Monday, January 22, 2007

Fouled-Off Bunts: Lots Of Good Stuff Edition

Felipe Lopez and the Nats split the difference of their arbitration requests, giving FLop a 1-year, $3.9 million contract.

Of the 6 arb-eligibles, Lopez and Snelling have signed. Cordero, Patterson, Kearns and Escobar remain.

  • Mike O'Connor, after having elbow surgery, is not going to be ready for spring training and is likely to start the season on the DL.

    O'Connor tried to pitch though the elbow problems last year. If you look at his game log, you can pretty much see the day he hurt it.

  • The Minnesota Twins signed Ramon Ortiz to a $3.1 million contract. He's obviously not worth the money, but it's an especially strange move for a Twins staff that has upper-level pitching that's ready for the majors that he's blocking. As Twins Uber-Blogger Aaron Gleeman points out, it's one thing to develop minor league talent; it's another thing to actually have the guts to give them a shot.

  • Brian Lawrence signed with the Rockies where their poor fans will soon learn that Colorado is probably not the best place for a pitcher who had middling stuff even before all the arm problems.

  • Tomo Ohka ruled out the Pirates today [vice versa?], leaving the Blue Jays, Mets and Nats [!?] as his remaining suitors. We haven't heard anything about the Nats interest since that initial flurry (and before the Jerome Williams signing). Is this legit interest still, or is this the agent trying to manipulate the bidding process?

    Is there a role for Ohka on the team? I guess. With him, if he's healthy, the Nats staff wouldn't be completely terrible: Patterson, Ohka, Redding, Hill, Williams. That's not a division winner, but that's a staff that could be league average -- light year's better than the crap from last year.

    But Ohka's health is a huge concern. He had rotator cuff problems last year, and with free agency on the horizon, he chose not to go under the knife, preferring rest and rehab to strengthen the shoulder. It's possible that it would work, but a quick look at Ohka's game log after his return shows that he was toast: Over his last 12 starts, he pitched to a 5.71 ERA with 4.4 K/9 (dreadful!).

    There are plenty of alarms, bells, whistles, fireworks and neon lights around his name. But that, of course, is why he's only going to get a one-year deal.

  • Any chance of Ryan Church ending up in Wrigley seem about gone, as the Cubs seem content with giving Alfonso Soriano first crack at center.

  • So how do you get the DC Council to approve $36 million in funding for the godawful above-ground garages? Easy! You slip it through during a transition so it gets approved automatically.


  • Brian from Nationals Farm Authority meets his white whale, getting an interview with the Nats scouting director, Dana Brown. Brown's a sharp guy who certainly knows how to stay on message. I was glad to see some specifics on the manpower improvements to the scouting department. Brown says that the Nats are up to 15 area scouts who cover certain regions of the country, which is roughly what the typical team has. They've also doubled the number of cross-checkers (basically a more senior second set of eyes) to four.

    NFA also notes that the Nats have released a few minor league stiffs. The name that'll seem most familiar is Rhys Taylor, one of the two players the Nats got for 72 hours of Mike Stanton.

  • Basil at Teh Fed gets around to crunching numbers that I've been noodling around in my head. Using Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projects (I referenced them last week in terms of its similar batters) and a lineup simulator, he tries to see which CF/LF combo would yield the best results for the Nats. So how many fewer runs would a lineup with Kory Casto and Nook Logan score than a lineup with Ryan Church and Chris Snelling? You'll have to check out Basil's results yourself.

  • Just A Nats Fan got the rundown of the recent Dominican Republic trip for Fredericksburg Daily Lance-Star Free Bugle writer, Todd Jacobson, and has some interesting pictures. The contrast between Smiley Gonzalez' shack and Jose Rijo's mansion's gazebo is pretty striking.

  • Not to be outdone with the Jacobson love, Nats 320 scored a fairly candid interview with Jacobson. (Parts 1 2 3 4)

    There's some interesting stuff buried in there, including an interesting description of Damian Jackson and how he was to deal with, his belief that Vidro was looking forward to a trade, an insider's look at Kasten, his feelings on Ryan Church and the team's treatment of him, and lots of other stuff!

  • Nationals Enquirer continues their series of exclusive looks at some of the other pitchers the Nats have signed.

  • The Sports Bog is all over Manny Acta, Nook Logan and the National's Winter Caravan. Wherein you learn that:

    --Screech likes to grind on children.
    --Dave Jageler doesn't understand verbal irony: By the way, Jageler just introduced "one of the most exciting players in baseball," and it turned out to be Nook Logan. Go figure.
    --Nook Logan likes the Cowboys and the Tarheels. (Left unsaid: He stinks)
    --Manny Acta is good with kids (insert your own rotation joke)
    --Manny Acta probably secretly thinks that the Lerners are Teh Cheep11!1!

  • And now for something completely different...

    Ever wondered how the Washington Nationals and the new stadium could you help you come to terms with the morality or the immorality of abortion? Yeah?! Then it's your lucky day!


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