Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Strength For Weakness

In today's chat, WaPo beat writer Barry Svrluga was peppered with a few questions about the rumored Day for Encarnacion/Wilson trade.

We love Barry. He certainly writes above-average gamers, full of detail, and without the strict recitation of events that can dull a story.

But, today, his answers missed the point.

He believes that Day for Encarnacion would've been a good trade, essentially arguing it's equal talent for equal talent.

I suppose that's fairly accurate, but I'd argue that his 6ish ERA isn't indicitave of what kind of pitcher he is (Especially when the team sent him out to get knocked around in one more game WITH a broken wrist!).

But, that's missing the larger point.

Our outfield is crowded as it is. Jose Guillen and Brad Wilkerson are locks, leaving Marlon Byrd and Ryan Church to platoon at the third spot. Either of those is capable of holding down the job on their own. Platooning them increases their effectiveness and gives us an extra bat off the bench.

Where would Encarnacion or Wilson fit? Neither of them are exceptional outfielders. And, when you adjust for park, neither are likely offensive improvements over a Church/Byrd platoon.

So, where's the value?

When you've got a strength, such as what we have with our pitching depth, it doesn't make any sense at all to trade it for something we're already strong at -- as any Econ 101 major can tell you.

If I own 10 right-footed shoes, and you own 10 left-footed shoes, it doesn't make sense for me to trade half my shoes for some extra shoelaces.

What's the weakness of this team? I know it's not the outfield.

What we could use, more than anything, is some depth on the infield. Right now, our backup 'middle infielder' is Carlos Baerga. And that's as scary as it sounds.

We know now that Jose Vidro will be out for at least the next month and a half, if not longer. Wouldn't it make sense, if you really needed to trade Day, to ship him out for some infield depth? That would allow the team to spell Jamey Carroll, or even make Cristian Guzman disappear for a day or two.

Now, of course, the whole exercise is academic with Day being out for 6-8 weeks or so, but it hits on an underlying problem with the front office -- a seeming inability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of this team.

I've written before that Guzman and Bowden are chained together, and that Bowden, for his future as a GM, would be hesitant to make a change and admit making a mistake with his first signing.

But, isn't it incumbent upon him to at least improve the depth and give his manager a few more options to rest some tired or screwed-up players? Surely, he has to see this as a weakness, right?

But yet, he just optioned Brendan Harris, a capable middle infielder, back down to the minors so that the team could have twelve pitchers.

Bowden needs to start dealing from this team's strength. Because there's at least one glaring weakness.


  • Wouldn't it make sense, if you really needed to trade Day, to ship him out for some infield depth?

    Makes way too much sense.

    In other news, I have one less idea to blog. (Thanks ;-)

    By Blogger Basil, at 6/01/2005 6:22 PM  

  • I was convinced that D'Angelo Jiminez would be a National about 5 minutes after he was DFA'ed by the Reds. He'd be a far superior middle infield backup to the late Carlos Baerega. He must be a major clubhouse cancer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/01/2005 9:51 PM  

  • I had heard stories (haven't we all) that he's been known to pick fights with teammates. That's never a good thing!

    Plus, he's not especially cheap. ~$2MM

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 6/01/2005 9:59 PM  

  • Chris, if D'Angelo's pugilistic ways result in a broken kneecap for Cristi . . . Never mind, that's sort of mean.

    By Blogger Basil, at 6/01/2005 11:38 PM  

  • From today's Wash Post: "The Nationals are keeping an eye on infielder D'Angelo Jimenez, designated for assignment by Cincinnati two weeks ago and playing for Class AAA Chattanooga, as a possible fill-in infielder until Jose Vidro returns, a club source said."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/02/2005 11:28 AM  

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