Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Love Me Tenders

After agreeing to an extremely reasonable 1-year $657K contract with relief pitcher TJ Tucker, the Nats tendered a contract to all their arbitration eligible players: Wilkerson, Johnson, Schneider, Ohka and Armas. All will be retained for next year.

Salary arbitration hearings typically begin in February and the teams and players usually try to reach an agreement before the hearing, because even millionaires and hundred-thousandaires don’t like it when their bosses prepare detailed powerpoint presentations on why they’re not worth what they think they are.

TJ Tucker is a very solid middle reliever. While no one is going to confuse him with Mariano Rivera, he can serve as a very effective bridge to the late innings.

With the arbitration offers to Ohka and Armas, the pitching staff is shaping up to be a strength. What it lacks in terms of an ace, it makes up in terms of the depth of quality. Each of the pitchers on the staff has the potential to be a solid number-two-type starter and there’s plenty of room for upside and growth. The bullpen has a number of quality arms as well.

My only concern is how this will affect the Odalis Perez negotiations. Perez is clearly the best pitcher still left on the market, with Seattle and the Nationals the most interested. Seattle is rumored to be offering more money, but I read something that indicated that Perez preferred the idea of playing in Washington. (Hopefully he meant the city and not the state!)

If we can add Perez to the staff, the team’ll be all set. I won’t print up the NL East Champion pennants quite yet, but the Nats won’t be an embarrassment either. I still think that if everything breaks right, they can be on the outside of Wild Card contention next year. And if everything breaks right, I’ll be a millionaire too!

Ah… Ya Gotta Have Hope!


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