Welcome to Curly W Live from the Winter Meetings

Nationals Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner will be blogging throughout the 2010 MLB Winter Meetings, giving Nats fans a unique perspective of the goings-on in Orlando. Check back often for the latest updates.

More: Blog Entry #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8


Werth.jpgGreetings from sunny and warm(er) Orlando.


And we really did hit the ground running, but more on that in a sec …

So everyone is aware, keep your refresh button handy, because we are going to be fueling your Hot Stove fire over the next three days. I will be blogging periodically from MLB’s Winter Meetings at the Dolphin Hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort. So, we hope you can join us and have some fun …

Why do this, you ask? MLB’s Winter Meetings are an exciting time for baseball fans worldwide, and I wanted to offer our readers a glimpse of what happens down here. Some postings will be more serious than others, but I want to keep this fun and informative. I know before I got into the game in 2006, I always wondered how “this” all went down. I am now in my fifth Winter Meetings and there is a palpable anticipation every year. This year is no different.

So, let’s talk about Sunday’s proceedings …

As you likely know, we agreed to terms with RF Jayson Werth yesterday on a seven-year contract. This really shocked the baseball universe and there was not a writer or baseball dignitary in the lobby that did not take notice. We made an impression and we nabbed a darn good ballplayer too.

A few thoughts on adding Jayson Werth …

*We are thrilled to add Jayson to the Nationals family. He is truly a fantastic two-way player, a bright young man … and he is a winner!

*As Mike Rizzo alluded to in his press gathering, the Werth signing signals that the Nationals have evolved from Phase One to Phase Two of our operation. As we’ve always said, Phase One is the building stage and is focused on scouting and player development. Remember, this organization was largely void of any minor-league talent upon relocating to DC. Phase One is actually an on-going phase, but we are confident enough about where we stand in our system to move on. That is what set the stage for our agreement with Jayson. We will continue to explore any smart moves that complement our player development system.

*Mike’s core belief is that the best way to build a consistent winner is through pitching, defense and athleticism. That is Mike’s goal every day and I like what he has accomplished.

That’s it for now. I’ll be in touch soon.

 

16 Comments

Mr. Lerner,
Thank you for upgrading the lineup with the Werth signing. However, as stated by a few, 7-years seems to be a bit long – given Werth’s injury history; but I hope it works out for the long haul.
That said, the lineup is extremely right handed heavy now & there seem to be only 2 decent left handed first basemen (Pena & LaRoche) left. Please, please sign one before the one is gone. If the Nats don’t get one of the two, when both are available – then please do not overpay for the remaining option. They’ll have the leverage, the Nats will need a left handed 1B; but I feel the options on the team now are better than overpaying for potentially a flop signing. It could turn out to be a worthwhile signing, but please continue to spend smart.

I do wish the organization was willing to give Dunn a 4th year, but I’ll stay the course and see how the next couple years pan out.

Thanks for making some waves down there, now pull the Tsunami with signing Crawford (legit leadoff) or Lee (legit #1).

Congratulations on getting the guy who killed the Nats into a Nats uniform. This is huge for the future success of the team.

There are so many positive results from this including the blow to the Phillies as officially they have lost a key cog in their machine as well as the baseball world is standing up and taking notice of what you pulled off.

Now if you can shock the world again and get Cliff Lee, that would be amazing! ;-)

Jayson Werth is a good ballplayer who in all liklihood will help the Nationals. But over compensating by overpaying for a “good” player does not make up for the loss of Adam Dunn. The Nationals (and I do put much of the blame on the Lerner Family), have shown that loyalty and popularity means nothing. You had a guy who was extremely well liked by his teammates, a very popular influence in the clubhouse, wildly popular with the fans and the media alike who is one of the premier power hitters in the game today. His defense at 1st was not the best but he did progress as the season went on and in all probability would have continued to improve. And he wanted to end his career here.
The defensive limitations aside there was not a solid reason not to bring the guy back. Yet you chose to let him walk and try to cover up by overpaying for Werth. Poor decsion both financially and on the field itself. I am not trying to pick on Werth, like I said he is a good player who will proably help. But seven years and 126 million doallars!!!!!!!! TOTALLY RIDICULOUS.
If this is a new policy please be aware I would be more than willing to accept a spot somewhere in the organization. I am a photographer by trade but could be swayed to do somehting else if the money was right.

It’ll be tough cheering for a former Fillie, but I think I’ll get over it once I see more of him in a Nats uniform.

Nice move on the eve of the meetings to sign Jason. Now I don’t feel all empty inside with the loss of Dunn. A great additon to the team and anytime we can rob the Phillies of a great player Im all for it. I’m a little concern how Zimmerman may feel about the length of this contract. Any thoughts on how your going to take care of the “face” of the franchise. So can we officially call phase 1 over and move on to phase 2?….if so thats sort of exciting in itself depending on what phase 2 consists of. Guess we will have to wait and see this week….

Thanks for taking time to do this. Regarding the Werth contract, I understand that some of the value gained will be form credibility in the city and with other free agents.

I was wondering what is the measure by which you will judge next year to be a success? Is it just wins? Additional revenues? Both?

Mr. Lerner:
I did not know that you had a blog, until today. It is a great idea, as, frankly, the ownership group is not viewed in a positive manner, by most Nat’s fans. I think that perception hurts attendance, merchandise sales, and television-watching, by the fans. I think this blog is a way to change that perception and to improve in the areas above.

That written, while the Wurth signing is great, the Nats still need a clean-up batter. I hope you will direct Mike Rizzo to find one and to sign one. As you might know, a hitter, as good as Dunn, is hard to find, and they are not inexpensive.

Also, while there is excitement about the Nats signing Wurth, the excitement, itself, indicates that fans view the Nat’s ownership as not wanting to pay for signing the kind of quality players it takes to build a contending team. The ownership group promised the fans it would do, after the new stadium was built.

The new stadium is built, but the Nats have finished last, every year, losing close to 100 games a year, for the last 3 years. Big changes, in having the quality of players it takes to make a contender, are necessary to change the fans’ perception of the ownership group and, really, therefore, the Nats.

I think the fans have been very patient, in their loyalty to the Nats. However, loyalty has a limit, and, frankly, I think it has been stretched as far as it can be, by the ownership group not seeming to build a contending team and the perception that the ownership group is more interested in making money, from the team, than for building it. I hope the signing of players like Wurth will continue.

Dear Mark –

First, congrats on the blog…it’s a great idea.

Second, congrats on the signing. From what I’ve seen, he’s outstanding both ways. We may miss Adam’s stick, but he was a major liability in the field.

Third, we’re assuming that you’re not done yet. If we can improve by 10-15 games this year (something that I think is possible) we should be wild card contenders in 2012.

(Please don’t pay too much– or for too long — for Pavano)

Dear Mr. Lerner,

This is awesome, being able to blog with the owner! Thank you for this opportunity.

I, and a lot of other people, owe you an apology. We understood the loss of Adam Dunn as a sign that you weren’t willing to put up the resources to build a winner. We felt like losing him meant that Washington would be just one more city that develops talent before it goes to the Yankees or Red Sox. We don’t want to be a farm team for NY and Boston! By signing Werth, however, you settled the money issue for good. You want to bring a winner to Washington, and my days of griping to the contrary are over.

Some fans owe Rizzo an apology too. I mean, since his acting GM days, he has talked about nothing but defense, athleticism, and pitching. I loved Adam Dunn, but fans, ask yourself–which of Rizzo’s criteria does Dunn fit into–defense, athleticism, or pitching? None. That means Rizzo is doing EXACTLY what he said he was going to do. Give him credit for planning his work, then working his plan.

Hang in there, Mr. Lerner. Grab a front-line starting pitcher and a rock-solid first baseman while you’re at the meetings, and see you at Nats Park!

Eternaty

It looks like Scott Boris has found new suckers to get in bed with now that Oscar Manya is no longer around!!!!!!!

Thanks, Mark. Everything else aside, it’s nice to see somebody around here can still spell.

First off, great grab on Werth. We can’t develop a winner if top free agents won’t entertain coming to DC. Potentially overpaying a top free agent that has consistently won shows dedication on the part of the Lerners (and Werth has a hustler’s attitude similar to Nyjer Morgan).

Whether Pena or LaRouche end up in DC will be another piece of the puzzle that will help evolve the culture of OUR team. They are BETTER defensively than Dunn ever can be (although I’ll miss the big guy’s power). Imagine though if Dunn ever forced himself to hit oppo… the ridiculous defensive shifts never would have held him down so much and he would have upped his RBI total by 10% at a minimum.

I like LaRouche myself… 25 dongs, 100 RBI’s, .265 BA, and better defensively than Dunn (and at half the price). It’s not that much of a drop off. Is he a true #4? No. But Harper is waiting in the wings (and is potentially 2.5 seasons away based on his play in Arizona recently).

My hope is that we concentrate on pitching at this point in time. Brandon Webb has owned the Nats when’s he pitched. He’s missed two years due to his injuries and can be brought in at a bargain (easy for me to say when it’s not my money). A shoulder injury is way worse than Tommy John… but maybe you roll the dice.

Really enjoy the fire our younger players have in them. Strasburg wants to bring a winning attitude to DC… his comments to Harper really had me fired up (and I’m out in Arizona watching every game religiously).

I can understand how tough your position is… as a fan, I want a winner today. It’s a ‘what have you done for me society’ (especially when you read about the money thrown around NY). I wait patiently though. I can see the vision that management has laid out and believe if we stay the course, we will win.

Although I live in Arizona, I have managed to acquire tickets to every opening day game in DC in order to take my father in Virginia ever since we opened up on April 14th, 2005. He was physically unable to make the previous two games as the toll of getting around the stadium is like a five day hangover (45 years later and the Viet Nam war is still affecting our brave veterans). However, he was there in the spirit while I was at the game. Regardless of whether we win or lose as a franchise, the Nationals have created a lasting memory that I will someday share with my future children when they ask about their grandfather. The bad games can be misery at times to watch, but I’m never alone watching them as my dad is on the East Coast sharing in my pain. We are going to win… I just hope my dad will be around long enough to see it with me in person. We are getting there. Thanks for making a concerted effort to win in DC.

A believer on the Left Coast…
Michael Terrence Lucas

Mr. Lerner,

While I somewhat applaud the signing of Jason Werth, (really, seven years, $126M?) I wonder why the Nats did not re-sign Adam Dunn. I understand your efforts to make a splash and shake up the baseball world that the Washington Nationals are players in free agency, but I’m concerned that the Nats will become the Washington Redskins of baseball–a place where players go to cash in and forget to deliver.

Mr Lerner,
Cliff Lee, make it happen. There’s a few jersey sales and a ticket package with my name on it if you do. Wink wink.

Well done! You never know how these things will work out, but you have clearly demonstrated your intent to be one of the best franchises. As a half season ticket holder, here are some other suggestions. We need to upgrade the stadium food service. There are hundreds of good Chinese and Italian restaurants in Washington. Contract with a few independents and add a little diversity to the mix. Also contact the Sports Department at the Post and ask the to bold the Nat players who are among the league leaders and publish full box scores for all the games, not just the NATs and Os. Finally, keep up your open dialog with the fans.

Mr. Lerner,

Thanks for starting this blog. I hope you will continue this forum long-term because it is a great way for you to communicate to the fans and also share our feelings with you. Having been a season ticket holder since the first year, I feel my voice here should bear some significance.

Fans have definitely become frustrated and part of that comes from the perception that ownershipo has been unwilling to spend money to bring us quality players. Unfortunately, we can only base our opintions on the play on the field and the actions of other teams in cmmparison to those of the Nats management.

The Werth signing is certainly significant for the team. However, in losing Dunn, inevitably there is a huge hold to fill. Can you imagine a lineup which had Desmon, Zimmerman, Dunn, Werth and Willingham ? No matter who you acquire to take over at first, they will in no way have the same impact in the lineup like the one noted above.

Many people rant about Dunn being a defensive liability and to them I say ‘TOUGH’! Ryan Howard had the same fielding percentage last season and Adma Laroche was only 1 point higher. Only 6 other guys in the NL had more put outs last season.

So let’s all dispense with that nonsense and focus on getting someone serviceable at the position who will have some offensive impact.

The only other obvious comment I can make iss: Pitching, Pitching, PITCHING.

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