Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Heart

Bill Ladson and I are worried. Like all other right-thinking people, we Jamey Carroll, but Jim Bowden is working against us. The only move Bodes has made this winter that hasn't pushed Jamey further down the depth chart was the one where he actually signed him. It made little sense from a strategic point of view then and even less now. Bernie Castro, Damian Jackson, Marlon Anderson -- well, at least he could still back up Guzman. Now that Phase 1 of Bowden's plan to take credit for Guzman's return to merely sucking has been put in action, even that job is filled.

Even if there isn't really a place for Carroll on the Nats' bench, everyone wants him to stay. My position is that the list of things to like about the Nats is horrifyingly short, and we're going to be lousy anyway, so we might as well keep Jamey around just to make us all feel a little better about things. MLB.com's Bill Ladson goes to the next level in defending Carroll in his latest mailbag. The man is desperate. You can feel it.
Every time Jamey Carroll is mentioned, his name is accompanied by the phrase, "the most fundamentally sound player on the team." What exactly does that mean?
-- Michael L., Washington, D.C.

It means that Carroll can do the little things, like bunting and running the bases very well. Manager Frank Robinson also admires the fact that Carroll is one of the few people in baseball who takes batting practice seriously. For example, the skipper often talks about how Carroll does situational hitting in the cage, like hitting the ball to right field or up the middle, on a daily basis. Robinson even went so far as to say that Carroll would make a good manager some day.
He can't hit in real life, but he's a stone killer in batting practice.
Should the Nationals try to trade Carroll? He probably won't get much playing time with Marlon Anderson, Robert Fick and Royce Clayton on the bench.-- Dustin C., Nova Scotia, Canada

I don't think the Nationals should trade Carroll because of those little things that he does so well. In fact, he was the only one on the team last year that did those things well. However, I think Carroll will be traded before Opening Day because he is not a run producer, and the front office feels he is not a good enough to replace a Cristian Guzman or Jose Vidro defensively.

Leaving aside Ladson's singularly high opinion of Vidro's defense (there's only one worse second baseman out there, and he is a National), can you sense Ladson almost pleading the front office to keep Carroll around? Batting practice! Little things! It won't help. Jamey doesn't have a guaranteed contract, he wasn't brought in by Bowden, and he's never been a Red. But even though Ladson's arguments reek of desperation, he's at least trying to convince the Nats to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Usually they do the wrong thing for no reason.

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