Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Catching Up Edition

It's been a while, so there's lots to get to....

In the wake of Alfonso Soriano's three homer game, there's been a flurry of reaction, looking back at the trade. (If you didn't see the bombs, here's the video)

Nats Triple Play wonders if it's time to reconsider: "As much as it pains me to admit it (and it pains me deeply,) Trader Jim may have lucked into something here."

Federal Baseball has been impressed by Soriano: "So, what's the scorecard right now? Pretty damned good for Jim Bowden, at the moment. And, while things can change from April to May, and May to June, and so forth (just ask '05 Vinny Castilla), we must not only accept this (as cynical observers of Bowden's decisionmaking) but enjoy it (as ardent fans). Soriano has been just short of awesome."

Oleanders prefers to take the long view. "It’s natural we make a judgement on these stats. But it’s like we’ve looked up at the scoreboard in inning #1 and we’re up 2-0. That’s nice and all, let’s enjoy the lead, but let’s not proclaim the game over and the Nats champs just yet."

All three posts are excellent and work in concert with each other. They're worth the few clicks.

  • Along the same lines, Jim Bowden now claims that he studied hit charts before making the Soriano trade, so that he knew that Soriano would be able to hit homers. While I have no doubt that someone in the front office at least made a rudimentary look at them, for him to crow about them now is silly.

    If hit charts were so instrumental in his evaluation, then why is Jim Bowden talking about a long-term contract extension for Jose Guillen when it's pretty clear, from those same hitting charts, that he's a horrible fit from the park?

    From the archives, right after the trade, I looked at the hitting charts and concluded that Soriano would be able to homer at RFK.

  • From that same game, here's the video of Ryan Zimmerman's tremendous diving catch on a soft flare to short left field. Watch how far he runs and the jump he gets on the ball.

  • Sports Illustrated says that the team is going to hell in a handbasket, but that there's a little bit of room for optimism.

  • Lots of ownership news and non-news.
    --Bobby DuPuy met with the Lerners; Malek/Zients are meeting with BeezleBud.
    --DC Gov't hacks are kvetching that they don't know the Lerners, even as they're obeying an MLB-imposed gag order that neither Smulyan's group (who was all over TV) or Malek's group (who has allegedly smeared every other group with a whisper campaign to the press).
    --Meanwhile, all groups are touting their blackness. Minority ownership is a worthy goal to be certain, but this parading around bothers me in some sense. Take Smulyan, for example. He made big news this week when he touted that his group would have an African American as team President. While I have no basis to judge the qualifications of Eric Holder, who was named as the leading candidate, pushing him out there does him a disservice and makes it seem like he's getting the position not because of his competence, but because of racial pandering. That's extremely unfair to Mr. Holder, and is the kind of politics this country could do without. It's a touchy subject, and I'll step back off the soapbox now.

  • John Patterson has had his start pushed back a day to Thursday. He was on schedule to pitch against the Reds on Wednesday, but will now face the Cardinals because of 'forearm stiffness' That frequently turns into tendinitis, and needs to be watched. Ramon Ortiz takes his spot, and will be bombed by the Reds.

  • Cristian Guzman has started playing intrasquad games, and should be ready to go to the minors for a rehab assignment in a week or two. Robert Fick, who's playing at Double-A, should be ready around May 7. Pedro Astacio has been throwing BP (funny, so has Livan!), and should be ready to go on a rehab assignment in a week or so.

  • Brendan Harris has been designated the team's emergency catcher. God help us if he sees time back there!

  • Bill Ladson opens the ol' mailbag again, but with attitude! According to him, the Nats should be perfectly fine with the completely unbalanced home schedule because back in his day, the Expos played all 162 games on the road and they walked everywhere to boot! Also, he feels that the Braves are better than the Nats because of their leadership. Yep. To prove this, he uses an anecdote about how no one talked to Jose Guillen after a recent bad throw. (Perhaps everyone on the team is afraid of the sonofabitch and they didn't want a bat as an appendage?)

  • Federal Baseball has a review of The Last Nine Innings.

  • Nats Blog has their weekly summary of Nat Stats. Would you believe Ryan Church as the Nats Most Valuable Player?

  • Nasty Nats takes issue with Sunday night's game and the caught stealings. Although I loathe both, I think that the two examples he uses were ok in the context of the game. On both plays, Royce Clayton was thrown out trying to steal while Brian Schneider was at the plate -- once on a straight steal, once on a hit-and-run. Given the batter at the plate and the pitcher on deck, as well as Clayton's decent base-stealing abilities, they seemed like a decent risk at the time. That they didn't work out is another matter.

    Still, Frank does HNR FAR too much. Has it worked even ONCE this season? Seriously. I can't remember a HNR single.


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