Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Start The Damn Games Already Edition

More Church fallout....

The team didn't like his body language. Seriously. Privately, the Nationals didn't like Church's body language on the field. As one person put it, "It's as if he's not even there on the field."

Beltway Boys wonders about the double standard:
Alfonso Soriano says for three months that he wouldn't play the outfield, finally relents and botches a bunch of balls, and all that is said is that "as long he continues to improve, we're happy." But Ryan Church, who has done all that was asked of him, who is a proven major league hitter, was sent down to New Orleans in part because of his "body language?"

  • Church wasn't the only transaction yesterday, it's just the only one I yelled at. Nationals Farm Authority has a look at the others.

    Cliff's Notes version: Church, Jason Bergmann, Brendan Harris were optioned to the minors. Bill Bray was reassigned to the minor league camp. Royce Clayton and Daryle Ward were added to the 40-man roster.

    Ward is battling Michael Tucker's corpse for the final spot on the 25-man roster. Who should you root for? Sweet, merciful death, no doubt.

    Pravda's beat writer parrots back the party line:
    Ward, who started the spring on a Minor League contract, was a long shot to make the team. But he impressed management with his bat and was put on the 40-man roster on Tuesday. The drawback, though, is Ward is a liability at first base. Robinson has already said that Ward will not play the outfield, a position he played with the Astros.

    Tucker, who has a non-guaranteed Major League contract, is a better defensive player than Ward, but Tucker has looked overmatched at the plate for most of this spring. He has also looked slow in the outfield.

    See! That death option's looking pretty sweet now, isn't it?

  • Notes on Notes: Gleefully stolen from various MLB.com notebooks:
    --No decision on backup catcher. It's Wiki or Castillo. Offense or Defense? Take your pick.
    --Travis Hughes is out of options, and will likely be exposed to waivers. With other teams on a roster crunch, his chances of clearing are good. Although it's bad to lose pitching depth, Hughes is the kind of player who can be skimmed off the waiver wire at multiple points throughout the season -- no big loss.
    --Kevin Gryboski has pitched well, but will likely start in New Orleans.
    --Ward's contract is for $700K; Clayton's for $1 million
    --Livan pitched well; his knee seems fine.
    --Bowden now thinks that Zimmerman has 30-40 homer potential, that he can walk on water, and that he would have already developed a method for cold fusion, were it not for Ryan Church's meddling.
    --Bowden sez: "To me, it has been one nightmare after another. It's like I am working for the fire department and putting out fires every day." Reminds me of this woman.

  • Also from MLB.com: "Robinson believes that Watson's promotion will send a message to the Minor Leaguers in the Nationals organization that they have a chance to make the ballclub."
    Like Bill Bray, Jason Bergmann, Travis Hughes, Steve Watkins, Billy Traber, Brendan Harris, and Rick Short, huh?

    Federal Baseball Diariest (cha cha cha), King, takes a look at the spring training numbers and half wonders why the team is making some of the choices it is. Guaranteed contracts have an amazing sway, no doubt. They're the reason these players are coming north, of course, but it does show you how meaningless Spring stats are for the most part.

  • Ball Wonk wonders about the defense with Watson in center and Soriano, who's admitting that he stinks, in left. El Wonko's suggestion is to mark each defense-aided hit with an E-GM on your scorecard. Good idea!

  • Nasty Nats has already polished off Barry Svrluga's new book, and he shares an especially telling quote from Jim Bowden's son.

  • Federal Baseball forced himself to listen to Jim Bowden on the radio, and provides a transcript which shows why Bowden is so good at what he does. If someone doesn't really follow him all that closely, his self promotion, hucksterism, and ability to spin the bejeesus out of even the most dire of situations results in that person thinking that Bowden knows what he's doing. Look! He SOUNDS like he knows what he's talking about. He MUST know what he's doing then. A perfect GM for Washington, that's for sure.

  • Today's must read, as per usual, is Distinguished Senators. What do Jim Bowden, visions of hell, Tygers, and William Blake have to do with one another? The literate one lets you know.

  • UPDATE:
    The Post's stories are in, before I'm heading to bed. There's a profile of Jose Guillen that accentuates the positive without eliminating the negative. He's a crazy man! Two things stuck out 1) Barry confirms the 5-$50 million offer to Soriano; 2) he confirms what we suspected, that it was Guillen who tipped Frank Robinson off about Brendan Donnelly's gobs of pinetar during the Angels series.

    His notes column says that Livan is limping to first when he covers, and says that Majewski was battling a chest cold (explaining his recent suckitude).


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