Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: We're Happy, Johnson Is Extended Edition

By now you probably already know the news. If not, why not? Do you hate baseball or somethin'? Nick Johnson, who would have been a free agent at the end of the year, received a three-year contract extension worth $16.5 million. It's a great deal. If he's healthy, it's an incredible steal. If he's broken 75% of the time, as per his usual, it's a fair deal. Regardless, it locks up another player long-term -- one of the few that the team would actually want to build around.

I'll have more about how good (and underappreciate NJ is) sometime this week, depending on how drunk I get.

I'm not going to read anything in to the timing of the extension. You could interpret it any number of ways, none of which any of us have a clue about. Maybe MLB got a sign off from the potential ownership group(s)? Maybe Jimbo's just trying to save face considering the colossal bag of manure he got from Texas and set aflame on our doorstep? I don't know. You don't know. Who knows.

  • John Patterson is a freakin' stud. I know I've cautioned against reading too much into Spring Stats, but I also said to watch for pitchers working on new things. Patterson's working on the changeup that Randy St. Claire taught to Carrasco, and in the two games he's used it, he's been almost unhittable.

    Patterson survived last year throwing mostly a fastball and curve. He mixed in a slider here and there, but those other two were his bread and butter. If he does develop a changeup, he's a Cy Young contender. I have zero doubt about that.

    A well-thrown changeup would not only accentuate the speed and bite of his fastball, it would be an effective weapon against left-handers especially. A good changeup is going to dive down and away from a left-handed batter. If you've seen Pedro Martinez' changeup, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's almost a screwball action (a reverse curve).

    Patterson did better against lefties than he did against righties last year, and he actually faced more lefties than righties.

    If he's healthy, and if he gets any run support, wow. I'm going to enjoy it.

  • As good as JP has been, Ramon Ortiz has been as bad. Perhaps you can detect the odor of his pitches from here? He gave up another bunch of runs, bringing his spring total to 11 in just 8 innings. I'm not good with numbers and stuff, but that's a lot, right?

    League-Run, Internet-Only News Service Beat-Writer Guy says that he was working on a new grip for his slider and a changeup. But he was also, apparently, behind in the count, and St. Claire said that he wishes he'd be more aggressive in the strikezone (read: "Why won't he thrown the farkin' ball over the plate!!?!?!?!?").

  • Since Ortiz is stinking (yeah, I know it's early), I looked at the schedule. Looking at the April schedule, it lacks all the off-days that teams typically build into it for rained-out openers, so the Nats aren't really going to have much of a chance to start the season short a pitcher. Still, they don't really need a fifth starter until 3/12, after the home opener.

  • Jon Rauch, who's out of options, has looked respectable, but he's having problems with his endurance. He hasn't been asked to pitch more than three innings in forever, and given his attempted recovery from a torn labrum, he ran out of gas the other day. Just spring conditioning, or does he not have the juice to start?

  • Cristian Guzman has bursitis. He had a cortisone shot, and they've prescribed a week's worth of rest. Losing Guzman, obviously, isn't a big deal. But it does mean that Royce Clayton (who's hitting just as bad) is increasingly likely to head north. Given his $1 million pricetag, we all better hope that that doesn't happen.

    In short, bursitis is inflamation of a sack of fluid near a joint, which aids in smooth, fluid movement. It can usually be cured with rest, but with the wear and tear a MLB ballplayer faces, it's something that we're going to have to watch, lest we get stuck with Clayton. Aieee!

  • Other injuries:
    --Guillen's swinging
    --Eischen's throwing
    --Drese's not doing much


    • Royce Clayton? Who exactly did I piss off?

      -B. Harris

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/13/2006 8:42 AM  

    • Come on, Brendan. Are you going to play shortstop? You aren't an everyday shortstop. Maybe if you played shortstop everyday, you'd get a chance to start at shortstop everyday.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/13/2006 10:52 AM  

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