Friday, September 30, 2005


UPDATED ABOVE -- Maybe Bowden isn't completely incompetent.

Ordinarily, I'd give someone the benefit of the doubt. But when that person, as is the case with Jim Bowden, is motivated by self interest and is a master at puffery, sometimes I won't.

Nationals Farm Authority links to Bodes' DC Examiner piece, and notes a whopper. (Read NFA's excellent full account, I'm just looking at one part.)

Here's Bodes:
Lost Claudio Vargas to Arizona. He pitched well at times but still had an ERA over 5.00 and was just a .500 pitcher. His right elbow was an injury risk, but this move could be evaluated either way. He was out of options and not pitching well for us.

Out of options? Am I missing something? A player has three years worth of options. If he's sent up or down in a season, he uses one of those years up, but then he can be freely sent up and down.

In 2003, Claudio Vargas split time between AAA and Montreal. That would be one option year.

In 2004, he appeared only in Montreal. I suppose it's possible that he started in the minors but never appeared (which would be highly unlikely). Even if he had, that would only be his second option year.

In 2005, he began the year on the DL. He pitched in NO on a rehab assignment. Even if he had had that assignment extended, it would've been just his third option year, and it would mean he could be assigned up and down freely throughout the year.

Is he wrong? Does he not know he's wrong?

I suppose there could be some wrinkle about the number of years that Vargas pitched in the minors, but I'm not aware of that. If someone knows, please let me know.

But for now it looks like a screwup -- a screwup that Bowden has apparently learned nothing from.

As an aside, they rushed Vargas back from the DL. They had intended for him to be a reliever, but he didn't feel comfortable having to warm up in the bullpen frequently, or feel capable of pitching with a reliever's workload, so they threw him in the rotation.

He was a disaster. We ripped him regularly because he couldn't throw a curveball. It was 99% fastball. After a while, the hitters were sitting back and bashing him. That's a pretty big indication that his elbow was still tender -- the curve puts a lot of stress on the elbow.

With some time off and as the distance between his surgery grew, he was able to start throwing the curve and other pitches, giving him a full variety. That's when he started to succeed.

So even if there's a transaction wrinkle that I'm unaware of, which is certainly possible, there's no reason they couldn't have DL'd him again. Remember, this is a time when we had starting pitchers coming out our wazoo: Day, Ohka, Rauch, Kim. Any of them could've filled in his spot in the rotation easily.

Oh well.


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