Sunday, December 11, 2005

What the Fick?

Things have calmed down a bit after the post-Soriano trade hysteria. All we can do is wait to see if Alfonso really is the Tank McNamara nightmare of a selfish player he looks like so far. Meanwhile, the Nats are picking at the scraps left over from the free agent feast devoured by the GMs at the winter meetings. My promise to you: no more metaphors in this post. There may be a simile or a hysteron-proteron or something, though. I'm a painter, and I need my colory things that I paint with. The Post:
An organizational source said the Nationals were pursuing free agent Robert Fick, a former all-star with Detroit who played last year for San Diego. Fick could be a backup both in the outfield and at first base, and the Nationals particularly need someone to play behind first baseman Nick Johnson. In parts of eight major league seasons, Fick, 31, hit .260 with 65 homers and 299 RBI. He hit .265 for the Padres in 2005.
Those italics the Post are doing now are rather off-putting. Are they trying to look like an 18th century broadsheet? Anyway, I don't get Fick. We already have Marlon Anderson, who does exactly what Fick does: pinch hits, puts up some pretty unimpressive batting lines, sometimes stands in the field with a glove on his hand. Fick has this novelty gimmick thing he does where he catches sometimes, and if we're going to use him as a backup catcher, that would at least be zany. Sure, he's a lefty and Schneider's a lefty, but look: it's Robert Fick . . . catching! Plus he's some kind of dirty player bastard, but I can't be bothered to look it up.
The Nationals also are pursuing right-hander Brett Tomko, who would be a fallback measure should the club be unable to sign some of the higher-priced free agents . . .
Looks like the Nats are scraping the bottom of the . . . that would be a metaphor, wouldn't it? Restart: Looks like the Nats are desperate for pitching and lost out on the guys they actually wanted (that's the hysteron-proteron). Given that the market is allowing forty-something Kenny Rogers to get two years and $16 million, it's probably for the best that we're missing out on the big names. In fact, there aren't any actual big names out there, only guys whose names are (figuratively) big in comparison to, say, Brett Tomko. Tomko pitches a lot of innings -- over 190 in each of the last four years -- and has a shot to maybe post an average ERA. He's the poor man's Brian Lawrence, and that can be an okay thing, depending on the price. Give him another Esteban Loaiza deal and expect less than Estevey gave us.

Someday I'll write my Washington Nationals alternate history. Maicer Izturis at shortstop, Bob Watson as GM, and manager Rickey Henderson's job in danger owing to differences with new owner Scrooge McDuck. Now I've got another coulda been:
Before acquiring Soriano, the Nationals balked at a three-way trade that would have landed them Reds outfielder Wily Mo Pena, with Blue Jays pitcher Miguel Batista going to the Reds and Nationals outfielder Brad Wilkerson going to the Jays.
Anyone who read my violent reaction and subsequent violent reaction to someone else's less than violent reaction to the Soriano trade can guess what I think of this. Soriano: 29-year-old bad defensive player with power, speed, no strike zone restraint, and a $10 million salary under club control for one year. Pena: 23-year-old good defensive player with power, speed, no strike zone restraint, and a sub-$1 million salary under club control for . . . hell, I don't know. Years. Pena is something of an unknown quantity, having not yet put in a full major league season. We know he hits for power and strikes out. He and Soriano have a similar offensive profile, but Pena is more desirable in pretty much every way. It can be argued that Soriano's a better short-term move, but we shouldn't be making short-term moves. A 23-year-old power hitter who brings defense, saves us money, and -- though he's been known to bitch -- would be playing the position he wants to play would have been a much better return for Wilkerson & Co. Hell, I might even pick this over Option C: keep Wilk.

But we must consider motive, since that makes it so much easier to attack baseball executives personally. The Soriano trade is a no-lose situation for Jim Bowden. If it works out (by which I mean, "if Soriano hits 30 homers, avoids openly warring with Frank, and then bolts"), he has some resume-padding for his next job. If it doesn't, well, shit -- he's going to be out of here anyway after the team is bought. At least he got his name in the papers and some sweet lovin' from Boswell.

Let's take a spin around the Natmosphere. If I may say so, I've been doing a splendid job of ignoring the whole stadium lease . . . well, I shouldn't say fiasco. Everyone says fiasco. Anyway, go to pretty much all the other blogs for that stuff. Spinnin':
  • OMGWTFLOL has a great description of Boswell:
    Tom Boswell is no longer a journalist, not as far as the Nats are concerned. Having seen baseball leave DC, he won’t be party to it happening again. In response, he has become a salesman for the Nats. Before almost every WP column he puts on his loud sportcoat and wide tie and tries to convince you that the broken window is free airconditiong, that the different color side door is “stylish”, and that Crisitian Guzman could possibly hit .290 in 2006.
    There's more, but I didn't want to take the whole thing.
  • Capitol Punishment is on a crusade to prove that you can't say Soriano's crappy based on park effects. You can still say he's crappy because he makes twice as much as Brad Wilkerson and is ten times as much of a pain in the ass. Here's part one.
  • Speaking of part ones (parts one?), Nats Triple Play is reviewing Jim Bowden's first year on the job. Here's part one.
  • Banks of the Anacostia tries to find a loving home for Jose Vidro.
  • Basil attended a wrestling show.

5 comments:

Nate said...

Trader Jim actually passed on a deal for a Toolsy (soon to be) Former Reds Outfielder? I don't like this strange new world we're living in.

Ryan said...

Dammit, I meant to mention that. I have failed as analyst and as a relentless, unfair critic of Bowden. Wily Mo's teh toolsiest.

Basil said...

Ryan, it's still real to me.

Ryan said...

Aren't you going to thank me for saying what needed to be said?

Basil said...

I don't want to see another one of these . . .