Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Monday, May 09, 2005


It's been a while since we had the rumors, so here's Ken Rosenthal:
The Braves remain interested in Reds OF Austin Kearns, who also is on the Royals' and Nationals' wish lists. The Reds, however, don't want to trade Kearns until he increases his value to the point where they will get a quality pitcher in return.
Kearns, in case you haven't been paying attention, is a young righty outfielder with the potential to be a huge power hitter. He's also been ruined by injuries his first couple of years (only 64 games in 2004). I wouldn't mind having him, but I wonder what "quality pitcher" means. I'm guessing Zach Day and Tomo Ohka don't fit the bill. Tony Armas? John Patterson? Giant Baba?

He also mentions my fellow Baylor Bear Kip Wells.
Pirates RHP Kip Wells could be one of the most attractive pitchers available before the July 31 trading deadline, but his makeup is a concern. "He's an over-thinker, an over-analyzer," one executive says. "He doesn't believe how good he is. He's always thinking worst-case scenario. It's more self-doubt than being weak. But at some point you've got to shake it; you've got to get going."
That is unquestionably the problem with Baylor grads: we're just too damn smart. Always over-thinking, over-analyzing. That's why the NBA MVP debate is Steve Nash vs. Shaq and not David Wesley vs. Brian Skinner. It's why Crystal Bernard isn't polishing eight or nine Oscars as we speak. And it's why I keep getting jerked at the Source Awards.

District of Baseball, a daily stop for those in the know and for me, informs us that "more than 100,000 tickets have been sold for this coming weekend's three-game series against the Cubs." This could be very bad. For some damn reason, Cubs fans are everywhere. I've never understood it. I guess there's some kind of romance in the idea of a star-crossed franchise that can't win a World Series, but that was the Red Sox. The Cubs are just a crappy franchise that can't win a World Series. You might as well be pulling for the Clippers or Baylor football. Anyway, there are those who thought that Nats fans looked bad when the Mets were in town. I disagree. Yeah, the Mets fans were numerous and, as is typical of species, loud and obnoxious, but cheers for the home team were louder. This series, though, could see us drowned out by a huge crowd of whatever you call the opposite of bandwagon-jumpers.

I let my Baseball Prospectus subscription lapse this winter. I was annoyed at their well documented anti-Nats snarkiness but even more annoyed at the way they completely half-assed it during the offseason. There's not much I'm missing. On one hand, I feel like a slacker in that a couple BP writers also have lucrative side jobs as my archenemies, and forty bucks should be a small price to pay to keep an eye on evil-doers. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who cares all that much about Will Carroll, so it's probably good that I don't read that much of him anymore.

But I was looking forward to reading transaction analyst Chris Kahrl. It's not that I find her analysis of transactions indispensable, but rather that Kahrl's a D.C. resident and deeply interested in the baseball in the city -- and in a good way, unlike most of her co-conspirators. Baseball Musings was good enough to quote her look at the Nats' current roster set-up, so here it is.
Progress can take all sorts of shapes, although sometimes it needs a sing-along ball. Even so, happy notes are to be found in the immediate assurances given that Chavez is only here to be a reserve, pinch-running and handling defensive substitutions and such. And the idea that the Nats are willing to--gasp--go with ten pitchers or--gasp again--do without a situational lefty… well, it's the world turned upside down, you'd think. It's cool to see that Frank Robinson has the gumption, and Jim Bowden the flexibility, to run with this sort of roster, but I can't help but wonder if necessity, and not any peculiar genius, is the unwed mother that produced this invention, a leftover of the organization's long bender with Omar Minaya. When your choices are bringing back Joe Horgan or doing without a lefty, you might end up doing something bold because you don't have a whole lot of choice.
Saber-types generally wish teams would go back to 10 pitchers, as opposed to the 11 or 12 they usually carry these days. This is largely because pitching changes bore Bill James, and as a result he's spent decades bitching about those lefty relievers who come in to get one left-handed hitter out and then leave (Joey Eischen, Steve Kline). The Nats are at 10 pitchers right now, meaning they can employ some position players with very narrow portfolios, guys like Endy Chavez, who is ideally suited for pinch-running and as a defensive replacement (see Basil for further discussion along these lines). But, as Kahrl notes, this is owing more to a lack of alternatives rather than to innovative thinking, and we'll be back up to a non-Prospectus-approved corps of pitchers as soon as circumstances allow.

Rickey loves baseball. Rickey wants to play. Rickey should be our player/manager. Or just our manager. Or our television announcer. I don't care how, I don't care in what capacity, but Ryan wants Rickey in Washington.


WFY said...

People love the Cubs because they were on every afternoon when you got home from school. That is why I followed them. Day baseball + Harry Caray -- hard to beat.

Yesterday, I noticed about five people in 30 minutes with Cubs stuff on after not seeing any for weeks. They are getting ready.

Ryan said...

That makes me hate them more - they preempted GI Joe every day.