Monthly Archives: February 2010

Not quite Dominican Gold, But Martinez could pay out for Nationals

Pedro Martinez is nowhere near ready to hang up his spikes.  However, yet again he finds himself watching from the outside as pitchers and catchers reported early last week to Florida and Arizona.  And as position players roll in to start full squad practices Martinez is trying to find somewhere to fit in.

He waited until mid July to sign with the Phillies last season and proved to everyone he still has something left in the tank.  In nine starts with the Phightins he went 5-1 throwing over 44 innings and posting an ERA of 3.63.  If that wasn’t enough, he was on the postseason roster and pitched well throughout the playoffs.  Though he didn’t pick up a win for any of his three starts, he did post a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings pitched in the NLCS and World Series against the Dodgers and Yankees, respectively.

So my question is; why not the Nationals?  I know Martinez has already said he would go back to the Phillies, but GM Ruben Amaro is not ready to meets his $5 million for the year quote.  And with Jaime Moyer or Kyle Kendrick likely to win out the 5th spot in the rotation, there would be no room for Martinez.  The Dodgers and Cubs were also linked the 38-year-old righty this past summer with nothing materializing.

I am not saying the Nationals starting five is up for grabs but you have to think the front three will be, in no particular order, Jason Marquis, John Lannan, and Chien-Ming Wang.  Wang is coming back from a successful surgery to repair torn cartilage in his shoulder, but should be ready to go early to mid April.   This leaves Scott Olsen, Garret Mock, and J.D. Martin.  Jordan Zimmerman will most likely miss this entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery this past August and Ross Detwiler will not see any major league action for at least three months after having surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip.

Even with Detwiler and Zimmerman, the Nats young staff not named Hernandez and Lannan went a combined 24-44 last season.  Bringing in a guy like Martinez could add guidance to a young pitching staff and solidify the final spot in the rotation.

Yeah Martinez is a high-risk/high-reward type pitcher, especially at this time in his career.   His last double-digit win total was in 2005.  Since then, he has scraped together mediocre years of 9, 3, 5 and 5 wins apiece.   However, he proved last season he can still pitch even if he has lost a bit off his fastball.  It is hard to forget that gem against the Giants when he out-dueled Tim Lincecum 2-1 in San Francisco last year.  Martinez threw seven innings of five hit ball while striking out nine.   So again, there is still something left.

I think if Nat’s GM Mike Rizzo gives Martinez a reasonable base salary of 2.5 million for next year and the possibility of making 2.5 more with incentives for wins and innings pitched.  At this point it is a win-win situation.

Follow me on Twitter @kierancarobine

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Nationals stock rising; just not buying quite yet

It’s been a whirlwind offseason with a lot of players putting on new uniforms in the upcoming weeks for Spring Training.  Many fans and experts are buzzing about the Mariners and Red Sox for their offseason signings.  People are talking about the Mets picking up Jason Bay and St Louis able to keep Matt Holliday.  And all the while, under the radar has been the Washington Nationals.  They may be low on the list of good grades for offseason moves but for their credit they made the right moves for their team.

Assumingly a big market team who hasn’t quite caught up to their market, they didn’t have the money to make a big signing or the farm system to trade for an established player.  They went out to fill the holes.  Holes that seemed to go on forever.    Washington has seen its share of bad years.  This may be the year they finally start making the climb out of the NL East.

Once a team without a city and at one point seriously thinking about the idea of playing home games in Puerto Rico, the Nats finally found a home in Washington, DC.  They found a home in a stadium where the rows of seats would bounce up and down for the United and Redskins.  Those seats rarely moved when the Nationals took the field.   They needed a newer home, a starting over.  The team got their stadium.  Ryan Zimmerman, face of the franchise, made sure opening night would be unforgettable.  His walk off homerun against the Braves marked the first opening day win since they moved the team to DC from Montreal.

It seems now; the Nationals are finally coming into their own.  It has been a very sneaky successful offseason for this team and first, full, year GM Mike Rizzo.  First he added a legitimate starting pitcher Jason Marquis to a rotation that saw 11 different guys make starts last season.  He will probably be considered this team’s ace, if you can call him that.   His durability will be a big question mark this season.  Knowing he had a core group of young pitchers with John Lannan, Jordan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiller, Garret Mock and Shairon Martis, Rizzo brought in future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez.  And with the recent signing of Chien-Ming Wang it’s a crapshoot for the starting rotation.

Add in a real second baseman in Adam Kennedy and Matt Capps, a closer with actual closing experience and it shows you that Rizzo is committed to making this team better with the money given to him to work with.

So going into Spring Training what can the fans expect; hope.  It will be a better season than last year.  I am not saying the seasons of 100 losses are behind them, but I think at least for this year they are.  It is going to be hard competing with the Phillies and Braves in the NL East with their current line up.  Team ERA should be down this year, but with runs scored being near the basement of the league is going to make for some frustrated fans.  But give it time.  In the waiting is Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen, the 1st and 10th pick of last April’s amateur draft, respectively.  So I say the stock is rising on the Washington Nationals.  Slowly, but it is rising.

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I think I am finally there.

Do you remember those days, or nights I should say, when you were hanging out with your friends going out all the time and said you never wanted it to end?  And most of the time you meant it.  You wanted to be able to go out every night, and didn’t care how bad you felt in the morning.  You were going to be forever young.  You never wanted to be that kid sitting home on a Saturday night doing nothing.  Well guess what?  I think I am finally there.  And I couldn’t be any happier.  Since the time I graduated college, 4 years, I have read more books and written more articles than I have done my whole life.  Don’t forget I took 4 years of Journalism in both high school and college.  I should have been a writing machine.  But I wasn’t.  I did graduate, luckily, and went to NYC for an incredible internship.  But even then I was still not fully committed to my craft.   I am now.  I spend more nights reading, writing, and researching rather than going out and staying out late.  And I am happy with that.  Have I sold out?  I don’t think so, I just think it suites me better this way.

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‘Saints’ goodbye to NFL season

The Saints have won the big one.  Finally.  For the first time in their franchise history, h the Saints have won the Super Bowl.  Could not be happier for them.  It was a great game with good plays and even better commercials.  Maybe if someone would slap me every time I reached for a Dorito I wouldn’t be so chubby.  Sorry, not important.

The important thing here is that football season is over.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like watching football.  I love watching the Eagles start fast, then slow down and then steamroll their way into the playoffs only to prematurely evacuate year after year.  So, with the end of football season, it could only mean one other thing.  We are that much closer to the beginning of baseball season.  We still have to make our way through the rest of the NHL season, which is only 23 or so more games long.  Then through the playoffs where they will alternate on crowning Alex the Great or little Cindy Crosby the greatest thing ever.  And I am sorry to do this to you but: Spoiler Alert-The Capitals win the Stanley Cup.

The NBA season is still going, but let’s face it that was over before it started.  Tracy McGrady is still being paid 50mil a year to sit the bench because he can’t play well with others, and Gilbert Arenas is bringing guns to the locker room to prove he owns guns. I think a glance at a permit would have sufficed all accusations for that one.  Then there is AI, Garnett’s knee and Shaqtus.  So like I said, the NBA never had a chance.

Ah finally, baseball.  And it seems so fitting.  Well, at least in my area of the country.  I know Philly just got dumped on again, yes again, with double digit snow accumulation; but here in sunny yet chilly Virginia Beach the snow is melting.  The fields are starting to clear off, I am getting regular calls from my brother to go play catch and I am slowly trying to decide which hat I will purchase for Opening Day in DC and the rest of the season.

Ah yes baseball is here.  And I could not be any more happier.

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