This should take us out of the big-name free agent pitcher market. Derek Lowe is going to get a pile of loot from some sucker, and I hope it's not us. Esteban Loaiza and Kevin Millwood aren't any better than what we already have and more expensive. The $7 million or whatever it is that the Nats have left should be invested in a time machine, which would allow us to go back and un-hire Bowden, among other things.
Baseball America's Aaron Fitt conducted a chat today about the Nats' farm system. Here are some highlights:
Q: Jon from Chicago asks:
What is your opinion on Brendan Harris? I am a Cub fan that was saddened by his trade but understood why. Still I grew fond of him and I'm interested in him because I think he has the chance to be a Craig Biggio type player. What do you think?
A: Aaron Fitt: I, like my colleague John Manuel, am a believer in Harris. He got temporarily blocked when the Nats signed Vinny Castilla to play third base, but he could easily slide over to second if Jose Vidro is dealt. Biggio is an interesting comparison - their offensive games are somewhat similar, as both are good line-drive hitters with occasional pop, but Biggio has more speed than Harris, and Harris probably has a stronger arm.
Q: John from Washington, DC asks:I have gone on at mind-numbing length about our sorry centerfield situation, but this solution never occured to me. Church should out-hit Endy Chavez if he's allowed to play every day, but his defense is open to question. We know what we're getting with Endy, and it ain't much. Couldn't hurt to take a flyer.
Aaron, what Nationals minor leaguer to you see having the biggest impact at the majors league level this year?
A: Aaron Fitt: Good question. Church is ready to be a big leaguer, but it is uncertain where he will play. Guillen and Sledge are locked into the corner outfield positions, and Wilkerson will play center if the Nats keep Nick Johnson at first base. My guess: they do not keep Johnson, they keep Wilkerson at first and play Church in center, although they could also try to get Larry Broadway some playing time at first base. Of course, Hinckley could have more impact than Church or Broadway if he can work his way into the rotation sooner than expected. But to answer your question, I guess I'll go with Church.
I'm beginning to think that Nick Johnson won't be with us next year. I don't mean he's going to die, I mean he'll be in Tampa, and you can make your own joke about the similarities. Bowden's going to trade him because he wants Terrmel Sledge in left and Wilkerson at first. I'm not against the idea of trading Johnson, but I don't think we're going to get value. The Johnson for Alexis Rios proposal may never have existed, and other than that speculation has centered on a few relievers from Tampa Bay.
If you have any interest in our minor leaguers, you should get over there and read the rest. It's a long chat, chock full of guys I've never heard of.