Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Love Me Tenderless Edition

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to offer their arbitration-eligibles contracts. Those who weren't tendered contracts become free agents. (In short, a player with three to five years of service time (and a few guys with 2+ years that we won't worry about today) are eligible for salary arbitration.

According to MLB.com, the Nats had five arbitration eligibles, offering it to them all. I was working under the assumption that both Jon Rauch and Ryan Wagner were eligible, but it appears that they weren't (I'm guessing that they missed the cutoff -- under that parenthetical 2-year rule -- by a few days). That's good for the Lerners' wallets.

My semi-educated guesses for salaries:
Chad Cordero, $3.5 million
John Patterson, $1 million -- I don't have much of a clue on him. When healthy, he's pitched well, but he's never been healthy!
Felipe Lopez, $4.5 million
Austin Kearns, $4 million
Alex Escobar, $750K (Like Patterson, another tough one to gauge because of the injury problems)

Throw those into what's already on contract and the Nats payroll is in the $40-45 million range for next season.

Other teams throughout the league had to make the same decisions, and the less-than exciting list of new non-tenders is here. We'd be able to make a bid on any of these guys, though most every one of them stinks (or, as in Marcus Giles' case) would fill a need that we just don't have.

  • I like reading non-fanboy perspectives of the team and getting the outsiders perspective. The Hardball Times takes an in-depth look at our fair team, and wonders what the hell is going on. It's about as fair an overall assessment as you'll see, noting the problems with the pitching and the defense, but with passive praise for the bats. We can quibble with a few points here and there, but his optimistic take is that if things break right (ie: Patterson gives a full '05-like season, Church plays left; Redding gives us something), the team is looking at the low 70s in wins.

    Of course, if things don't break, Helllloooo Detroit!

  • Our friends at nationals.com are back for another beating with their latest mailbag. It seems that the loyal readers don't like the relentlessly negative coverage of Ryan Church and how the team does nothing but pick at his faults, something the writer doesn't seem to really understand. Perhaps he's too close to the situation? OMG tries to explain why the fans might be ticked (and why some of the answers are a bit screwy).

  • The Nats are looking at Don Sutton for the broadcast booth. Yawn.

  • The Farm Authority has the rundown of the Nats minor-league coaching carousel. I hope he can get me Tony Tarrasco's autograph!

  • Instead of pining for what could be, Nats 320 is looking at what is. Here's their look at the pitching staff, and the position players.

  • There was that bit of news last week about the Nats being interested in Tomo Ohka -- on a below-market deal. That it came two days after an article where the Nats said that even Jamey Wright was out of their price range led me to believe that it was more public posturing than anything. Now that the Cardinals are rumored to be bidding on him, along with several other teams, it's about as likely as we thought it would be when we read that depressing WaPo piece last week. I'm about as likely to have Kasten over for tea and crumpets.

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