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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Nationals: #1 losers, according to SI; No, they did the Good/Right thing, according to Boswell

Boswell, GM Bowden, Pres. Kasden, Zimmerman, et al expressed the thought that Bowden did the right thing in not trading Soriano. But others think Bowden/Nationals is/are a huge failure.


given the mammoth season he's having and a weak free agent class, he easily will command a deal in the neighborhood of five years and upward of $65 million.

Jon Heyman of the Daily Scoop on SI.com picks the Nationals as the number 1 losers.

The Nationals had 7 players on the block, according to Heyman (actually, they had everyone but Zimmerman, and probably except for Schneider and Johnson on the trade block). How many of these 7 players (Soriano, Ortiz, Hernandez, Armas, Stanton, Guillen, Vidro) did the Nationals unload? One - Mike Stanton. Therefore they are the biggest losers of this trade cycle, according to Heyman. Of course Guillen is on the DL, Vidro might as well be, Hernandez is playing through the pain, Armas is on and off the DL, and Ortiz is not exactly a top-tier pitcher.

Boswell looks beyond the bottom line, the fantasy baseball team type analysis and looks closer to the team itself. While it is true that the team could conceivable have added depth to a “barren” farm system by making a trade, any trade, they still have two draft picks available to them if Soriano doesn’t sign with the team (and more if the others leave, the ones who can leave that is). Boswell noted that it might be better to create goodwill with their team (players), fans (attendance down something like 5000, fewer season ticket holders; they like Soriano), and with the rest of the baseball player pool. Boswell points out that a team can become quite hampered by their reputation. The Orioles have a quite bad reputation among the players, apparently, and they have a problem drawing free agents, or even get players to accept being traded to them (Burrell: “reportedly vetoed a trade to the Orioles”) plus management - read owner, has the tendency to turn down good deals (do they really want to win?). The Nationals were starting to go down that route, forcing Soriano to play a position he didn’t want to play, docking his pay (threatening to if he didn’t play left) and basically creating a bad environment. If someone had offered top tier prospects, the Nationals would have made the deal, but the Nationals were only offered, or apparently only offered less than top-tier prospects, so the Nationals didn’t trade Soriano. A certain minor feeling of goodwill will be developed among the Nationals players, those fans that like Soriano will be happy, and the Nationals short-to-long term farm system will take a minor hit for not making a trade. The ball, as they say, is now in Soriano’s corner. If Soriano doesn’t sign the Nationals should be able to draft prospects of a somewhat similar caliber as to those players that the other teams were offering in trade. If Soriano does sign, he can lead the core group of major league level Nationals (Kearns in right, Church in center, Zimmerman at third, Lopez at SS, Johnson at 1B, Schneider at C) as the team redevelops its farm system and fills in the missing pieces (like, say, pitching).

My opinion? What do I know, I’m just a season ticket holder. I want a reason to use my tickets, and therefore want to see Soriano on the field (along with Zimmerman, and the rest). On the other hand, I’ve been through the “rebuilding, no now we are going for it, oops we’re really rebuilding” years with the Orioles. The Orioles are dead to me now. The Nationals better get a plan and follow it. The Expos had a great farm system over the years. The players came up and then left the organization. You can rebuild the farm system while still fielding a major league level team up at the big club. If the team puts a decent group of players out on the field, signs its youngsters (instead of watching them leave like the Expos), and builds a core group of players that lead the Nationals to challenging the Braves for division title champion (Braves, shouldn’t they be challenging the Mets and Marlins?), then they will have accomplished their stated plan. But the team can go through many years of building a farm system without actually ever getting anywhere, and prospects can stumble, injury themselves, fumble around and never get anywhere.

By the way, you do know how high Soriano went in the draft, right? How the teams fought over his services, and he ended up a number 1 pick, right? Actually Soriano entered MLB professional baseball as a free agent signee of the New York Yankees.

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