Thursday, February 24, 2005

Who’s On The Bench?

The Times looks at the new-found depth of the team. One of the travesties of MLB’s ownership is how they’ve screwed around with the team’s ability to have any sort of depth. The worst example is in September. The Nationals, unlike other teams, haven’t been allowed to expand their rosters at all, because the players called up would be drawing pay at the major league minimum salary, instead of what their minor-league salaries are. As a result, they finished with only one catcher on the major league roster. That’s inexcusable.

Jim Bowden has done a good job at providing some depth. The Jeffrey Hammonds of the world, assuming he’s willing to go down, will be useful tucked away in AAA, in case something happens to one of the players in the majors.

But, at the same time, depth can’t excuse a lack of quality. And this team doesn’t have much quality depth. With the last infield spot essentially down to George Arias, or Carlos Baerga, you’re going to come out a loser, no matter which way you go.

And with Brad Wilkerson, Inning-Endy Chavez, Jose Guillen and Terrmel Sledge guaranteed spots in the outfield, how are they planning on fitting both Alex Escobar AND JJ Davis, both of whom are out of options? They wouldn’t carry six outfielders, would they?

I suppose they could scrap the Baerga or Arias idea and call Wilkerson the back-up infielder, but then the only player who could play middle infield would be Jamey Carroll.

Ideally, I’d like to see Chavez traded to clear up a spot that Brendan Harris could fill. But then ideally, I’d be a millionaire.

None of these questions are going to make or break the season, but they’re definitely still up in the air as we enter the final week of drills before things get really serious.


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