Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nats Pitcher Needs Surgery

Mark Zuckerman first reported today that Nationals pitching prospect Sammy Solis will likely need Tommy Johns surgery to repair a ligament in his throwing elbow.

Solis first complained of discomfort in the elbow last November. After seeing multiple doctors the organization thought it best for him to take a break from then till spring training. The plan was to have Solis resume his throwing routine there, but, the discomfort still remained.

The report went on to say that Solis traveled to California yesterday to meet with specialist Lewis Yocum. A source close with the situation says Solis is expected to have Tommy John surgery.

Another National that has had this procedure done is Stephen Strasburg. While many regard this surgery as somewhat of a career ender, Strasburg has made a full recovery.

The way the Nationals handled Strasburg's road to recovery was exceptional. They did not rush it and he turned out well.

Solis is the Nationals sixth ranked prospect according to Baseball America. A second round draft pick in 2010, Solis had an 8-3 record with a 3.26 era in 17 starts for low-Class A Hagerstown and high-Class A Potomac.

The time schedule for recovery from this surgery is usually a year and a half. For the Nationals, there really isn't a cause for concern quite yet. They have a strong pitching staff and should really focus on helping Solis to a full recovery.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Redskins Re-Sign Two

Rich Tandler of CSN Washington reported today that the Washington Redskins have resigned defensive end Darrion Scott and offensive tackle Will Montgomery.

Scott, who began his career in 2004 with the Vikings, is entering his third season with the Redskins. He appeared in seven games and totaled 11 tackles. According to the report, Scott is expected to contend for a back-up role at defensive end with Doug Worthington and Kentwan Balmer.

They also resigned offensive lineman Will Montgomery. Montgomery has played each position on the offensive line but center. He is a versatile player and a team player. He never hesitates to fill in an empty void to help the team. Retaining him was a good move by the front office.

Nats: Weekend Report

(Photo: detnews.com)
This weekend marked a significant event for the Washington Nationals. On Saturday morning, they signed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a 6-year $100 million contract extension.

Zimmerman will now stay with the franchise through the year 2019. He was quoted later in the day saying that "It's where I've always wanted to be." I could not agree more!

The main thing that kept the Nationals from resigning the face of the franchise was whether or not to include a "no-trade" clause. Simply put, Zimmerman wants to stay with the Nationals for the length of the contract. Once he got his no-trade clause, he signed his name on the dotted line.

Resigning Zimmerman to a contract extension was a work in progress for about a year now and why not? Zimmerman has hit 128 home runs throughout his 7 years with the Nationals. He has a career on base percentage of .355 and a batting average of .288. Simply put, he is consistently a great player for the Nationals.

Since the Nationals have locked up Ryan Zimmerman till 2019, they can now turn their attention to the few spots on this roster that are weak. The glaring hole currently is at center field. Bryce Harper is showing promise so look for him to fill that role.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cameron Retires

(Photo: signonsandiego.com)
After spending 17 years in the major leagues with 8 different franchises, outfielder Mike Cameron is calling it quits. He finishes batting .249 with 278 home runs and 297 stolen bases.

The Nationals signed the 39 year old Cameron this past offseason in hopes that he would be a short term fix to the problem at center field. Cameron won three Gold Gloves during his career.

Seeing as how the Nationals were relying on him to be part of this fix in center field, this puts the team in a bit of a bind.

According to the Nationals website, Roger Bernadina, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Eury Perez are the other outfielders. Michael Morse is also expected to move to the outfield, as well.

With the exiting of Mike Cameron comes a possible quicker entrance of Bryce Harper. Many believe that he will be the next great outfielder for the Nationals and that might come sooner rather than later.

Harper, who has a history of maturity issues, has not yet locked up his spot on the opening day roster. Now that Mike Cameron has retired, however, I would not be surprised if Harper was the one to step in and fill that void.

Nationals Injury Update

Bill Ladson of MLB.com reported today that Nationals reliever Cole Kimball will be rehabbing his right throwing shoulder throughout Spring Training. The report also went on to say that Kimball won't return until after the all-star break.

Last season the Nationals right handed reliever had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. In 12 relief appearances, he was 1-0 with a 1.93 era.

The loss of Kimball for the first half of the season is not the end of the world. This offseason, the Nationals signed right-hander Brad Lidge. Lidge is expected to take a premier relief role with the D.C. ball club.

The Nationals will also have Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Tom Gorzelanny that can fill the temporary void left by Kimball.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spring Training!

Spring Training is about to kickoff for the Washington Nationals. After last season, the Nationals have every reason in the world to expect success.

During the offseason, the Nationals made some big moves and acquired a few big name players.

The biggest signing of the offseason was pitcher Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez was acquired via trade with the Oakland A's last December. Adding Gonzalez creates a terrific trio with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman also in the rotation.

The pitching story line this spring will be at the fourth and fifth spot. Expect the early two front runners to be John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang. Ross Detwiler could make a push to crack the rotation, as well.

The Nats also added infielder Mark DeRosa. DeRosa has and will play every position in the infield. At age 36, DeRosa brings a lot of experience to a young infield.

Two other players to watch are infielders Chris Marrero and Anthony Rendon. Both are young and battling to make the opening day roster.

One of the biggest story lines this spring is Bryce Harper. Harper has been putting in the effort in the offseason and now it is time to take that same mentality into Spring Training. Many have questioned his mental focus and that will be key to him having a successful spring. The Nationals could certainly use him and his cannon arm in center field.

The Nationals have all the pieces and now they just need to put them in place. Their first Spring Training game is next friday against the University of Georgetown baseball team.

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Redskins Hire Daniels

CSN Washington reported today the Washington Redskins have hired Phillip Daniels as the Director of Player Development. 

Daniel played defensive tackle for 15 years and was with the Redskins from 2004-2010. 

In 201 games, Daniels totaled 512 tackles with 62 sacks and 12 fumble recoveries. 

Daniels' duties as the Director of Player Development will be to help players manage their finances and deal with the media. He is their guide through their NFL career. 

The Redskins have chosen the right man for the job. Daniels has always been well respected for his professionalism and his ability to handle the media. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Let It Be!

Photo: usamagazine.com
ESPN is at it again! A brand sports "hero" has arisen and once again they are giving it too much thought.

A few days after Knicks guard Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm ESPN began comparing him to Tim Tebow. How DARE you, ESPN! I have a couple of problems with this...

Tim Tebow was EXPECTED to do what he did! Are you seriously trying to tell me, ESPN, that you had NO idea that Tim Tebow was capable of playing like a top notch running quarterback? Hello! Did you forget about what he accomplished at the University of Florida? Tim Tebow was a FIRST ROUND draft pick! You don't just pick a scrub in the first round of the NFL draft. How can you be so surprised when a STARTING quarterback begins winning football games? Is that not what he gets paid millions of dollars a year to do? Is it the fact the he is religious that attracted you to him? I think so! I can almost GAURUNTEE that every single player in the NFL prays before taking the field. What makes him so special?

Let's turn to Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lin was an undrafted player from Harvard. He absolutely came out of left field. Before he became the Knicks next super star, he slept on his brothers couch in Manhattan. Nobody had ever heard of him. The Knicks signed simply because they needed another guard. Do you honestly think that the Knicks organization thought that Lin would explode like he has? They certainly did not.

Why can't we just appreciate everything that Lin has fought through? He went from sleeping on his brothers couch and coming close to giving up his dream of playing in the NBA to a super star in no time flat! What was your adversity Tebow? Oh that's right! "They said I couldn't do it." What do you think Lin heard? "You'll probably be better than Michael Jordan"? I'm thinking no, Timmy.
The mere thought that ESPN can compare Jeremy Lin to Tim Tebow is sickening and down right disrespectful. Rarely do we get to witness a player at the professional level do what he did. He got his opportunity and made the most of it. Nobody expected him to be that good (if you did...you're lying). He is humbling doing what he does best...play basketball.

This is no Tim Tebow story, ESPN. The Jeremy Lin story is real. Tim Tebow was expected to play up to the level that he did. I will even venture to say that Tebow was nearly a BUST (that's right! I said it!). Jeremy Lin was not even a thought when this NBA season got started. Did you see and number 17s at Madison Square Garden when the season got started? No. Did you even see them in the shops?! No! What about number 15s in Denver? You betcha! They were everywhere well before he even got his first start.

My point is, we are witnessing something that we may only get to see once in our lifetime. Why does ESPN have to blow it up and compare him to somebody else? Can we please just sit back and enjoy this for once, ESPN? We have a legitimate Linderella...I mean...Cinderella story in sports for once. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why the Colts Need Peyton

(Photo: sportige.com)
I know you all think that you are all experts and don't think that the Colts need Peyton Manning anymore. They are, after all, most likely going to be drafting that one guy...what's his name? Oh! Andrew Luck!

I know what you're thinking! If they have Luck, why have Manning? Well...you're in luck (no pun intended)! I am going to explain why the Colts need a little Manning AND a little Luck (oh dear...).

Peyton Manning has 14 years of experience in the NFL. He has been running the Colts spread offense system for as long as he has been in the league. Nobody knows this offense better than he does. Nobody knows the players in this offense better than he does.

With Manning's personnel knowledge and offense knowledge, he will be able to tutor Luck on how to run the offense. He can teach Luck the tricks of the trade. In a sense, Manning will be the Jedi Master and Luck will be his Apprentice.

The only curveball to that plan is that the Colts have hired a new offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians. Arians was formerly the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers, however, ran a more run emphasized offense than the Colts. Basically, Arians needs to just subtract a few run plays and add a few pass plays.

Let's look towards the personnel. Manning has been playing with the same players for upwards of 12-14 years for a few of them. The bond that he and his teammates have built is unbreakable. With Manning around and tutoring Luck, he will help Luck to learn the tendencies of each and every player.

We can take that same principle and flip it.

The rest of the team looks up to Manning and regard him as high as, if not higher than, the head coach. His opinion carries a great amount of weight in that locker room. We all saw how absolutely crushed that team was without him on the field. Manning would be able to convince the rest of the guys in that locker room that they can trust in Luck.

Now, in order for the Colts to keep Manning, they have to pay him $28 million on March 8th. That is quite a sum to pay for a mentor.

Hang It Up Albert!

Rich Tandler of CSN Washington reported today that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. The move will save the franchise $7 million in cap space.

Does this really come as a surprise to anybody? Haynesworth was not even good enough for the Redskins. Then the Patriots picked him up and Bill Belichick, the GREAT Bill Belichick, could not change his attitude. Personally, I think that the Buccaneers wasted their money in signing him.

Haynesworth was once a great and feared defensive lineman when he played for the Titans. In 2005, he totaled 52 total tackles. The year before he signed with the Redskins for $100 million he racked up 51 tackles with 8.5 sacks. That is absolutely ridiculous…in a good way.

When he joined the Redskins he was supposed to be the one to save the Redskins defensive line. In two forgetful seasons in Washington, Haynesworth recorded just 53 tackles with 6.5 sacks…not quite the guy Danny Snyder paid $100 million for. Haynesworth also only managed to appear in just 20 games over those two seasons.

Since then, Haynesworth has appeared in 13 games and totaled 23 tackles with no sacks. He is certainly not the player he used to be. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that Haynesworth, before coming to the Redskins, had already had a history of injury trouble. Only once did he play a full 16 game season with the Titans (his rookie year).

It’s time for (Fat) Albert Haynesworth to hang up the cleats. His athleticism is diminishing and his stamina does not exist anymore. A once feared defensive lineman is only feared by one thing now…his couch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time to Grow Up

(Photo: trb.com)
Bryce Harper is simply not ready to make the jump to the MLB. While many say that his skill is currently needed on the Nationals major league roster, I say that his attitude certainly is not.

All off-season we have seen Harper show his signs of immaturity. Harper is a young "stud" that skipped college to go to the major leagues. It appears that he is still trying to have that college experience.

While we still have not, and hopefully never will, hear of Harper attending parties where he could potentially land in deep trouble with the MLB and Nationals organization, he has still shown a number of other immature qualities. Harper was quoted saying that he did not like or supports any of the Washington D.C. franchises. He has also had some questionable tweets, as well.

It appears as though Harper's most recent slogan/motto/creed is "Haters Gonna Hate"...classy.

In his first season in the Nationals farm system he had some on-field antics that generated quite a buzz across the baseball world. In a minor league game, he hit a towering home run and as he rounded third base he blew a kiss towards the pitcher. It is things like that will get your teeth knocked out in the major leagues. It will also endanger you and your teammates of getting hit by a pitch later in the game.

If it were up to me, there would be no doubt that Harper is not ready for the major leagues. Throw his skill level completely out the window. It has been made quite obvious that he is not ready to handle the level of attention that he will receive. He has not dealt well with the attention he gets in the Nationals farm system.

Imagine Harper's first major league at-bat. His over the top music begins and "struts his stuff" to homeplate waving and swinging his bat like he is in the movie Major League. He is completely consumed with the crowd and not the at-bat. My prediction? A three-pitch strikeout.

Bryce Harper is not ready to be a major league baseball player. He still has a long way to go mentally. Physically he may be there, but, the Nationals would be doing more harm than good by moving him to the opening day roster.

How long should the Nationals wait before they finally bring him up? However long it takes. Having the right mind set in the major leagues is key and Harper does not have it yet.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nats Agree to Deal with Jackson

(Photo: nypost.com)
The Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that they have signed right handed pitcher Edwin Jackson. The deal is for one-year.

Jackson was the number 4 pitcher on the St Louis Cardinals World Series rotation. He is expected to be a contender to make the rotation come opening day.

Jackson, 28, has a lifetime record of 60-60 with a 4.46 era and 801 strikeouts. He has played for seven teams over his eight seasons in the major leagues. In 2009, he posted a 13-9 record with a 3.62 ERA for the Detroit Tigers. In 2011, he was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA.

The pitching rotation will be a tightly contested battle. The addition of Jackson only makes life more miserable for Chein Ming Wang, John Lannan, and Ross Detwiler. Those three, plus Jackson, will be pitching it out all preseason to make the opening day rotation.

Nats Win in Arbitration

It was announced today that the Washington Nationals won their arbitration case against pitcher John Lannan. The teams could not agree on a deal in January so the two sides had to meet with an arbitrator to settle the contract dispute.

After receiving just $2.75 million last season and going 10-13 with an ERA of 3.70, Lannan wanted a significant raise in pay. The left handed starter was asking for $5.7 million. That Nationals, however, were only willing to give $5 million.

This morning both sides heard the decision of the arbiter. The arbiter decided in favor of the Nationals and Lannan will make $5 million.