Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Two Days In, Two Things Learned    

The Nationals
They are TERRIBLE. Like, 2003 Tigers terrible. 1988 Orioles terrible. It's bad enough that they can't hit or pitch, but they screwed up yesterday's game by booting ground balls all over the place. Hideous stuff.

The shame of it is that I want to support them. I feel horrible that the team is this pathetic. In a fledgling market like DC, you can't afford to be so awful that you're irrelevant; for proof, just look at the Capitals. Given how badly the District fucked itself over financially to get the Nats in the first place, I'd hate to see baseball fail yet again. In that sense, seeing RFK so empty is a little scary.

Barry Bonds: Apparently He's OK Again
ESPN is right back to banging Barry down our throats like a dick. So I guess it's really not that important that he cheated? Oh, well I feel much better.

The real story is in two parts: a) that he's gonna break the record by having cheated so goddamn obviously, and b) that ESPN is back to selling his "achievement" as a positive. They might as well hire O.J. as a football analyst.

Listen, ESPN tools... nobody gives a shit about him. Nobody. We all know he cheated, and we all know his record is bullshit. Please stop celebrating him. And for the love of God, please stop embarrassing yourselves by acting like nothing happened.

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  • OK, so the Nats just came back from 6-1 to win today. But my statements still stand. They won mostly because Jorge Julio sucks.

    I mean, I'll give credit where credit's due. Cory Kasto absolutely tattooed his game-tying single off Hanley's chest; Hanley's lucky to be alive. And Dmitri Young did exactly what he needed to do with the bases loaded and one out: loft one deep into the outfield.

    But Julio is awful. Awful. The Marlins have so many power arms in that bullpen; why exactly do they need a piece of shit like Julio closing games?

    By Blogger Jeff, at 4:00 PM  

  • What I'm wondering is, do they even have a plan? I mean, look at Yahoo's effort at their depth chart. Two left fielders, one of which hasn't actually started, and no center fielder. Of course, the only thing I'm actually upset about is that Snelling is not a starter. And I guess if Church's CF defense is that bad, then the Logan thing makes sense. But Casto?

    By Blogger Jesse, at 5:28 PM  

  • Logan just got injured. Church is in CF. Hence the absence.

    Also, the thing that's gonna kill them above anything else is the rotation. Pathetic on a historic scale. Patterson, the "ace," gave up 6 in 3.2 IP on Monday. Shawn Hill gave up 5 (4 earned) in 5 IP yesterday. Matt Chico gave up 6 ER in 4 IP today. At this rate, their bullpen will be shot before the lesser-known ides of April. Their only chance to win, RFK being what it is, is to have PITCHERS. Which is why I have no idea what they were thinking when they allowed this team to leave Florida with what looks like one of the worst rotations in baseball history.

    So yeah, there doesn't seem to be a plan. I figured the new ownership had been in place long enough to start establishing a direction, but as with Colonel Kurtz, I don't see any method at all. Seems like 2007 is being flat-out punted, and everything's being geared around the new stadium's debut next spring.

    It's not like their farm system is all that strong. This isn't like when the Marlins decide to reload. When they reload, they mean fucking business. Not so here.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 5:46 PM  

  • Of course they have a plan, and you said it: punt 2007. Personally, I like it. They're going to be bad. Rather than spending a bunch of money to bring in mediocre free agents, why not just play the few intriguing youngsters you have and replacement players (isn't that what we're always saying? Why pay a crappy veteran a relatively large salary when you can get the same or slightly less production from a crappy cheap player?)? They signed a bunch of washed up/intriguing guys to short-term deals; maybe they'll get someone decent out of it. In the meantime, they're giving Shawn Camp, Kory Casto and Matt Chico some experience and getting looks at other players who might fit around Zimmerman.

    As far as reloading the Flordia way, there are two huge differences: (1) the Marlins already had some good, young players coming up, and (2) the players they were trading were good, young players who were still signed to decent deals. I'm sure the Nats would love to reload that way, but after years of no ownership, they don't have anything. Patterson and Nick Johnson might be somewhat attractive to teams, but they're huge injury risks and weren't Beckett/Burnett-level interesting to begin with. Hopefully they can at least move the assets they acquired last year (Lopez, Kearns).

    So, blow it up, lose a lot, see what you have/need and rebuild. Sounds like a plan to me.

    By Blogger chas, at 12:04 PM  

  • OK, but if that was the plan, then why was Soriano not traded at the deadline? And why the hell is Chad Cordero still on the team? Did they not think Joe Borowski was signable enough?

    If the farm system is so fucked, and they want to lay a foundation for '08 so badly, then how could they NOT have traded those guys for prospects that will help going forward?

    I would have been on board with rebuilding if they'd done it right. But they didn't. Jim Bowden couldn't even get "blow it all up" right. Even a straight up deal of Soriano for Milledge would have been better than what happened. The guy's just about as incompetent as it gets. (Of course, he did snow Bill Bavasi, didn't he?)

    By Blogger Jeff, at 12:27 PM  

  • Bowden's definitely not right for this job. Thoughts on Soriano/Cordero:

    (1) Don't they get compensation picks for Soriano leaving? Or did MLB change that rule this year. Not perfect, but at least they get something, right? And then they didn't have to take the PR hit of trading the franchise's best player when the stadium financing was still up in the air.

    (2) They have a lot of uncertainty. Holding on to your relatively decent, inexpensive closer gives them some stability in the bullpen, which gives them a better chance of seeing what kinds of pitchers they have. And if someone emerges as a good reliever during the season, they can always trade Cordero and get about as much (maybe more, maybe less). Maybe they gambled that the Red Sox would freak out about their closer situation at the end of spring training, then give Bowden what he asked for. Not a winning gamble, but not a bad idea either.

    By Blogger chas, at 12:37 PM  

  • I forgot my main point, which was the already-serious matter of DC folks not giving a rat's ass about the team. People will still show up on summer nights for the hell of it. But those aren't the fans they need to worry about. They need to build some kind of bond with the diehards who got sucked in by 2005. Screwing the pooch this badly is not how you do that. That's how you get people to change their minds. In the most transient big city in America, that's a serious problem.

    The actual would-be fans of the team, the folks who need to see SOME semblance of brains in the operation, otherwise they're not gonna stay fans for long. You need to suck people in, capture their imagination somehow. With no plan, and no talent, that's really not gonna happen.

    I dunno, maybe I'm underestimating their post-stadium response. Maybe they'll take 2008 free agency by storm, and sign up Zambrano and Dunn and Andruw Jones or something like that. Who knows. But even that's kind of a dicey, Orioles-esque strategy.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 12:38 PM  

  • Whoops, missed your comment...

    I see what you're saying about Cordero. That kinda makes sense. But I don't know about hoping for the Sox to get desperate. If that was Bowden's strategy, shouldn't he have remembered that the exact same strategy failed miserably with Soriano? He gambled on suitors' desperation, lost, and got pretty much jack shit in the end for a ridiculous power bat.

    And yeah, maybe they got draft picks for Soriano. But would you rather have a sandwich pick or a ready-to-play AAA prospect? The prospect would have been ready for 2008; the draft pick may not pan out at all, especially when you consider the guy making the draft picks is Bowden.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 12:43 PM  

  • If they get the picks, I think they actually get two. And while it definitely would have been better to get a package of players centering on a pick that would have been available next year, my guess is that they thought that they'd do the wait-and-see approach, and that the two picks was a less than ideal, but not disasterous, backup.

    My point is they clearly could have done better on both counts (they still have a chance to redeem themselves with Cordero), but I don't think those situations were disasters, and I do think we'll be looking back on this strategy as a better one than the Pirates' or Allard Baird's Royals'.

    By Blogger chas, at 1:33 PM  

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