But the Washington front office pulled the trigger on a doozie this week, bringing in former Yankee and Texas Ranger Alfonso Soriano, in a move that makes the Nats' lineup much more dangerous and much faster on the basepaths.Faster, yes. Soriano is not a better hitter than Wilkerson. He's even less a better hitter than Wilkerson plus Terrmel Sledge.
In Soriano's five full years as a major leaguer, he's averaged over 30 homers and 30 steals a year as an infielder, where he's shown great ability and range.Allow me to present two statements I feel are equivalent to this one: Livan Hernandez has averaged over 230 innings over the last six years, but he's really known for his matinee idol good looks. DCist furnishes exhaustive coverage of cake stores and the local indie music scene while providing insightful and well-researched sports coverage.
Author Ryan Avent provided no proof that Soriano has "shown great ability and range," so I feel like a cad defending the opposite (correct) position by using them; I'll keep it short. According to Baseball Prospectus, Soriano has never had even an average year at second. Win Shares -- and keep in mind that that's a counting stat -- has Soriano with fewer defensive Shares than the proverbially bad Jose Vidro, even though Vidro only played half a season. Anyway, he's awful.
The knocks on him are his penchant for swinging at high fastballs, breaking balls away, passing blimps, and anything else that catches his eye while he's in the batter's box, and he's known for dogging it in the field when he gets tired . . .That's fine. Let's move on.
. . .but Frank Robinson is a motivator who's sure to get the most out of his new plaything.For one that, "his new plaything" is really creepy. Stop saying it. For another, Frank isn't a motivator, he's a dickhead who gets along with Jose Guillen.
It's likely that Alfonso will spend time in the outfield anyway, given All-Star Jose Vidro's status as an elite second baseman.Does Avent watch the games, or just simulate them on a Playstation? Those of us who watched them remember that Jose Vidro wasn't in all that many of them. Sure, he's an elite video game second baseman: turn off injuries and don't try to steal, and you're in business.
The bigger problem here is that Avent doesn't bother to mention a potentially serious problem: Soriano wants no part of the outfield. Here's what the man himself said about it:
"I'm going to play second base," Soriano told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Thursday. "I don't think they want me to play the outfield. I think that if they traded for me, it's to play second base. Obviously I have the control. Of course I'm not going to play the outfield."Isn't that worth mentioning? It's not like it's top secret information that you needed inside sources to get -- some dumbass blogger mentioned it yesterday. Back to DCist:
In getting Soriano, the Nats traded away Termel Sledge . . .Two r's in Terrmel, champ.
. . . and Brad Wilkerson, who was a fan favorite and Chevy Chase Bank spokesperson, but who struggled with his hitting down the stretch.That's it about Wilkerson? All his accomplishments with the Nats and his status as the last Expo don't merit a mention? Nothing about his injury or on-base skills or defense? Not one damn thing in the whole article about park effects? How are you supposed to talk about this trade without at least alluding to the vast difference in hitter-friendliness between RFK and Ameriquest Field?
The deal also includes a Washington minor leaguer to be named later.They went ahead and named the minor leaguer within an hour of the trade, if I recall correctly, and there are those who think he's pretty important to the deal. But why should he start researching all the way at the end?
It's a lousy, unresearched, rah-rah piece that provides nothing -- maybe less -- perceptive about the trade or its implications. Coming as it did the day after another DCist piece embarrassingly fantasized about the Pulitzer committee realizing the power of online media and giving DCist an award makes it not only ironic, but actually hilarious. So now I feel a little better about the whole thing.
Meanwhile, there's plenty to read -- plenty that's actually worthy of reading -- elsewhere. The Post article I referred to earlier should be read in full, as it offers a terrifying glimpse of the kind of stiff-necked me-first kind of player the guy we acquired might be.
One Rangers official defended Soriano, saying, "He is a good guy. He's certainly not a malcontent." But, he added, "They're going to have a big problem if they try to move him [to the outfield]."If I were a Rangers blogger, I think I'd have fun with this unnamed official. "Yeah, he's great as long as you don't ask him to do anything."
Svrluga has a piece about Brad Wilkerson and his reaction to the trade. At first I felt sorry for Wilkerson, but then thought about it for a second. He's leaving a team that's not going to contend where he played next to a guy who hates him and is completely supported by the incompetent and apathetic manager and where he plays in a park that hurts his numbers and therefore his salary. You've gone to a better place, Brad.
Boswell is the most myopic and dishonest homer I've ever seen not writing under a pseudonym. I expect one of my fellow bloggers to take on this compendium of lies; I'm really not up to it. [Update: here's Basil. He's nicer than I would have been, but that's what makes him Basil.]
For a sane, intellectually honest defense of the trade, go to Banks of the Anacostia. JammingEcono is my favorite guy who disagrees with me all the time.