Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fouled-Off Bunts: Now With 100% Unoriginal Content Edition

Nats 320 is back with the second and third parts of their interview with Kasten. Other than the news that they're phasing out Screech, Part 3 has all the good stuff.

The big news is that he overruled his staff on Soriano. Bowden, it seems, wanted to trade him for the best offer at the time, but Kasten didn't think it was a good enough deal: "We were about to trade him for NEXT TO NOTHING!! And that’s, when I had to step in, and say--NO!!. We are not going down that road. WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO STUPID THINGS!!."

(Presumably, Kasten didn't speak in CAPS)

He does get off another dodge about payroll:
"I couldn’t tell you what our Opening Day payroll will be yet. I just don’t know. Part of it being, I don’t know what my revenues will be, until I get closer to Opening Day."

This is where you have to parse the language again. He damn well knows what his revenues are going to be. They know what they're getting from local and national media. They just don't know how many tickets they're going to sell, but they certainly have a pretty damn good idea of how many. They're not going into the process blindly, especially this late in the offseason.

  • In scrapheap pitcher news, Ryan Franklin signed a $1 million deal with the Cardinals -- too rich for our blood! And John Thomson signed a $500K deal with the Blue Jays. Too rich for our blood! (Damn those minimum salaries preventing us from paying our players what they're really worth!)

  • Ho-hum. The Nats signed four Dominicans.

  • Apparently Jacobson had the scoop. Only now, after being spoonfed it at a press conference, do the Post, Times and get around to reporting the no job for Frank story. (One of those stories is not like the other two, which is quite interesting. Quite interesting, indeed.)

    Frank's cantankerousness (Is that really a word) in the two that aren't like the third, really comes off the wrong way, I think. I'm supposed to feel sympathy for him, which I do in some respects, but his bitterness really makes that difficult.

  • At the bottom of the article is some actual on-field news. Acta says that Nuke Logan will be the assumed starting center fielder heading into spring training. (Memo to Church: Apparently there's no competition either!) Acta cites improvements needed in the defense. To be sure, that's something that really needs to be tightened up, especially with the pitching staff that's trotting out there, but I really worry about an offense that's carrying him and Cristian Guzman (not to mention Schneider and, potentially, Casto).

    I'm interested, too, to see how Lopez adjusts to second. Range-wise, he's basically average, maybe a bit below. But it's his throwing that's a problem. At second, he has more time, and the throw isn't as long, but it's a more intricate play for the 2B on the DP. He's certainly going to be a 10-run (or more!) improvement over Vidro, but... We'll see.

    The team also plans to carry 12 pitchers. I think that's a bit of a mistake, especially starting out on Opening Day when traditionally, a boatload of offdays allows you to skip your fifth starter for two weeks or so. But I also think that that's a bit of a mistake in the NL, where a bench is so vital.

    12 pitchers and 8 starters leaves 5 spots. One goes to Flores, the other to Fick. You need a backup MI (Wilson?), a fourth outfielder (Church, who's out of options or Snelling -- is he out? He's gotta be close), and then there's just one spot left. That really eliminates flexibility, especially for PHing and Double switching, which, with Guzman and Logan, are going to be necessities. Where's Daryle Ward when you need him?

    And Crushing all faith I had in his ability to be a competent manager, Acta says that Cristian Guzman is the leading candidate to bat second. Refuckingdiculous. Hopefully that's just Acta talking up a crappy player, but even Frank Robinson, the worst strategic manager in the history of the game, gave up on the Guzman batting second experiment halfway through '05.

    Brian Schneider would literally be a better #2 option than Guzman. With a higher obp, why not? (I'd prefer Church or Snelling, but eh, who asked me?)

  • Those of you with RSS feeds of this ol' blog have seen a bunch of strange entries pop up over the last week or so. When I debuted the ol' Organizational Tree earlier, I mentioned that I'd be adding things to it. I've started creating little mini pages/profiles/scouting reports of various players -- works in progress. I got a little bit of feedback from a few people that they enjoyed the capsules, so rather than backdating them, I'll probably just run them as I do them.

    If you're interested, these are the ones I've done:
    Luis Ayala
    Chad Cordero
    John Patterson
    Jon Rauch
    Brian Schneider
    Nick Johnson
    Ryan Zimmerman


    • Actually, the Nats only have one off-day in the season's first 3 weeks. So, unless there are rainouts, they'll have 20 games in the first 21 days of the season. Given the probable number of times we're going see the starter leave after 3-2/3 IP, a seven-man bullpen may seem too small rather than too large.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/11/2007 10:24 AM  

    • When I saw that SOL had commented, I knew I was about to be corrected. ;)

      I think the same problem happened last year in that they've farted around with the schedule so much that the traditional rainout days have disappeared. OF course that gives them more offdays in the summer. A few times last year, we had Thursday off, three games, then Monday off. Weird.

      I'll be interested to see how Acta plays it. Frank never let a pitcher take a beating, playing each game as if it were his last. Acta's likely going to have to leave Colby Lewis out there for a 4-inning pounding from time to time.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 1/11/2007 10:28 AM  

    • Snelling is also out of options

      By Blogger Brian, at 1/11/2007 10:31 AM  

    • Is there a reason you can't mention that particular writer's name? ;)

      It is like Betelgeuse?

      I'd bet a large sack of money that Macias doesn't make the opening day roster.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 1/11/2007 11:17 AM  

    • Why? Are you afraid of them? Afraid they're going to sue? Scaredy cat!

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 1/11/2007 11:35 AM  

    • I don't know why any beat writer would sue. It's just a hypothetical!

      What if a beat writer were to express opinions either in their reporting or in, say, a mailbag? Are they still off limits?

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 1/11/2007 11:45 AM  

    • Oh, so you, an internet blogger, thinks the mailbags are worthless?

      Somehow that's not surprising.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 1/11/2007 11:51 AM  

    • Chris, he won't know what the revenues are until the payroll is set. There is a simple formula for the revenues according to baseball management.

      Announced Revenues = Payroll - Payroll(.10)

      By Blogger Harper, at 1/11/2007 1:36 PM  

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