Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Like pizza boxes in the corner of a dorm room, the little, insignificant bits of news pile up until it's an almost impossible task to clear them out. Look -- I used a simile! I have stopped blogging and started writing. Now where's my BBWAA card?

Preston Wilson is an Astro. You remember Preston, right? Nice guy, couldn't field, hit a homer every now and then. We gave up Zach Day and J.J. Davis to fill a hole we didn't have with a guy who couldn't fill it. The normally even-tempered Barry Svrluga uses this opportunity to take shots at the acquisition.
But Wilson's defense was shaky at best, and though Manager Frank Robinson and other high-ranking team officials realized upon his arrival that Wilkerson was, in fact, a better center fielder, Wilson resisted a move to left. Wilson's offense wasn't enough to prevent the Nationals from scoring fewer runs than any team in baseball and plummeting to a 28-46 record after the break. They finished last in the NL East.
A similar flavor attends the slight older news that Junior Spivey is now a Cardinal. You remember Junior, right? Nice guy, couldn't hit, broke his wrist in a batting cage catastrophe. We gave up Tomo Ohka to fill a hole for less than a month. Taken together, these two transactions provide an opportunity for enlightened instruction. Or something.
  • Jim Bowden, as far as I can tell, doesn't appreciate the concept of club control of players. If not for the Wilson and Spivey trades, Day and Ohka would still be the property of the Washington Nationals. Ramon Ortiz would be someone else's gamble, and we wouldn't be relying on Tony Armas to reverse several hundred years of personal history and actually go out there and pitch for once. One of the countless tragedies of the Soriano/Wilkerson trade is that we get only one year of Soriano before having to worry about re-signing him, while the Rangers get two of Wilkerson, and I'm sure they'll enjoy every hour of every day of it.
  • Note what the Astros and Cardinals gave up to get their new guys: $4 million dollars and no players and $1.2 million and no players, respectively. Both made higher salaries as Nationals and required the sacrifice of useful (at least) players from us. Note also the records of the Astros and Cardinals over the last few years. It's not a coincidence, as knowing what things are worth is a vital part of generally managing.
  • Jim Bowden isn't very good is what I'm getting at.
Meanwhile, there are shakings-up in the radio and the television booths. Dave Shea has lost his position as The Other Announcer, The One Who Doesn't Say "Bang Zoom." I could never tell him apart from Charlie Slowes, but apparently Shea is the one who can't say "Encarnacion." I'd say whoever decides these things got this one half right.

On the TV side, Ron Darling has left his colorless commentator job to provide awkward silences for Mets broadcasts. The only good part about Darling's tenure with the Nats is that the games were almost never on TV.

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