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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, Nats Style!

Courtesy of Cheryl Nichols

Courtesy Danielle and Denise Kloke

Courtesy Kristen Hudak (We've Got Heart)

We'll see how the players will dress up next week at the unveiling of the new uniforms! The Nats will unveil their new jerseys for next season on Thursday, Nov. 6 at noon at the ESPN Zone. Manny Acta, Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge will be there and after the jersey presentation, there will be a 30-minute autograph session. The event is open to the public.

Very Scary!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nats Waive Cordero; Pena Re-ups

From the Washington Nationals this afternoon:


The Washington Nationals today announced they have outrighted right-handed pitcher Chad Cordero, right-handed pitcher Ryan Wagner and infielder Pete Orr to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. All three players elected free agency. The Nationals also announced they have rejected a $5 million club option on outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who subsequently exercised a $2 million player option for the 2009 season. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.

Pena, 26, has batted .241 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 101 games with the Nationals since being acquired from Boston on August 17, 2007 in exchange for a player to be named (first baseman Chris Carter). He is a .253 hitter with 77 home runs and 225 RBI in 560 big league games spanning seven seasons with Cincinnati, Boston and Washington.

The 26 year-old Cordero pitched in only six games last season and had season-ending right-shoulder surgery on July 8. Cordero’s 128 career saves rank second on the franchise’s all-time list behind only Jeff Reardon (152). He departs having pocketed 113 of the 157 saves recorded by the Nationals since 2005.

Wagner, 26, did not pitch in the big leagues in 2008 while working his way back from June 5, 2007 SLAP repair surgery on his right shoulder. He is 11-9 with 30 holds and a 4.79 ERA in 148 games with Cincinnati and Washington.

In 2008, the 29 year-old Orr batted .253 with seven RBI in 49 games in
his only season with the Nationals.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: This was totally predicted. Cordero couldn't return to the team for any kind of guaranteed money with his injury, and after Bowden told the media before Cordero about their intention to non-tender him, Cordero certainly wasn't going to do any favors for the team. Hopefully he gets healthy and someone gives him a fair shot, but I think it'll be into the season, just like Freddie Garcia this year, before someone signs him.

Wagner never fully recovered from his labrum surgery, like most who have it done. I will be shocked if he's ever a useful MLB player again. Orr will sign somewhere for organizational depth.

Pena, however, is another story. The Nats are stuck with him, and he with them. If it really was the injury keeping him from producing last year, the $2M salary won't look so bad. Then, the Nats will give him a two-year, $5M per deal just like Young and Guzman. I kid. Seriously though, if he still looks terrible in spring training, it'll be interesting to see if the Nats eat his salary, since outfield is one place on the team that they actually have some talent, and it'll be tough to carry Pena's dead weight all season, unless they hide him like they did Meathook this summer.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2008.

Interesting Dates to Keep In Mind

Doing some light reading this morning I ended up at Cot's Baseball Contracts. There's some very interesting stuff in this website about player, manager and front office contracts. Also, he's published a timeline of important off-season dates, which I'll excerpt from here.

Close of 2008 World Series--The day after the end of the World Series marks the beginning of the 15-day period during which eligible players may elect free agency or demand a trade. Former club retains exclusive negotiating rights until 15-day filing period expires. A player who has filed for free agency may engage in general discussions with other clubs but may not discuss contract details or sign with them until the filing period ends. CBA, Article XX (B).

4th day after 2008 World Series
--Last date to request waivers on draft-excluded players until 25 days prior to the opening of the 2009 season. MLR 10 (e) (6).

16th day after 2008 World Series
--First day Major League free agents may negotiate and sign with a club other than their former club. Article XX (B)(2)(c).

November 3-6, 2008
--General managers' meetings, Dana Point, California.

November 10, 2008
--End of waiver period (August 1 - November 10). Waivers secured on or after August 1, 2008, expire at 5 p.m. EST. MLR 10 (c)(4).

November 11, 2008
--Beginning of new waiver period (November 11, 2008 - February 15, 2008). Waivers secured on or after Nov. 11, 2008, remain in effect until February 15, 2009. Exception: special waivers.

November 20, 2008--Deadline day for clubs to file reserve lists for Major League club and all Minor League levels. Last date to make an off-season outright assignment of an injured player to the Minor Leagues if the player does not meet the requirements listed in Article XIX (C) (b) of the CBA.

December 1, 2008
--Last date (midnight EST) for former club to offer salary arbitration to ranked XX(B) free agents in order to be eligible for compensation if those free agents sign elsewhere.

December 7, 2008
--Last date (midnight EST) for player who declared XX(B) free agency to accept offer of arbitration from his former club.

December 8, 2008
--Deadline (5 p.m. EST) to outright a player off the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft.

December 8-11, 2008--Winter Meetings, Las Vegas.

December 11, 2008--Rule 5 Draft.

December 12, 2008
--Last date (midnight EST) to tender 2009 contracts to unsigned players.

January 5-15, 2009
--Salary arbitration filing. CBA, Article VI (F) (5).

January 19 or 20, 2009
--Exchange of salary arbitration figures between MLB Labor Relations Committee and MLB Players Association.

February 1-21, 2009
--Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix. CBA, Article VI (F) (5).

February 14, 2009
--Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers & injured players (moved up from Feb. 20 for WBC). CBA, Article XIV (A).

February 15, 2009
--End of waiver period (November 11 – February 15). Waivers secured on or after November 11, 2008, expire at 5 p.m. EST.

February 16, 2009
--Beginning of new waiver period (February 16 – May 4). Outright waivers secured on or after February 16 remain in effect for 7 days or until 5 p.m. EST, May 4, 2009 (the 30th day of the season), whichever is earlier. Optional waivers secured on or after February 16 remain in effect until 5 p.m. EST April 28, 2009. Exception: special waivers. MLR 10 (f).

February 17, 2009
--Voluntary reporting date for other players (moved up from Feb. 25 for WBC).

February 22, 2009
--Mandatory reporting date. CBA, Article XIV (A) (moved up from March 5 for WBC).

March 2-11, 2009
--Clubs may renew contracts of unsigned players. Paragraph 10 (a) of Uniform Player Contract.

March 15, 2009
--Last day to trade a player who has exercised his right to demand a trade before he is declared an unrestricted free agent. (A player has the right to demand a trade if he signed a multi-year contract before October 23, 2006, then was subsequently traded.)

March 18, 2009--Last day (by 2 p.m. EST) to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay only 30 days’ termination pay. CBA, Article IX (B). (For split contracts, the Major League rate of termination pay is owed if Unconditional Release waivers are requested after 2 p.m. EST. However, the requirement for split contract termination pay does not apply for players who may not be assigned to the minor leagues without their consent and for players selected in the preceding Rule 5 draft.)

April 1, 2009--Last day (by 2 p.m. EST) to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2009 salary. (Only 45 days’ termination pay is due.) CBA, Article IX (B).

April 5, 2009--Official opening of 2009 season. All clubs must reduce their active rosters to 25 players before April 5, 2009.

May 4, 2009--End of waiver period (February 16 – May 4). Waivers secured on or after February 16, 2009, expire at 5 p.m. EST.

May 5, 2009--Beginning of new waiver period (May 5 – July 31). Waivers secured on or after May 5 (the 31st day of the season) remain in effect through 5 p.m. EST July 31. MLR 10 (c)(4). After May 5, outright assignments to the minor leagues may be made only with outright waivers in effect.

May 15, 2009--Earliest date a club may re-sign a player it unconditionally released between midnight Aug. 31, 2008 and April 5, 2009. MLR 8 (i) (2).

June, 2009--First Year Player Draft. MLR 4.

June 16, 2009--First day a club may trade a player who was signed after the expiration of the 15-day free agency election period. A Club may assign the contract prior to this date for other player contracts and/or a cash consideration of no more than $50,000 if the player gives his written consent. CBA, Article XX (B) (6).

July 14, 2009--All Star Game, Busch Stadium, St. Louis.

July 31, 2009--Deadline (4 p.m. EST) for trading players without waivers in effect. MLR 10 (b)(1). End of waiver period (May 5 – July 31). Waivers secured on or after May 5, 2009, expire at 5 p.m. EST. Major League Waivers in effect between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. EST may only be used for optional assignments.

August 1, 2009--Beginning of new waiver period (August 1 – October 4). Trade waivers secured on or after August 1, 2009, remain in effect until 5 p.m. EST, October 4, 2009 (the last day of the 2009 season). Outright waivers secured on or after August 1, 2009, remain in effect until midnight EST, August 31, 2009. MLR 10(c)(4)(iv). Players may be traded only after Major League waivers have been secured in the current waiver period. MLR 10 (b) (1).

August 15, 2009--Last date (midnight EST) to sign players selected in June Rule 4 Draft, except for college seniors, who may sign at any time.Last date to bring player up for "full trial" to avoid draft-excluded status.MLR 6 (e).

August 31, 2009--Post-season eligibility lists are established at midnight. MLR 40. To be eligible, a player must be a bona fide member of a qualifying team on Aug. 31 and must remain a bona fide member until the end of the applicable post-season series. Any player unconditionally released between midnight August 31, 2008, and Opening Day of the 2009 season may not be re-signed to a Major League contract by the releasing club until May 15, 2009. MLR 8 (i) (2).

September 1, 2009--Active Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players.

October 4, 2009--Close of the 2008 regular season.

December 7-10, 2009--Winter Meetings, Indianapolis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Front Office Hires

The Nationals today named former big leaguer Devon White Special Assistant, Player Development and Pat Corrales Special Consultant to Senior VP and GM.

Here's the pertinent info from the press release:


The Washington Nationals today named Devon White as Special Assistant, Player Development and Pat Corrales as Special Consultant to the Senior Vice President and General Manager. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made these announcements.

White, 45, spent last season as the Nationals’ roving outfield coordinator, his initial assignment in coaching after retiring from his 17-year playing career following the 2001 season. A three-time All-Star outfielder, White earned seven Gold Gloves during his career, a total surpassed by only 11 outfielders in the history of the game. He stole 30 or more bases five times and won three World Series Championships.

The 67-year-old Corrales begins his new appointment after serving as Manny Acta’s bench coach for the past two seasons. The upcoming campaign will be Corrales’ 51st in professional baseball, including 40 seasons as a big league manager, coach or player. Prior to joining the Nationals, he spent 17 seasons as a member of Bobby Cox’s staff in Atlanta, the last eight as bench coach.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: Well, no one can say the Nats don't have enough input from baseball people in the front office. They must have one of the largest staffs of consultants and special assistants in the majors. White was a defensive whiz in center field, and presumably will will work with the Nats outfielders in that regard, along with new first base coach Marquis Grissom. Corrales is a good soldier, and he'll be another sounding board for GM Jim Bowden.

With all the entrenching going on in the front office around Bowden, it's becoming evident he won't be going anywhere before the beginning of next season.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In Case You Missed It

Friday announced that former bench coach Pat Corrales will be a "special consultant" to the club for 2009. Specific duties were not elaborated on, and an official announcement would come "as early as next [this] week," according to the story.

Also, the Nationals are scheduled to unveil their new uniform modifications Thursday, November 6 at the ESPN Zone in downtown DC. Preliminarily scheduled to appear are Manager Manny Acta, Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge, though again, no formal word from the team was provided.

Stay tuned for details on both of these topics. Let's hope this isn't the biggest news of the Nationals off-season.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2008.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nats Name Coaching Staff

This just in:


The Washington Nationals today announced that bench coach Jim Riggleman, first base coach Marquis Grissom, third base coach Pat Listach, hitting coach Rick Eckstein and bullpen coach Randy Knorr will join returning pitching coach Randy St. Claire on the club’s 2009 coaching staff. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden and Manager Manny Acta made the joint announcement.

Riggleman, 55, adds nearly eight seasons of managerial experience to the Nationals’ bench. Riggleman, who has skippered San Diego (1992-94), Chicago-NL (1995-00) and Seattle (interim, 2008), returns to the National League, where he has either managed or served on a coaching staff in 14 of the last 20 seasons. Riggleman’s managerial career is highlighted by the 1998 Cubs, who went 90-73 (.552) to claim the NL Wild Card.


The 41 year-old Grissom accepts his first job coaching at the professional level and returns to the organization that drafted him in the third round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft. In 17 big league seasons with Montreal (1989-94), Atlanta (1995-96), Cleveland (1997), Milwaukee (1998-2000), Los Angeles-NL (2001-02) and San Francisco (2003-05), Grissom batted .272 (2251-for-8275) with 386 doubles, 227 home runs, 967 RBI and 429 stolen bases and garnered four Gold Glove citations in center field (1993-96).


Listach—who won the 1992 American League Rookie of the Year award after hitting .290 with 54 stolen bases for Milwaukee—joins the Nationals after spending the previous three seasons compiling a 231-189 (.550) record managing in the upper levels of Chicago-NL’s system. In 2008, Listach’s Iowa Cubs went 83-59 (.585), claimed first place in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League’s American Northern Division and he was named PCL Manager of the Year. Listach, 41, managed the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate to winning records in both 2007 (Tennessee of the Southern League) and 2006 (West Tenn of the Southern League) and coached in the Arizona Fall League in 2001.


A September 2008 addition to the Nationals’ coaching staff, Eckstein has established relationships with various Nationals, including Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes and Cristian Guzman. While serving as Columbus’ hitting coach last season in the Triple-A International League, Eckstein gained invaluable exposure to young hitters such as Jesus Flores, Roger Bernadina, Emilio Bonifacio and Alberto Gonzalez. Eckstein—who served as Davey Johnson’s bench coach during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing—has coached in the Nationals’ chain four of the last five seasons, and draws on three seasons of experience as a Triple-A hitting coach.


Knorr, 39, returns to Washington in a familiar role, as he served on Frank Robinson’s coaching staff as bullpen coach for the final three-plus months of the 2006 campaign. Knorr is fresh off guiding Potomac to the Single-A Carolina League championship, which came in his fourth season managing in Washington’s chain. During his three-year stint with Potomac, he has managed numerous current Nationals pitchers, including John Lannan, Garrett Mock and Shairon Martis.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: All in all, it's hard to argue with many of the choices. It's Grissom's first coaching gig, and you suppose in addition to coaching first base he'll work withthe outfielders and base running. Obviously, Jim Riggleman brings a wealth of experience to the bench for Manager Manny Acta. Listach has had much success managing in the Cubs minor league system. Randy Knorr is solid as the bullpen coach, and his success at Potomac last year certainly won't hurt his credentials. And the organization loves Rick Eckstein, and he also served as Davey Johnson's bench coach for the Olympic team last summer. Hard to argue with Davey Johnson.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nats Add Another Young Gun to Scouting Department

Here's the press release from the Nats:


The Washington Nationals today announced the hiring of Deric Ladnier as a National Crosschecker and Special Assistant to the General Manager. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.

Deric is among the elite talent evaluators in baseball and we are excited to add him to our staff,” Bowden said. “Deric has a proven track record in the industry, encompassing both scouting and player development.”

An 18-year veteran in scouting and player development, Ladnier joins the Nationals after serving the last nine seasons as Senior Director of Scouting with the Kansas City Royals. During his tenure with the Royals, he oversaw eight drafts while restructuring and stocking the organization’s player development system with prospects such as 24-year-old Alex Gordon (Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year and named J.G. Spink Award winner as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year in 2006), 25-year-old Zack Greinke (Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in 2003), 25-year-old Luke Hochevar (first-overall selection in 2006 First-Year Player Draft), 22-year-old Billy Butler (named best power hitter and second-best prospect in Royals organization by Baseball America entering 2006), 27-year-old Mike Aviles (seventh-round selection in 2003 First-Year Player Draft, hit .325 in 102 games this season and is candidate for American League Rookie of the Year), 20-year-old Mike Moustakas (second-overall selection in 2007 First-Year Player Draft, hit 22 home runs in first full professional season), and 18-year-old Eric Hosmer (third-overall selection in 2008 First-Year Player Draft).

Ladnier began his scouting career as an Area Supervisor with the Atlanta Braves in 1991 and advanced within the organization until he was named Director of Minor League Operations in 1996, serving as a Regional Supervisor and Assistant Director of Scouting and Player Development along the way. During each of his eight seasons with the Braves, they were recognized as having one of the top six player development systems in baseball as ranked by industry-expert Baseball America. They were credited with the top minor league talent pool in four of those seasons.

The 44-year-old began his career in baseball as an infielder in the Royals organization. He was selected in the eighth round of the 1985 First-Year Player Draft and remained with the Royals until his seven-year playing career was cut short by a shoulder injury in 1991. Ladnier played collegiately at the University of Mississippi.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: Here's another bright young baseball mind to add to the collection of talent pooling underneath general manager Jim Bowden. Ladnier got his start in Atlanta, which makes this a Stan Kasten hire. Hopefully this is more evidence of Kasten's deeper involvement with -- and commitment to -- the organization, keeping the conspiracy theorists at bay this week.

Ladnier has a good track record as Director of Scouting with the Royals, and has been on the "hot list" of future GMs in the game.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

For those of you interested in what The Hockey News recently described as "The Most Exciting Team in Hockey", I have started a Washington Capitals blog, cleverly titled Capitals News Network.

I have been a fan of the Caps since their inception, and wrote a couple of game stories last year for DC Sports Box, so I figured that made me qualified enough to start a blog. It's pretty 'nuts and bolts' right now, but I'll be doing game previews/reviews, features and community news.

So if you Rock the Red, click on the link and check it out.

And don't worry, it won't interfere with the content in this space.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2008.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roster News

Text of press release issued today about Nationals roster moves:


The Washington Nationals today announced that outfielder Ryan Langerhans and right-handed pitcher Lavale Speigner cleared waivers and were outrighted to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. The Nationals also announced that left-handed pitcher Charlie Manning was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made these announcements.

The Nationals now have 36 players on their 40-man roster, not including five players on the 60-Day Disabled List.

Langerhans, 28, batted .234 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 73 games with Washington this season, and hit .310 with three home runs and 31 RBI in 62 games with Triple-A Columbus. Speigner, 28, appeared in seven games with the Nationals, going 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA, and went 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in a combined 35 games (one start) with Columbus and Double-A Harrisburg. Manning, 29, had a 1-3 record with a 5.14 ERA in 57 relief outings with the Nationals, after beginning the season with Columbus where he had six saves and a 1.95 ERA in 19 appearances.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: Of course Manning would get claimed. He's left-handed and has a pulse. Langerhans and Speigner are solidly in the category of "organizational depth" right now, and hopefully will have a solid season in up-state New York next summer, because if either one of them are in DC for any extended period of time, that means the Nats have been killed by injuries yet again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'll Let This Speak For Itself...

Here is the entirety of a press release issued by the Nationals today...

The Washington Nationals today announced that Dr. Ben Shaffer, Nationals Medical Director and Team Orthopedist, has resigned his position as team doctor.

“I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to provide care to the Nationals players and organization the last three years,” said Dr. Shaffer. “From a time standpoint, this responsibility has required an enormous commitment and I have decided to focus my energies on my family, my practice and the other professional teams I work closely with.”

Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden responded, I know I speak for the entire organization in recognizing Dr. Shaffer’s invaluable contributions to our players’ welfare and his orthopedic expertise. His departure is a real loss for our organization.”

Meet the Chiefs (at least their stadium)!

Staff Photographer Cheryl and I were at a wedding over the weekend in upstate New York, so we decided to take a detour on the way home and swing by Alliance Bank Stadium, home of the Syracuse Chiefs, the newly appointed AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The stadium was empty and locked up, of course, being the middle of October. But that didn't stop us from snapping a few pics. Nice to see that they are already acknowledging the parent club!

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2008.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

El Tigres (et Nacionales) del Licey

OK, my Spanish is terrible, but for those of you that need a Nats fix this winter, what better team to follow than the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Winter League?

The roster features current Nationals Ronnie Belliard, Anderson Hernandez, Emilio Bonifacio and Jesus Colome; former Nats D'Angelo Jimenez and Ramon Ortiz, and coaches Rick Aponte (pitching coach) and Julian Martinez (first base coach). Also on the squad are many current or former big leaguers.

With 21 DR League titles and 10 Caribbean World Series titles, Licey is the New York Yankees of winter ball. Here's your chance to root for a Nationals-flavored winner!

It looks like there's even a link to hear the games live! So brush up on your Spanish and follow the Licey Tigres this winter as they compete in the Dominican Winter League and the Caribbean World Series.

Photo courtesy

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Quick Update

Bottomfeeder Baseball Blog will go on hiatus for about a week. I'm having nerve compression release surgery on my right hand at 7:30 am Monday morning, which will keep me off the keyboard for a while. Please keep me bookmarked, as I do have some off-season ideas planned, as well as major revisions to the look and format of the page.

Don't worry, everyone will know when I'm back!

P.S. My previous column will be the last time I EVER make public prognostications, for good reason!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Playoffs?!? We're talking about playoffs?!? P-P-Playoffs?!?

With all due respect to the impressive tome that FJB wrote this morning, here are my short-but-sweet playoff predictions, for what they may be worth.

NLDS: Phils over Brewers. Cause Sabathia can only pitch twice at most this series.

Cubs over Dodgers. Cause the Cubs were the best team in the NL all year long, and I think Manny disappears this week.

ALDS: Angels over Red Sox. Cause no one on the east coast knows how good the Angels are.

Rays over White Sox. Cause the Rays have a bunch of ways to win and I'm not sentimental on Griffey or Thome.

NLCS: Cubs over Phils. Cause the Cubs hit better than the Phils pitch. Though it'll be a slugfest.

ALCS: Angels over Rays. Cause the Angels have been here before. Oh, and they are good.

World Series: Cubs over Angels. Cause it's time.

Caveat: What do I know about the playoffs? I'm usually knee deep in football at this point in the year. At least we aren't being hit over the head with Yankees crap this year.