Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Gammons' Ramblings

Gammo is back with another rambling notes column. I, your intrepid host, will do the dirty work for you by diving in and pulling out the applicable Nats-related leakings from Jim Bowden.
Toronto and Washington have talked about an Alexis Rios-Nick Johnson swap...

The [Red] Sox thought they had a [Dave?] Roberts-Maicer Izturis trade done, but the Nationals found they could get Jose Guillen and moved Izturis to the Angels, who don't want to trade him...

Odalis Perez (Washington's after him hard now, but why sign early?)...

First, Gammons went to great lengths to protect his source *COUGHBOWDENCOUGH* by sprinkling them throughout his tome.

There’s actually lots of good news in here!

---Odalis Perez is a good move. He'll turn 28 next year and is coming off a great year (an ERA 27% better than average.) Some would argue that he was a little lucky last year and they're probably right. He allowed 28 homeruns while playing in one of the best pitcher's parks and his DIPS ERA--if you're into that sorta thing--was kinda high (4.24). He's a pretty extreme groundball pitcher and was definitely helped out by his all-world defense in LA--particularly on the left side of the infield.

I would tend to agree with John at Washington Baseball Blog. Unless you're going to get one of the top pitchers on the market, there's not a real upgrade available. Perez, to me, is one of those pitchers.

---On the Guillen trade, if Bowden really was considering a Izturis for Roberts trade, I'm happy that Guillen's a Nat!

--- I've highlighted my love for Nick Johnson before and argued that he should be one of the players this team builds itself around. So obviously, I'm not going to like the idea of trading him. This trade, however, is a bit different. In fact, I’m starting to like it quite a bit--so much so that I’m pretty sure Bowden didn’t come up with it on his own ;)

I'd bet Blue Jays fans would be ticked off at the deal. Along with Gabe Gross, Rios is their top offensive prospect. At age 23, he put up a very respectable .286/ .338/ .383 in the majors. Prospect Evaluator, John Sickles, has very glowing things to say about him as well.

Initially, I didn’t like the idea. I was letting my fandom interfere with my reasoning. NJ has a long and troubled injury history and Rios has superstar potential--and he'd be under the team's control (read: cheap) for quite a few more years.

If he can handle center, which this Batters Box thread indicates he can, then this could be an excellent move. Sledge in left. Rios in Center. Wilkerson at first. With one trade, you acquire a young, healthy, cheap player to patch the one gaping chasm in the lineup. Hell, sign me up!


  • I basically agree with you on the Rios-Johnson deal. My only concern (which wouldn't make me oppose the deal, it would just make me worry, like a true expect-the-worst fan) is that you lose a heck of a lot of OBP in the deal. Rios has many strengths, but plate discipline isn't one of them. Even if he continues to develop, we'll have a team that's very batting average dependent -- only Vidro and Wilkerson walk at above average rates.

    By Blogger Randolph, at 12/07/2004 11:29 AM  

  • The Angels certainly have shown that that's not a handicap to a team. There are definitely different ways of being productive and the way to look at it is less of a focus on the loss of OBP, but on the increase in production.

    No matter how he gets there, Rios is 10 times the player that Chavez is. It's a clear upgrade.

    Like I said, I'm a huge NJ fan. And I'd love that OBP in the second slot in the lineup. But we can't look past his flaws--which are a lack of power to this point and his inability to stay healthy.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/07/2004 11:53 AM  

  • As I posted on my blog, my big concern is that Rios can't play CF (his body type and usage by the Jays implies he can't). That is what makes this deal a loser, IMO. If he can be a capable CF, then my opinion changes. I also don't think Wilkerson can be an effective CF over the long term and if this trade means CF is filled by Endy Chavez (as I fear), then it is a net loss for the Nationals.

    By Blogger Washington Baseball, at 12/07/2004 11:55 AM  

  • I'm not convinced that he can't play center. By all accounts, he's a very good defensive right fielder. His usage by the Jays isn't really a good argument, because they had an incumbent at that position. They certainly weren't going to move an All-Star over to right for a rookie player. (Even Andruw Jones came up as a right fielder)

    There may be reasons he can't handle center. I don't know. But the people on that Batters Box site, seem to think that he's pretty capable.

    I haven't seen him play, so I can't really comment. Even if he's a butcher ala Bernie Williams, he's probably an upgrade over Chavez anyway.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/07/2004 12:03 PM  

  • I don't know if Johnson is every going to put in a full season of effective work. I like the trade even if Rios doesn't play center. I don't have a lot of hope for Sledge. Yeah, he was a rookie last year, but a 27 year old rookie. He doesn't hit well enough for a corner OF spot and talked in an Expos mailbag about how he has trouble with fly balls. I don't want him starting.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 12/07/2004 1:15 PM  

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