[Blah blah blah] negotiations with free agents Brett Tomko and Shawn Estes -- discussions that have been ongoing for weeks -- as well as Joe Mays.Tomko the best of these, and he's already turned us down once. The official excuse is that the tumultuous stadium/owner situation makes free agents reluctant to cast their lot with the Nats. I figure management's incompetence is another: no doubt Tomko was worried Bowden would wait until the deal was done to ask him to play shortstop. Estes is awful and the best thing you can say about Mays is that he might not be the worst guy named Mays to play major league ball.
[Ramon] Ortiz won 44 games for the Angels from 2001 to '03, but was 9-11 with a 5.36 ERA for Cincinnati last season.Ortiz is durable and a fly ball pitcher. He might be a good investment.
[Josh] Fogg was once one of the Pirates' most promising starters, but he suffered the first losing season of his career (6-11, 5.05).Fogg is not durable and has never had even an average ERA+. Leave him on the pile.
[Ryan] Franklin not only struggled (8-15, 5.10 ERA) for the Mariners, but was suspended for 10 days for violating baseball's steroid policy.I like this Franklin. He's an extreme flyballer, and he knows his limitations and isn't afraid to exceed them by cheating. I'm looking at this guy to play for my favorite sports team, not marry my sister, so to hell with the morality of it. I want fighting spirit, and a guy willing to sacrifice the health of his testicles can play for me anytime.
[Dewon] Brazelton went 1-8 with a 7.61 ERA for Tampa Bay, which sent him to the minors only to have him disappear for three weeks because he didn't want to accept the assignment.I'm thinking Brazleton wouldn't cost much, since his major league resume is only slightly more impressive than mine. Based on their choice of manager and reluctant outfielder, it would appear that Tavares and Bowden's 2006 strategy revolves around making sure the team is as dysfunctional as possible, and a pitcher who gets pissed off and disappears would be a fine addition. Another benefit: with Terrmel Sledge gone, Cristian Guzman is the only Nat whose first name we can expect to be routinely misspelled. Dewon fills that role.
[Wade] Miller went just 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA and managed only 91 innings for Boston because of shoulder problems.Miller looks done to me, but he was really good for a few years with Houston.
Who of these guys should Bodes go after? Probably all of them. The Nats are now beggars and cannot be choosers. I'd go with Ortiz and Franklin, but there's nothing more than rotation filler out there.
As far as the Nationals' arbitration decisions go, you'll be happy to know that we offered a contract to Jamey Carroll. Sure, his position is filled by about 10 other guys, but Frank likes his hustle and you can trust him around your daughter. Based on what I've learned from Playmakers, that's a reasonable concern for management.
Junior Spivey's gone, and now we have nothing to remember Tomo Ohka by except my lingering bitterness. As I mentioned when we signed Robert Fick, Bowden doesn't know what things are worth. I used to think he was showing off when he bought a pack of gum and pulled a hundred out of his track suit, but now I'm not so sure. Cristian Guzman isn't worth $16 million, guys like Marlon Anderson don't get two year contracts, and a backup second baseman who can't play anywhere else is not a good return on a dependable starting pitcher.
Oh, and Tony Armas might be back! Armas makes me tired. I don't know what it is.