Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Million Little Outfielders

Here I was preparing for the steel-toed boot to the gut and completely missed the haymaker headed for my temple.

That's my new style -- if best-selling author James Frey can turn five hours waiting for bail into three months hard time reading Tolstoy to an illiterate double murderer, I figure I'll pretend that all this crappy centerfielder stuff is hugely important and thus make you, the elusive reader, care.

So we avoided the boot -- Baltimore went ahead and took Corey Patterson off the market, so at least we'll get to see plenty of him this year -- but caught it on the side of the head with four knuckles of Michael Tucker.
The Washington Nationals added another veteran to their bench by signing outfielder Michael Tucker to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal yesterday . . . He will make $800,000 if he makes the team . . .
I can say with all sincerity that I have never once used up one thought on Michael Tucker (or, per the Post, Michael Tucker) before a few hours ago. His batting stats tend to be healthily below league average (to say nothing of positional average), he doesn't have much power, he doesn't steal any bases, and he hit a triple last year. He could hit righties a little bit before 2005, when he couldn't hit anybody. I suppose he can play anywhere in the outfield, though that's theoretical at this point -- 2005 saw him play exactly seven more games in center than Desi Relaford did. As long as he stays put on the bench, it'll be fine. The real danger here is that Frank has another weapon with which to club Ryan Church, and that danger is all the clearer and presenter when you consider the non-stop chatter about Brandon Watson we're hearing from the RFK trailer. Remember, Frank started Jeffrey Hammonds nine times last year, and he was only around for 13 games. Sure, Tucker's contract isn't guaranteed, but neither was Carlos Baerga's.

The other part of that article is that we signed reliever Luis Ayala for two years and a total of $2.2 million. That's all reasonable, although Ayala's been working like a Japanese beaver over the last few years and could explode at any time. If I can give some personal advice to Ayala: get yourself an agent who thinks you're a man, man.
"He's thrilled," said agent Joseph Longo . "He comes from a tough part of Mexico, and to get a two-year deal, he was almost in tears."
I'm not sure that's going to impress the fellas back home.

There's a new Mailbag, and I actually enjoyed this one.
Can the Nationals win with Frank Robinson as their manager?-- Arthur R., Toronto

Arthur, I'm going to give you more than one answer to this question. Yes, I strongly believe the Nationals can win with Robinson as the manager, but he needs the personnel to win. There are still question marks about the starting pitching and the offense entering Spring Training.

At the same time, I think that Robinson needs to change some of his managerial philosophies. He sticks with slumping players too long. Last season, for example, Vinny Castilla, Cristian Guzman, Preston Wilson and Brad Wilkerson should have been benched for a period of time because they were hurting the team during the second half. Robinson would always say that he was loyal to the people who helped the team enter first place in the first half. But that loyalty cost the Nationals quite a few ballgames after the All-Star break.

Just as Apollo spoke through a crazy old lady huffing gas in a cave, so Bowden speaks through Bill Ladson. The oracle continues:

I also feel that Robinson needs to sometimes revert to being the type of person that reamed out Giants pitcher Jim Barr, who showed up Robinson at Shea Stadium in the early 1980s.
Has the whole damn world forgotten about Tomo Ohka? And it's not like he was the only one, either. Apparently Ladson agrees with me that Robinson ain't the world's greatest manager, but thinks the problem is that he wasn't enough of a dick to his pitchers.
There were times last year I felt some of the players needed a tongue-lashing for the way they played on the field. For example, it made no sense that Castilla was doubled off first base twice on long fly balls to center field.
This goes right back to what Tavares said in October: Frank's most outstanding managerial attribute these days is apathy.
Who are the possible candidates to be on the coaching staff in 2006?-- Craig R., Long Island, N.Y.

Robinson and general manager Jim Bowden are trying their best to keep this quiet. I expect them to have debates for quite a while before a decision is made.
Yet more front office dissention!
With Alfonso Soriano saying he wants to return to the American League after the 2006 season, do you see the Nationals trading him for pitching or hitting?-- Dan H., Rockville, Md.

According to a source, the Nationals offered Soriano to the Orioles for shortstop Miguel Tejada and to the Red Sox for right-hander Josh Beckett, but the parties couldn't agree on a deal.

I guess it can't hurt to ask as long you don't have any shame.

1 comment:

Harper said...

I'm kind of getting an "Eyeore" impression from Frank.

Team: We going to take batting practice today, coach?

Frank: Whatever. It doesn't matter.

Reporter: You coming back to coach the team in 06?

Frank: I guess so. I'll do what they want me to.