Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pro And Con

The Dmitri Young signing is o-fisshul. Two years, $10 million. No word on the third-year option, which was rumored to be a vesting one.

I still don't get it. But whatever. It's not like this team needs that $5 million a year. We've signed all our draft picks. We've got a league-leading pitching staff. None of our young building-block players need to be extended long-term. And there's just no possible way to improve this offense.

Oh, sorry. I thought this was a Red Sox blog for a second...

PRO: Dmitri Young has turned his life around, has been a model citizen, and is looked up to as a good influence in the clubhouse.
CON: He fills the team's leadership vacuum in the important wife-beating category.

PRO: $10 million isn't a lot of money.
CON: Try telling that to Sean Black, Jack McGeary and Josh Smoker

PRO: $5 million for a first baseman is a pretty good deal
CON: Nats now have 2 $5 million first baseman, but only one spot to play them.

PRO: Anonymous Nats officials say he could be the regular LFer next year when Nick Johnson comes back, "if he loses 20 pounds."
CON: They left out the "per limb" part of the quote.

PRO: Watching Dmitri haul his fat ass around the outfield would be a pleasurable experience for the fans in the stands, much as how we all chuckle and applaud when he oozes 10 feet off the line to catch a foul pop.
CON: Matt Chico's ERA sure to double.

PRO: Two year deal is not a long-term commitment
CON: Two year deal for a crappy pitcher better than Simontacchi would have been a disastrous setback for "The PLAN!" last year.

PRO: His big smile warms the heart of District schoolchildren.
CON: District schoolchildren don't care about Nats and priced out of new park.

PRO: He's a league-leading hitter.
CON: [random.select_from {wifebeater.joke}]

PRO: Team reliant on his veteran leadership
CON: Eligible for social security by end of contract

PRO: Baseball can never have enough lovable fat guys.
CON: Baseball blogs typically written by unlovable fat guys who rip on lovable fat guys. (who beat their mistresses; yeah, that's all I've got)

  • The deal makes no sense to me unless the team knows more about Nick Johnson than they're letting on. Today's comments with Manny Acta questioning whether NJ will be back this year because of the lack of rehab assignment availability after August, is the first indication (well, the latest, I guess), that NJ's not going to make it back this year.

    We know he's a slow healer, but is there more there?

    A few weeks ago, noted rumormonger Will Carroll threw an aside about NJ's hip condition and how he wondered whether it was similar to the degenerative hip condition that ended Bo Jackson's and Albert Belle's careers.
    Nick Johnson seemed to make some progress with his comeback in the late spring, but since then, there's been no real news. In this case, no news was good news, because what we have now could be really bad. Johnson saw Dr. Brian Kelly, a doctor who's known for his work in football, about his weakened right hip. Since this comes on top of his recovery from the broken femur, the first thought is that Johnson may be dealing with osteonecrosis in that hip. If you remember Bo Jackson, the term might be familiar to you. Johnson's not likely to be at that stage of severit, but the team is going to have a battery of tests run to try to pinpoint the problem. If you're waiting on Johnson's comeback this season, it's looking very unlikely at this stage.

    His piece raised alarm, but a careful parsing of that (like with Kasten, you need to study to figure out what the hell he's actually saying) made it seem like he was just speculating as to the worst case, and that it wasn't something he was hearing through the grapevine.

    Now, I wonder.

    Add that to this quote from a article: "We are going to do some more studies. We are going to do a nerve study and now we are going to do an MRI and look some more," general manager Jim Bowden said."

    When you're talking nerves, it's a tough subject (ask Patterson about that). Osteonecrosis isn't necessarily connected with that, but it's not completely uncommon with major leg injuries of the sort that NJ had. (Basically, it's when the blood supply is cut off to parts of the bone. The bone starts to weaken and die, typically in the hips.)

    The team has been terrible with their estimation of injuries. They haven't always been up front. And they've been quick with the best-case scenarios. Pitchers who are initially day-to-day have their seasons end three days later.

    So I'm not sure how much I'd trust their public statements.

    But their actions can speak volumes.

    Do they know more about Nick Johnson than they're letting on? If they do, that's about the only solid explanation I can think for Dmitri's signing. 2/$10 is a very fair deal for his ability. It's just not a very fair deal for the team when 1B is already occupied.

    But if NJ's out for parts of next year, something they'd be better informed with than us laymen out here, then it's a deal that makes perfect sense.

    So what do they know? When did they know it? And if they know or suspect somethin', why aren't they sharing?


    • That's rough...

      I would never confuse Dmitri for Lou Gehrig. But that's rough. I usually like your blog. Its pretty funny. Today, its a little on the mean-side. I think one reason D has been embraced is that he has been completely open with his faults and has overcome so much. It's a great story. And there is alot of lessons there.

      For no other reason, Dmitri's signing awards achievement. I hope the young prospects took notice who were shagging flies with the D in Viera. D has said that those prospects inspired him. I hope this signing inversely might inspire some of those young guys-like Colin Balester. If so, the investment is worth it.

      By Anonymous Tobias Funke, at 7/29/2007 2:41 PM  

    • Very very funny stuff.

      As to the team needing a morale officer/locker room jester isn’t that what Fick is for? Couldn’t they’ve explored the possibility of getting Robin Williams or Bill Murray for the same money to do the gig along with some tv and radio work? I would give the weasels some of my money and spring for the MLB tv package to watch them each night. I especially like the notion of D-tree in D-Outfield. He can’t handle pops and throws in the dirt while covering the 100 square feet around 1B so it should be entertaining to watch him judge line drives and cover the OF from the RF gap to the stands and from short left to the wall. I thought the whole NJ hip thing was just bursitis? But you make a nice case for a far reaching conspiracy and cover up. What do you know about the government and UFOs out in the desert? It’s also interesting that people think they can get a better trade for Young later when he has 10 to 15 (if he meets his AB incentive) mil coming due rather than just 400K this year, will probably be hitting much less than his current BA, and probably have no position to play unless NJ’s hip is rotting ala Bo Jackson because NJ is the superior player in every way.

      By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 7/29/2007 2:57 PM  

    • I agree, the Nats and the WashPost have been very poor on Nick Johnson. Love Barry at the WP but would it hurt to dig some on this?

      Problem is Barry is having a house party with Boz at the Hall of Fame this no work is done on this story.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/29/2007 3:51 PM  

    • This is what AP is reporting on the 3rd year vesting option:

      "Young will earn $5 million each in 2008 and 2009, and the contract also contains a $6 million option for 2010 that would become guaranteed if he has 500 plate appearances in 2009 or 900 combined in 2008 and 2009.

      "Details of the deal were provided by a person familiar with the talks who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcements on the terms were authorized."

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/29/2007 4:45 PM  

    • Thanks! I did a quick google search for it, and pulled up nuttin'.

      Those are very generous terms.

      IF Nick Johnson misses time and IF he stays healthy, that option's got a good chance of vesting.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/29/2007 4:50 PM  

    • The nonstop Dmitri bashing is easy pickings because he's fat and looks goofy when he's chasing popups or legging out a triple, but it seems misplaced to me. NJ's likely to miss the entire 2007 season, and columnists are whispering his career might be over. The cash forked over for Dmitri seems reasonable for a hitter like Dmitri. Sure, he's having a career year, but we've got no one on the farm to replace him. If we're going to sign any free agents this winter, it seems to me you need to show them some support elsewhere on the roster. Give Dmitri his due - he's worked himself into shape and is having a great year. Even if he slips later this year or next, he's better than any other first baseman in the Nationals system.

      By Anonymous Brant Alyea, at 7/29/2007 5:24 PM  

    • Why not sign Young, then trade him to the Reds for Dunn and put Dunn at first base? Dana Gunnison

      By Anonymous Dana Gunnison, at 7/29/2007 10:12 PM  

    • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/22/2009 11:01 PM  

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