Friday, July 04, 2008

What Should They Do?


"We'll trade a piece that hurts our team this year to help our team win a year from now or two years from now," stated Our General Manager Jim Bowden. "Total focus is on the long-term."

JimBo was apparently in a talkative mood early today during a rain delay in Cincinnati. Chatting with the assembled media, Bowden discussed the upcoming July 31st Trading Deadline and where Our Washington Nationals stand when it comes to Our Current Roster. After grading The 2008 Major League Club with a "D" last week. After calling the first half of 2008 "Disasterous", Our GM took another step to quell any upcoming hope for progress during the remainder of the current season at New Nationals Park.

"We're open to any trade that makes us better long-term. That includes proven major leaguers that are successful, top prospects in the minor leagues; we're open to anything. We've told every club, we have complete flexibility on trading players and acquiring players. So we're keeping every avenue open to us. We've let all the clubs know that. If someone wants to know if we're a buyer or a seller, we're both. Any way that we can add long-term pieces, we're going to add long-term pieces. Because we're not in a structure where we're trying to make trades to help this team win right now. We're trying to build a baseball team -- to eventually win. This isn't the kind of team you add a piece to win. You need to have the Milledges and the Dukes and the Lannans and the Zimmermans and those long-term pieces."

So where exactly do we stand? Right now?

Has any progress been made for the near future? Are enough building blocks being put in place to make Our Washington Nationals a winner--one to two years from now?

All those questions are interesting considering the positive vibes many had for Our Washington Nationals heading north from Viera, Florida this spring. So what happened to the talented team assembled this past February and March? If I recall correctly, some felt Our Washington Nationals were capable of playing .500 ball--maybe surprise and finish with a winning record.

Certainly, injuries have curtailed development. Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, Lastings Milledge, Chad Cordero, Shawn Hill and Austin Kearns all being down at the same time has hurt. No question about it.

But some of the youngsters called up to replace those on the Disabled List have simply not been ready. In fact, when it comes to position players in Our Farm System--Our Washington Nationals are still pretty weak. There was one big exception. Jesus Flores took advantage of two veterans (Paul LoDuca & Johnny Estrada) being injured to prove blocking his development to The Majors--was unnecessary. Other than Our Number 3, only young pitching apparently a strength in the minors right now. Even Fan Favorite, Outfielder Justin Maxwell, is injured once again and can not be promoted.

Of course, Wily Mo Pena and FLop have not produced as well. The offense, so profoundly talked up this spring--has been absent. And with Our Starters continuing to not go deep into ball games--Our Manager Manny Acta has been forced to use an already undermanned and overused bullpen--to it's detriment. The one time Force of Our Washington Nationals--Our Relievers--is no longer. And as the losses have mounted, there has been concern over some Washington Players losing their focus. Not caring.

So what should Our Washington Nationals do?

Jim Bowden's been given the mandate to rebuild. He's probably not going anywhere soon.

Here are my thoughts.

if Version 4.0 of Our Washington Nationals is being jettisoned at Mid-Season, then let's get some players out there on the field that WANT TO BE THERE. Let's get some players out there that still want to improve themselves. Let's get some players out there that want to be Professional Major Leaguers. Let's get some players out there that are still HUNGRY!!

Cheering on a team that plays hard, if not winning ball, is still enjoyable. Simply look at the past three seasons of Our Washington Nationals. You could never say they were not entertaining.

Thankfully, Jesus Flores, John Lannan, Elijah Dukes have never let up all season long. And as frustrating as Lastings Milledge can be with his antics--I can't say the man's not giving his all out there--either. We need more guys like that. Talented individuals that care.

On Our Major League Roster--we need a second baseman, and a shortstop (do you really think "The Guz" will re-sign?). We need a quality backup catcher for Jesus. We need Elijah Dukes to move to centerfield and Milledge to a corner outfield position. We need a POWER HITTING Corner Outfielder. We need someone, anyone, to be a quality leadoff hitter. And we possibly may need a first baseman--but I will always leave that spot open for Nick Johnson. NJ means so much to our lineup.

We need to trade any or all of these veteran position players-if something of value is offered in return. Dmitri Young, Austin Kearns, Ronnie Belliard, Aaron Boone, Paul LoDuca, Wily Mo Pena and Felipe Lopez. Although Our Number 26 and Our Number 2 can't be highly touted right now. They have played so poorly, some have even wished for them to simply be Designated For Assignment (released from the team).

If it is true that Our General Manager will let The Major League Roster Suffer the rest of the way in 2008--short term loss for long term gain--then there is no excuse for not moving and shuffling a Baker's Dozen of players over the next seven weeks. Why not? What do Our Washington Nationals have to lose?

Nothing.

And what about Our Pitching?

Our Bullpen has suffered, but that doesn't mean individual players are not valuable to others. Big Jon Rauch, Joel Hanrahan, Saul Rivera and Luis Ayala could be important cogs--to the right team in a pennant race. Don't underestimate their talent. Wear and tear has hurt their records.

With no run support from their teammates, Lannan, Jason Bergmann, Odalis Perez, Tim Redding and now Collin Balester have all suffered as starters. Lannan, Bergmann and Balester the only ones with possible long term futures in Washington. Perez and Redding have pitched well enough to gather interest. Whether they can return some talent over the next month in a trade--is the big question.

No doubt, Our General Manager is working that blackberry of his. The next few weeks of July may well determine whether Our Washington Nationals have a successful 2008 Season or not. Victory, based not on winning percentage, but rather on gathering some more talent to enhance this Franchise for years to come.

If we are building for the future--now is the time to move a few steps forward--show some progress. Give Our Fans more hope as the last half of the season gets underway.

Time for JimBo to get creative. But please, Jim Bowden--no more Cincinnati Guys that you craved for years. Those coveted players have not exactly worked out well for Our Washington Nationals.

PS: I wanted to write about a topic that I have read over and over again in various online forums. Before the 2008 Season commenced, many had stated they wanted Our Washington Nationals to sign Kyle Lohse to a minimum contract to be an innings eating starter. Instead he signed with The St. Louis Cardinals. Remember, The Cardinals can hit the ball. Our Washington Nationals can not. Lohse is having a fine season. But, don't you believe that Lohse would have the same frustrating record as John Lannan in 2008 playing for Our Washington Nationals? Two different teams, St. Louis and Washington. Two different directions and results. Kyle Lohse would not be 10-2 playing for Our Washington Nationals. Not possible.

22 comments:

An Briosca Mor said...

We need a quality backup catcher for Jesus.

We have one already. His name is Wil Nieves. You talked about guys who play hard, who play like they want to be here each and every day. Would you not agree that he fits that bill?

I hear that Estrada is on his way back from the DL, which will create a real logjam at catcher. My only hope there is that Nieves does not get lost in that shuffle. Estrada is the one who needs to be disposed of, even if it means designating him for assignment and eating the rest of his salary.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Nieves has some decent qualities, lost in the shuffle with LoDuca. Just not sure if he sticks. Even before LoDuca returned, Nieves was not seeing much playing time. Someone with the team must be seeing something they may not like about him. Just a thought, not saying anything bad about the guy. Something noticed.

I would not be surprised if Estrada is DFA'd the moment he is healthy. No reason for him to be on the roster, taking up space for no return. His salary is nothing to worry about.

JayB said...

Jimbo put together V4.0 with players who do not care to be here and do not play the game hard or with joy. Why do you say Jimbo will be here for a while. He has done very little in my view to earn that right. At best he is in the bottom half of GM's. If we are building a world class organization, why a second class GM?

JayB said...

You just know he is going to get Adam Dunn to "save his job".

Jim is flawed, his view of what makes a good player and a good team are out of focus. It is time to DFA Bowden.

tengoalyrunr30 said...

get rid of wily mo, get rid of felipe lopez, but dont get rid of austin kearns!!! he's my favorite player and it seems like he always puts in a ton of effort and loves being out there.

its funny because tonight one of my neighbors' fireworks turned out to be a dud, and i called it the "felipe lopez of fireworks"!

Andrew said...

JayB said...
You just know he is going to get Adam Dunn to "save his job".


Pleeeeze say it ain't so.....Adam Done is not fit for our team.

dcbatgirl said...

I'm with ABM re: Wil Nieves. I've only read positive reports from the pitching staff, and Nieves is a perfect guy to cheer for when there's not much to cheer for.

I've assumed that Wil's reduced appearances are about getting PLD some playing time before the trading deadline.

Andrew said...

We still have 1/2 a season to go and I for one don't want to see any core players traded. SBF put together a good list of expendables, but I don't believe Kearns will be traded.

For now, we have bigger problems which is fielding the best team we can on a daily basis.

Manny seemed to come up with a competitive lineup only to see we couldn't dent the scoreboard against a pitcher with an ERA of almost 6 runs per 9 innings.

I also agree with ABM in that Nieves has had the right attitude of a backup catcher. He has been shuffled so deep with the LoDuca fiasco.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting to hear SBF talk about players who do not want to be here and do not play hard. Other than Lopez and Pena I can not point to too many examples, yet it is clear the whole team plays without any fire now.

What I am starting to think is the culture of losing, and accepting poor play is setting in. With no prospects of winning anytime soon (many are now pointing to 2012) what are we going to be looking at as a team culture if the plan does eventually produce and can Acta still be the manager after presiding over 4 years of accepting losing and lackluster effort?

janet said...

Please, Jim Bowden, we don't need any more YAsTO's (yet another (supposedly) toolsy outfielder).

We do need someone to teach players not to swing at the first pitch after the opposing pitcher has just given up one or more walks. (Would that be a batting coach?) We also could use some practice for pitchers in bunting. And last week, it looked like some PFP could be beneficial. When the runs are unearned on an E-1, the pitcher is undermining his cause, even if it (technically) isn't on his ERA.

On the one hand we have the batting scenario just described, but on the other, this team has eight walk off wins. As of last Monday, that was tied with the Marlins for most in the MLB -- so, on good days, they make the opposition play for twenty seven outs. On bad days, however, they give away outs (gift wrapped) with GIDPs and and fielding mistakes. I think this team's culture is to play spectacular baseball -- some days, spectacularly bad, and some days, spectacularly good.

Anonymous said...

By the way Lohse also has the best active ML pitching coach to encourage him.

Sully said...

I posed a question to Nationals fans... basically do you belong with Cubs and Indians fans in the long suffering department?

I wrote it here

http://sullybaseball.blogspot.com/2008/07/1924-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap.html

Edward J. Cunningham said...

By the way Lohse also has the best active ML pitching coach to encourage him.

Who is Lohse?

I posed a question to Nationals fans... basically do you belong with Cubs and Indians fans in the long suffering department?

Suffering? Yes. Long suffering? No. For most of our lifetimes, Washington hasn't even had a major league team. If it takes 20 or 30 years for us to become a contending team, then you can mark us with the Cubs or Indians. But a franchise that is only four years old and is starting from scratch? Unless you think every team has to blow a fortune like the Marlins and D-Backs did to win World Series, I still believe we're par for the course.

6th and D said...

Flowers and Snow. Flores and Nieves. We are done at the Cather position. Of course Zim at third is a lock. A big surprise in center field has been Bernadina. I also like our starters. Positions we need are 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Who is Lohse?

*smacks forehead* I should have re-read SBF's post...

Anonymous said...

JimBo may have a tough time pulling off any sort of trade. General Managers around both leagues don't like JimBo and prefer not to deal with him. He is considered to be arrogant and not trustworthy.

Screech's Best Friend said...

anonymous at 5:56PM. This is where many are mis-informed concerning trades. If any GM in the game needs a part and Washington has that piece--said team is going to be dealing with JimBo. He may have his detractors, but any team would be silly to not talk business--if a trade can be made. Bank on it.

Personal feelings should never get involved in any business transaction. If any GM does holds a grudge, all that person is doing, is hurting himself, and his team. Any Ownership would look down on that.

Anonymous said...

SBF How naive!
Ok, maybe they will deal with JimBo, but what did Boston ask for to get rid of WMP last year? A low level pitcher. GM's are only going to deal with GM's they can trust. It is a small fraternity and there are plenty of good players on other teams.

By the way a winning attitude starts in the FO. Washington has a GM that controls his manager, limits his moves on the field by the players he keeps on the 25 man roster and plays mind games with his players. How well did the Yankees do when Steinbrenner was acting like that? Eighteen year draught?

JayB said...

Have to agaree that Jimbo's whole act and history with people hurts this team in a big way when it comes to trades. Yes it is business and all if other options so not exist for teams they will deal with Jimbo, but all things being near equal you can bet they avoid him like the plauge.

I really wish we could get some reporting on the relationships within the Nats FO that allowed him to move from inturum GM to GM a few years back.

You know, if SBF is willing to point out in public the negative effect his tunnel vision for Reds rejects has had on the team, then those less inclined to support Jimbo must be mortified by the prospects of Jimbo making more moves from a position of weakness.

My prediction is no trades of any conciquence get made, not from lack of effort on Jimbo's part but rather a combination of over valuing Nats players and lack of respect for Jimbo.

Time has come and gone on Jimbo as a GM. We are not Marge Shott and the Reds, I hope we are better.....time will tell if the Lerner's respect the game and the fans or not.

JayB said...

Have to agree that Jimbo's whole act and history with people hurts this. Yes, it is business and if other options so not exist, teams they will deal with Jimbo; yet all things being near equal you can bet they avoid him like the plague.

I really wish we could get some reporting on the relationships within the Nats FO that allowed him to move from interim GM to GM a few years back.

You know, if SBF is willing to point the negative effect his tunnel vision for Reds rejects has had on the team, then those less inclined to blindly support Jimbo must be mortified by the prospects of Jimbo making more moves from a position of weakness.

My prediction is no trades of any consequence get made, not from lack of effort on Jimbo's part but rather a combination of over valuing Nats players and lack of respect for Jimbo.

Time has come and gone on Jimbo as a GM. We are not Marge Shott and the Reds, I hope we are better.....time is fast approaching to find out if the Lerner's respect the game and the fans or just think it is super cool to own a team and have Jimbo kissing up to them.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

By the way Lohse also has the best active ML pitching coach to encourage him.

The Cardinals won the World Series two years ago against a very powerful Detroit Tigers team, and they're contending for the playoffs this year, so I can't disagree with you about the Cards' pitching coach. But I think Randy St. Claire is doing a great job considering who we have to work with and our lack of run support. We may need to get rid of our hitting coach, but I think we need to keep St. Claire.

davidson said...

RE: St. Claire,

I think we need to pay more attention to the pitching coach for AAA Columbus. Anyone else notice how when our pitchers come back from injury or from being sent down they have 2-3 solid starts and then everything seems to fall apart? I wonder if St. Claire is doing more harm than good.