Sunday, July 09, 2006

King For A Day

Sure, this is pointless, but, well, as I'm learning, blogging, in general, is pretty pointless, too. (Yes, I have a comma fetish) If Stan Kasten were to call me up (and all he needs to do is talk to the ticket office if he wants my number) and offer me the GM job, this is what I'd do in the short-term with the team.

Think I'm an idiot? Think I'm a genius? Think I missed something, or is there something special you'd do? Chip it in the comments.

1)Fire Frank
Irrespective of his incompetence at on-field strategy, it's a move that needs to be made (and one that seems inevitible anyway). Frank can be a good fit with the right team, but with one with young players with an eye on a few years down the road, he's not the guy. He doesn't have patience for youngsters and chews through pitchers as if it were game 7. Frank manages for today, which is completely at odds with what the organization needs to do.

2) Shut Down John Patterson For The Year
Today makes me think it's not a 'dead arm', but a 'sore arm'. Sliders don't roll with a dead arm, but a sore arm. This year is meaningless, so make sure he's healthy over the next two or three, when we'll really need him.

3) DFA Mike Stanton, Damian Jackson and Matt LeCroy
Stanton's useless, especially with the emergence of Bray. Left-handed batters are hitting .288/ .351/ .404 off him. Yeesh. Maybe someone'll take a chance on him, but if they do, they're going to be non-prospects anyway.

Jackson's worthless, playing lousy defense wherever you put him. He can't hit unless he plays regularly, and if he plays regularly, he complains about the exertion. Adios!

LeCroy was an interesting signing that just didn't work as he was completely unable to play catcher. Without that, he's useless to the team. Signed to be a lefty-masher, he's faced more RHP, and not really mashed lefties when he's faced him. Who needs a backup DH? Nobody really.

4) Shop Jose Vidro Around
See if anyone bites. Getting rid of his contract ($16 million over the next two years) is more important than aquiring any talent for him. He's hitting .300, so maybe someone'll bite.

His knee seems to be bugging him again (he's been asking for time off occasionally), and his defense has slid (slud?) off the face of the earth. He doesn't walk, hits for almost no power, and hits grounders as if he were paid to do so, creating a ton of DPs. Adios Jose; I hope you play for a winner.

5) Trade Ryan Church
I love the guy, but he needs to move on. I'm not sure if it's Frank that's the problem or Bowden (or someone else in the Front Office). But he needs a change of scenery. And even though his value isn't what it was (remember in the offseason when he was considered the key in the potential Javier Vazquez deal?), he could be useful to a team like the Yankees as a fourth OFer.

6) Try To Trade Jose Guillen and Livan
He's already burned bridges with 7 other teams, so finding a partner would be difficult under ordinary circumstances. And .210/ .270/ .402 is far from ordinary. I suspect they'll end up holding on to him (and any contributions he makes in the second half is probably going to be more valuable than the mediocre prospects they'd get anyway.) The interesting choice will be in the offseason. If he sticks around, do they risk offering him arbitration to net the draft picks. Best case, he declines. Worst case, he's around another year at a probably overvalued contract.

I tend to think that Livan's toast. If someone'll give you something for him, great. If not, shut him down for a few weeks to see if he can get healthy before trying him again. There are hints that his knee is acting up again, but I'm not convinced that that's the problem. Sore knees don't hang sliders; sore arms do. If I had to bet, I'd say that he's hiding some arm pain.

7) Trade Soriano
Sure, he's made noises about wanting to say, but if you look over his shoulder, you can see his agent's lips moving, adding the important clause at the end, "If you pay him the highest amount of money." AJ Burnett said he'd sign with the Nats too. Alotta good that did us. If the Nats can get Howie Kendrick and a minor league arm or two, cut your losses and do it. Meanwhile, pray that Milwaukee continues to win so as to keep Carlos Lee (a superior player) off the market.

If you don't get a Kendrick-type, pass. Hold on to him and take the draft picks at the end of the year.

8) Find A Long Reliever
Whether it's Micah Bowie or someone else, the team needs a pitcher who can go three innings when one of our starters get bombed (and having a manager who doesn't pull a starter when they allow three runs in the second inning will help). This doesn't need to be a good pitcher, just someone who can go three innings while giving up fewer than 8 runs.

9) Call up Harris.
Let him play shortstop. I don't want to hear any crap about what a pro that Royce Clayton is. He's garbage. Everyone complains about Guzman's defense, but Clayton has just four fewer errors (11) than Guzman had all of last year. And we've already talked about his horrid range.

And no matter how many little things he does, he's still a terrible offensive player.
Overall OPS: .669 (84/89 NL qualified batters)
Batting 2: .670 (84/89)
Batting 7: .580 (88/89)
No matter what, he sucks.

Harris can play bad defense, too, but at least he might stumble into a hit here and there. Plus, it'd give him ML experience for when they hand him the 2B job next year after Vidro's (hopeful!) trade.

Josh Labandeira's not hitting in New Orleans, but maybe he's worth a chance, even if he's a particularly stupid kid. See what you've got at least. You know Clayton's not going to be around in three years. Maybe Harris or Labandeira would be?

10) Try Out More Kid Arms
With Frank gone, it's time to try out some "young" arms. Roy Corcoran, Kyle Denney, Kevin Gryboski (that's why I said "young"), Travis Hughes, and a bunch of others are having decent, even if not spectacular, seasons. Give 'em a chance, and see what shakes out. Maybe they work, maybe they don't. But with a lost season, there's time to experiment.

Rotation: Livan, O'Connor, Astacio, Ortiz, Hill/Rookie O'-The-Day.
Pen: Cordero, Majewski, Rauch, Bray, Long Reliever (Bowie?), New Orleans refugee.


  • Welcome back.

    Agree completely, especially with the trade Soriano thing. It is rather irritating seeing all the people on other message boards going "OMG Don't trade Soriano", "Keep Soriano", "SORI!".

    If we can get Kendrick, we do it. The problem is, I don't think we're going to get a prospect like Howie Kendrick much less Lastings Milledge.

    By Blogger yellow586, at 7/10/2006 1:43 AM  

  • I'm with you, but will add:

    1. Fire Frank as field manager, offer him a front office job in community relations or some such. If he refuses, let him bitch to the press - one thing at which he still excels.

    2. Move Cordero to set-up and Majewski to closer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 7:47 AM  

  • Agree with most of what you say. However, I have seen Josh Labandiera play during spring training and he is worse than Damien Jackson. He can't hit a lick and he is butcher at second base. He isn't young anymore and he stands about 5'5". There is no way he has any major league potential.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 7:56 AM  

  • Welcome back. You were missed.

    I agree with each move suggested. Doesn't go far enough, though. Anderson and Fick are also scrubs, even if they're the big scrubs in the clubhouse.

    If the team doesn't promote Mr. Robinson out to the front office at the change-of-ownership, then it might as well hang on to him for the rest of the year. This is a year completely lost to incompetence from all directions, the fans just need to suffer through it and hope for next year. Given the non-change in GM...the next few years may be bleak as well.

    I've had a few new mantras the last few games:

    Guillen is the new Guzman.
    Guillen = Guzman 2006.
    Guillen - Frank's on-field reality.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 8:31 AM  

  • Zaranow,
    I hope we'll be able to get a Kendrick (someone who's in the top 25 or so of all MLB prospects). If not, take the picks. I wouldn't mind watching Soriano flail at sliders for another 3 months.

    I'm with you on the 'promoting' Frank. He certainly does deserve something for his service. As far as Cordero/Majewski, I don't think it matters much. They're similar pitchers. It's not like Majewski comes in and blows everyone away all the time -- if he had pitched decently yesterday, Cordero wouldn't have had to go 6 outs.

    Certainly possible on Josh. I'm just throwing it out there. But the way I'm looking at it is if there's a chance that he could even contribute off the bench, now's the time to find out. It's not like Clayton's going to be around next year. (at least I hope not!)

    Wary Fan,
    Anderson's a very good NL bench player. He can fill in at second, first, the corners, and now center. I don't mind having him around, especially since he's under contract for next year anyway. I'd have dropped Fick, too, but I don't really want to see Wiki back, or even Alberto Castillo.

    I think keeping Frank would be a mistake because of these tensions. Frank's never going to manage with an eye for tomorrow. It's all about today. I keep thinking about last year, and his treatment of Halama and Rasner. Had he had patience with them, and taken the occasional loss, would Patterson not have been overworked last year? Things like that...

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/10/2006 8:48 AM  

  • I'm thinking Ramon Ortiz would be a valuable piece in a package. He's been quite dependable and so many teams need could use a solid middle of the rotation guy that I wonder if including him with a Vidro (or even a Soriano) would be the key that unlocks the truly premium prospects.

    By Blogger Sam, at 7/10/2006 10:17 AM  

  • I don't think we'll see Hill pitch at the MLB level for the rest of the year: they'll be cautious with his arm for the same reason they should do it with Patterson.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 7/10/2006 10:19 AM  

  • Allow me to join the "Welcome Back" chorus.

    Is there any way to "promote" Frank that doesn't look like he's being given a "window seat?" Since a Major League Front Office is even more concerned with looking toward the future than the current game than the manager's post, where could Frank contribute? Name him Executive Vice President for Major League Analysis?

    If Frank was canned--excuse me, promoted--who would be the best replacement? Davey Johnson? Tim Foli from New Orleans?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 10:27 AM  

  • I personally don't see how you could remove Frank mid-season gracefully, and I don't think that that would be a good way to bring in a replacement, especially since this season is worthless anyway. I think you have to keep Frank until the offseason, and just try to make it clear to him that the priority is keeping players healthy, not winning that night's game.

    I think Soriano should be traded unless there is really no market at all. We should be able to get a good position prospect, but even if we don't like what we get I'm not thrilled at the idea of a 1st round and supplemental pick at best for him (or, the way some rich teams are playing, a sup. round and 2nd round pick).

    My one other comment is that I think Harris should replace Vidro; I'm not sure he's capable of playing short and I'm not sure its fair to him to have him play at a position he doesn't have the range to play successfully (or at least thats what I've read).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 10:48 AM  

  • Sam, certainly dump Ortiz if you can. Someone's always looking for a fourth starter. You won't get much for him, but who cares?

    SOL/JW, I don't much care about 'grace'. ;) Frank is always going to play a veteran over a youngster, and that's directly opposed to what we need to have happen point forward this season. I'd give Frank an ultimatum of playing youngsters and changing how he handles starters, or he can walk.

    I suspect he'd walk.

    As far as Harris, sure, I'd rather him play 2B, but that's contingent on dumping Vidro. If that gets done, great. If not, I'd rather have Harris at short than Clayton. Clayton's slightly better defensivley (but still below average) and Harris has a shot of being decent offensively, something Clayton hasn't been in about 5 years.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 7/10/2006 10:54 AM  

  • Brandon Wood and Joe Saunders for Soriano. That's the deal we need and can get. A power hitting SS and an arm. Perfect. Arte Moreno wants to win and maybe he'll go all Dan Snyder on Bill Stoneman, making him acquire the best position player on the market. I can dream can't I?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 11:04 AM  

  • I completely agree with you, especially when it comes to auditioning the youngsters now.

    Two things are certain, this season is lost and the Nats will be trading for young talent. I think this is the time to call up Harris and some of the pitchers and find out who is going to be part of the long term solution around here. Yes, trading for new prospects is good but if you are truly committed to rebuilding then you also have to find out what you currently have to build around.

    I'm beginning not to care what happens to Frank. His sense of entitlement is more swollen than Livan's ERA.

    You're right, there is zero point in John Patterson pitching another inning this year.

    Welcome back.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 7/10/2006 3:48 PM  

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