Wednesday, May 09, 2007

General Manager In My Dreams

In my dreams today, Team President Stan Kasten just named me The New General Manager of Our Washington Nationals. Like my predecessor Jim Bowden, I am under the same rules, building plan and stipulations handed down by Mr. Kasten and The Lerner Family. My 40 Man Roster sits on a sheet directly in front of me. My job is to begin remoulding Our Nationals in my image, along the set guidelines. What do I do? How do I reach that goal?

My first day on the job is May 10th, 2007--an off day for the team. I can only work with what's given to me. There is no "shoulda, coulda, woulda" from trades/roster moves already taken place or passed on. THIS IS WHAT I HAVE NOW!!! Not what was here before, as I had no control of previous history. I must first workover The 40 Man Roster, deciding: Who to keep? Who to Trade? & Who to release?

Team Building for the Future, these are my Definite Keepers:
Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Emiliano Fruto, Saul Rivera & Ryan Wagner in the Pitching Department.
Brian Schneider and Jesus Flores catchers.
Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson as infielders.
Not a single player a definite keeper in the outfield, although you still need someone to catch the ball. For that reason I will keep Ryan Langerhans, unless he is necessary to fill out a good trade.

Tradeable Commodities--although I must weigh when each of these players have reached their Highest Value, to return maximum investment (Remember, I can't be crying over what happened previously or current injuries).
Pitchers--Jon Rauch, Chad Cordero (although I love "The Chief",) John Patterson, Micah Bowie, Jason Bergmann
Infield--Felipe Lopez, Ronnie Belliard, Cristian Guzman (a big "if")
Outfielders--Ryan Church (Highly Marketable right now), Austin Kearns (Marketable right now)

Rauch, Cordero, FLop, Church and Kearns could return decent value to the right team. These 5 guys would be the brunt of all my work with all the GM's. Quality Prospects are available for these guys. Bergmann may never have a better value. Granted though, I need a trading partner. That's where the hard work comes in. That's where I must depend on my Scouting Department. There will be no harder assignment for me than to replenish my roster using these veterans, all still relatively young. Would I like to keep Kearns? Yes, but if someone offers something good, he's gone. Same with Cordero, FLop & Church. Rauch may well be coveted by MANY TEAMS. I would bet Our Current General Manager Jim Bowden feels the same way right now.

Tradeable for any Decent Return--realizing not much value is to be had for them, if anything:
Pitchers--Jason Simontacchi, Ray King, Chris Booker & Jerome Williams.
Infield--Dimitri Young (some American League Team will need him), Tony Batista (his presence is solely to be traded down the strech) & Robert Fick.
Outfield--Nook Logan (can't hit--sure can field). Will be hard to trade, most likely sold.

Players I have to see more of before making a final decision:
Luis Ayala (steady if healthy), Jesus Colome, Levale Speigner, Michael Hinckley & Mike O'Connor. The remainder of the pitchers on the 40 Man Roster are Hangers On, nothing more. Most likely filler to get me from Point A to Point B.
Outfielders I have to see more of before making a final decision:
Kory Casto, Frank Diaz & Alex Escobar.

I will always be fascinated by Escobar. Jim Bowden told me once that Reggie Sanders was consistently injury prone throughout the first ten years of his career. No team ever thought he would develop into a solid everyday player. Yet, once he turned 30 years old, Sanders became well, end result---Reggie Sanders has been a quality Major Leaguer still playing, decently, into his late 30's.

After today's 3-1 loss to The Milwaukee Brewers, Our Washington Nationals maintain a 9-25 record for the season. If we are going to be bad, I see no reason to play Dimitri Young, Robert Fick or any other aging veteran, if I can find a younger, even green, eager player to fill that spot. Many are down on the Farms, some not even close to ready. But, does it really matter right now? We can be bad or really bad, that's the only difference. I have no problem seeing what The Youngsters can do. Yeah, I realize Larry Broadway is injured right now. But, if healthy, I would be calling him up, the very second he's ready and I am able to move Fick or Young. Even in losing, I want to see ambitious players, hungry for the chance.

Is it going to be easy? NO. Could it be fun to watch? YES. Will we lose even more games? Most Likely, at first. It would definitely be interesting, though.

And, the June 2007 Entry Draft will be CRUCIAL. One of the most important days for Our Washington Nationals all year long. The majority of the remainder of my time will be spent on this draft.

That's My Take as Dream GM For Today. How about you?


JayB said...

Hey SBF...GREAT IDEA for a post!

I agree, it would be more interesting watching our top draft choices in next months draft than Fick and Young.

While my personal plan would be much more a mix of vets and prospects, you are correct that the Kasten rules say we must lose now so lets go loose big.

I plan (no pune intended) to think over the options on the off day but I completely agree that there are very few keepers on this roster.

Thanks again....I feel much better knowing we are not going to be watching Fick, Young, Tony, Guz and Nook much longer if I have my way.

Anonymous said...

If you were to become the Nat's GM, the first thing you should do is take a bereavement leave of absence for five years.

Obi-Run Kenobi said...

Excellent post, SBF. I tend to agree with your moves. As far as I can tell, The Plan is more of a long term strategy, which means this season is not about winning per se. It's laying the foundations for a self-sustaining farm system that puts good players on that nice pretty field they're building in SE.

In that spirit, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bow Bow start trading off the vets to get ready for the draft and the future.

Despite my exasperation with the Nats thus far, I understand and support The Plan...I just wish losing 7 in a row (or is it 8?) wasn't a part of it.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Anonymous: At least I have the knowledge and imagination to have some fun with everything going on.

PMW--Its true, the losses are tough to take. You have to be hardened. But, in the long run, by hanging in there, once the winning begins it will be FAR MORE SATISFYING.

jayb--The African Queen and I are celebrating your thanks. Its made OUR DAY!! (We are both laughing right now-please come and visit us one day in Section 320)

JayB said...

It would be an honor, and I am looking forward to getting back my seat at RFK. I really am having fun with this post, it was a stroke of inspiration!

Bang the Drum Natly said...

Awesome post SBF!!!

I have to fully agree...if we are going to be tanking, then let's at least see what our boys from our farms can do for us, and get them the experience in the major parks.

I mean, seriously, if the smattering of veterans we currently have out there is supposed to provide a teaching foundation for our up-and-comers, well, I'd just as soon Fick not be the "Here's what to do on the basepaths" instructor. No offense, I like Fick, but man-o-man, there have been WAY too many times I have yelled at the TV "Are you kidding me??!?!!?" at some of his decisions (or lack thereof)...

What do we have to lose? The only thing I'd caution about bringing up the new talent is in regard to the pitching, as sometimes a few bad outings can be infinitely damaging to a pitcher's confidence (which is why I'm very, VERY impressed with Chico). Otherwise, bring 'em on!

From day 1 this season, I was fully prepared for the "rebuilding team," meaning there were going to be plenty of those learning-curve plays (or again, lack thereof) which would naturally come with the inexperienced players. I just never would have imagined so many bad plays would be from our "seasoned" veterans.

To be honest, I am still simply psyched that I have the opportunity to be a fan of a Washington DC baseball team, regardless of how well they do. Of course, I would love to see success, but I will cheer them, no matter what.

Cheers, and happy baseball!

Anonymous said...

Great article and great site.

I too am a season ticket holder.

If the Nats are throwing away the season, why not do so with young players to see if they are going to be part of the future. I never understood the Belliard, Young and King signings, other than as trade bait.

You asked what I would do as GM so here is my 25 man roster:

SP Hill
SP Bergman
SP Williams/Fructo
SP Chico
SP Simontacci
RP Rivera
RP Wagner
RP Booker
RP Bowie
RP Rauch
Closer Colome
C – Flores/Harper
1B- Broadway
2B- Casto
SS – Lopez
3B – Zimmerman
LF – Church
CF – Logan/Langerhans
RF- Kearns

I would fill the bench with young players - Restovich, Castro and the like.

Mind you, I don't know which ones of these are keepers, but they need to play, not sit and watch players who are not going to be here past this season take up important at bats.

I would trade Young and Belliard for just about anything I could get and I would do it sooner, rather than later. The Mets need a 2B and Belliard would be a good fit there.

I thought they should have traded Schnieder and Cordero before the season started when they had value. Let's face it, the Chief has not been the same since August of 2005. He had value when the season started; now his value is down to nothing. Moreover, while Schnieder may be a great defensive catcher, I am not sure how much you lose playing Flores; he needs to play now

Adam W

SenatorNat said...

This is always a fun exercise, one which the Cubs in the early 1960's took so seriously that they had a round-robin of coaches instead of a single manager, and line-ups could be chosen by a single lucky fan one game, I believe!

Trading is the big fantasy of every fan of truly terrible teams. I would gladly trade Brendon Haywood and Etan Thomas for a single big man who had two hands, literally, for the Wizards, for example...

I can recall one chilly Thursday day game in Spring of 2005, as Frank reluctantly took the ball from Claudio Vargas, as he was shellacked for the fourth or fifth start in a row, thinking "Why do they keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result with this minor leaguer?" And the answer is: he was two short steps away from turning the corner.

Who among the Nationals are two steps away in essence? Guzman and Logan are presently like the mouth and rear orafice of an attorney - interchangeable parts: both .143 batters. But is one or both just two short steps away from turning the corner to Major League play? One did it on artificial turf for the Twins; which the other looks a little like a young Reggie Saunders - could he play like him all of a sudden?

Trading Snelling for Langerhans is purely borne of nervous energy: BowBow should arrange to trade those two for each other every month to preoccupy himself.

No - trading anyone on the Nationals besides Zimmerman or Shawn Hill is unlikely to move the needle much this year, and is setting up the predicate for more C.Vargas stories, actually.

This team has exceeded expectations for its young pitching rotation: specifically ("Top'o the")Hill and Bergmann ("Rutgers"). Patterson was not fully rehabilitated, and needed to be on the Nick Johnson schedule. Should Chico stabalize with MLB starts (and knowing that there is no real pressure, as this year doesn't count for the team, anyway) and either Williams or Simontacchi hold his own, the starters can sustain a .450 club.

Add Soriano and Johnson to the current roster; with Z-man thus freed-up to bat .280 and Schneider doing his typical straight-line BA improvement over the course of the year, the team could win 71 again readily.

So - Lerners too cheap to make Soriano a $15 million for 6 years offer; and then get someone pretty good for less. They lessened everyone by not getting anyone: and no Fantasy Trade can change that fact.

"Landover Mall is Falling Down - Falling Down - Falling Down..."

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Anonymous said...

I remember the fire sale the Marlins had after the '97 Series and their '98 season they were a AAA team not a MLB TEAM. I am cool with being a AAA team and giving players like Casto, Fruto, Flores, and others "ON THE JOB TRAINING!"
Hint even last season the Marlins had "ON THE JOB TRAINING" and it I think paid off in the long run!

For trade bait I would have on the market everyone but Zim, S.Hill, Fruto, & Flores. I even think if Nick Johnson was healthy right now I would have him on the market as well.

Great Post SBF really enjoyed seeing your responses and others responses to the idea "If I were Jim Bowden, how would I do it!"

Brenath said...

The Nationals need one thing that they don't have right now, an entertaining team. A lot of fans wouldn't mind the losing if the team was at least entertaining. I like your moves, at least they would spark some interest. As everyone knows baseball is a business, a business of entertainment-you'd think the Nats management would understand that. So far your plan 1, The Plan 0.