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Live at-bats, and a Cordero verdict

First live batting practice today. "I wasn't even paying attention to who was throwing," Ryan Church said. "Just get up there and hit it." Which Church did, drilling balls back up the middle.

Not sure what evaluations us laymen can tell from all that. But the evaluators were making some serious notes. Interesting stuff.

The real news, however, is that Chad Cordero rolled into the clubhouse, whispered something to Brian Schneider, and then received a big bear hug. Word started spreading. Cordero, the Nationals' closer, won his arbitration case against the club. Cordero, therefore, will make $4.15 million, rather than the $3.65 million the club submitted.

Cordero said the process wasn't as bad as he expected. "It was professional," he said. But he was clearly relieved, and his teammates are clearly happy for him. "You buying dinner?" someone asked. "Apparently," Cordero said, "I am."

But then what's a half million dollars among friends?

What else? Hmmm. Oh, Mike Wallace, the clubhouse manager and a great collector of memorabilia, had a couple of old bats he was hauling around. He handed me one with a familiar name chiseled into the barrel: Frank Howard. Now, old Senators fans know how big ol' Frank is. His bat fit his frame. Wallace guessed it was about a 38-inch, 38-ounce model, which simply dwarfs what the guys use today, maybe 34 inches and 31 or 32 ounces with a really thin handle. Wallace went back to his office and then came back with another bat. This one was smaller, maybe 33 inches, 32 ounces. A middle infielder from back in the day?

Nope. Hank Aaron.

One more thing: As I pointed out, Boz is here (and I'm sorry if I hadn't formally introduced you, the readers, to Boz, but Thomas Boswell, esteemed columnist, these are the five readers of this Nationals Journal, and readers, this is Boz). Boz (who just walked out of here to go write at his hotel) is working with a keyboard that has no 'H' on it. "It doesn't affect anything," he said yesterday. He can, apparently, just hit the little nob that remains, and an 'H' appears.

Which gave me a tremendous feeling of relief I was worried we'd see the following lead: "On a ot and umid day at RFK Stadium, Jon Patterson trew a brilliant no-itter." Or something like that.

It's 2:20 p.m. I haven't eaten lunch. Hmmm. Where to go?

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 21, 2007; 2:03 PM ET
 
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Comments

Who composes the three panel abitration board and what do they evaluate, strictly stats?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, lemme guess? Panera?

Posted by: Takoma Park | February 21, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Interesting question on who composes the three-member arbitration panels. I'll try to find out, but I honestly don't know.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 21, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Nice to meet you Boz.

Posted by: Rachel | February 21, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope Chad isn't traded to the Bosox out of spite.

Posted by: Vincent | February 21, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Woa.

Posted by: Cosmo | February 21, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Good for Cordero, but alarming for fans. If the Nationals repeat last years attendance of 2,153,056 people, does that mean ticket prices will rise by $4.30 to handle the additional $500,000 tied up in payroll? Baseball is getting close to pricing my family out of the game.

Posted by: Concerned Fan | February 21, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Good for Cordero, but alarming for fans. If the Nationals repeat last years attendance of 2,153,056 people, does that mean ticket prices will rise by $4.30 to handle the additional $500,000 tied up in payroll? Baseball is getting close to pricing my family out of the game.

Posted by: Concerned Fan | February 21, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

While I'm happy for Cordero, this will just make it harder to trade him when the team falls out of the race and the rest of the bullpen can't be a sufficient bridge between the starters to the closer. Jim Bowden really needs to stop thinking he's holding the cards where trades are concerned. A cheap Cordero could have been turned for perhaps two starting prospects. Now the Nats have a closer and no starting rotation.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 21, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"...does that mean ticket prices will rise by $4.30 to handle the additional $500,000 tied up in payroll?"

Please, sir, think things through before you type. Like most sports owners, the Lerners have more money than God. The Nats could lose millions of dollars every year, and it would be a rounding error on their 1040. The brand-spanking-new stadium that opens next year -- at a price tag of about $750 million -- is being funded entirely by DC taxpayers. And most important of all, the Nats total team payroll is in the bottom third of MLB, despite the DC metro area being a top 10 media market.

Oh, did I forget to mention that MASN pays the Nats roughly $20 million PER SEASON for broadcast rights every year? Or that the Lerners' stake in MASN rises to 33 percent over time?

If he wanted to, Ted Lerner could cut ticket prices TODAY, with or without an additional half mil to the Chief, and not bat an eyelash. Concern for his wallet is misplaced.

Posted by: the Count of Monte Cristo | February 21, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"A cheap Cordero could have been turned for perhaps two starting prospects."

Implicit in this fallacious statement is the idea that Theo Epstein and the BoSox (the most likely trade partner) give a @#$%^&%$ about $500,000.

They don't.

I submit the many millions of dollars they spent JUST TO TALK TO Daisuke Matsuzaka with no guarantee of ever signing him. Money is no object for the Red Sox.


"...this will just make it harder to trade him when the team falls out of the race and the rest of the bullpen can't be a sufficient bridge between the starters to the closer."

Can we think beyond 2007 please?

The stated goal of the Nats is to stick with The Plan, and The Plan says to rebuild the farm system and stockpile young players for a run at the postseason in two to four years.

Chad's career ERA is 2.61.
Chad's career BAA (batting average against) is .208.
Chad has averaged 30 saves a year over the past three seasons.
Chad turns 25 in March.

HOW IS HE NOT PART OF THE FREAKIN' PLAN?? In four years -- the long view -- he'll be 29. Not exactly washed up.

When the Nationals ARE a contending team, whether that's sooner or later, they're going to need a closer. Why not keep the excellent one they already have and concentrate on building the rotation through the draft and some minor dabbling in the free agent market?

Trading the Chief is cutting off your nose to spite your face.


Posted by: the Count of Monte Cristo | February 21, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"...does that mean ticket prices will rise by $4.30 to handle the additional $500,000 tied up in payroll?"

Just humor, Count, but with a message.

The point is baseball is the cheapest family-oriented sports ticket in town and costs are rising fast which will eventually be passed onto the consumer like all free market enterprise situations.

Four good seats to a Nationals game, $152

Tailgating food and drink, $42

My family watching the Nationals on WDCA-20 with a bucket of chicken... Priceless!

Posted by: Concerned Fan | February 21, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, the Nats DID CUT ticket prices this year. My wife and I sit in right field in the 400s. Last year the price was $8 per seat game. This year the price is $5!!! That is a reduction of almost 40%. I saved almost $500 for my two season tickets. It was a surprise Christmas present from the Nats. Needless to say I ordered my season tickets immediately.

Setting the record straight. Join us in the "bleachers." A very good buy.

Posted by: 400s - Season Ticket Holder | February 21, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Concerned Fan, I hear you -- baseball tix are the only ones I pay for because... well, because they're the only ones I can afford. But the powers that be at MLB are zeroing in on the el cheapo seats (there's an old article from Salon or Slate that I can't find -- damn).

Most free enterprises don't have an antitrust exemption from Congress, so the "Baseball is just a business like any other" line doesn't wash.

The owners, some of whom are multinational corporations like the Tribune Co., are paying out these crazy salaries because they can.

Posted by: the Count of Monte Cristo | February 21, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Six readers, Barry. :-)

Posted by: Section I forget which... | February 21, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Bloody ell, Boz.

Posted by: bryan2369 | February 21, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Bloody ell, Boz.

Posted by: bryan2369 | February 21, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Bloody ell, Boz.

Posted by: bryan2369 | February 21, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Re ticket prices: everyone knows you just buy the cheap seats and then sit wherever. Anyone who pays $152 for 4 "good" seats is a sucker. The ushers at RFK don't give a damn-- another reason I'm sad about the rapid pace at which the new stadium is being completed.

8 days till Viera... woohoo!

Posted by: JennX | February 22, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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