Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I really do want to be positive...

So, I've been away the past few days in Las Vegas, but let me regale you with my Thursday morning in the airport on the way to Vegas....
[me seeing headline in Wash Post]. "The Nats got Soriano?!?"
[Guy holding paper] "Yeah, it's a big bat. Just what they needed."
Me: "Wow, that's interesting. I better buy a paper."
Me to same random guy reading paper after I read article saying how we traded away Wilkerson and Sledge and a prospect for a second baseman that the article made clear would refuse to play outfield no matter how much the Nats wanted him to and that we would be paying about $10 million for him for one season, and after doing a rough calculation (since the exact stats I needed were of course not mentioned in the article), that Soriano's OBP last year was in the .305-.310 range.... "This is awful!!"
Random guy: "Well, we gave a lot up, but he'll hit 35-40 homers for us."
Me: No, he won't. He'll hit 36 homers if you give him 25 to hit in Arlington and 11 on the road. He'll hit about 18 homers for us and that's if they find him some place to play. Hopefully, shortstop.
Random guy: "We have Cristian Guz..."
That's when I hit him.

Let me tell you. Airport security reacts pretty damn fast.

Anyway, I put it out of my mind until getting back to work yesterday and I can see that those on this board and other respectable boards have the same inclinations. I am not sure how you sign a guy that won't play the position that you want him to and who can't hit in your ballpark because he can't get on base. I'm not saying this is the case, but you could imagine a world in which Rangers owner Tom Hicks mentions to MLB at the fall meetings "I'd sure love to unload Soriano," to which MLB responds "ah, just give him to the Nationals. The new owner (laughs) will pay him."

Speaking of new owners, has anyone else noticed....we still don't have one. Ah, yes, we've all noticed. Personally, I think it will be another while longer. MLB's actions have made it pretty clear that we aren't getting an owner until the lease deal is completely settled. Now MLB has made it clear that despite some councilmembers' wishes, a site near RFK is a non-starter (it apparently needed to do it in a letter because all the sound bites it was giving to the press weren't taking hold as councilmembers continued to say that MLB was open to an RFK site). The councilmembers have given a lot of indications that they will vote down the lease because they want to look good to taxpayers (heck, even Ralph Nader spoke at the anti-lease hearing they had yesterday). All of this spells stadium delays and owner delays, not to mention the icky spectre of having no team at all--I will leave it to SuperNova to explain how MLB has a couple of month window next year in which to contract any team it wants with no input from the player's union. This should all leave a bad taste in fans' mouths, especially as we continue to have no impact on the free agent market without an owner.

Finally, one last point on Soriano. I love Bowden's take on him. From this article:

Soriano has resisted previous attempts to move to the outfield. General manager Jim Bowden said he had yet to speak to Soriano about his role with the Nationals.
"He's such a great athlete that he's able to play other positions," Bowden said. "He could play center, he could play left. Winning players always care about the name on the front of the jersey more than the name on the back of the jersey. I've had instances before in my career where star players have had to change positions. Players normally like the position that they're playing, and that's understandable. If we decided to move him, it'll be because it's in the best interest of the name on the front of the jersey."
Given that Soriano has been asked by two different teams to play different positions "for the good of the team" and he has always steadfastly refused, is there any reason to suspect that Soriano cares more about the "name on the front of the jersey?" My gut reaction to all this? Bowden was still in the running for the Red Sox GM job until the Red Sox brass saw this trade and said "oh my! We just dodged a bullet. Give the job to those two kids Theo used to work with." Just a theory.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Sir, you have read my mind. Welcome home. Now go beat up on Needham for a while. He's over at the park-adjusted stats shrine sacrificing his (unborn) children.


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