Thursday, December 30, 2004

Micah Bowie, C'mon Down!

I missed this while I was on break, but the Nats made ten spring training invites. The majority of the players are ones nearing the end of their careers or has-beens-who-never-quite-were.

These players are hanging on, hoping that a great performance in spring training will get them invited to head north with the major league club. Most of them won’t. And they’ll spend the year in the minors, waiting for the right injury in the majors.

There aren’t any superstars on this list Bowden signed, but there might be some useful stopgaps for a utility spot or the back of the bullpen.

Phil Hiatt, 3B, now 36 has played the last three years in the minors, hitting pretty well. He last played for the Dodgers way back in 2001 and has played in parts of fours seasons. He’s the kind of player to fill out a AAA lineup.

Jared Sandberg, 3B, is a former Devil Rays prospect (I’m not sure if that’s an oxymoron.) He’s also the most likely of these players to make it. His major league averages are just .221/.297/.406, but he’s also just 27. He has poor plate discipline, but has shown decent power for an infielder. He’d be decent insurance in case the aging Vinny Castilla breaks down.

Rick Short, 3B, is a career minor leaguer who’ll turn 32 this year. He’s put up some alright numbers in the minors, but they were all in the offense-oriented Pacific Coast League. He’ll enjoy another season in the minors this year too.

Keith Osik, C, was last seen soiling an Orioles uniform. He’ll turn 36 and, having spent parts of nine seasons in the majors, is at the end of the line. He hasn’t displayed any power or any patience at the plate since 2000, with the Pirates. With the craptacular Gary Bennett under contract as our backup catcher, Osik will probably provide some minor league depth and could be an option if there’s an injury.

Hector Carrasco, RHP, could be useful. He’s pitched in parts of nine seasons, but missed all of 2004. I can’t find any reference to an injury, but barring a sudden retirement and a change of mind, that’s the only explanation. Assuming he’s healthy, he could be useful in the back of the bullpen. He has a 4.22 ERA in over 600 innings.

Chad Durbin, RHP, is a player with a decent, but not spectacular, minor league track record who hasn’t translated any of that towards major league success. Used mostly as a starter, he has a garish 6.22 ERA in 331 innings. I suppose that there’s still time for him to put it together. I just hope it’s in Edmonton the bayou, at least until he shows he can put it together.

Seth Greisinger, RHP, is another pitcher who’s fared decently in the minors and poorly in the majors, with a 5.56 ERA. Like Durbin, he’s primarily been a starting pitcher. Unlike Durbin, he hasn’t had much success above AA ball. I hope he has a Canadian visa likes creole cooking.

Luis Pineda, RHP, looks interesting. He’s had two stints in the majors, back in 2001 and 2002 and showed little command. He struck out an impressive 8.6 batters per nine innings, but also walked 6.7 per nine. Sent down to the minors in 2003, he’s pitched only 40 or so innings over the last two years. Again, I’m assuming it was injury-related. This is the second time that Bowden has acquired him, the first was from the Tigers in the Dmitri Young swap.

Micah Bowie, LHP, is a former Braves prospect, who’s pitched parts of three seasons for three different teams, most recently, the As. Bowie missed all of last year. He definitely had “elbow strain” in 2003, probably explaining the missed year. Being a left-hander, he’ll have plenty of chances to prove that he can still throw. Like the other players, there’s little downside, but plenty of upside.

Dan Smith, RHP, last pitched in the majors with Les Expos in 2003. He only threw 3 innings in the minors because of various back and shoulder injuries. He has a career 5.23 ERA in 177 IP scattered over four seasons.


  • A couple of points:

    1. I read somewhere (I don't recall where, exactly) that Carrasco pitched in the Dominican Republic last year -- I guess he decided he'd rather pitch at home than in the minor leagues.

    2. Some of Washington's minor league affiliates have changed up for next season: AAA is now New Orleans and we picked up the Potomac Cannons as an A-ball club.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 12/30/2004 11:59 AM  

  • Thanks for the Carrasco update. No wonder I couldn't find an injury history on him.

    I knew about Potomac, but hadn't heard about New Orleans.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/30/2004 12:03 PM  

  • Carrasco had a 5.57 ERA in 53 games for the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes last year. [Link: ]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/30/2004 2:53 PM  

  • Thanks anonymous. I've really grown to appreciate your work.

    5.56 ERA... hmmm. I know the parks are smaller and he's old. It certainly can't hurt to see what he's got left. Worst case, we can always sell him to the Ham Fighters ;)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 12/30/2004 2:59 PM  

  • Hrm... 8.3 k/9 and 4.4 bb/9.

    Definitely worth a look, especially if the 12 HR in 76 innings is a small-park-inflated number.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 12/30/2004 3:41 PM  

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