Saturday, November 04, 2006

Now We Know--Officially


Nats320
It was the quote of the off season, so far--In a press conference yesterday afternoon at RFK Stadium with Washington Nationals Beat Writers, Team President Stan Kasten stated (as per The Washington Post):

"I don't want to rule anything out, but [signing big-name free agents] is not my current game plan," Kasten said. "I have said that when you sign free agents I actually think you take yourself farther away from your goal, if you are not ready to take advantage of the money you spend."

Mr. Kasten went on the say that the Nats will be signing a "dozen of so" minor league free agents, mostly pitchers, and give them a chance to make the team. Then, according to The Washington Times--top prospects, Outfielder Kory Casto and Lefthander Matt Chico (picked up in the Livan Hernandez trade) will be given a shot at The Major Leagues this spring--but, if not ready, they will not be rushed.

On Alfonso Soriano--Mr. Kasten reinterated what we, as fans, have come to expect for sometime--Alfonso will only be resigned for REASONABLE DOLLARS--nothing more. If not, The Nats are taking the draft picks for his leaving and not looking back.

The first official sign of what so many had believed for some time. Our Washington Nationals will not be Players in the off season Free Agent Market--unless someone falls into their laps. The Nationals are OFFICIALLY rebuilding from within. Our Nationals are not going to be like The Washington Redskins--signing every mediocre former talent for Big Bucks.

And, that's GREAT with me.

Still, this doesn't rule out Washington picking up some of the free agent major league pitchers, I was interested in before. Jason Marquis, Gil Meche and Adam Eaton all still fall into the second tier category. Although, Ted Lilly is certaintly out now--as well as the never were to be considered seriously--Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt.

The Nationals need caretaker pitchers right now, as a transition to a competitive team. The more you rush young talent, the less chance that talents has to develop properly. I read the other day that both Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson had terrible first few seasons in the Majors--and were sent down to right themselves. I checked it out and it was true. Both sure Hall Of Famers, were sent back down after making their Major League Debuts to work out the kinks. The Atlanta Braves, and, the then, Montreal Expos, recognized their talents, let these two get their feet wet, sent them down to rebuild their confidence. Look at their careers now, both fabulous lefthanders.

On the everyday player side--Jose Guillen still fits into my roster for 2007. Number 6 is available cheap--If Jose wants to play here, sign him up.

On the Managerial Front, its very clear that The Nationals will have a NEW FACE, someone who has never managed before, but someone both Kasten and Bowden feel could grow with the young club. At the same time, Mr. Kasten said they are looking for someone to fit this team "now"--not necessarily when The Nats become contenders.

There was one very discouraging report from this Press Conference, when General Manager, Jim Bowden, noted that Nick Johnson is having a setback in his recovery from a broken leg. Scar Tissue is hampering his movement--so Nick will undergo arthroscopic surgery in Sacramento, California to alleviate the motion problem. Speaking from experience--I had a similar Scar Tissue Problem after major surgery--its not all cut and dry--the recovery period will be longer--no matter what Jimbo wants to believe. I have feared for some time, the Johnson might not be healthy come Spring Training. Unfortunately, those fears might be coming true. I hope not, but a 100% ready Number 24 come March, is unlikely. And, that's SAD.

10 comments:

Eddie Cunningham said...

If Fonzie signs with somebody else for $15 million a year for five years, I will be disappointed since I think I don't think it is unreasonable for the Nats to offer him that much. However since it looks like somebody (Orioles? Phillies? Cardinals?) is going to pay him a lot more, it's best to let him go. Better to bite the bullet now to get better in a few years than to bust your budget trying to win all at once. Even if your strategy does work (see Florida and Arizona) odds are you won't keep many of your guys for very long...

Eddie Cunningham

Screech's Best Friend said...

Eddie: If Alfonso is willing to stay with Our Nats for $15 Million, I too would be upset if he walked to somebody else for that same amount. It would show, though, that he was not being straight, or his Agent really does run the show. Its always a crapshoot on winning, ALWAYS--Alfonso could help us, if we became competitive over the next 2 seasons. If we don't, he would be a liability. The African Queen LOVES Alfonso, and the moment he is no longer with our team, it will be a BIG ADJUSTMENT for her. That alone has me begging Mr. Kasten to keep him--for the sanctity of my household!! Thanks, as always, for your comments. Its appreciated.

mariofan14 said...

Anyone else get the feeling that 2007 will be 2006 minus Alfonso??? Ok, I know their doing the "rebuilding thing" and I really trying not the get my pitch fork.....but they still sound really cheap. I'm not asking for Zito or Alfonso, or to make the playoffs, but is a decent team to much to ask for in one of the richest, most populated areas in the country? I knew 2007 was already in the can and that they wouldn't be signing any "A" or "B" FA, but it sounds like they don't even want to spring for "c" or "d" pitchers. Early next year Bowden will be searching through the scrap heap, and find Ortiz with a different name; 100 loses season is on the way. Glass half empty view, what can I say.....you know what, I'm always the first to panic, give me a break

Screech's Best Friend said...

Mariofan14: I think the Nats will be lucky to reach 71 wins next season. If they do not have any decent pitching, they will struggle as 2006. What the Nats do have is actually a decent starting lineup--not great, but really not awful. The bullpen is really decent, as it was in the 2005 inaugural season. I think the Nats would resign Alfonso for $15Mil per season, but will Soriano sign. As Eddie says, he's looking for The Big Payoff, and you can't have the Nats putting all that money upfront for a team that might not contend for 2 more years. But, I do believe that Mr. Kasten will not rule out Type B Free Agents. Some players WANT to come to DC. They see an opportunity of playing for a special franchise. I wouldn't rule out DC as a draw--despite the obvious Budget Considerations, before the Nats move into the South Capitol Street Ballpark. Once on South Capitol Street, the ballgame changes--BIG TIME. If it doesn't, then your comments out frugality may be true. Thanks for commenting.

farid said...

I've got this strange feeling that if Restovich is given an opportunity to play every day (assuming Church gets traded for pitching), I think he'll produce some moderately impressive numbers (.265-25-80 or so).

Sooner or later, one of these bargain basement signees is going to pan out.

Gleason said...

I've done a 180 on Alfonso. I now hope that he does not sign with the Nationals. Having Soriano on this team is like being seated at the Captains' table on the Titanic. He's really not going to help us win, and that's the bottom line. The guy strikes out way too much, and he barely ever hits a HR when someone is actually on base. I'd rather save that money and use it on several decent players who might actually help this team become a winner in the near future.

phil dunn said...

We may see another 20% drop in attendance for 2007. That will drop the Nationals under 2 million. That would be embarrassing.

gleason said...

I don't think that we'll see the drop in attendance that you're worried about. The difference between 2005 and 2006 was the number of season tickets sold. The walk-up ticket sales stayed pretty consistent from one year to the next. I think that the prospect of having priority for seats in the new stadium will get many of those season ticket holders from 2005, who did not renew for 2006, to come back. So, I expect that we might see an increase in season tickets sold. Walk-up sales are unpredictable, and probably will have a lot to do with the team's success on the field. But the large marjority of tickets sold in both of the previous years were season tickets, not walk-ups.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Like Gleason stated: I actually believe attendance will increase for 2007. There will be tremendous amount of manuvering for seats in the new stadium, come 2008, but--the 2007 Home Schedule is far more conductive to getting fans to the park on a regular basis. Over the first 2 seasons of the Nats at RFK, MLB screwed the team by always sending them away for 2 weeks and then home for 2 weeks. Usually 10 game home stands. Casual fans might go to one game on a home stand and even Season Ticket Holders do not want to go to the ball park 10 straight days-5 to 6 times per season. It makes everything uneven. The 2007 schedule is quite balanced. Mostly one week at home, one week on the road. More convenient for Season Ticket Holders, and one week between Home Stands for Marketing to attract the casual fan. Its really going to help draw fans.

SenatorNat said...

Wizards are the model in D.C., not the Redskins, obviously. Wizards have not discarded servicable mediocre parts just for change's sake either, and have stuck by guys like Thomas, Haywood, Hayes, adding incrementally - Butler, Daniels, Stevenson.

Alf is presumed gone, but we garner two number one styled draft picks, more important in MLB than in the past, due to college, high school, and international scouting and few restrictions on age, eligibility.

Irony with Johnson's recovery being delayed is that it may secure Jose Vidro returning to Nats, as part-time first baseman...

Ryan Church could make or break the Nats regular line-up in 2007: if, by providence, he plays regularly and has a .285, 35 HR's 95 RBI season, then Soriano's departure may not rupture the production. Two breaks for Nats would be Escobar playing healthy and producting to lead-off. And, if you really want to fantasize, imagine Jose Guillen returning to 2005 productivity next season...

Great hope on the starting pitching front is that John Patterson stays healthy and two youngsters take their baptism under fire in 2006 to next, solid level. Then, add Ortiz or the like to the mix, and look for 75 wins...Eight less than 2006 World Champion Cardinals, in other words...

Manager will in all likelihood be new to the majors, but with several years at top minor league level - compatibility with St. Clair should matter during the interview process. Pray for Gil Hodges, 21st Century Style...

Agree with SBF that attendance with reasonably competitive team in 2007 will probably be around 2.4 million for two fundamental reasons: there is an owner and real management, not a trustee and grave uncertainly as to viability in D.C. And two, the stadium is rising every day - and you have to pay at RFK to play, as said, at the new Nationals Park at the Navy Yard.

When is Z-man given Rookie of the Year, incidentally? Feel sorry for him having to be the sole marketing face of the team, but so be it, for 2007: due for a sophomore slump, too...

Have Faith in Kasten - All Good