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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo: January Man

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

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It was an innocent enough radio interview. The standard with Mike Rizzo late in the off-season with nothing happening.

He was asked if everything on the checklist had been marked off and answered in the affirmative and then was asked if there were still moves left to be made.

To this question Mike Rizzo gave the standard and cliched GM answer of anytime we can do anything to improve the club that makes sense for blah blah blah. You get the idea.

There was nothing special at all about this interview. It was a time filler between Redskins talk on a local Washington DC radio station, but there was something in Mike Rizzo’s voice.

He sounded ecstatic while talking about improving the team. Reading between the lines it was as if he was smirking into the phone and really saying watch what I’m about to do. Read the rest of this entry

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The Mariners Are Playing Great Baseball In The Last 2 Weeks

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Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Dustin Ackley has been hitting the ball with a lot more frequency during the last 2 weeks of play.  Due partly to bad luck and partly to bad at bat’s, Dustin Ackley got off to a 5-for-49 start in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and Dustin Ackley is hitting .255/.290/.314 with a grand slam off of R.A. Dickey on Saturday.

Dustin Ackley has been hitting the ball with a lot more frequency during the last 2 weeks of play. Due partly to bad luck and partly to bad at bat’s, Ackley got off to a 5-for-49 start in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and the Mariners Second Baseman is hitting .255/.290/.314 with a grand slam off of R.A. Dickey on Saturday.  He has hits in 9 of his last 10 games (13 – 36, .361 Batting Average in that time frame – raising him 55 Points overall in his season BA.)

Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

Believe it or not, the Mariners are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. After an ugly 8-15 start to the season, the Mariners have won six out of their last eight games, and are two games in front of the Angels in the A.L. West.

It’s unclear how long the Mariners will be able to continue to play this brand of baseball, but for the time being, Seattle is one of the most fun teams to watch in the Majors.

Thanks to young players like Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders heating up and Hisashi Iwakuma and others shutting down other teams, the Mariners have become a much more dangerous team to face.

Iwakuma’s great start:

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Michael Morse Is Off To A Blazing Start In Seattle

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Sunday, April,07/ 2013

How good has Mike Morse's start been for the Mariners...Try a 3 Slash Line of .333//364/1.268  so far, and is tied for the MLB lead in HRs with 4 bombs.  "Da Beast" has proven that he can get the job when he stays in the lineup.  If he can hit like this all year, Seattle may have a chance at the Post Season.

How good has Mike Morse’s start been for the Mariners…Try a 3 Slash Line of .333//364/1.268 so far, and is tied for the MLB lead in HRs with 4 bombs. “Da Beast” has proven that he can get the job when he stays in the lineup. If he can hit like this all year, Seattle may have a chance at the Post Season.

By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

When the Mariners acquired Michael Morse this past offseason, they were hoping to add some power and a veteran presence to a young lineup. Morse, who struggled in 102 games playing for the Nationals in 2012, appears to finally be healthy and ready to contribute.

Morse has gotten off to a hot start to the season, homering in 4 of his first five games. In 2011, when he hit 31 HR, it took Morse until May 25th to hit his 4th Home Run. This poses the question, could Michael Morse hit 30 Home Runs again in 2013?

Michael Morse 2011 Highlights

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Nats Acquire LHP Ian Krol To Complete The Mike Morse Deal

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Wednesday, Mar. 27/2013

Ian krol is a 6 FT 1 and 190 LB native of Illinois who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 7th Round of the 2009 Amateur Draft,.

Ian Krol is a 6 FT 1 and 190 LB native of Illinois – who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 7th Round of the 2009 Amateur Draft, He was selected right out of high school and jumped two levels of the Minor Leagues before he even hit the age of 19.  Controversies and in injuries then ensued. Last year he played with Stockton (A+) and Midland (AA) – going 3 – 9 with a 5.20 ERA.

By Sean Hogan (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

The Nationals already came out ahead in the Michael Morse trade, acquiring two Righties with upside in A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen. Last Wednesday, they added to the previous bounty when the player to be named later was named:was… wait for it……..

LHP Ian Krol. The Lefty, who was once lauded by prospect gurus Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law in 2010, has fought through some self-inflicted drama as well as some minor injuries since then; the Nationals are picking him up in hopes that he’ll continue to be “a joy to watch” as Goldstein mentioned and will build upon his solid 2012 season.

Krol is a pitcher, not a thrower. His mechanics are excellent, throwing from a ¾ arm slot, and he has no issues locating his three pitches. Like former Nats prospects Tommy Milone and Danny Rosenbaum, Krol lacks velocity, topping out at 90-91 MPH. In order to keep climbing up the ladder, he must continue to exhibit excellent command on the hill and induce ground balls.

Ian Krol Bullpen Session:

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Seattle Mariners Roster in 2013: State Of The Union:

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Thursday, January.31/2013

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.

The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.

Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.

Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.

Felix Hernandez Highlights:  Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised

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Player Profile: Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche

Thursday January 10th, 2012

Adam LaRoche took home  both a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove Award in 2012 for the 1st time in his career for both categories.

Adam LaRoche took home both a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove Award in 2012 for the 1st time in his career for both categories.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

With the news of Adam Laroche’s signing of a 2-Year deal with the Washington Nationals breaking on Tuesday, it seems fitting for a profile to be done on this unsung hero. Last week, I profiled underrated star Billy Butler of the Royals. I will stick with this underrated theme as I cover the highlights of the career of power-hitting first baseman Adam LaRoche.

The 29th round pick of the 2000 amateur draft, Adam LaRoche broke into the league with the Atlanta Braves in 2004. He had a solid Rookie season, hitting .278 with 13 HR and 45 RBI in 110 games. LaRoche got steadily better from there, increasing his HR total by seven to 20 in 2005 and by 12 to 32 in 2006. 2005 was actually his worst year Batting Average-wise, in which he hit .259. LaRoche hit .172 in 2011, but he only played in 43 games – so I do not regard that as a true representation of what he would have hit had he played. Aside from his Rookie season and the season he was injured and only played 43 games, LaRoche has never played less than 140 games in a year. This is something that is very valuable to teams when they are looking for a power-hitting first baseman—and really any player for that matter. This is the main reason why I believe the Nationals rewarded him with his contract.

MLB Talk Radio / Audio For the Deal Analysis

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The 2013 Nationals Appear Primed to Make a Run at the World Series

Friday October 26th, 2012

Sam Evans: The Washington Nationals had a somewhat disappointing end to their season, losing to St. Louis in five ALDS games. Nonetheless, the Nationals had a tremendous season and should be pleased with where they stand heading into next year. With the NL East teams around Washington getting older and losing talent, there’s no reason why Washington can’t repeat as division champions in 2013. In fact, the Washington Nationals should be favored to make a World Series push in 2013.

Ever since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005, Washington had yet to have a season over .500 and finish in the top two in the NL East. 2011 was a surprising season in which Washington won ninety-eight games, the most in major league baseball, and won the N.L. East. Their Pythagorean record (96-66) suggests that the Nationals 2012 season was not a fluke. Washington was led by Ian Desmond, rookie Bryce Harper and a tremendous young group of starting pitchers. 2012 wasn’t a fluke and Washington won’t be putting a team on the field in 2013 that is much different. So why can’t they repeat as division champs? Read the rest of this entry

Washington Nationals Heading to the Playoffs: Is Jayson Werth the Answer?

Saturday August 11th, 2012


Jake Dal Porto: The 2012 season has been full of surprising teams. From the Orioles to the Pirates, new teams that have always had the potential to be contenders appear to be taking the next step foward. However, no team has taken that vast step quite like the Washington Nationals. Led by a starting rotation that leads the National League in ERA (3.23), and opponents’ batting averages (.232), the Nationals have put together a magical season. Even though Washington’s offense hasn’t be as stellar as their pitching staff, a healthy lineup might change that. More importantly, a healthy Jayson Werth.

Jayson Werth, who was signed as a free agent by the Nationals prior to the 2011 campaign, has been a disappointed thus far. In his first year as a National he posted a 2.5 WAR. In three straight years with the Phillies before becoming a free agent, he posted WAR averages of plus five. Per FanGraphs, his 2011 season was worth about $11.5 million, compared to his actual salary $13 million. That $13 million will be the lowest mark of his contract, as his annual salary will steadily be on the rise over the next few years, eventually making the leap to the big $20 million plateau. However, the pressure will continue to amount if his production continues to slip. If he wants to prove his worth, there’s no better time for him to do so than now, when the Nats boast the best record in the National League and crave a veteran presence such as Werth. Read the rest of this entry

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