Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Vidro For Sale Edition

Tom Boswell says that trading Jose Vidro might be the best option:
Actually, the Nats know that one of four scenarios will eventually play out. None is terrible. Most are good. Soriano can agree to play left field so Vidro can play second. This is the Nats' fantasy. Believe it when you see it. Or Soriano can play second and Vidro, if he demonstrates over the next four-to-eight weeks that his knee is healthy, can be traded. This is a high-probability outcome. Or Vidro, if healthy, can play second and Soriano can be traded. This is less likely. Soriano, with 35-homer, 30-steal skills, is a better fit for the Nationals' desperate offensive needs than the more subtle Vidro.

Leaving aside the questionable nature of the last sentence, this contradicts what Dave Sheinin reports:
Team officials ruled out moving Vidro, who is considered a far better defensive player than Soriano, to another position.

The Nationals ultimately could trade Soriano, who reaches free agency after this season, although thus far the team has found his trade market less robust than it had hoped. Vidro, too, could be traded if he proves his knee is healthy. Bowden, however, said he hopes to avoid solving the problem through a trade.

"I'd like to keep them both," he said, "because if we have them both we're a much better team."

Coincidently, or not-so coincidently, Jose Vidro pulled out of the World Baseball Classic. Jim Bowden was already trying to get Vidro and Luis Ayala removed because of injury concerns (knee and elbow respectively). It's obvious that the team wanted him around, and I wonder if they threw seeds of doubt in his mind about his status with respect to playing second and Soriano's presence. Sheinin reports that Vidro was "stern-faced" after a meeting discussing the Soriano clusterfark. How much of it was his decision?

Regardless, Soriano is off for most of the spring to play second for the Dominican team. As Boswell points out, this just delays the decision a month, which, he says might not be a bad thing. If there are still questions about Vidro's knee -- which there certainly are -- then this gives the Nats a month to evaluate it. If he's hurt still, Soriano could step into second. If he's healthy, Boswell says they could pursue a trade. The Mets were always interested.

I've argued many times before for a Vidro trade. It's not that I don't like the guy or think he's any good. It's just that after this season, he still has two years and $16 million on his contract. Do you think that he's going to be worth $8 million in 2008?

It's certainly interesting, and Boswell's article raises some interesting points for debate.

  • reports that the Nats initial meeting with Soriano was a dud:
    According to a source familiar with the meeting, the think tank -- which included Bowden, Robinson, and assistant general managers Bob Boone and Tony Siegle -- spent that time trying to convince Soriano to make the switch. They mentioned that great players like Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez made position switches for the good of their teams. Bowden did most of the talking. After the team made its pitch, Soriano remained adamant that he was not going to play the outfield.

  • Nationals Journal has video of today's non-newsy press conference. If you do watch it, take a look at the interaction between Frank and Soriano. It's clear that Frank's working hard to make it work.

  • has a nice look at left-handed pitcher, Mike Hinckley. Hinckley had an outside chance of making the roster out of spring training last year. This year, he has zero chance, and has probably been passed by Bill Bray on the lefty-depth chart. (Stats)

  • Proving the complete stupidity of most international drug testing programs, Chad Cordero, an asthmatic, is prevented from using his inhaler. Not only can he not use it during the competition, he hasn't been able to use it for the last two months. Ridiculous.

  • Frank threw out (hopefully literally) the possibility of Cristian Guzman at leadoff. I'm quite sure he didn't mean it literally. (At least my sanity is hoping!) Regardless, Sheinin breaks out the stats, and shows how stupid an idea that would be.

    We (Nats bloggers) praise Barry Svrluga a lot, and it'd probably heresy to say it, but I think I might actually prefer Sheinin. He's much more stat-friendly, and still a very good writer. (I'll still take Barry's chat sessions, though!)


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