Will General Manager Jim Bowden make another flashy offseason free agent acquisition? He's already added Vinny Castilla, who led the National League in RBI last season with 131, and Jose Guillen, who had 104 RBI for Anaheim. That's a heart of the order right there. He got a fine young shortstop in Cristian Guzman, too.Flashy? Vinny Castilla is many things (Mexican, overpaid), but flashy is not one of them. Jose Guillen is kind of flashy - no boring walks for him, just fisticuffs. Seriously, though, isn't Boswell capable of better than this kind of inch-deep, analysis? I admit that I don't read the guy often, but he's nationally known and not in a bad way.
If Bowden lands just one starting pitcher from his shopping list of Russ Ortiz, Jaret Wright, Paul Wilson and Odalis Perez, the Nats would already be the equivalent of the 78-win Orioles.Hey, one of those guys doesn't suck, and he ain't the one who routinely paces the league in walks. Fortunately, Paul Wilson is now unavailable. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but I'm not looking for this team just to keep up with the Orioles. Way to aim high there, Tom.
If this is what Bowden does on a shoestring, who will this crazy guy grab if he ever actually knows what his budget is?Short answer: Juan Gonzalez. Long answer: what the hell are you talking about? Jim Bowden isn't some kind of enigma: he was a general manager for ten years, and an ineffective one. You can make payroll excuses all you want, but the guy simply didn't win. He didn't produce his own players, he didn't make good free agent signings, and he's not going to do so here, either.
There are two factors at work here, two things making otherwise reasonable men giggle with glee because we threw $16 million at a player whose closest comp is Pat Meares. The first is the mistaking of action for results. This was most clearly demonstrated back on November 21, when Post sports editor emeritus George Solomon wrote: "tell me Bowden isn't cleaning the O's clocks so far?" I'll tell you, George. Bowden has blown about $25 million and improved his team marginally if at all, while O's management hasn't spent any money and hasn't damaged the Orioles. I'll take that strategy every time.
The second factor is pure homerism. I've experienced something similar myself: I always hated the name "Nationals" and the dude ranch-style cursive W. And yet, when it was announced that the Expos would become the Nats and the that red white and blue M thing would become the script W, I didn't care anymore. Sure, they were boring and ugly, respectively, but they were mine. Boswell, Solomon, and many others are seeing the Nats, their GM, and the moves he makes through the rose-colored glasses of the homer. It's a universal phenomenon - go check out an Orioles message board, and you'll see fans argue that Matt Riley is about to break out and win 20. Visit Hiroshima, and you'll hear dedicated Carps followers say with all sincerity that Eddie Diaz is a long-term solution at shortstop. There's a difference between a fan and a homer. A fan hopes Vinny Castilla hits 40 home runs in 2005; a homer knows he will.
There's another blog. DC baseball blogs are mushrooms and it has just rained. I'm going to make a haiku out of that when I get a chance. Anyway, go read the DC Baseball Blog.