Friday, November 26, 2004

Salary Thoughts

In the very same report announcing that the Nationals have sold 15,000 full-season tickets, Barry Svrluga (buy a vowel, please, Barry) notes that "The team's budget will be around $50 million, sources said, nearly 20 percent more than it was in Montreal."

That put me on considering the amount of spending room the Nationals have for the upcoming season. I figure this year's payroll thusly:

PlayerEst. Salary (K)
Tony Armas $2,700*
Luis Ayala $350
Francis Beltran $350
Chad Cordero $350
Zach Day $800
Scott Downs $400
Livan Hernandez $6,000
Joey Eischen $800
Tomo Okha $2,700*
Jon Rauch $350
Jon Patterson $350
Claudio Vargas $350
Brian Schneider $2,000*
Vinny Castilla $3,100
Cristian Guzman $4,200
Nick Johnson $2,500*
Jose Vidro $7,500
Brad Wilkerson $3,500*
Jose Guillen $3,500
Termel Sledge $350
Jamey Carroll $350
Endy Chavez $800
Total $43,300
* denotes estimated arbitration salary.

That leaves about $7 million to spend. The Nats need a backup catcher to Brian Schneider, and they can probably pick up someone like Brook Fordyce for $700k or so. That only leaves about $ 6 million to spend - not accounting for trades that might otherwise cut salary. With a starting rotation of Hernandez-Day-Armas-Okha-Rauch (a rotation of a #2 starter and four #4 starters), it might seem worthwhile signing someone like Matt Clement for $5 million per year.

I'm a fan of Matt Clement. He keeps the ball down - he's allowed 18, 22 and 23 homers pitching the last three years - and strikes a lot of guys out - more than 9 K's per 9 innings of work in 2002 and 2004. He's underappreciated because his win totals haven't been impressive- he's only been 35-36 in his last three seasons with the Cubs. He very well may excel in spacious RFK - I wouldn't be surprised to see his ERA drop into the low 3's.

By signing Clement, the Nats would also push someone like Tomo Okha out of the rotation and into the trading pool. As a cheap but effective starting pitcher, he could bring a solid hitter in return from a team with a lot of extra outfielders.


At 10:30 AM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

As you know, I like Clement as well. I think if they signed him and then IMMEDIATELY got to work on his control to try to cut his walks in half, he could really be on his way to a semi-regular ERA in the low 3s. Control will be key though.


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