Tuesday, May 24, 2005

How RFK Is Playing

In his most recent "Ten Things I Didn't Know" Studes at Hardball Times noted that:
Returns are early, as they say in Washington. But the very early evidence is that RFK is once again a pitcher's park, on about the same order as the 60's. I calculate a park factor of 91 so far this year which is based on eighteen home games and twenty-one away games. Due to the sample size, well, you shouldn't really say much of anything. Let me give you some other examples:

Well, duh. I predicted this last freaking November.

And it really shows in the Nats home/road splits. Here they are at home, a .244/.313/.380 line with 15 home runs and 74 runs scored in 20 games (3.7 runs per game). On the road, they have put up a .276/.336/.420 line, and have hit 21 home runs and scored 110 runs in 25 games (4.4 runs per game). Insert small sample size disclaimer here.

Now the key is for the Nats to take advantage of RFK as a good pitcher's park. Among other things, it makes their pitching look better than it is, meaning that they can perhaps trade some of that pitching for a quality left-fielder. Or, they can pick up someone like Mike Cameron from the Mets on the cheap (with the Mets picking up a hefty portion of his salary) and move Brad Wilkerson over to left field. Cameron is stellar defensively, and despite a poor 2004, has always put up decent power and patience numbers (including a lifetime .342 OBP).

Nothing about this, of course, is going to fix the mess the Nats are in at shortstop. Still $14 million left to pay on the Guzman deal, and he can't be traded in the first year of a multi-year free agent deal without his permission. Maybe the Twins will take him back (and maybe he will agree to go) if the Nats pick up $1.5-$2.0 million per year of his deal.


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