Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Obsession Incarnate

I'm moving from Annoyed Distinterest to Annoyed Interest in case anyone's keeping track, and MLB.com's Bill Ladson is once again the catalyst. His latest offering first brings the news that Joses Vidro and Guillen are both bound for the surgeon's . . . thing. As Needham points out, this allows Ladson to indulge in some tough guy play through the pain crap. That's more Boswell's thing, and it's nice to see Bill learning from a journalist who, while I don't always agree with him or even think he's in his right mind most of the time, has at least never threatened me personally.

I want to focus on the ass-end of the article. Dig:
The Nationals are serious about getting better in the outfield and they have turned their focus to free agent Juan Encarnacion, who played for the Marlins this past season. The Nationals previously tried to acquire Encarnacion before landing Preston Wilson this past July.

Encarnacion hit .287 with 16 home runs and 76 RBIs for the Marlins in 2005. He played for general manager Jim Bowden when both were with the Reds in 2002.

Encarnacion just isn't very good, and the durability of Jim Bowden's obsession with him allows me merely to point to a months-old critique rather than do any thinking. But could Juan fit a need peculiar to this team? Earlier in the offseason in the Examiner, Bowden laid out the eight things we need to fix the Nationals this winter. Let's go through them and see if Juan fits the bill.

  • 1. Starting pitcher. Nope.
  • 2. Another starting pitcher. Another nope.
  • 3. Left-handed reliever. Nuh-uh.
  • 4. Center fielder, preferably Gold Glove-caliber. We already have three center fielders, Bodes. They may not win Gold Gloves, but you rightly traded away the one who was good enough to win one. Anyway, nope.
  • 5. A big RBI bat. There is no such thing, and if there were, it wouldn't be coming with Encarnacion. Single season high for Juan? 94.
  • 6. Leadoff hitter. He doesn't get on base or steal much and back in June was being sold as an RBI guy, so no.
  • 7. Improved bench. Hmm. Getting Encarnacion would push Ryan Church to the bench, assuming we don't get rid of anyone else. So I guess he would help here.
  • 8. Backup catcher. This is possible. I mean, who knew Hector Carrasco could start? Or that I could put on a magic show?
So giving him half a point each for 7 and 8, Juan Encarnacion is, according to Jim Bowden's own goals and the inflexible principles of Science, only 12.5% desirable. That's not too good, but Bodes isn't paying attention to Science when he's locked in like this. We saw it before with Preston Wilson. First, a rumor. A round of denunciation from all corners of the Natmosphere follows, and then silence. Months later, after we've all started to sleep peacefully again, it's sprung on us. So it will be with Encarnacion's arrival and Wilkerson's departure. We can't blame Bowden; Encarnacion was a Red when Bodes was there and he's a toolsy outfielder. Bowden can't be expected to resist that temptation, and the fault rests with those who put him in a position where he'd be expected to.


Harper said...

If you tied a toolsy former Red outfielder to a stake and dangled him infront of Bowden like a carrot, I swear he'd pull you in a cart down the Grand Canyon.

Ryan said...

If you took a toolsy former Red outfielder to the crack of Mt. Doom, Bowden would bite off your finger and fall in, clutching the outfielder and calling it his precious.

JammingEcono said...

JimBo's Encarnacion obsession is also blinding him to a much better deal that's out there for the asking. Namely, Milton Bradley.

From Nationals.com: "In other news, according to a baseball source, the Dodgers called the Nationals to see if they had interest in center fielder Milton Bradley. The Nationals said, 'No thanks,' in part because they already have a similar highly-charged emotional player in Guillen, according to the source."

Come on, Bradley's a head case, but that's why they hire managers -- to deal with players' egos. From what I hear, L.A. is willing to take a ham sandwich for him. With the muddled ownership situation, we won't be players in the (thin) market for free agent bats. Bradley is likely going to be the best we can do to upgrade offensively this year.

Harper said...

Bowden likens TFROs to butterflies, wild butterflies. All his goodness has turned to badness and he wonders what TFROs want him to do to make them sleep with him.