Monday, November 21, 2005

Bowden's Smokescreen

One idea that Bowden has been floating over the last few weeks, and that's gain traction on one of the message boards is the idea that with his recent signings of Jackson and Anderson, Bowden is free to use the team's depth at infield to make some trades. Namely, he could trade Jamey Carroll or Junior Spivey. Well, hypothetically he could, but it's also hypothetical that he could sign AJ Burnett and Brian Giles. Neither scenario is likely.

Jamey Carroll, despite being a pretty good (and chaste) guy, is a dime a dozen utility infielder. He plays all the positions passably, but has little power. He does get on base really well, and is useful as someone's legs late in a game, but he's not really bringing anything to the table that a large number of other professional ballplayers aren't.

Why would a team trade for him when they could just pick someone like him up off the waver wire?

Junior Spivey is a much more useful player. He can hit a little bit -- showing decent power -- but his low average, and the strikeouts grate on some people's nerves.

There's a big catch with him, though. It's his salary. This season, he made somewhere around $2.5 million (he had some bonuses I don't feel like figuring out). He's arbitration-eligible, meaning his salary will only go up. Figure something in the $3-$4 million range.

If you're a team that's interested in Junior Spivey, are you interested in him at that price? Probably not. And more importantly, you know that there's NO WAY that the Washington Nationals would bring him back at that price. When the deadline for tendering contracts comes up next month, Junior Spivey would likely be cut by the Nationals. They simply couldn't afford his contract for next season. When that happens, any team could sign him without giving the Nats a wooden nickel.

Jamey Carroll could be in the same boat. He's arbitration-eligible, and stands to make something like $750K, if not more. The Nationals are unlikely to keep him around at that price, and would likely set him free.

So, yes, the Nationals control their contracts. And the team could trade them. But there are two teams necessary for a trade. With Spivey and Carroll, Bowden is left to slowdance with himself.


  • Maybe he signed Jackson and Anderson with the idea of... wait for Jackson and Anderson!

    The Bowdenesque thinking goes thusly:
    Signing these guys early in free agency for too much money will make them look like valuable commodities whose services must be secured. Having artificially inflated their value, I will now reap inflated returns for them in the trade market.

    It's exactly the strategy Billy Beane would engage in, if he'd just been hit in the head repeatedly with a shovel.

    By Blogger Nate, at 11/22/2005 8:40 AM  

  • I don't think he's using Carroll and Spivey as trade bait. You're right, no one would trade for them. I think he's perfectly okay with cutting them. Jackson and Anderson are skill upgrades over Carroll and as you pointed out, Spivey is too expensive to keep around.

    We both feel that Anderson's contract is too much, but in the end he's still cheaper than signing Spivey to a deal.

    I take issue with the "Bowden is stupid because now we have extra infielders" argument. Baerga, Carroll and Spivey are as good as gone. We'll go to Viera with Jackson, Anderson, Harris, and Short (among others). Jackson, Anderson and either Harris or Short will make the team, the other starts for the Zephyrs. My $.02

    By Blogger Brandon, at 11/22/2005 9:47 AM  

  • Bowden has claimed MULTIPLE times that he now has some depth on the infield to trade, and has specifically mentioned Carroll and Spivey as possibilities -- that's why I chose them.

    Show me where I've made the "Bowden is stupid" argument. I've made the "he isn't demonstrating a plan" argument, which is in the context of the resources he has available.

    Were it me, I'd have signed either Jackson OR Anderson, and brought Carroll and Harris up as my bench.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/22/2005 9:50 AM  

  • You have not made the Bowden is stupid argument, but plenty of our colleagues have, so my comment was directed at the general audience of this widely-read blog.

    I agree, he hasn't demonstrated a plan. How can he when his own plan is to leave town?

    By Blogger Brandon, at 11/22/2005 11:40 AM  

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