2005-03-30T14:37:23.550-08:00In the my mind, Andres Galarraga, will always be an Expo. The number of these players dwindle more and more as time goes on. The best former Expos are already associated with other teams. Pedro is a Red Sock, Randy a Mariner, Larry a Rockie, and Moises a Cub. Vidro, if he has any sort of longevity at all, will be the first National. Maybe Vlad will be remembered in the white, blue, and red. Maybe. But Andres, with apologies to Denver, to me Andres belongs to Montreal.It is a relief that it didn't end the way it could have for Andres and Les Expos. Andres was home grown in the Expos minor leagues, signed as an 18yr old in 1979. He had breakout 2nd year in the majors in 1987, followed up with a more impressive 3rd year, earning him his first All-Star appearence. It seemed that a star's career was blossoming with every unbelievable stab at first base. Something went wrong though. An injury noone knew about? A personal malise? We don't know, but for the next two seasons, the average dipped and questions arose. Was what we saw just a flash in the pan? An injury-plagued horror story of a 1991 season presumably answered that question for the franchise. Andres was shipped off to the Cardinals in the offseason.Andres suffered a broken wrist at the break of the season in St. Louis and struggled again. Even before the power explosion of the mid to late 90's there was little room for a first baseman hitting under .250 with 10 HRs, regardless of how he shined in the field. Andres went back to the Expos after the season and the team said "thanks, but no thanks." It sure seemed like the right decision at the time. A young Cliff Floyd was slated to take over at 1st soon. Andres had no place in Montreal. Still, I thought it was a harsh way to deal with someone who I immediately identified with the 'Spos. Here it could have ended.Then came the second chance. A small contract for an expansion team. Nothing more than a chance to play everyday until they found someone better, younger, or both. The thin mountain air revitalized Andres. A .370 average for the Rockies, gave him the batting title, a first for an expansion player and a Venezuelan. Andres was a huge figure in the clubhouse and the Rockies were in the playoffs by their third season. He was a hero in Latin America, a leader in the community, and a favorite of baseball fans everywhere. For the next five seasons he was everything he was supposed to be following the 1988 season. Galarraga headed for greener pastures in 1998, signing with the Braves. He had a great season, proving that it wasn't a change in altitude, but in attitude, that got Andres back on track.Then came the cancer. It was the middle of 1999 when he was diagnosed. Cancer had taken his father away from him two decades previous. "Lucky" for Andres it was a treatable Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The process still took a terrible toll on his body. He gained 30 pounds, felt terrible. Andres was out the entire 1999 season. But remarkably, by the late fall, he was ready to get back to what his life was about. He worked daily. The tumors disappeared. He was ready to play baseball again. His 2000 season was nearly as good as 1998, as his years in Colorado. He hadn't just beaten cancer, he'd knocked it back so far it was as if it was never there and 1999 never existed.Comeback player of the year wasn't good enough for the Braves, who aimed to get a top notch free agent (they ended up with Rico Brogna). Andres was forced to move on again. This time to the Rangers. The AL didn't suit Andres and he was soon back in the Senior Cirucit, protecting Barry Bonds as he headed toward 73.Then came the homecoming. It had been over a decade, but it felt to me like he had just been there. Maybe it's because I stopped buying baseball cards around '90. Signed with the Expos for the 2002 season to split time wiith Lee Stevens, an early season trade gave Andres the starting job. It wasn't the same Galarraga as in years past. He was 41 now, a little slow with the bat, a little slow in the legs, but it didn't matter, it felt right. Some guys just belon[...]
2005-03-08T14:18:32.046-08:00Surprisingly, a lot of time can pass when you don't have a team to write about anymore. (For those of you somehow only tuned to exposbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com, my Nationals blogs have moved to nationals.mostavaluablenetwork.com. I'll fix the links...sometime)
2005-01-24T06:47:05.936-08:00There was a comment in a recent MLB.com Q&A that bothered me. I'll let you read.
2005-01-19T11:17:45.643-08:00Thank you Jim Caple. Thank you for keeping up with the Expos in some manner. Really he's the only one I've seen on the websites I frequent that did more than a passing "Too bad." article.
2005-01-19T11:16:39.573-08:00Thank you Jim Caple. Thank you for keeping up with the Expos in some manner. Really he's the only one I've seen on the websites I frequent that did more than a passing "Too bad." article.
2005-01-14T14:09:15.426-08:00While reading up on the (ill-advised) quest for Esteban Loaiza, I read a quote that interested me. "Nothing against the city of Montreal, but any time you can add a team to the eighth-largest television market and factor in those ratings that that market can produce, it's a plus," Bell said. I'm not going to tell you that Montreal is a better TV market, or baseball market, or farmer's market than DC (though maybe if there was such a thing as a cheese and beret market). Instead, the quote got me thinking about where Montreal would fit into the US TV market. Obviously there will be future expansion / moves, the question of whether Montreal will be considered again has a lot to do with it's relative size. Since television market information for Canada is limited, I'll have to extrapolate from population data. Montreal would rank as something like the 16th largest city in the Canada/US Mega-Country, slightly more coffee drinkers than in Seattle, slightly fewer retirees as in Phoenix. In TV Markets - that would put them somewhere around 12-15. There are no larger TV markets without a team. Of about the same size - Sacramento (19th) wouldn't have a team beacuse of its proximity to San Fran and Oakland. Which by the way I find curious. Sacramento is about 90 miles from Oakland/SF. That's roughly the same distance between NY and Philly, and Philly and Baltimore, and twice the distance from Baltimore to DC. It should get a look, but it won't - because it's still considered SF/Oak Sphere of Influence. Baseball needs a Boxer Rebellion. (Hey High School World History reference shout out! There ain't no rebellion like a Sugar Mama Boxer Rebellion. yeah, yeeahh!) Orlando is 20th, but I don't like their chances either. If we had some space shifting technology from the 30th century that allowed the Devil Ray and Marlins to play in the same stadium at the same time but with only one audience, there still would be only 12 thousand people there. Florida is the Atlanta of sports states. Then you get to Portalnd (24th), which is a good market but probably 70% the size Montreal. This seems to indicate that Montreal would get another look soon. Ha! I forgot about the exchange rate. One Canadian is only worth 4/5th an American. Montreal is actually even smaller than Portland! Actually, there are two good reasons why I believe this won't happen. First I think the MLB wants to move West. They want to be on the coast of Tupac and Ice Cube, for the simple reason that they don't want to fit any more teams in the East or the Central. They want to pump up the 4 team West. The second reason is that they want to perpetuate the myth that baseball failed in Montreal (rather than expose the reality of MLB killing it). Where will baseball eventually end up, giving that expansion/movement is inevitable to some degree? Well Portland is a gimme. It has everything MLB wants. Western Time Zone, no conflicts with nearby teams, a probably sweet deal with the city. I don't believe they'll be in Vegas anytime soon. The gambling is an issue, but not nearly as much as the fact that Vegas is a lousy TV market (because of it's peculiar population make-up and a suburbia consisting of tumbleweeds and iguanas). With Vegas out, it becomes a crapshoot. The Norfolk to Raleigh/Durham to Charlotte corridor becomes an option, as well as Nashville, or Salt Lake City. The sizes of these cities brings up a curious option - Vancouver. It would allow MLB to claim that it didn't give up on Canada and would give it another Western team. Though Seattle might have an issue with this choice. Making a guess into the future: The next team (for sale or movement) will go to Portland. That I'd put money on. The team after that (expansion usually happens in 2s) well.. if it's expansion I'd say Salt Lake City. (If you think the lack of interest will matter to the MLB, think again. Remember that other cities showed more than DC, but MLB waited till [...]
2005-01-10T06:36:24.573-08:00Pictures will still be in Expos uniforms for a good 2 months now...maybe three.
2005-01-05T21:19:24.960-08:00Travelling a little further down the rails on the HOF train, I was wondering who will be the last player making it toe Cooperstown with a MON on the plaque? Assuming none of our rookies or youngsters surprise we've got relatively few candidates.
2005-01-05T10:01:31.540-08:00For Nationals news please turn your radio dial to
2004-12-29T07:41:51.053-08:00Ok, I'm back from fun in whereever it is that Big Oranges go. There are several stories of importance to go over:
2004-12-22T16:46:49.116-08:00OK. I'm very limited in my access to the intra-type-net this week. So Merry Christmas DC. There's a lot of work to be done. however. Bowden may use the week as an excuse to why the team stinks but only Kline was signed and that was at a price he wouldn't have paid. So really the week didn't cost you anything in terms of the team you'll have. (as for budget overruns if the stadium is late....)
2004-12-17T14:20:00.746-08:00How this got all f*d up, Part II. From the deal agreement until now. September 28th (or thereabouts) MLB and representatives of DC including Mayor Williams and Councilman Evans agree conditionally to a plan on moving the Expos to the District. The key points of the plan heavily favor MLB. DC will find funding for a new stadium and the infrastructure necessary. They will also pay to renovate RFK for 3 years of baseball there prior to the stadiums opening. The plan outlines the stadium can only be built on a site in Southeast Washington DC, along the Anacostia River. The plan is initially priced at $435.2 million, part of the breakdown is $302 million for the park design and construction, $65 million for the land, $16.5 million for parking, $13 million for RFK renovations, and $40 million in financing. A cap is placed on spending of $500 million. The financing of the deal calls for a rent (around $4 million dollars a year at start, then raising to 5.5 million) for the owners and taxes on baseball related sales occuring in stadium (estimated at $11-14 million). The bulk of the financing however comes from a gross reciepts tax on businesses who gross more than $3 million annually with a cap being put on the max amount paid by a company. This will cover $21-24 million a year. The total is roughly what needs to be paid yearly to payoff the bonds issued for the stadium. The deal allows for the new owner of the franchise to own a team and a stadium at whatever price MLB decides, estimated at between $350 to $400 million. Also it places the stadium distant from the city of Baltimore and Angelos' "sphere of influence" hopefully limiting the costs it would take to pay him off. While specifics of the negotiation are hard to come by it is certain that the DC Council, who must approve the deal by Dec 31st, was not included in the negotiation. Communication with members on whether they would approve the plan was at best limited and probably non-existant. September 29th The deal is officially announced. 7 council members, Cropp, Brazil, Schwartz, Evans, Orange, Ambrose, and Allen, show up at the press conference potentially in support of baseball. However a couple, notably Cropp, note that they have not been able to take a look at the legislation and need to review it. The press is overwhlemingly supportive. Only a few dissenting voices notice how strongly the deal favors MLB and question the cost. Of the Council members not present, Fenty, Patterson, and Catania express opposition to the plan. Mayor Williams speaks of gathering unanimous support. October 1st Fenty makes the first mention of alternate plans, suggesting a site close to RFK to save money. The plan is essentially ignored October 5th The council gets its first official look at the deal. They'll have roughly a month to review this before it goes to committee. If approved in committee it would be voted on soon after that. The deadline for deal approval is Dec 31st. This is important since 3 pro-deal members have been voted out and will be replaced by three anti-deal members come January 1st. The first large protest of the deal takes place outside of the council. Oct 12th Tony Tavares and Kevin Ulhlich arrive in DC to work on the logistics of the move. Mayor Williams, almost 2 weeks after the initial announcement, makes his first public appearence with regards to the stadium deal at an inner city church community meeting of 150 people. The tone of the meeting is unfavorable towards the plan. Generally they wonder why funds can go toward the stadium but not more pressing needs. This will become a reoccuring theme. This meeting will be the Mayor's only apparent lobbying effort in the time period from private meetings after the initial announcement on Sept[...]
2004-12-15T22:04:49.476-08:00Understandably, the Washington-based National blogs are united in not only their despair, but in their utter contempt for Linda Cropp, Crop Dusters, Crop Circles, and Linda Blair. Washington journalists have been only slightly less vitriolic in their criticism of the Councilwoman, and to a lesser degree, the Mayor.
2004-12-15T15:02:20.893-08:00How this got all f*d up, Part I. From 1999 until the deal was brokered. 1999 Jeffrey Loria, a questionable businessman, buys the Expos and promises to make the team competitive. John Henry buys the Marlins from salary-dumping Wayne Huizenga. Early November 2001 After a fantastic season and World Series, MLB is inexplicably begins its "contraction is cool" phase. It is generally the consensus that this is done more as a negotiating ploy with the Players Union than out of actual fiscal concern. MLB has the idea to contract the Twins since Pohlad would sell the team to them with no strings attached, but it faces strong opposition. The Union, which historically has beaten MLB, is wholeheartedly against contraction and the loss of jobs it entails. The public and press denounce the idea. It doesn't help that the teams he talks of contracting are not the team currently losing the most money or the team with the worst economic future. Government holdups still loom. Minnesota courts hold the Twins to playing in the Metrodome in 2002. The federal government threatens the anti-trust exemption and basically laughs at MLB's "showing their books" because all baseball would present to Congress is a meaningless summary of losses. At this point Selig presented the highly dubious numbers of over 500 million in losses for MLB in 2001, and only 6 teams being profitable. Still jockeying for position however, MLB realizes it's much easier to contract a team if MLB owns it. It can buy the Twins, but it needs another team for balance and most owners have no interest in selling (even though they are supposedly hemoragghing money) Late Novemeber 2001 John Henry, Marlins owner, has a chance to own the Red Sox. Loria, would rather be in sunny Miami than Montreal, where poor decisions and little spending has kept the team struggling. MLB sees an opportunity to get that team it needs. MLB works it so Henry gets the Red Sox (for $660 million, $90 mill less than the former ownership could have gotten from another bidder), Loria gets the Marlins for $158 mill, and MLB gets the Expos for $120 mill. Essentially Henry got his team on the cheap, Loria paid $30 million to get to move ownerships, and MLB got a team for 120 million as opposed to the 250 million originally cited, the lowest price paid for a team in full in years (though above supposed market value). But given all the opposition, MLB is still forced to table contraction until 2003 August 2002 MLB concedes rather quickly and quietly to the Union and there will be no contraction for the length of the CBA (until 2007). This leaves MLB with two options. 1) Keep the Expos until 2007 and hope that the situation changes so that the view of contraction outside the league will be more favorable 2) Sell the Expos at the most profit, worry about contraction if necessary in 2007. Because the relative stability of the league, option 2 was more favorable. The quest then became making the Expos as profitable as possible in order to sell them for the highest profit 2003 - September 2004 MLB procedes to gut the Expos. After letting Loria take most of the scouting and internal staffs to Florida, they run the Expos on a shoestring budget. Free Agents walk or are dealt early for prospects. Things get so bad that in 2003, while still quasi in a pennant race, the Expos are not allowed any September call-ups. By dropping operating costs to a minimum, this ensures maximum profit for a potential buyer. To make the Expos even more potentially profitable, they would like to move the team out of Montreal and into the United States. MLB has contact with several areas interested in MLB, most notably Northern Virginia, Washington D[...]
2004-12-15T06:55:12.646-08:00Here is the expected vilification of Linda Cropp and all who oppose getting baseball at all costs. Let's respond, shall we? ********************************************************************************************* With one amendment to a stadium-funding bill, she ("Cropp" - ed Note) demolished the most basic pillar on which the District's agreement with baseball was built. This pillar made of balsa wood was that Washington DC pay for EVERYTHING. The entire purpose of baseball's long search for a new home for the Expos was so the sport could sell the team. Not at all. They could have sold the team in Montreal. No team is unsellable, not even close. The whole point of the search was to try to get a team in the DC area, and failing that getting the most money for their "investment" (in the strange economic world of baseball where driving a team into the ground increases it's profitability) Who is going to buy a team to play in a stadium that isn't funded and may never be? Nobody. Nobody on earth. Or someone who'd be willing to fit at least some of the bill for a stadium. It would lower the price MLB got for the team. Now, thanks to Cropp, baseball's entire motive for moving the ex-Expos to Washington -- to sell the team -- has been erased. Any solid deal in any town is now better than what Washington is offering -- which is nothing. Any solid deal where the municipality again pays for anything. Any deal having private funding involved would be basically the same situation. Why would baseball come here? We have pulled a bait-and-switch on the sport. We have broken a deal negotiated by Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the city's highest elected official. A deal obviously not supported by the majority of the Council or the majority of the public. MLB didn't get baited and switched. They believed the kid down the street's Dad was going to buy their used car for $10K before the kid talked to the Dad. Cropp doesn't want to leave fingerprints. Instead, she wants to leave the impression that she was merely trying to save the District money. Instead, she has now cost it a team and all the benefits of development in Southeast that it might have ignited. She cost them if and buts and maybes. Earlier in the day, she contacted baseball about adding a clause to the stadium bill that would have capped the District's possible damages at $19 million a year if the park was not finished on time. She didn't like the answer she got which was basically, "A deal is a deal." Why Boswell continues to say that DC should stand by a horrible deal made behind ITS back is beyond me. Actually it isn't. The guy loves baseball and wants it back and it clouds his entire thinking on the subject (Re: good moves, Bowden) Baseball feels no obligation whatsoever to make a good faith effort to negotiate with Cropp's council. It already negotiated for two years with cities all over America that wanted the Expos to come to their town. The universal assumption was that the representatives of those cities -- such as Mayor Williams -- had the authority to speak for their towns and already had the backing and understanding of their city councils. So if a Mayor had promised that not only they'd build a stadium but would pay MLB 500 million dollars as well, they should stick by the deal because he's the official spokesperson? This makes no sense. If your leader makes a mistake, which this "deal" was, the rest of the government or public has an obligation to correct that mistake, not march along with it. ********************************************************************************************* There was more but I could[...]
2004-12-14T22:24:29.740-08:00I'm shocked. Shocked! The DC Council approved a radically different plan. It's like Christmas Come Early for the fiscally responsible.
2004-12-14T10:10:22.610-08:00We all know that Castilla and Guzman have been declining for a while now, but Bowden continues to peer into his reverse-crystal ball and finding gems from long, long ago. Wil Cordero (33 - First Base) : 1 yr 700K To be fair - this is an ok signing. Everyone talks about how great a leader Cordero was in 2003 (maybe that's the reason the Expos were over .500, not Vlad and Javy) and he comes with the best possible stats for a "leader". A short contract at a minimal price. He has played more than 89 games only twice in the last 7 years, but if he's just occasionally coming off the bench that doesn't matter. Plus, though his power is not impressive, he's a fairly good contact hitter. All in all we could do worse. Speaking of.... Jeffrey Hammonds (34 - OF): minor league contract I know it's a minor league contract. I know that's nothing, but this a nonsense signing. Hammonds is more injury prone than Cordero both recently, playing 86 games in the last 2 years, and historically, has only 4 seasons with more than 89 games in the last 12. Hammonds hasn't had a "good" year since 2000 (in Colorado mind you). He has slugged under .400 twice in the last 3 years, and has barely broke .333 in OBP. He's getting old fast. Add to this the fact that the Nats have plentiful outfield talent (well sort of "talent" - but definitely more talented and younger than Hammonds). There was no reason for this signing to take place. Probably a personal favor from an old friend (Hammonds was a Red in 1998 and 99) Rule 5 Minor League moves (I'll just outline the "Major League" level ones) Picked up Ty Godwin (26, OF): Former highly touted prospect, who chose college over baseball first. Now and injury prone aging prospect. Seems to get worse the longer he stays on a level. Picked up Tony Blanco (23, 3B): Former hitting prospect who killed rookie league, then took four years to get up to A ball speed. Horrible, though improving plate discipline. Still recovering from a shoulder injury. Victor Prieto (P, 22) sold to the Red Sox: Eh. He was severely struggling at AA Greensboro last year. (We signed him in Rule 5 then sold him) Young enough to get better but no reason to bet on it. Today's the vote. I expect it to pass 8-5 or 8-4-1 (Cropp and Patterson, moving from abstentions to yeas). The talks with MLB are embarrassing. Look at the concessions asked for "...granting the District the use of the stadium for more than 12 days, allowing the council the ability to seek private funds to pay for ballpark construction and limiting the compensatory damages the city would have to pay if the stadium is not completed by March 2008." Can we use the stadium we built? Can we at least look for people willing to pay in so we don't have to pay as much? If the stadium is not ready by the 2008 season, can you not fine us so heavily? We are building you a stadium.That these were not in the original plan should right off the bat tell you how poorly it was negotiated. [...]
2004-12-13T06:02:07.346-08:00The one with the raggedy old milkcarton glove.
2004-12-13T06:02:25.136-08:00I've been pretty bad lately at keeping up with the Washington papers lately. Sorry, I don't live in your stagnant swamp (Lisa Simpson's words, not mine. I like DC. But you should hear what I have to say about New Orleans.)
2004-12-10T10:08:39.096-08:00You know the daughter in Coneheads (not played by Lorraine "The other one" Newman) was in Major League II? It was on TBS this morning after my daily fix of SBTB. That movie is like an uncomfortable visit with former friends. And much like a uncomfortable visit, the topic turns quickly to sports. How 'bout them Nats?! Heading to the winter meetings Bowden said he's targetting Odalis Perez and Shawn Chacon as pitchers. Odalis will not be signed by the Nats. He will not fall under 6 million per. Why do I say that? We all know about the crazy signings so far (Jaret Wright for 7 mill a year?). These are what other pitchers are asking for or were offered. Russ Ortiz - 3 years, 9 million per expected Carl Pavano - 4y, 9-10 mill per offered (expect more) Tim Hudson - 4y, 12-14 mill per wanted Eric Milton - 3y, 8 mill per wanted Derek Lowe - 4y, 12 mill per wanted David Wells - 5 mill per Matt Clement - 3 years 6 mill per offered (expect more) Perez is at least as good as Milton, and I expect him to sign for at least 7 mill. Worse for the Nats, if the Pedro deal falls through for the Mets they are looking at Odalis as a back-up plan. That could drive up the price. Given our pre-set limit of about 4 mill per year, we won't even be close. (by the way Bowden - if you can get Clement for 6+ mill per in this market - grab him now, please) So that leaves us with the real possibility of signing Chacon. Shawn was miserable as a reliever last year but some think he can make a living as a starter. It's the whole Coors field thing in reverse. To be fair to Bowden let's answer this in three questions: Do the stats agree with this theory? Not really. In 2002, as expected he was better away from Coors, but oddly enough he had a better K and BB per nine innings at home. In 2003 as a starter he was actually better at home. Less hits per inning, and still better strikeouts, walks. I can't fathom a reason for this walk and strikeout pattern. So stats say that he's a 5.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6K/9 pitcher. Ok, I guess that could work as a starter. Just not a good one. Do we have anyone better/cheaper/younger at the position? Better? No. About the same? Plenty. Patterson, Rauch, Ohka, Armas, Day are all about the same type of pitcher. I'd say Armas and Ohka have a slight edge in performance, Rauch is almost the same, and Day and Patterson are slightly behind. I would say that Armas, Patterson, and Rauch all have more potential. Cheaper? Chacon will probably be about 2 mill a year. Armas and Ohka are around that. The rest are tip jar cheap. Younger? They're all about 26/27/28. Is anyone ready to leave? Is anyone coming up? Well with the Nats contracts are all a rich tapestry, since almost everyone was on one-year or minor league deals. But no, noone is up for free-agency right now, and performance will dictate who can go anywhere next year. Can't really worry about that right now. Clint Everts is coming up. Maybe the Nats best prospect. Should you sign Chacon? Probably not. There are plenty of alternatives just as good, with more potential, and as cheap or cheaper already on hand. BUT if Bowden was to take a flier on Chacon with a short and cheap contract (say 2 years, 4mill). I could hardly argue. Post-Coors pitchers are always worth a look. [...]
2004-12-09T09:48:42.753-08:00While we all sit here and worry about the big picture (or big "pitcher", if you prefer), Bowden has made a couple moves around the edges. Are they as...*cough*...Interesting as his more prominent moves? Nats acquire JJ Davis for Antonio Sucre - Losing Sucre is nothing to worry about. Unproven and very young(20), he could be something someday, but I tend to lean toward the "bird in the hand" thinking. Davis (26) has already proved himself up to the Triple A level. Sucre may never do that. So for that part of the trade I can agree with Bowden. Of course Davis adds another outfield "prospect" to a team already crowded with potential good players but not much to show for it. Too make room for him the next move was... Nats sell off Val Pascucci - It's interesting how ok everyone was this deal considering it was essentially a Davis for Pascucci trade. Val is very similar to Davis, in that he was a minor league power standout who struck out too much. But whereas Davis is a swinging fool, Pascucci shows a surprising ability to take a walk. In their last full AAA years Davis had .342 OBP and .554 SLG, while Pascucci had .423 OBP and .577 SLG. The slugging difference could be explained by the leagues (PCL seemed a bit easier on the bats than the International last year), but that's a BIG difference in OBP. The idea is that Davis just hasn't been under the right tutelage, but seeing how outfielders have progressed under this team I'm not filled with hope. In the end it doesn't matter because both of them are 5th outfielders, but I think we're slightly worse off so I'd rate this a "Bowden's Game Boy broke and he got bored" trade. The scale being "I don't see real well, is that Jim Bowden that made that trade?", "Jim was all excited talking about this thing he found called the In-ter-net" (example - dropping Biddle), "Bowden's Game Boy broke and he got bored", "Bowden got the gardener to buy him Boone's Farm again" (example - signing Castilla, Guzman), "Jim must have found that old note from Bud telling the GM to ruin the franchise" Some potential moves are being discussed but it seems the Nats are hamstrung by only signing players at 4 million a year or less. I got to say that if this is a plan and not just a guideline, it's ridiculous. The goal should be getting good values for a contract not setting an arbitrary contract limit. Wouldn't you rather have a great player at 8 million than 2 average ones at 4? We overpaid for Guzman and Castilla, but do they think because it's under 4 million that it's ok? Frustrating. Signing Odalis Perez Not at 4 million a year we won't. Probably not at 6 million even. I guess we should be looking at my newest fav Ron Villone, or a short David Wells contract. Only Milton, Byrd, and El Duque could fall that cheap and they all are bigger risks than I'd like to see the team make. Trading Nick Johnson for Alexis Rios Presumably this would be to free up room in the outfield, by moving Wilkerson to first. Of course in the deal we get back another outfielder. Brilliant. The difference being Alexis is not in his late 20's. He's an actual prospect though getting older (24). He showed some pop in Double A, but that's pretty much it. He could develop power, but most likely he won't. He'll be a better hitting Endy Chavez (so we could in fact trade Endy to the Phillies for some pitching which had been rumored before). Is that enough to trade Nick for? Well...I love Nick, and he'll be a better offensive player than Al[...]
2004-12-09T05:58:41.610-08:00Update 12/09: What this means to be is only a simple answer to the question "is this pitcher better than our #3 starter?" A +2/+3 would have to decrease production in two categories to reach our Tomo Ohka level, so I'd say they'd clearly be expected to pitch better than our #3 unless somehting strange happens. Reverse this logic for -2/-3. The rest have to be looked at on a case by case basis. For the +1s will, anyone regress to the Ohka? Well, Byrd and Hernandez may pitch less innings so I'd make the case they are no more valuable than Ohka. For the rest I'd say Millwood has a shot at pitching better next year. I might actually make the case he's the third best pitcher left in the pool. For the 0s, will anyone increase to break the Ohka mold? Well Clement and Wells are probably already better pitchers, they just happen to have a strange stat here or there. Lowe should pitch better next year. I can't say the same for Ortiz or Milton. For the -1s, will anybody increase and get to even Ohka level? I can't even say that looking at these four. So there's no reason to sign any of these. The free agent pitching pool got even smaller yesterday decreasing the Nats chances of signing a good pitcher and increasing the concentration of child urine. Leiter, Lieber, and Woody Williams all were signed. Now do you see what happens when you wait till the end of the day to finish your thought? Anyway, In the first two posts of this series I simply listed the free agent pitchers available, some of their stats, and gave my off the cuff comments on them. In this one I suggest a test. The TOT or Tomo Ohka Test. Tomo Ohka is pitcher for the Nationals. In 2002 and 2003 he had fine years (for the Expos, R.I.P.), and I project that if he's healthy he'll be the Expos 3rd starter. The Nats need is for a #1, or possibly good #2 starter, so any pitcher we sign should be at least better than Tomo Ohka. Hence the TOT. I feel that three things are good determinants of future performance, how many men a pithcer is letting on base, how many HR he's giving up, and how many strikeouts he got. In stat terms, WHIP, HR/9, and K/9. Ohka's stats in 2002/2003 combined give you base values of 1.32 WHIP, 1.03 HR/9, and 5.43 K/9. If a pitcher number for the same stat is outside a range (eyeballed by me) then he gets a +1 or -1 depending (positive is good), inside it he gets a 0. Then I sum up the three stats. The more positive a score the better. (I know this is messy, but I deal with statistics all day, Smart Guy. I'm just looking for a quick and dirty comparison to Tomo Ohka, so back off, Taj Mowry) Now anyone with a -2 or -3 shouldn't even be in the discussion. There is no reason to sign these guys. So bye bye, Aaron Sele, Ismael Valdez, Omar Daal, and Shawn Estes TOT numbers for the rest? +2 Martinez, Pavano, Leiter +1 Byrd, El Duque, Millwood, Perez, Villone, Williams 0 Clement, Lieber, Lowe, Milton, Ortiz, Wells -1 Lima, Loaiza, Nomo, Wright What does this say? Not much more than you'd expect. Martinez and Pavano are the gems of the market. Lima, et al. probably aren't going to pitch better than a #3. The rest could be very good or could be very average. What would I do if I were Washington? I'd go after Martinez if I could. That name and his stats. He's just too good to pass up at almost any price. Plus he has a track record. He will perfrom. Pavano may perform and that difference is huge when your doling out the big bucks. I'd skip any i[...]
2004-12-08T10:42:20.893-08:00Continuing on Derek Lowe (31/32) 15HR 182.2 IP 1.61 WHIP 1.44 K/BB 5.17 K/9 Pedro Martinez (33) 26HR 217 IP 1.17 WHIP 3.72 K/BB 9.41 K/9 Kevin Millwood (30) 14HR 141 IP 1.46 WHIP 2.23 K/BB 7.98 K/9 Eric Milton (29/20) 43HR 201 IP 1.35 WHIP 1.99 K/BB 7.21 K/9 Hideo Nomo (34/35) 19HR 84 IP 1.75 WHIP 1.26 K/BB 5.79 K/9 Russ Ortiz (30/31) 23HR 204 IP 1.51 WHIP 1.20 K/BB 6.29 K/9 Carl Pavano (28) 16HR 222 IP 1.17 WHIP 2.24 K/BB 5.63 K/9 Odalis Perez (27/28) 26HR 196 IP 1.14 WHIP 2.67 K/BB 5.87 K/9 Aaron Sele (34/35) 16HR 132 IP 1.62 WHIP 0.96 K/BB 3.48 K/9 Ismael Valdez (31/32) 33HR 170 IP 1.48 WHIP 1.29 K/BB 3.55 K/9 Ron Villone (35) 12HR 117 IP 1.42 WHIP 1.28 K/BB 6.62 K/9 David Wells (42) 23HR 195 IP 1.14 WHIP 4.81 K/BB 4.65 K/9 Woody Williams (38/39) 20HR 189 IP 1.32 WHIP 2.15 K/BB 6.22 K/9 Jamey Wright (30) 8HR 78 IP 1.61 WHIP 0.85 K/BB 4.69 K/9 and rating Martinez - A True #1. Maybe not all he was but still a dominant force and in a new league could be amazing again Perez - Might be LA helped, but still young and good enough if can cut down on HR Wells - Cheap nowadays, I'll believe he can't be a consistent winner the first season it happens Pavano - If he's made a leap, he could be a good acquisition, but stats don't seem to think he made it. Will be well overpriced. Lowe - Will be better than last year, but must understand it's his loss of control, not the defense behind him, that's really killing him Ortiz - an intriguing innnings eater. Any uptick in skill in this guy and a team could get a real bargain. Villone - That's right Ron Villone. I think the guy would be a winner given a chance on a good team Milton - 43 HR. If you could cut that in half you'd have a good lefty pitcher, but he's always been prone to this Williams - Age started to get to him, relies on same skills Wells does, but not as good or proven Millwood - Injury risk, maybe a head case (couldn't take pressure of Philly?). A change of scenery might help. Nomo - Gets a lot of Ks, but lost if not in LA Wright - Bad, but young so I guess teachable. And pulling anyone out of Coors would help the mind. Valdez - Slowly becoming the most hittable starter in the major leagues Sele - Old, can't strike anyone out, an emergency rotation guy. In Part 3 - I'll pass them through the "TOT" (Tomo Ohka Test) and give you my opinions on who is signable or not. [...]
2004-12-08T06:49:09.686-08:00Reports say Radke has signed with the Twins and Wright will sign with the Yanks. It was well known that the Nats wanted pitching, and that these were two of their targets. The Nats are most likely looking toward Odalis Perez now. I don't believe that's the worst thing in the world, but I know I'll be shaking my head when/if I hear the contract terms. If Radke got 9 mill a year at his age, and Wright got 7 mill over 3 years for 1 good season, Bowden should pay Perez around 8 mill a year for 4 years. But before I judge Rowdy Bowden is there something better out there? Part 1 - A through Loaiza Paul Byrd (34) 18HR 114.1 IP 1.24 WHIP 4.16 K/BB 6.22 K/9 Matt Clement (30/31) 23HR 181 IP 1.28 WHIP 2.35 K/BB 9.45 K/9 Omar Daal (33) 11HR 93.2 IP 1.75 WHIP 1.71 K/BB 5.09 K/9 Shawn Estes (32) 30HR 202 IP 1.62 WHIP 1.06 K/BB 5.21 K/9 Orlando Hernandez (36) 9 HR 84.2 IP 1.29 WHIP 2.33 K/BB 8.93 K/9 Al Leiter (39) 16 HR 173.2 IP 1.35 WHIP 1.11 K/BB 6.06 K/9 Jon Lieber (34) 20HR 176.2 IP 1.32 WHIP 5.10 K/BB 5.20 K/9 Jose Lima (32) 33HR 170.1 IP 1.24 WHIP 2.33 K/BB 4.91 K/9 Esteban Loaiza (33) 9 HR 42.1 IP 2.06 WHIP 1.21 K/BB 7.23 K/9 How would I ranks these for the Nats Byrd - A solid pitcher with great control. Should keep you in every game though needs to keep the ball down. Clement - Has the most promise, as pitchers can keep improving at this age, and best stats. Will be expensive though. Lieber - Similar to Byrd, though competition with Yanks could raise price and arm has been reconstructed Leiter - Aging vet can help staff, but stats have been dropping every year Estes - Coors makes him look worse than he is, but not much worse. Back of the rotation starter Hernandez - Big injury risk. Probably older than he is. When he is pitching can be quite effective. Lima - Lima Time! Stats show last year a fluke. Likely to get lit up in 2005. Loaiza - Year everyone remembers was fluke. Recent pitching more in line with past. Daal - Done. [...]