Monday, March 27, 2006

A Nasty Day

It's a nasty day for Nats fans. Leaving aside a humiliating Spring Training defeat that serves as a preview for many, many regular season losses, we have some long-term type problems. Jose Guillen, like the mistress who keeps bugging you to leave your wife, is nagging about an extension again, and he thinks it would be nifty to get . . . say . . . $10 million a year for . . . oh, let's say five years. That's some big talk for a guy who might start the season on the DL, and it's clearly insane. There's confidence and then there's self-delusion, and even I don't think Bodes would fall for this. What Bodes might do is talk his best buddy Jose into settling for less money, and he'll have no compunction about saddling the new ownership with his rapidly-aging, chronically disgruntled babysitter.

In the meantime, I'm sure Guillen will give 110% and be a positive delight in the clubhouse until his extension is worked out. Nope, no grumbling about being disrespected or nothing.

And in other unlikeable player news, it looks like that whole Andruw Jones transformation thing isn't working out.
Alfonso Soriano, the Washington Nationals' left fielder, had a line drive sail over him in the top of the first inning Sunday, then hit the first pitch he saw well over the left field fence in the bottom of the inning, a preview of the give and take he might provide all season. Yet he provided the performance against an uneasy backdrop, for some members of the organization don't think he's working hard enough to improve in the outfield.
Here's the book on Soriano: his athleticism should allow him to be a great defensive player, but he just can't concentrate. I'm disinclined to see it as a moral failing, but it's a factor nonetheless. And if his wandering mind keeps him from staying focused at second base, how much attention will he be paying at a far less eventful position, one he has no interest in playing? This isn't going to change, either. All discussion of Soriano makes it sound as if he's a near-rookie still learning how to play the game. He's 30 years old, and he is what he is.

Which makes this all the more sick-making.
It is believed that the Nationals offered Soriano a five-year, $50 million extension.
For Christ's sake. Soriano isn't worth $10 million this year. What kind of dipshit do you have to be to think he will be when he's 35 fucking years old? Answer: this kind of dipshit. I can't expect Bowden to realize that he's not good at generally managing and should just sit on his hands, but I can sure as hell expect him to realize that he's about to be relieved of his duties. If the new guys want to throw $50 million at Soriano, let them do it. This is none of your business, Bodes. You're done. Out. On your way back to Cold Pizza. Stop doing things, Jim Bowden.

In other Bowden screw-up news, Cristian Guzman is on the DL and will miss the start of the season. But this isn't really all that bad. Guzman, Clayton -- we're screwed either way.

Actual good news: both the Ladson and Zuckerman mailbags indicate that Ryan Church will beat out Brandon Watson for the starting CF job. This speaks well of Nats management, since they're deciding this even though Church's spring numbers aren't as good as Watson's. If Nick Johnson has a bad spring, you don't hand the first base job to Daryle Ward, you know? Church and Watson are more similar talent-wise than Johnson and Ward, but Soul Patch has earned the benefit of the doubt.

2 comments:

Bote Man said...

The majority of the starting lineup is decided before Spring Training begins, so unless a guy makes a habit of hitting 25-run homers in every at-bat, you can pretty much consider it an athletic workout, a cadet review, and a jolly good day at the ballpark.

Payroll speaks volumes in these decisions, and they sometimes consider play on the field, too. Who knew?

Raphy said...

I agree with your predictions. At this point, I think you have to continue to pick the Braves until they don't win the NL East, expect something to go wrong for the Mets and expect that the Nats have enough heart not to finish in last.

As for Soriano, this whole situation was completely mishandled. ESPN Insider recently had a story about how this will be an all-time dumb trade. Terrible defensively, in a Moneyball sense he's comparable offensively, and all of the off-the-field issues point to Wilkerson being preferable. We'll see how this plays out -- maybe he has a big first month and the Nats fall out of it and trade him.