Monday, January 05, 2009
Faith & Trust
Didn't want to see Milton Bradley in a Washington Uniform--too many theatrics for the return gain. Thankfully, that's not going to happen.
Hopefully, neither will I see Orlando Hudson playing second base nor Adam Dunn at first base unless they are playing for the opposition at Nationals Park.
Orlando Hudson WAS a really good player with terrific defensive skills. He's only average now. O-Dog, as some say, has no long term value for Our Washington Nationals.
Meanwhile, Adam Dunn can slug a baseball with the best of them in the game. He also can cost you a tremendous amount of runs defensively in the field.
No matter how bad Our Washington Nationals were in 2008, Hudson and Dunn would only be temporary stop gap measures to ease the pain on The Major League Level in 2009.
That's not something I really wish to see. They are not going to transform Our Washington Nationals Into Winners.
Whether Washington wins 72 or 81 or whatever final amount of Curly "W's" are recorded in the book in 2009, I want to see progress, not just getting by.
I want to see Good Attitudes.
I want too see who are the real keepers in our outfield.
Can Lastings Milledge up his game and play some decent defense--preferably a corner outfield spot?
Can Elijah Dukes actually transform himself into the great all around talent he possesses? And play centerfield? If there is one player on this roster with the all-around skills, it's Our Number 34. Or will Dukes fall back on his past. I hope not, because That Man Can Play!
Will Josh Willingham return from his chronic back problems? If he does, Willingham can provide some solid power in the lineup.
Austin Kearns has always been able to field his position, near Gold Glove Caliber, but he's never been a solid contributor at the plate wearing a Washington Uniform. Can Our Number 25 became the dependable--if unspectacular--player so many envisioned earlier in his career at Cincinnati. Kearn's has talent, maybe not the confidence in his swing anymore.
And is Roger Bernadina a real possibility for an outfield role? The man is a great defender, but are his batting skills too weak to sustain a starting position?
Competition brings out the best in everybody. No one can say Our Outfielders don't have enough competition. Justin Maxwell, Leonard Davis, Ryan Langerhans and even Wily Mo Pena are going to be in Viera beginning in February looking for their shots as well.
I want to find out the real answers. Send them out there and play, unless someone better actually falls into your lap. Management doesn't always need to second guess and mistrust everyone on the 40 Man Roster--just because so many were injured and unperformed last season. There was a reason why you wanted them in the first place--all as future stable parts of the lineup--why not give everyone their just due at succeeding?
Give all of them their final shots.
Can Ryan Zimmerman recover from the only injury plagued season of his young life? I'm willing to bet he does. And when he comes through, will there be enough protection around him in the batting order?
If Our Washington Nationals are going to make changes, let's do so via trades. There are few and far between out there on the Free Agent Market that really are capable of being long-term solutions. None that I can see anymore. Mark Teixeira was the only real deal.
He may not be your man, but Nick Johnson is still My Man at first base for Our Washington Nationals. Unless JimBo can somehow convince The Padres (with their owner going through a nasty divorce and former power agent Jeffrey Moorad looking to swoop in for the vulture purchase) to trade their first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to DC (and I have no doubt Jim Bowden's been trying), it's worth giving NJ another shot. Our Number 24's contract is relatively inexpensive. And Johnson's fielding skills are far better than anything Adam Dunn would EVER provide at first base--their defensive skills are not even close.
In fact, our infield under its current configuration is not that bad. It's just needs some pop, but defensively it's solid.
"The Guz", Anderson Hernandez and Alberto Gonzales I can live with in the middle infield. But if Washington makes some other trades, one might find Our General Manager looking for another young and developing middle infielder. Hopefully, one with a stick to carry to the plate.
Our Number 11 can play third base as long as he wants in a Nationals Uniform. Zimmerman's going to be a great player--that I have no doubt.
I also want to see if Jesus Flores can continue developing his game, both behind the plate and at the plate. Our Number 3 slumped toward the end of 2008, and thanks to a run-in at home plate with The Phillies Chase Utley in September, the resultant ankle injury ended his year prematurely. Jesus still has alot to learn. He is so raw. Yet, could 2009 be a breakout year? Let him play. I want to see if Jesus Flores is an answer.
Just like on the mound.
Our Washington Nationals still need some front of the rotation starters. John Lannan and Scott Olsen are good starts, but who else will step to the pitching rubber and be successful in 2009? Shawn Hill's still in my book, again maybe not yours. Our Number 41 is low cost--high ceiling, no matter what Hill receives in arbitration. And Daniel Cabrera is worth the one-year contract to see if Our Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire can straighten him out. Yeah, we need some starting pitching, all good clubs do, but Our Washington Nationals also need to find out if Collin Balester, or Shairon Martis can make the most of their second opportunity--while Jordan Zimmermann gets his first.
Is Ross Detwiler a long term answer? How about Jack McGeary? Is Terrell Young a dependable reliever? Was Steven Shell for real? How about Michael Hinckley? Is Joel Hanrahan The Closer? Or is Zech Zinicola in the mix? They all are talented, but can they develop into Major League Talent?
You never really know--unless you give the youngsters their shots. No one expected John Lannan to excel so quickly. Maybe Balester or Martis or Jordan Zimmermann will take ahold of opportunity given to contribute successfully and soon.
I am OK with that because Our Washington Nationals are not going to be buying the pennant anytime soon. In fact, few ever have. And when our team has so many holes to fill, you better first find out whether the young talent you have collected so far in your own system is actually any good, before you go out and raid the talent of others. Otherwise--you might just be spinning circles--possibly getting nowhere fast.
At some point, you have to trust your young talent. And Our Washington Nationals need to find out first whether they can win with their very own players, before gathering everybody else's castoffs.
Progress is what I want to see in 2009.
Faith & Trust In Our Youth.