me, the hidden factor with the Nats is how much their offense can improve in one year if Z''man (.825), LaRoche (.815), Morse (.855) and Werth (.830) simply produce their CAREER OPS in '12 and Espy (.737), Ramos (.767) and Desmond (.680) simply improve a hair on theirs. And what if Harper (,897 in the minors), comes up and produces at a .775 rate. The MLB average is in the low .700s. That ought to be a very good offense. http://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-1219.html