Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Nationals Insider On WFED
Heading home from covering Barack Obama's appearance in Leesburg this afternoon, I received a text message from a friend of mine pondering whether I was listening to Jim Bowden on the radio? Having no idea what he was talking about, I replied where?
Apparently tonight on WFED, 1500 AM beginning at 7PM, Byron Kerr hosted a Special World Series Edition of Nationals Insider. Our General Manager Jim Bowden was on the program for the full hour answering questions. Also, Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes, Assistant General Manager Bob Boone and Reliever Joel Hanrahan joined them for parts of the program for interviews.
Picking up the conversation 15 minutes into the broadcast, I quickly wrote down and paraphrased some of the more interesting comments I heard. If you happened to listen to the first 15 minutes, please chime in with some additional comments. I would love to know what else was said.
Here are some of Jim Bowden's comments:
He said he's recovering fine from his recent cancer scare.
JimBo also said that agreements are in place for most of the 2009 Coaching Staff, but no official announcement will take place until everyone's contracts and deals are completed.
John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann advanced the most this past season in growing as Professional Pitchers.
If you are trying to win--you can't have untouchables (on your roster)--if you want to win. Anytime you have a chance to add a number one or number two starter via trade--you have to do it (make a trade--even if it means giving up someone special in your system).
On Elijah Dukes--had one of the best RBI's Per At-Bat Stats in the game. Came along way at the plate this past season. Has tremendous potential and is improving off the field as well. A lot of people are rooting for him to succeed.
Are you in the market for a Power Hitting First Baseman or Outfielder? We are looking for a four hole hitter, preferably lefthanded, but we are not going to be picky about position. Talking to Cubs Manager Lou Piniella earlier in the day, Lou mentioned to Jim how Chicago is also looking for a left handed power bat this off season because The Cubs were exposed this off season with their right handed dominated batting order. So getting a power lefty is important, more so than position.
We are open to all types of discussions this winter. We have already started trade discussions. Normally all this comes to a head, ending up at The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. We will be active.
On Joel Hanrahan--Joel did a terrific job this year. He has a 97 MPH Fastball and unhittable slider. He just blew some batters away. When you have that dominating stuff, there is no reason to not develop into an outstanding closer. You are going to see this pitcher get better and better. No one has the raw stuff this guy has. He's going to be good for a long, long time.
On Ryan Zimmerman's Contract Extension--We will work together to get a long term deal with his agents. It’s going to happen. There is no doubt about that from both sides. Zimmerman is here for the long term. We are going to continue to work hard for a long term deal and we will get it done, count on it.
On first base with Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young: Doctors feel NJ will be healthy come spring and will be 100% ready to take the field. Dmitri is on a mission to fight diabetes. You are going to see a ready to play and proud man. One who can play to his potential. Same for Nick Johnson.
Assistant GM Bob Boone on Washington's Players in The Arizona Fall League
Ross Detwiler made some adjustments and has done extremely well. Looks more like the pitcher he was in College at Missouri State. Randy St.Claire has personally worked with him.
Adam Carr and Zech Zinicola have done well in Arizona. Both have also made some adjustments and look to compete for roles next spring in Viera.
Corey Van Allen is pitching in the Futures Game Friday Night.
Bill Rhinehart and Ian Desmond still have futures in Washington.
Leonard Davis was moved to AAA so he would see pitches other than fastballs. And proved he has the ability.
Best Quote Of The Program from Bob Boone: All players usually have basically the same talents and abilities. The Difference: Youngsters have the ability but can’t repeat it on a consistent basis. That’s the difference between talents on The Major League Level and The Minors. When they start to repeat that success then they realize their potential and become quality players.
During his time on the air, Charlie Slowes mentioned that in his home in the Tampa Area for years and years, all of his neighbors parents wore the baseball caps of the teams of their youth--Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox, etc. And their kids wouldn't support The Rays because they were so terrible. Now--everyone is wearing Rays Caps and tickets are being sold for astronomical prices.
Charlie also mentioned how Tampa Bay completely changed the makeup of their team to reach The World Series. The Rays now based on speed and pitching, less power. Jim Bowden completely agreed with him.
Finally, Joel Hanrahan on being Closer and Washington's Bullpen
Difficult Year for adjustments for many of us. Chad Cordero being lost early hurt the entire staff. Steven Shell, Marco Estrada and I switched from Starters to Relievers. We had to get use to a new situation. As a starter, I was nibbling on the corners. In the bullpen, I just threw out the pitch count and got a little extra mph on my fastball. I like the pressure on me and the adrenaline rush of being out there.
That pretty much sums up the 45 minutes of Nationals Insider which I heard. If you heard more than I paraphrased, please chime in. Interestingly, throughout the entire program, Byron Kerr kept giving a toll free number to call for fans to ask questions. No one called, not a single person while I was listening. Maybe it would have helped if Our Washington Nationals had sent out an Email to ALL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS--to let them know about the program. Even I didn't know about it, if not for a friend letting me know. Since Washington was pitching Season Ticket Sales for 2009, maybe they could have promoted this event a little more.
I made the effort to listen, although finding out at the last second. I am sure many others would have tuned in to the program as well--if they knew about the airing. The Entire Broadcast could also be heard on the 1500AM Website Live. Not sure if this program will be repeated.