It's early...right? Well, now it's May, and that excuse is running its course.
The truth is, the Nats need to kick it up a notch if they want to stay relevant in September. The Braves have our number, and we haven't found a chink in their armor. The 3 out of 4 Reds series was promising. Gio looked like his former self. But last night he threw about 1,500 pitches for 70 walks before 5 innings were up. Strasburg looks flustered.
This all leaves us with a critical question: how much is inexperienced players with butterflies and how much is inept management? Is the talent really there and just waiting to manifest itself? Or has Davey botched his roster duties?
The main problems, as everyone knows are Espi-no-hit and LaRoche. These guys are rally-killing sub-.200 sieves that basically guarantee outs. Chad Tracy is not far behind them. Yet Davey somehow keeps playing them. In fact, he kept LaRoche in the critical #4 spot, a prime location for stopping rallies. And I get Davey's decisions to a certain degree -- he "stands by his guys" through thick and thin. But when do you realize that your struggling players are simply hurting the team? Espi-no-hit is like that promising tech stock you're just waiting to take off, but it hovers at $2. He's all potential but no revenue. Lombo has a low ceiling, but at least he'll cut you regular dividends with an empty .280-.300 average. LaRoche is the Cisco stock that has been at $80, but now is down to $20 and it's growth potential is seriously limited. How long will we let these guys drag down the portfolio? Tyler Moore at least has lots of upside. He hit home run percentage last year was 5.9%, more than double the league average. Maybe this guy could be a secret goldmine. Isn't it worth looking into? Finally, Chad Tracy has been a wandering journeyman his whole career, and now he gets a roster nod over Rendon, who has just flashed some potential? When do we say that Davey is stuck in his ways? Was it his stubbornness that got him fired from four ball clubs? He also had Chad Tracy steal 2nd and get thrown out by the unstealable Yadier Molina. Is this the management of a world series contender?
Davey no doubt has admirable qualities. He gets a lot from his players, especially loyalty. But when do his actual results diminish his intangibles? I think it's time to realize that we're not a juggernaut, but a darkhorse. We'll need to scratch and claw our way into the playoffs. This takes innovative thinking, which is hard to imagine from someone stubborn like Davey. Maybe Moore and Lombo are duds, but it's worth a shot. Also, Rizzo should try to make some good moves before the trade deadline. Maybe trade LaRoche to Houston for a Bud Norris? Or to Tampa for a Jeremy Hellickson? It would be nice to get a decent #4-5 guy in case Dan Haren turns out to be a complete black hole.
It's time for innovation, not stubbornness. And if that means not standing by your guys 100%, so be it.