Jim Bowden, January 5: "We don't want to spend money on a stop-gap solution. That doesn't make sense. We're better off giving the ball to Mike Hinckley or John Patterson or Jon Rauch and continuing to develop our young pitchers within. Our dollars are better spent on player development and scouting and building the ballclub the right way."
Washington Post, January 11: "General Manager Jim Bowden pushed to try to land free agent pitcher Shawn Estes, offering a two-year deal before Estes appeared on the verge last night of signing a one-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. So Bowden is now turning to a target once thought to be off the Nationals' wish list -- right-hander Esteban Loaiza."
I think I'm going to let my bloggers-in-arms do the talking for me.
- Capitol Punishment: "What bothers me is a lack of recognition about what this team's needs are. They don't need pitching depth. We've got third and fourth starters coming out our wazoo. The Nats need front-line pitching, not innings." Yeah!
- Nationals Pastime: "Everyone who is a regular reader knows that I am down on this guy, who has really only had one year that didn't totally suck (it just so happened that one year was outstanding). Paying this guy anything is overpaying him, even if it's a meager amount that gets up to the $3M range with performance-based incentive clauses. Plus, Loaiza would push someone who is better out of the rotation, though maybe only for part of the year."
- Nats Blog: "This is kind of a puzzling interest on behalf of the Nats. The possible rotation - Livan Hernandez, Zach Day, Tony Armas Jr., Tomo Okha and Jon Rauch - is not altogether offensive. In fact, it's down right presentable when you consider that Rauch has a lot of upside and Okha has pitched well his entire career. So the Nats are not in desparate need of a starter such that they need to take a flyer on Loaiza. "
- Nationals Baseball: "Bowden is targetting Loaiza because he is an "innings eater". This is true, but do we want those kinds of innings? Everybody and his mother baking apple pie know that 2003 was a fluke. Next year we're probably looking at a 4.50 ERA, 30 HRs or so. Fine for a #4 starter...which we have like 92 of."
- Ball Wonk makes a very important point: "Are the Nationals really planning to spend millions of ticket-buyer dollars on useless subsidies to unproductive pitchers? Svrluga says yes, but the only sources he quotes are agents. Esteban Loaiza's agent and Shawn Estes' agent. No one from the Nationals. So maybe this is just a case of agents talking up the supposed interest in their players and a gullible reporter buying the spin and reporting a one-source story as fact."
. . . that 4.01 ERA for all five starters [in 2004] is terrific. Our problem isn't the pitching, it's the hitting. If we had even average hitting, a 4.01 staff ERA would get us a winning record. (92 wins, actually, if Pythagoros was right about the square root of baseball.) That 4.01 ERA means that our starters gave up less than three runs over each 6-2/3 innings pitched. When your starter only gives up three runs through the seventh, you ought to win that game. If you don't, it ain't the starter's fault, and throwing $4 million a year at Esteban Loaiza ain't gonna help any.Our pitching is fine, better than fine. We're going to struggle scoring runs, just as the Expos did last year, and Bowden has done next to nothing to address that.
Meanwhile, in Carrolland . . .
Will Carroll, October 29: "It's the Grays."
Will Caroll, November 19: "My report on 'Grays' is, therefore, wrong . . . While the hat designs were presented for three names, only Grays was sent back for a second design. That's where my source saw it."
Will Carroll, January 10: "After the Rose story in 2003, I’ve learned not to take people at their word, to get the documentation in hand."
It's amazing that Carroll thinks he learned that lesson in 2003. May he continue to amuse us for years to come.
And finally, what you've all been waiting for,
Great Moments in Sports Journalism with Dayn Perry!
I advise you to start the water running in your shower right now, because you're going to need it:
Imaginary girlfriend of the week
It's Scarlett Johansson! We leave our commodious artist's loft in Soho and enjoy Eggs Benedict while smoking cloves, wearing berets and idly thumbing through various national-security trade journals. Lots of things cynically amuse us. She adores me when I pontificate on Schopenhauer and the cosmic will. I pretend to like cats for her. Ours has an impossibly pretentious, four-syllable name. We make love, sometimes, in an ashtray the size of an above-ground pool. Our hygiene is passable at best. We make love at poetry readings and during the intermissions of Laurie Anderson shows. Eventually, she annoys me, and I leave her. But, for now, we make love in the unvisited sections at Strand and in the standing water in the Shea Stadium men's room.