As it has been a relatively quiet month in terms of activity with the Nationals, I have been especially pleased with the amount of questions I have received both on Twitter and through email. I respond to each and every message sent to me, either directly or in this segment “Dear NatsGM”, so please continue to send your questions to me and if I happen to respond to one in a future edition, I will send you a prize. Without further ado, here is the latest installment of the soon-to-be famous “Dear NatsGM”.
“Raven’s Fan” from Dundalk, MD -> “Dear NatsGM, what is your early 2012 MLB Draft Top 10 look like and what is your early prediction for the Nationals selection?”
With the Division-1 college baseball season set to begin in the next few weeks, I thought this might be a fun time to give my preseason Top 10 2012 draft-eligible prospects. While the 2012 draft class will have a tough time matching the talent and hype of the 2011 class, the high school talent available is more impressive than most years, and there is depth in college starting pitching as well, just not the high-end talent that was available last season.
As for a guess with the Nationals, it is far too early to venture a guess with any sort of knowledge, but factoring in their fondness for physically big, hard-throwing college pitchers, in addition to the fact that they traded away three upper-level pitching prospects to acquire Gio Gonzalez in December, I am thinking their preference would be to see a college pitcher, preferably with some polish and track record of success, as their top player available when they pick at number 16 in June. Here is my current Top 10 for June’s draft:
#1) Deven Marrero SS Arizona St.
#2) Mark Appel RHP Stanford University
#3) Lucas Giolito RHP HS California
#4) Mike Zunino Catcher University of Florida
#5) Kevin Gausman RHP Louisiana St.
#6) Byron Buxton OF HS Georgia
#7) Victor Roache OF Georgia Southern
#8) Chris Beck RHP Georgia Southern
#9) Max Fried LHP HS California
#10) Michael Wacha RHP Texas A&M
#16 Nationals -> Kyle Zimmer RHP University of San Francisco
Expect far more draft coverage in the coming months, so please continue to send me your draft questions – thanks for participating!
NL_Beast via Twitter -> “Dear NatsGM” what are your thoughts on the Prince Fielder signing for Detroit?
And I thought Little Caesars pizza was borderline inedible… apparently someone is eating it by the truck load… Wow, 9-years and $214 million dollars – two fundamental lessons learned from this signing: First, Never, ever doubt Mr. Boras and secondly, always fear his mystery team.
As others have written quite well on this subject, I see this as a nice offensive upgrade in the short-term for the Tigers in their quest to replace Victor Martinez’s offense in 2012 and makes them the clear favorite in the AL Central this season but I wonder how many years and dollars at the end of this contract becomes dead weight. Also, as daunting as Prince Fielder’s bat is in the middle of a lineup, I would think Detroit could have made themselves a stronger overall team spreading those $23 million dollars over the rest of their roster, specifically by adding another starting pitcher, a reliever or two, another outfielder and a designated hitter.
Finally, I also question how much of a defensive downgrade the team will see by shifting Miguel Cabrera to 3B and playing Prince Fielder at 1B this season as manager Jim Leyland has indicated, while also questioning the fit down the road when Victor Martinez’s knee recovers in 2013, as I do not believe Cabrera to be an everyday defensive 3B, and I see both Martinez and Fielder as first basemen or designated hitters, thus leaving three players for two positions. Overall I give the Detroit’s owner credit for identifying a weakness and making an impressive financial commitment to improve his team, but overall, I think this contract will look borderline foolish in a few seasons. Thank you for writing and your Twitter name is a pure 80 on the 20/80 scale.
@NatsRTheFuture via Twitter -> “@NatsGMdotcom, besides the General Manager position for the Nationals, what would be your ideal job in baseball today?”
Interesting question and solid Twitter account name – the two jobs that immediately come to mind would be as a General Manager or the Director of Amateur Scouting. While the scouting job would appease my appreciation for the scouting and player development process in baseball, how could one not choose the General Manager position? Briefly, there would be five major criteria I would be looking for in an “ideal” General Manager job.
First, I would want to take over a team beginning a rebuild, as I would prefer to start from scratch and would relish the challenge of building a winning team through the draft and scouting and development rather than taking over an already established and well-positioned team. Secondly, I would insist on an owner with a long track record of a sustained mid-to-high major league payroll, a reputation for not meddling in baseball decisions, along with the willingness to spend in free agency, the draft, internationally, and every other part of the organization. Next, I would insist on full authority of all baseball decisions besides payroll (he or she cuts the checks, ultimately the owner makes that decision), but otherwise I would want full autonomy on all baseball decisions.
Another important factor would be that the team’s current payroll did not have many, if any, undesirable long-term salary commitments, and the fewer long-term contracts, the better. Finally, it would be more appealing if the team was not completely barren of talent, both at the major league level and in the team’s farm system. Understandably, this team cannot have a large stockpile of talent, otherwise, they would not be rebuilding in the first place, but a tradable player or two in the majors, along with a handful of solid prospects would be a nice foundation to begin rebuilding.
Using the above criteria, and eliminating the Washington Nationals General Manager position from consideration, three General Manager jobs immediate stand out to me: the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros. All three are similar in that they are all rebuilding their major league club, have a track record of solid to expensive payrolls, and do not have many undesirable long-term financial commitments. The question marks and lack of ownership certainty with the Mets immediately makes them less desirable than the Cubs and Astros positions. Comparing the remaining two, the Cubs have slightly better talent, both in the majors and in the minors, but do have substantially more financial commitments in the future. While the allure of the almost completely blank slate that Houston provides, along with the top pick in June’s amateur draft would be incredibly enticing, the chance to turn the Cubs around as their General Manager and win their first World Series since 1908 would make it the job I would most want currently in baseball.
@JamesPole via Twitter -> “@NatsGMdotcom, what are your top 5 baseball movies of all-time?”
Great question – though I am by no means Roger Ebert, as I tend to see a movie in the theatre about as often as Mister Rogers updates his sweater collection. Formulating a top 5 and placing them in order was extremely difficult, but here is the official NatsGM’s List of Top Baseball Movies:
1) Major League
2) Bad News Bears (The Original)
3) Field of Dreams
4) The Sandlot
Honorable Mention -> The Natural, Bull Durham, Sugar, Summer Catch, and Eight Men Out
Let me turn this question back to you, the readers, especially the movie buffs… Am I overlooking any movies? Which films should be higher or lower on this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks again for writing and for such a fun question.
Thank you to those who wrote me this month and participated in this edition of “Dear NatsGM”. As always, I thank you for reading and encourage you to continue to spread the word.
A somber “Tip of the Fedora” goes out to my friend and fraternity brother, Ryan, who passed away last week from health complications. We had drifted apart a bit over the years, but I will always remember him as one of the best guys I ever met. We will miss you friend, you passed far too soon.
I encourage you to follow me on Twitter @NatsGMdotcom, email me your questions and comments to NationalsGM@gmail.com, and “Like” me on Facebook search NatsGM.