No Manny for Nats; Bradley, Hudson Possible
We interrupt your annual "USC blows out a poor overmatched Big Ten team before everyone wonders whether Virginia Tech will actually win a bowl this time" holiday festivus for a brief bit of local baseball news and innuendo, not necessarily in that order.
There was rampant speculation after the disappointing end (for every team that doesn't use an interlocking NY on its hat) to the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes that the Nationals would make a push for top-ticket outfielder target Manny Ramirez. According to multiple sources, most recently MLB.com's Bill Ladson, that's definitely not the case.
From a numbers and team composition standpoint, the Nats shouldn't be interested in Ramirez. He's a right-handed batting outfielder, a role which Washington can already fill with Josh Willingham, Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena. You can't move all those guys, just some of them (Milledge is probably the most attractive commodity on the list). Additionally, Ramirez can be a bit of a clubhouse cancer when things don't go well (something about quitting on Boston?) and he's not exactly a spring chicken; he turns 37 in 2009. The Nats would have to offer Ramirez both more money and more years to convince him to sign in D.C., and that's not the kind of move you want to make with a guy who's nearing 40.
But, there are two guys who the Nationals would love to add to their ranks: outfielder Milton Bradley and second baseman Orlando Hudson.
Bradley had another strong season as a switch hitter for Texas, and his violent argumentative outbursts weren't quite as pronounced as they had been in San Diego and Oakland. Yes, it's another controversial outfielder, but Bradley's a different story than Ramirez, if for no other reason than his price tag; the Nats could probably sign Bradley for three years for little more than it would cost for one year of Ramirez.
Yet Hudson is the player who makes the most sense. He's long been considered a clubhouse leader -- a role the Nationals desperately need filled -- and he could slide in as the team's leadoff hitter overnight. If he doesn't bat leadoff, who will? Remember, manager Manny Acta already said that Anderson Hernandez, the presumptive starting second baseman on the current roster, will not bat leadoff on opening day.
Thoughts? Go ahead natsfan1a and jca. Have at it.
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