Tuesday, March 29, 2005

V-E Day!

I checked my email and got what I've been waiting months for in an email from The Inquirer. It's not the email from him, but the news that... You might want to sit for this!

Inning-Endy Chavez has been optioned to New Orleans!

I know I shouldn't take joy in someone else's misery, but Halle-freakin'-lujia!

I started blogging back in October, primarily as a way of getting to know the team. When I did my initial Meet The Nats Series, it was pretty apparent that Endy Chavez was the lynchpin of the team's suckiness:
When the Royals, Tigers and Mets all give up on you, you probably shouldn’t be playing center field. But, in the case of the Nationals, you give Endy Chavez two full seasons of proving you can’t hit or field.

Chavez might not be a bad fielder, but his bat did all the talking this spring. And it said, "I stink." All spring, the club has been focused on him, telling him how important it is for him to work the count and get on base. And what have the results been? a .212 batting average with a disgustingly-bad .257 on-base percentage. They told him to focus on his patience and he produced two walks. Not good.

They gave him every chance to win the job. Frank Robinson coddled him early in the spring with no luck. Frobby played hardball late in the spring with no luck. Finally, the team couldn't ignore the lack of results on the field; "We felt like he wasn't doing the job he needed to do," Robinson said.

A week ago, I had a hunch that this was coming down the pike. The statements that the team was making about Endy indicated that patience was short.

I'm sure he's a nice person, but the team simply had to do this. Endy's not old, but he ain't young either. And nothing he's done in his career, either in the majors or the minors, indicate that he's worthy of a starting outfield position in the major leagues. He'll be best-served if he can morph into a Dave Roberts style career -- late inning defensive replacement/ pinch runner.

In his place, St. Barry of Svrluga says that Ryan Church will head north and man centerfield. Good for the Holy One! Church, not to be confused with the Star Wars artist, has done nothing but bash minor league pitching.

AAA .346 .430 .622 98
AA .276 .325 .462 170
A .291 .395 .515 250

Not bad for the guy Baseball America says is our team's best defensive outfielder! He won't be Jim Edmonds or even Bernie Williams. But, if he can play steady, solid defense and hit something reasonable, say .275/ .330/ .430, he'll go a LOOOONG way towards propelling this team to .500 or higher. I feel pretty confident, just eyeballing the numbers, in saying that he's worth at least two more wins than Endy Chavez.

It's a great day for the Nationals. They've looked at past performance, assessed current scouting reports and come to the right conclusion. I've bashed Jim Bowden a lot here, but he's made the right decision -- A decision that boosts the Nats on the field.
Oh, and check out the Inquirer's little tap dance over Endy's grave!

Distinguished Senators has a much more charitable look at the move. And he reminds us that he's already nicknamed Ryan Church. Now, how 'bout that time machine, Bodes?


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