Anthony Rendon

2011 Draft – Day one wrapup: Nationals, Red Sox are winners


A few winners and losers after 60 picks…


Nationals – Anthony Rendon’s injury history is a big concern, but he looked like the best bat in the draft and the Nationals took advantage of him slipping to No. 6. They’ll probably try him at second base, and since he’s quick and not too big, he could be solid there. The Nats also got a high-ceiling right-hander in Alex Meyer at No. 23 and a speedy outfielder in Brian Goodwin at No. 34.

Red Sox – Possessing four early picks and plenty of money, the Red Sox were sure to have a field day. They opted for quite a mix, picking college right-hander Matt Barnes at No. 19, high school catcher Blake Swihart at No. 26, high school left-hander Henry Owens at No. 36 and college outfielder Jackie Bradley at No. 40. Barnes projects as a starter for the long-term, but he might be able to make an impact as a reliever next year if the Red Sox want to go in that direction. Swihart is iffy to last behind the plate, but he had one of the highest offensive ceilings in the draft.

Brewers – The Brewers need pitching and they got two very good arms at No. 12 and No. 15. Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley were both considered top-10 picks at times. It remains to be seen in Jungmann’s curve will be enough of a strikeout pitch to make him a No. 2 starter in the majors, but he should be a mid-rotation guy at least. Both guys could be factors in the second half of next year if things break right.


Mets – With some very talented pitchers and quality up-the-middle players on the board, the Mets rolled the dice on outfielder Brandon Nimmo at No. 13. He’s terribly raw, but he’s going to have to hit to make it an outfield corner. It seemed like the Mets felt they had to have left-handed power in Citi¬†Field and reacged to get some. RHP Michael Fulmer at No. 44 was another iffy pick, though he has a big fastball.

Mariners – The Mariners could have used the bat and were connected with Rendon for the longest time before his shoulder problems scared them off. Instead, they settled for Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the second pick. He projects as a nice mid-rotation guy, but since he was their only pick in the top 60, they’re going to have to get lucky to come out of the draft with any offensive talent.

Padres – Some teams deserve the benefit of the doubt when they appear to reach, but the Padres don’t have that kind of track record. Cory Spangenberg has a nice line-drive stroke, but with no position and not all that much home run power, he wasn’t worthy of the 10th pick in the draft. In their defense, the Padres had so many picks that they didn’t want to spend on some of the higher-upside guys and they did do better in getting right-handers Joe Ross at No. 25 and Michael Kelly at No. 48. Still, they missed an opportunity at No. 10.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.