Monday, March 28, 2011

25 in 25: Matt Stairs (#23)

In 3 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

Today, we take at look at a Canadian with more than 14 years of service time: Matt Stairs.

Why?: To be completely honest with you, we're not entirely sure. Jim Riggleman has all but assured fans and writers that Stairs will be part of the Opening Day lineup this season. As if the Nats don't get enough pop from the middle of the lineup with Werth, Zimmerman, LaRoche, Morse, and Ankiel, the Nats Manager feels the need to have a guy on the team that has absolutely no redeeming defensive qualities.

To be sure, Matt Stairs is a beast of a pinch hitter and will act as a good player/hitting coach. Hailing most recently from the Phillies and Padres, Stairs continues to crank home runs as a pinch hitter. But that is literally all he is: a pinch hitter. With a Nats team with a heaping pile of offense already that's trying to concentrate on defense, we don't quite get the commitment to adding Stairs to the 25-man roster.

Also of note, Stairs started his career with the Expos back in 1992, so I guess there's some nostalgia there to be had.... I'm not buying into that though.

What to expect?: Stairs will do what he does: hit lots of home runs in not a lot of at bats. We all know Jim Riggleman's affinity for double switches and playing the manager's mind game, so it's possible that Stairs could get a lot of pinch hit opportunities.

Expect Matt Stairs to hit between 6 and 10 home runs and having a batting average below .250 in about 100 at-bats. Let's hope his presence as a proven professional hitter will help the Nats hitters who will be with the club for the long haul.


  1. Like with Broderick, I hope you're wrong here. The Nats don't need this guy this year as they now have decent power up and down the lineup rather than just in the three middle-of-the-order spots. If they keep Stairs over Bernie "The Shark," it is a doubly bad move.

  2. I hope we are wrong too!! This is what we think WILL happen, not what we want to happen. He is a luxury that we don't need right now, its a waste of a roster spot. Though I still believe that the Shark will be on the team, I would much rather Bernie than Lance (The Dance) Nix.

  3. I must concur, regretfully, as I've always liked Stairs. But what Stairs offers is the bat off the bench that can deliver in a critical situation (say, with the World Series on the line). The Nats won't be playing in any game like that this season, and a bench player who can play the field will contribute more over the 162-game marathon.

  4. So, you guys were right on both Stairs and Broderick. Oh well.

  5. We like to be right. Feel better about Broderick than Stairs, but we feel bad for Balester.