Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Big Trade

The Nationals have acquired a three-time All-Star second baseman in exchange for Rick Short.

While it doesn't go in the books as a trade, it's as good as one, because Jose Vidro is about as good a player as will be available on the market.

He was activated today and Rick Short was sent back to the minors.

Vidro will provide some much-needed offense to this team. Junior Spivey has played fairly well in his absence (replacing in ineffective, but pure, Jamey Carroll). But Jose Vidro they ain't!

It will be an interesting test for Frank to see how he handles Spivey, a player who clearly wants to play full-time. With Nick Johnson and Cristian Guzman still out, Spivey might get a chance to work at short or first. But, when they come back, it will get more complicated.

If Frank were Earl Weaver or Casey Stengle, he'd work out some sort of complex offense/defense platoon. But, we've gotta work with the manager we have, not the manager we want. Don't expect any sort of platoon arrangement.

The best we could hope for would be Spivey playing second when Ryan Drese, the extreme groundball machine, is on the mound.

Even before his injury, in part because of his knee injury, Vidro's range was pretty poor. After the ankle sprain and with a tweak in his knee during rehab, it's pretty safe to assume that his range won't be pretty.

The fine line between pitching and defense can be upset pretty easily. I really hope that Vidro, who's clearly an offensive upgrade and probably the team's second-best hitter, doesn't dramatically alter what has been the team's strength: its solid pitching.

Yesterday, the Nationals trotted out a lineup that featured only 3 starters from the Home Opener. Vidro gets the team one step closer to full strength.

Right now the team is at the bottom of runs scored. For them to make the playoffs, they're going to need to nudge closer to league average.

And adding an All-Star second baseman is definitely an easy way of getting there.

Now about that shortstop....

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