Tag:Davey Johnson
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:45 pm
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Harper to start Nationals' Grapefruit opener

Bryce Harper

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Where Bryce Harper will be on opening day is up in the air, but he will at least start for the Nationals in the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Astros on Saturday, according to the Washington Times.

Harper, 19, will start in right field and hit seventh for the Nationals in Kissimmee, Fla. on Saturday against former Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez. It should be noted, several veterans aren't scheduled to make the trip -- including Jayson Werth. Werth, who had missed several days of workouts with back spasms, is expected to be OK for the start of exhibition games, according to the Washington Times.

The Nationals play an exhibition against Georgetown on Friday, with Harper playing right field and hitting third.

Harper is rated by many as the top prospect in baseball. He hit .297/.392/.501 between Class A and Double-A last season, with 14 of his 17 minor-league homers coming at the Class A level. Harper hit .318/.423/.554 with Class A Hagerstown and .256/.329/.395 with Double-A Harrisburg.

Manager Davey Johnson has stated publicly that he'd like to see Harper get a chance to start the season at the major-league level. It appears he'll get a chance at showing his wares during spring training.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:39 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 9:26 pm
 

Braves' Freeman could miss two weeks

Freddie FreemanBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Spring training always has its share of bumps and bruises, along with legitimate injuries, but it often takes a little time to figure out which is which.

Here's a brief roundup of some of Tuesday's injuries from around baseball.

• Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman could miss two weeks after his right knee popped out of place as he tried to scoop a low throw at first base.

"I was just doing pick drills and the knee gave out," Freeman told reporters (via MLB.com). "The kneecap went this way and I came back in. When I did this when I was playing in Triple-A, it took me two weeks. So that is what we are going on."

Freeman said he had a similar injury in 2010 and he could have come back after a week, but the team didn't want to push it.

• Speaking of the Braves,right-hander Tommy Hanson will retake his concussion test on Thursday and could throwing to live batters again that same day if he passes it. Hanson has been cleared for conditioning and throwing, but not for full workouts yet. He suffered a concussion in a car accident on Feb. 20. (MLB.com)

• Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has been dogged by injuries and illness each of the last two seasons, left Mariners camp on a cart Tuesday.

Seattle manager Eric Wedge told reporters Gutierrez hurt something in the pectoral region and had an MRI. The Mariners are still waiting on word of the results of the MRI. (Seattle Times)

• Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was held out of Tuesday's workout due to back spasms.

"I'm not worried," Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters. "There's plenty of time."

Johnson said he didn't expect Werth to play in either of the Nationals' first two exhibition games, but he didn't plan on using too many of the Washington regulars in those games anyway. (NatsInsider.com)

• Rays rookie left-hander Matt Moore missed a second day with an abdomen strain, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters the team isn't worried, they're just being cautious.

"It's an over-conservative thing we're doing right now," Maddon told reporters. "I really believe the next day or two, he should be fine." (St. Petersburg Times)

• Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is expected back in camp on Wednesday after having his Achilles tendon examined in Baltimore on Monday. The Phillies said they wouldn't have word about his status until he returns. (CSNPhilly.com)

• Joba Chamberlain, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, threw off the mound for the first time Tuesday since the surgery. He threw 16 pitches and said he felt good afterward. He hopes to return in June. (Star-Ledger)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:19 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 1:21 pm
 

Nationals' Johnson says it's playoffs or bust

Davey JohnsonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Nationals manager Davey Johnson is confident in his team, even if others may think the Nationals are a year or two away.

"We should make the playoffs," Johnson told CSN's Kelli Johnson (via the Washington Post). "There's no doubt in my mind."

The TV reporter asked Johnson if he'd consider this season a failure if the Nationals didn't make the playoffs.

"No question in my mind," Johnson said. "And they can fire me."

The 69-year-old Johnson took over the Nationals last June and went 40-43 in his 83 games of the season.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 6:42 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 9:41 pm
 

Reaction to the death of Gary Carter

Gary Carter

Gary CarterBy C. Trent Rosecrans


The passing of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has brought an outpouring of emotion from those in and around baseball.

We'll collect many of the statements from those around baseball here.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig:
"Driven by a remarkable enthusiasm for the game, Gary Carter became one of the elite catchers of all-time. 'The Kid' was an 11-time All-Star and a durable, consistent slugger for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets, and he ranks among the most beloved players in the history of both of those franchises.  Like all baseball fans, I will always remember his leadership for the '86 Mets and his pivotal role in one of the greatest World Series ever played.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Gary’s wife Sandy, their daughters Christy and Kimmie, their son D.J., their grandchildren, his friends and his many fans."

Statement from Mets chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon, president Saul Katz and COO Jeff Wilpon:
"On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Gary’s family -- his wife Sandy, daughters Christy and Kimmy and son D.J.  His nickname 'The Kid' captured how Gary approached life. He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto on and off the field. His smile was infectious. He guided our young pitching staff to the World Series title in 1986 and he devoted an equal amount of time and energy raising awareness for a multitude of charities and community causes.  He was a Hall of Famer in everything he did."

Former Mets general manager Frank Cashen:
"The genesis of the trade was that we wanted to add a big bat to the lineup. He did that right away, but perhaps more importantly was the way he handled our young pitchers. He was the perfect guy for so many reasons."
 
Former Mets manager Davey Johnson:
"Gary was a one-man scouting system. What people didn’t know was that he kept an individual book on every batter in the National League. He was the ideal catcher for our young pitching staff."

Gary CarterFormer Mets teammate Darryl Strawberry:
"What he added to the team was character. His approach to the game was contagious. It spread to the rest of us. He helped each of us understand what it took to win."

Former Mets teammate Dwight Gooden:
"I relied on Gary for everything when I was on the mound including location, what pitch to throw and when. Even when I didn’t have my best stuff, he found a way to get me through the game. He was just a warrior on the field."
 
Former Mets teammate Wally Backman:
"He was like a big brother to me.  I always went to him for advice. No matter what time of day it was, he always had time for you."
 
Former Mets teammate Tim Teufel:
"The baseball community has lost a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person. He was a good man and will be missed terribly."

Former Mets teammate Mookie Wilson: 
"The one thing I remember about Gary was his smile. He loved life and loved to play the game of baseball."

Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench (on Twitter):
"I am so sad! The Kid has left us. I started calling him Kid the first time I met him. He was admired and loved. Thank you for our past"

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda:
"Gary Carter played for me with so much respect and enthusiasm for the game he loved. He was a Hall of Famer as a player and as a man. On behalf of the entire Dodger organization, we love him and will miss him."

MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner:
"We are saddened by the news of Gary Carter’s passing. Gary was one of the greatest players of his generation and his enthusiasm and passion for the game will live on in the hearts and minds of those of us fortunate enough to have watched him play. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gary’s family, his former teammates and his legion of fans in the U.S. and Canada.”

Former Expos teammate Steve Rogers:
"Learning of Gary’s passing feels as if I just lost a family member. Gary and I grew up together in the game, and during our time with the Expos we were as close as brothers, if not closer. Gary was a champion. He was a 'gamer' in every sense of the word – on the field and in life. He made everyone else around him better, and he made me a better pitcher. His contributions to the game, both in Montreal and New York, are legendary and will likely never be duplicated. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Sandy, and children, Christy, Kimmy and D.J., and to his many friends and fans."

Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven:
"We both grew up in Southern Cal, though he was 3-to-4 years younger than I was. He was a great ballplayer and a tremendous family man, and I'll miss him."
 
Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk:
"We had a lot in common, from family to our profession. He endured a lot as a catcher, as did I. And making it to the Hall of Fame was over the top for Gary, as it has been for me. We knew each other for more than 30 years, he meant a lot to me. I'm crushed by his passing."
 
Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver:
"Nobody loved the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. Nobody enjoyed playing the game of baseball more than Gary Carter. He wore his heart on his sleeve every inning he played. For a catcher to play with that intensity in every game is special."
 
Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams:
"Johnny Bench was the No. 1 catcher of the 70s. Gary Carter (was) the No. 1 catcher of the 80s."

Hall of Fame Jane Forbes Clark:
"It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter. Gary’s enthusiasm, giving spirit and infectious smile will always be remembered in Cooperstown. Our thoughts are with Sandy, Christy, Kimmie, DJ and the entire Carter family on this very sad day."

Current Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese, who played for Carter in the minors:
"The one thing Gary stressed to us was team. He said individual goals were meaningless. He said the name on the front of the uniform was more important than the name on the back. That's what I’ll take from my two years with him."

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 11:10 pm
 

Nats GM: Harper cocky, but not malicious

Bryce Harper

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Even before he was picked first overall in the 2010 draft, the Nationals' Bryce Harper had a reputation of rubbing people the wrong way. Harper's talent has never, ever been questioned, but his demeanor and attitude have been.

I saw it last year in a Class A game in Lexington, Ky., where he nearly started a fight by trying to bowl over a catcher despite having no chance of dislodging the ball, only to back down quickly. He famously blew a kiss at a pitcher after homering off of him last season, drawing scorn from many. Others have scoffed at his use of eye black and even the way he wears his hat -- and for Pete's sake, he named his dog "Swag." And then there's his Twitter account.

Bryce Harper
Last week Harper told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he wanted to be a Joe Namath-type athlete off the field.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the team understands Harper is a typical 19-year-old, but what to impress upon him that anything he does won't be treated like the actions or words of a typical 19-year-old. The Nationals, Rizzo told the Washington Post, have counseled Harper and tried to impress upon him his role in the organization.

Rizzo also said, he doesn't think Harper's a bad kid, "there's not a malicious bone in his body. Now, there's a cocky bone in there," Rizzo told the Post's Jason Reid. "And there's an ego bone. And there are other bones … but there's not a malicious bone in his body."

Nationals manager Davey Johnson is reportedly pushing for Harper to make the team's opening-day roster, but Rizzo seems to think Harper has development left beyond his production on the field.

"He's going to make it to the big leagues when I realize that, developmentally, he's ready to play in the big leagues," Rizzo told the Post. "That's physically, that's emotionally and that's psychologically."

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:05 am
 

Davey Johnson retained as Nationals manager

By Matt Snyder

As expected, the Washington Nationals have decided to keep manager Davey Johnson for the 2012 season. The team made an official announcement Monday morning -- coincidentally, it was made during the Cardinals' press conference to announce Tony La Russa's retirement.

Johnson, 68, took over for Washington June 27, a few days after Jim Riggleman unexpectedly resigned over what appeared to be a monetary dispute. The Nationals would go 40-43 under Johnson, finishing third place in the NL East -- the highest finish ever as the Washington Nationals. It should be noted, of course, that the Nationals were 40-38 when he took over, however.

The Nationals do have a promising future, with a good, young nucleus starting to emerge at the big-league level and talented youngsters like Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon just a season or two away.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:24 pm
 

Davey Johnson will stay on as Nationals' manager

Davey JohnsonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

It's hardly a surprise, but Davey Johnson will return to the Washington Nationals as manager in 2012, but the team is just waiting until the end of the World Series to make the announcement, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

"We're just waiting for an opportunity to make an announcement," Rizzo said, according to the Washington Post.

Rizzo said he and Johnson have talked about the coaching staff for next season and will finalize that after the World Series, though no major changes are expected.

The Nationals went 40-43 under Johnson last season, finishing third in the NL East. He took over after the bizarre exit of Jim Riggleman, who quit when he didn't get an extension.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 7:35 pm
 

R.I.P: 2011 Washington Nationals

NationalsBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series... 

Team name: Washington Nationals
Record: 80-81, third place, 21.5 GB
Manager: Jim Riggleman/Davey Johnson
Best hitter: Mike Morse -- .303/.360/.550, 31 HR, 95 RBI
Best pitcher: Jordan Zimmermann -- 8-11, 161 1/3 IP, 3.18 ERA, 31 BB, 124 K

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Nats were exactly 13-13 at the end of April, and it was a trend that continued all the way through the first half, with the club jumping out to a 46-46 record in the first half. It was an unexpected surge for Washington, who was expected to continue along its growth, but at a slower clip. It was quite the impressive display, especially since the club didn't have Stephen Strasburg and big-ticket signing Jayson Werth struggling to a .215/.319/.362 first half, along with Ian Desmond (.223/.264/.308).

The second half saw the return of Strasburg and Chien-Ming Wang along with rebounds from Werth and Desmond. But those improvements didn't show up on the field, with a 34-35 record. In essence the team was exactly the same. Players who fell off in the second-half include Danny Espinosa, Laynce Nix, Livan Hernandez and Zimmermann, who was shut down at the end of August.

2012 AUDIT

The Nationals are in a pretty good position for 2012. Stephen Strasburg is back from Tommy John surgery and looking as electric as ever. Paired with Jordan Zimmermann, Washington has a strong one-two punch in the rotation. Offensively, the team is coming along and with a rebound year from Jayson Werth could be sneaky-good. This is a team on the rise, and the Nats smell blood in the NL East.

FREE AGENTS

Rick Ankiel, CF
Todd Coffey, RP
Alex Cora, IF
Jonny Gomes, OF
Livan Hernandez, SP
Laynce Nix, OF
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Chien-Ming Wang, SP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

  • Bring back Davey Johnson as manager. He wants to come back and there's no reason not to keep Johnson. The team seemed to respond to him and he has enormous cachet. Plus, and this is just speculation, but he would probably sign a cheaper deal than any of the other big-name managers available.
  • Sign Prince Fielder. While Albert Pujols would be a great get, Fielder is younger and frankly, more gettable. It would be the splash Washington needs to make the fan base perk up and put the club in prime position to contend in the next several years. The Nats have long said that the money will be there when it's time to compete. Owner Ted Lerner time to step up. The club will have limited flexibility if there is no payroll bump. If Lerner is miserly with his money, the rest of the moves here still should occur, but Adam LaRoche would simply remain as first baseman.
  • What to do with incumbent first baseman LaRoche if the team can sign Fielder? Tough call. His trade value is near zero and coming off the bench isn't a great idea. Washington either needs to bite the bullet and chew up the remaining $9 million on his deal ($8 million due in 2012, $1 million buyout in 2013 on a $10 million mutual option), or trade him in a swap of hefty contracts.
  • In the R.I.P. piece for the Tampa Bay Rays, I said that the Rays need to trade B.J. Upton to the Nats for Ian Desmond and Roger Bernadina. (Washington would likely also need to give up a solid minor-leaguer.) This would fulfill Washington's need for a center fielder, and Upton could fetch some nice compensatory picks if he has a great year and departs town as a free agent.
  • Moving Desmond allows the Nationals to put second baseman Danny Espinosa back at his natural spot of shortstop, and reports suggest Espinosa could be an even better fielder than Desmond. To fill the second-base vacancy, Washington can promote Stephen Lombardozzi.
  • The rest of the team's needs have to be fulfilled for small money, short years or through internal replacements from the minors with Upton, Fielder and Jayson Werth occupying a big chunk of payroll. The bench needs some fortification on offense. Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston Jr., Kelly Johnson, or Mark DeRosa would all make sense.
  • Extend Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is one of the best third baseman -- no, one of the best players -- in the game. He's a free agent after 2013, and the Nats simply cannot let him go.
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