Ian Desmond got two years, $17.5 million, and Jordan Zimmermann got two years, $24 million. Both are eligible for free agency in 2015, meaning they’re in line for big-money deals after next season.
Boz is optimistic:
Harper over at Nats Baseball? Not so much. It’s a gamble, but so are $100-million-plus contracts.
After Danny Espinosa shaved his winter beard I wasn’t ready to love again, but now Ian Desmond is growing a mustache (via @fpdougiefresh), and here I am over the moon. Sounds like he’s keeping it, too.
Related: Watch Espinosa shave off his amazing winter beard.
It’s been said many times many ways, but the Nats are a first-place team thanks to their pitching and … not much else. I haven’t seen it said this way, though:
Of baseball’s top 80 offensive players, as ranked by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), only one is a National. That’s hard to do while you also have the best record in the National League.
The Nats are doing it, though, on the strength of that great pitching plus Ian Desmond, who entered the season as a bit of a whipping boy, at least for those that cared about things like getting on base.
Here’s what the Nats’ top 10 offensive players of 2012 looks like, as ranked by WAR, which accounts for both baserunning and fielding as well as hitting. And, yes, that’s a pitcher at No. 6.
1. Ian Desmond: 3.6
Dez is the most productive shortstop in MLB this year, which is remarkable, especially when you consider that he posted just 2.7 combined WAR his first two full seasons. Unfortunately, he’s now struggling with an oblique injury. Of course he is.
2. Adam LaRoche: 1.6
After last year’s injury-plagued campaign, AL Smooth is a revelation of sorts for Nats fans, but he posted 2.3-2.5 WAR in ’06, ’07 and ’09.
3. Bryce Harper: 1.5
Ian Desmond has had a crappy year, but the Nats beat Philly and took the series thanks in part to his ninth inning, two-out, two-strike, game-tying homer. The day after Ian Desmond Bobblehead Day, no less!* [WaPo, NE]
Correction: Desmond Bobblehead Day was actually Saturday (see below). This post has been updated to reflect the error.
Davey Johnson compared it to Game 6 of the ’86 Series, sort of. [Boswell]
Bryce Harper’s season is probably over. Here’s a recap. [Nats Blog]
I don’t like the author, but I did like this Harper column. [Gregg Doyel]
Pretty sure this means Tyler Clippard is the best RP in baseball. [BR Blog]
Livan Hernandez threw like 200 pitches on Friday night. [Nats Journal]
Positing that Mike Morse’s 2011 season is “a giant fluke.” [Fire Jim Bowden]
O’s get swept in Anaheim, are now 30 games under .500. [The Sun]
The O’s are so bad this blogger is taking time off. [O’s Card “O” the Day]
Vinny Cerrato said he once tried to trade for Jamaal Charles. [PFT]
Happy day: Rookie upstart Ian Desmond wins Washington’s starting shortstop job over fat-bellied, fat-contracted incumbent Cristian Guzman. [Nats Insider, Nats Journal]
Data suggests that Desmond is far and away the right choice. [Thomas Boswell]
Guzman to play a utility role up the middle for the Nats. [Nats Journal]
“The contract that Bowden gave to Guzman has to be considered one of the worst in baseball over the past few years.” [Fire Jim Bowden]
Four Nats starters named (Lannan, Marquis, Stammen and Livan). [All Nats]
Caps lose to Calgary at Verizon Center. [Japers’ Rink, OFB, Caps Insider]
The Caps were actually booed after an awful first period. [Caps Insider]
Despite the loss, Caps clinch the Eastern Conference title. [Caps Insider]
Sounds like Caps-Pens in the ’11 Winter Classic at Heinz Field. [Puck Daddy]
Grunfeld on Gil: “We’re not going to void his contract.” [Truth About It]
Somehow Shanahan sees something in Stephon Heyer. [Redskins Insider]
This Final Four is a nightmare for Maryland. (Go Butler.) [Testudo Times]
Expos draftee/SS prospect Ian Desmond, who batted .330 in the minors, records a double, home run, four RBI and “two looooooong flyouts” in his debut, an 8-7 win over Philly. [Nats Journal]
Desmond’s “through-the-wind homer came within two rows of clearing the left field bleachers in front of the Red Porch.” [Thomas Boswell]
Desmond sprinted around the bases and received a curtain call. [Chatter]
In a related story, the Nats asked Guzman to switch to 2B next year. [All Nats]
Jim Riggleman says baseball “isn’t a physically taxing sport.” [MASN]
Considering Nolan Reimold for the AL Rookie of the Year. [Roch Kubatko]
After listing them as the fifth-best NFC team and his site ranking them 22nd overall, Mike Florio picks the Redskins to go to the Super Bowl. [PFT]
Stats have them winning an NFC East-low 7.3 games. [Football Outsiders]
Portis provides Steinz with some t-shirt-worthy slogans. [D.C. Sports Bog]
Revisiting the lick Brandon Jacobs laid on LaRon Landry. [Redskins Blog]
Five reasons for Maryland to be concerned about JMU. [Route 1 to Lot 1]
Simyon Varlamov’s new mask is just okay for me. [Caps Insider]
RFK is literally falling apart. [D.C. Sports Bog]