Reading through some blog posts about the Tigers/Nats series, I came across an interesting item that concerned me for the moment. Many Detroit Tigers fans blame Kate Upton for Justin Verlander’s down season this year. The evidence seems to be pretty strong for the case.
I might be the chairman of the Jayson Werth apologist club. His signing by the Nats a few off seasons ago was widely ridiculed by most of baseball at the time. After he had a poor 2011 and got hurt in 2012 the ridicule didn’t stop. Werth’s heroics in game 4 of the NLDS quieted many of the vocal detractors. If you post something on twitter or bring up his name in conversation someone will immediately snap back about how he is overpaid. For the record, this year he is the 29th highest paid player in baseball, and outplaying most of the other 28.
With his bat this year Werth, is having a fantastic and almost unnoticed season. I wrote about this at the All-Star break, but he has actually gotten better the first week back.
He is batting over .300 and using wOBA which more precisely measure power hitting than slugging % and wRC+ which measures player performance above the average of 100 he is the 4th best right fielder in baseball. The only guys better are Puig (another world but only 200 ABs), Michael Cuddyer (having a career year but atrocious in the field), and the aforementioned Stanton.
Werth’s stats look a lot like Stanton, but Werth is healthier (imagine that) has more HR, Runs, RBI and a higher average.
If you look total OF, only Trout and Cargo and Choo and some guy named Harper are better this year.
That might be a slight exaggeration. A better way to put it is Dan Haren is one of two pitcher in baseball that Stephen Strasburg doesn’t want to trade run support with. Dan Harren has not been good this year and his ERA support that. He has also been uniquely unlucky with his run support. The Nats are bad a scoring runs. When Harren pitches they are the worst. What is amazing is in order for him to get out of the bottom 10 he would have needed to average 1/2 a run a game more. Lucky for Haren that hasn’t made a huge difference in his win total. Now if we are talking Strasburg that is another story.
We’ve pinpointed the problem with the 2013 Nationals: entitlement.
Earlier this season, I marveled at Danny Espinosa’s reaction when he was demoted to AAA. Espinosa was upset, despite the fact that he had a .158 OBP and was unquestionably the worst second basemen in baseball.
It appeared Espinosa thought he was entitled to the Nationals second base job, no matter how badly he played.
Now this destructive attitude has surfaced again, in the form of Tyler Clippard, who strongly defended his friend Drew Storen while criticizing the Nationals organization after the Storen’s demotion to AAA last night. From Adam Kilgore’s piece in the Washington Post:
“You basically send a guy a message this offseason for having one bad game – that he’s not the guy for the job,” reliever Tyler Clippard said. “He’s only human. It’s going to get to anybody. … Eight months later, you get to a point where he’s struggling, and you turn the page on him and you send him down. It’s not necessarily turning the page on him, because I think he needs to regroup and get out of this environment and take a deep breath and re-gather himself. I just think it’s been handled very poorly.”
Storen has a 5.95 ERA this season including a 13.03 ERA in 12 appearances in July. Look at those numbers. They’re terrible. There is no objective argument for keeping Storen in the bullpen right now. He needs to fix himself in AAA.
I realize Clippard is defending his bro, but his comments reveal something else. The Nationals players think they’re entitled to their jobs, no matter how poorly they perform.
Drew Storen is not entitled to a major league roster spot. And he’s not entitled to the closer job either. Instead of pouting when he loses either, I suggest he man up and get better.