It's always most fun to read Peter Gammons in hot stove season, and today he favors us with a lot of Jim Bowden stuff.
Bowden is looking for a shortstop, third baseman, right-field bat and veteran (180 to 200 innings) starting pitcher.We've got a right-field bat. John at the Washington Baseball Blog suggests playing Juan Rivera in center, but I don't think that's likely. I really don't understand why he's not considered worthy of being the everyday right fielder.
If possible, he'd like to hold onto catcher Brian Schneider (who's sought by Boston, among many, after having the majors' best percentage of runners thrown out), first baseman Nick Johnson, center fielder Brad Wilkerson and relievers Chad Cordero and Luis Ayala.Cool. B-Wilk is not often called a center fielder, and it would make it a lot easier to improve the offense if he did play there. It also might lead to a lot of triples rattling around behind him.
Bowden tried to acquire Jose Guillen, whose career he rescued in Cincinnati, but the Angels insisted on Cordero.That's a relief. I want no part of that guy.
The free agents on his list include Corey Koskie and Vinny Castilla and shortstop Christian Guzman, as well as several pitchers.Why did you forsake us, Bob Watson? Two of these three guys simply cannot hit. I'd be pleased to see Koskie at the hot corner, but it disturbs me to see Bowden pursuing the other two scrubs.
Philadelphia came asking for Endy Chavez . . .Please! This would be great; if we trade Chavez to Philly, we strengthen our team and weaken a division rival.
. . . several teams have asked for rookie outfielder Ryan Church, including Tampa Bay, which has several veterans it's trying to move, Aubrey Huff and Jose Cruz Jr. among them.If we can get Huff, do it. I'm a big Huff fan. We have no need of Cruz.
I remain less than hopeful about our offseason. I'm afraid that Bowden may understand that his role (just get 25 guys to wear the uniform until the owners take over) but sees this as his chance to make a big splash and get a new job, even at the expense of his interim employers. Plus he seems far too concerned with RBIs and "run producers." I know Tony Batista drove in 110 runs last year, but that doesn't mean he's good at anything.
Here's Jayson Stark on the name issue:
Baseball did some preliminary fan polling before renaming the Expos. And the surprise favorite was ... the Washington Senators.
The only trouble was that the mayor, Anthony Williams, had already gone on record as saying the team would not be named the Senators this time around. And after all the heavy lifting the mayor has done to push a ballpark bill through a divided district council, MLB couldn't overrule him on the name.
So the club will be renamed the Nationals, even though there was big support in the polling to name them the Grays, in honor of the old Negro League's Homestead Grays. But MLB opted to go with something more generic, on the theory that once the team is finally sold, the new owners may want to change the name again when it moves into the new ballpark. And the blander the initial name is, the easier it will be to change.
Well, that's a terrible way to name a team. It sounds, though, as if they're actually going to encourage the new owners to rename the Nats, and I could see it happening. It has been suggested that owners would be reluctant to choose a new name after everyone's bought the hats and jerseys and bobblehead dolls and beer cozies and all that kind of stuff. But that could the best argument for renaming the Nats: it would lead many fans to buy all new hats, jerseys, etc. Why are the Astros red all of a sudden? Why are the Padres camoflaged? Planning the obsolescense of the merchandise causes fans to buy the new stuff to stay current and to keep the old stuff for nostalgia.