Friday, March 25, 2005

To This We've Come

Jim Bowden's roster problems are miraculously disappearing. Alex Escobar is 'injured', allowing him to start the year on the Disabled List with a tweaked quad, which frees up one of the much-coveted roster spots.

So, that means your opening day outfielders: Inning-Endy Chavez, Brad "Kentucky Mash" Wilkerson, and Jose Guillen. Terrmel Sledge and his toxic bat, along with JJ Davis will be riding the pine.

The Nats released Keith Osik (no great loss, although they only have 2 catchers on the 40-man roster, which could create some more roster problems should one get injured.) Gary Bennett (profiled here) will serve as Brian Schneider's backup.

On the infield, you've got the four regulars. Wil "Alleged Wife Beater" Cordero and Jamey Carroll are the primary back-ups. The final spot comes down to Carlos Baerga and Tony Blanco. Talk about a rough choice!

Baerga's a shell of what he once was offensively. Defensively he wasn't good when he was 10 years younger. He's also signed to a minor league contract, so if he agrees, he could easily be shipped to New Orleans.

Blanco, who was taken in the Rule 5 draft, would have to be returned to Cincinnati if he doesn't make the team. (The two teams could also work out a deal to allow the Nationals to keep him, such as what they did with Tyrell Godwin and the Blue Jays.)

Because of the lack of roster flexibility, I'd say that Blanco has a decent chance of staying around. I'll have a more detailed look at him later today. Short version: he's got potential, but 1. he's not ready. 2. he's a DH.

Regardless of what happens, nothing Bowden has done now has really answered any of the questions; it's just moved the due date back. Pretty soon Escobar is going to have to come off the DL, and the Nationals are going to need one more pitcher. When that happens, they'll need to find two roster spots pretty quickly. But, as it usually does, injury and ineffectiveness will rear their ugly heads, giving the Nationals another possible answer.

Bowden indicates that no trades are imminent. (Which typically means, someone's getting traded!) But, Atlanta seems inclined to keep Wilson Betamit, meaning we're stuck with the hand we've been dealt.


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