Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Is There Something Going On Today? Everyone's Wearing Stickers.

It's official: Jim Bowden is our general manager. The more I think about it, the more I dislike it. What's Bowden known for? Bold decision-making. Trades. Exactly the kind of thing we don't need. Bowden's going to be in charge for one season at the most, and probably much less. A guy with his tendencies and that small a window in which to make a splash and advertise himself for a new job could do a lot of damage. He's the anti-Bob Watson, and Watson was perfect for this.

I've complained about Baseball Prospectus before. Joe Sheehan recently made a ridiculous prediction about how bad our team will be next year. Steven Goldman was excoriated in this space last week for his smarmy assumption that our team's dumbassery would help out his Yankees. Will Carroll is always wrong. BP is also home to bitter Expos fan Jonah Keri, who thinks our team should be renamed the Vultures. Not a DC-friendly lineup, to be sure. There is Washingtonian Chris Kahrl, however, who is both interested in and informed about our issues. She conducted a chat today at the BP site.
The Washington Federals (or Grays, anything but Senators, please) shouldn't really get ambitious in their shopping. Sure, they could use an infielder, but consider the lineup:

C Schneider
1B Nick Johnson
2B Vidro
3B Brendan Harris?
SS Maicer Izturis?
LF Terrmel Sledge
CF Brad Wilkerson
RF Juan Rivera
OF Ryan Church

S1 Livan Hernandez
S2 Tomo Ohka
S3-5 Armas? Day? Downs, Patterson, Rauch?

You see the problem. A veteran for third or short makes sense, a veteran reliever, and maybe a starter, but really, no need to get ambitious. Folks will come to the curiosity of Year One. The priority should be on shoring up the farm system and building a team that can play in the East after the Phillies and Mets have choked on their own follies, because the objective is to build a team that can eventually supplant the Braves.
That lineup is questionable. I've seen nothing to make me think that Wilkerson will play center. In the last three years, he's spent 73, 42, and most recently 18 games out there. He's obviously considered by the team more of a LF/1B guy than a LF/CF one, and first base is pretty much the opposite of center field. Endy Chavez will be in center more often than not, making outs with abandon (at the plate, I mean). Also, I'd be shocked if Maicer Izturis and Brendan Harris were the starters in April. I'd be shocked if either one was, actually. In the Tony Tavares interview at MLB.com, he listed signing a SS and a 3B as priorities - they've already made an offer to Tony Batista, and he made it sound like Maicer would get a little more time at AAA or on the bench. This could all change depending on the manager, of course.

Other than that, Kahrl's completely right. "No need to get ambitious" - can we tattoo that on Bowden somewhere?

Moving on: I don't really want to get into the name debate again, even though it seems to be all anyone wants to talk about, but Kahrl had this to say about the Expos' new monicker:

I fancy the Federals, but that's because I remember the USFL and tend towards Hamiltonian sensibilities. I'd be enthusiastic about calling them the Grays.

Consider me a founding member of the movement "Anything But the Senators."

Ugh. Federals is godawful and, thankfully, un-suggested other than by Kahrl. Senators is perfect. Grays is very close to perfect. Any - and I mean any - other name would be a disaster.

I figured I needed a link to an Orioles blog, and here it is. Orioles Warehouse has been going impressively in-depth about the inner workings of our friends by the Harbor. A take on DC baseball is said to be forthcoming, so we'll see if I'm being premature in my endorsement.


Chris Needham said...

Was he really known for bold moves though? Yes, the Griffey and Burna trades were big splashes, but he was there for 10 years. That's not that many big splashes.

He was known for fiddling around the margins more than anything: tinkering with the 5th starter, the 4th outfielder, that sorta thing. On this team--and given the constraints we're going to be under--I think he might be able to help a little at the margins.

Plus, he (at least publicly) is acknowledging the transitory nature of the job. He realizes that he's not there forever. And I can't see him doing (or getting permission to) make the kind of short-sighted moves that Minaya made over the last few years.

Ryan said...

I'm going by those who say that Bowden likes roster turnover. I don't want him turning over ours, then splitting after three months.

I am becoming hopeful that he understands the nature of the position, though. I read this morning that he's only on hiatus from his ESPN job, so he knows he won't be around long. All in all, I don't think he'll be a problem. I am leery that he's giving Robinson another year to wear out our pitching arms, though . . .