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Manny Acta, John Schuerholz, the 40-man, etc.

Sorry to be out of the loop the last couple days. Travel, breathing, etc. But no excuses. It's the postseason, and now Sheinin and I are both in place, with the NLCS to start.

Just got some Manny Acta news, which is fairly interesting. You may remember that I went to his home town of Consuelo, just outside of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, last year and wrote this story about growing up there and what he wants to do for his community.

Now, it's going to start happening. Not only has he already purchased a riding lawn mower to clear the fields there, but he is in the process of establishing a foundation that will further help his home town. There will be a charity event on Nov. 5 - when Acta will be there - in which they'll hope to raise money to eventually build a clover leaf of four Little League-sized fields. He at least wants one field done soon. They're also planning to benefit AIDS awareness in the Dominican. Very much on the ground floor, but the Journal will eventually provide an address or Web site where folks could go if they want to contribute.

"It's very important and it's exciting," Acta said by phone. "It's finally going to be able to get rolling because I didn't have anyone that was kind of helping me and taking me through this." (Now, Acta has signed on with an agency, CAA, and they have the infrastructure to get this stuff up and running.)

"I don't have to wait any longer to be able to impact my community," he said.

More Acta news: He's in Los Angeles, and he'll be serving as a studio analyst for Fox Sports on the Spanish-language broadcasts of the ALCS and the World Series. I told him that if he's terrible at it, I'll have no idea, because I don't understand Spanish. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who speaks Spanish and has access to the broadcasts.

The big news today doesn't have to do with Manny Acta or playoff baseball. It has to do with the Atlanta Braves. According to Dave O'Brien at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Schuerholz is stepping down as GM in Atlanta.

The trickle-down from this will be felt throughout baseball. Frank Wren, the capable assistant and former GM of the Orioles, moves into the top spot. There will be instant speculation about whether Schuerholz would fit in with Washington at all. We know that Stan Kasten hired him with the Braves, and though I don't think, at 67, Schuerholz would come in and take over the Nationals' baseball operations - and, in fact, it looks like he'll move into the president's role with the Braves - there will be speculation over time that he could end up as a valuable consultant to Jim Bowden and his staff. Schuerholz went to Towson State, etc. So there are local ties. But we'll see what's said at the 3:30 p.m. news conference in Atlanta.

Nationals news:

Shawn Hill having his second postseason surgery today, the one on his left shoulder. Prediction: The Nationals will announce that it was "successful" by the end of the day. I'll catch up with Shawn in the next few days.

Procedural stuff: The opening of spots on the 40-man roster began yesterday, with a bunch of people "outrighted" to Class AAA Columbus - Mike Bacsik, Brandon Watson, Arnie Munoz, Winston Abreu, Chris Booker, Jason Simontacchi. They can accept the assignment or become free agents.

One interesting name not on that list: Jonathan Albaladejo. He remains on the 40-man, an indication the club is pretty intrigued by him. He's such a big kid, and he went 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 14 appearances. A small sample size, of course, but he was impressive, and he could fit into a bullpen next year that, again, should be the strength of the team - Rauch, Ayala, Cordero, but in need of a lefty.

Here's the current 40-man roster. There are only 34 spots taken, and there's some flexibility with some other guys, so they're ready to roll in the offseason:

Pitchers:
Jonathan Albaladejo
Luis Ayala
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Jesus Colome
Chad Cordero
Ross Detwiler
Enrique Gonzalez
Joel Hanrahan (candidate to be moved off this offseason)
Shawn Hill
John Lannan
Mike O'Connor (candidate to be moved off this offseason)
Jon Rauch
Tim Redding
Saul Rivera
Chris Schroder
Billy Traber (candidate to be moved off this offseason)

Catchers:
Jesus Flores
Brian Schneider

Infielders:
Tony Batista (candidate to be moved off this offseason)
Ronnie Belliard
Kory Casto
Robert Fick (candidate to be moved off this offseason)
Cristian Guzman
D'Angelo Jimenez (candidate to be moved off this offseason)
Felipe Lopez
Dmitri Young
Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders:
Ryan Church
Austin Kearns
Ryan Langerhans
Nook Logan
Justin Maxwell
Wily Mo Pena

I'll get you NLCS news later. The most interesting thing, I thought, yesterday was that the Rockies activated Willy Taveras to play center field and lead off. Would you move Troy Tulowitzki out of the 2 hole, as they appear ready to do?

By Barry Svrluga  |  October 11, 2007; 2:19 PM ET
 
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Next: Advantage, Rockies?

Comments

I'm wondering what they might actually do with the Batista, Jimenez, and Fick. Especially Fick. (And no smart aleck answers either-although ya'll totally crack me up). But I'm seriously curious.

I'm surprised Munoz went down. Maybe my memory's already fuzzy, but didn't he do pretty well?

Posted by: NatsNut | October 11, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Glad you finally got your pants back on, Barry.

Most of the guys on the 40-man that are "candidates to be moved" are coming off down seasons; to what extent are they more like "candidates to be released or traded for bags of balls"?

I can't imagine why the Rockies would drop Two-lowitski down in the order at this point. Putting Taveras on the roster is fine, he gives them some options, but they should work him back in gradually. If it's not broke . . .

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 11, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Can't thank you enough for the new post, Barry.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 11, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Awesome, Barry, thank you. Can't wait to see what you have on the nlcs.

Posted by: .390 | October 11, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Great info, Barry. What's the story on Micah Bowie--players on the 60 day DL don't count against the 40 man roster--is he in that category?

Also surprised about Munoz. He did OK, & there's not an obvious LOOGY candidate on the roster, unless they know for sure that Ray King will be re-signed.

In the would you believe it category: D'Angelo Jiminez had the best OPS on the team in the second half of the season.

Posted by: Section 418 | October 11, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What's the deal with Batista? He seemed to find a pretty solid groove as a pinch-hitter during the season. Isn't that the first time he's been in that role? And why would we ditch a guy who was near the top of pinch-hitting in the National League?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 11, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Arnie Munoz: 13 games, 5.1 innings, 6.75 ERA. Which is not to say he isn't any good, he was only up for a cup of coffee. But he wasn't exactly lights out either.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 11, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the new post and all of the info, Barry. No need to apologize for having a respite between postseason travels, IMO.

Gee, I love Manny Acta! Would be interested to see a link to his charitable effort. Glad to see that he'll also be getting some exposure via the booth.

Does Rule 5 factor in somehow for roster moves?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 11, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it 34/40? I don't see Dmitri Young in the above list.

Posted by: Brian | October 11, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

1a, the Rule 5 Draft does relate to the 40-man roster in the sense that any Rule 5 pick goes immediately onto a team's 40-man roster (i.e., if you don't have space on the 40-man, you can't make a Rule 5 pick).

Then, as many of us know from the Flores situation this year, any Rule 5 pick has to stay on a team's 25-man major league roster the following season and can't be sent to the minors without being offered back to the team from which he was selected (or in Jesus' case, stolen).

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 11, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Brian's right. It's 34/40 with Young added. Players on the DL (Bowie, Patterson, Wagner, Johnson and Escobar) don't count.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 11, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry for the update.

Yes, Jimenez did rebound to hit well, but backup middle infielders need to field the ball. He started out horrendous and improved to merely unacceptable.

I really warmed to Batista myself - such entertainment, his batting stance and the prayer rituals when taking the field. And your story Barry about his cashing his paycheck on the road and finding a church to tithe really made me appreciate him as an eccentric with a big heart. Not to mention the occasional pinch hit!! But must admit he's a replaceable part from the cold baseball business perspective.

I would love to hear Manny do the commentary, wish my Spanish was better. Perhaps the Post could provide some highlights in NJ or the .35 edition. Hmmm, Acta in Spanish or McCarver in English,....

Posted by: Geezer | October 11, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Bob L., for the Rule 5 info.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 11, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Re: Munoz

13 Games, Runs allowed in 2 of them.

Inherited runners: 16; Inherited runners scoring: 3

4 Holds, 1 Blown Save (but it was an awful one--HRs to Werth & Howard on Sept 20).

Posted by: Section 418 | October 11, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry, I know we're always giving you extra assignments (I bet you actually like the Post editors at this point), but can you check to see how we might be able to do something to help out Manny's home town? Money giving, for sure, but I don't have a lot (sounds awful, because I have a lot comparatively). Maybe there's other things I could do to help out too, here in DC? Heck, I might even take a working vacation.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 11, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

who the heck is Enrique Gonzalez and why is he on the 40-man roster?

Posted by: e | October 11, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

oops, never mind. Forgot that the Nats picked him up off the Arizona waiver wire at the end of this season.

Posted by: e | October 11, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Fair point, 418, which is why Ray King was right when he said he judges his success based solely on whether he gets lefties out (as opposed based on his ERA, which in retrospect, is not a good measure of Munoz' performance).

On the other hand, his left/right splits are a bit schizophrenic; on the one hand all of the runs came against righties, but on the other hand, lefties actually had higher averages against him.

In any case, too few innings to reach a definitive conclusion.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 11, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I think I got enough hands into that last post, no?

Posted by: Bob L. Hands | October 11, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Why is Detweiler on the 40-man roster? Doesn't that "start the clock" on how many times he can be sent up and down before he goes on waivers?

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | October 11, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

As I understand (so please correct)...

40-man roster covers anyone in the organization that you want to protect from Rule 5 draft. Detweiler is deemed "nearly Major League ready" so they've got him on the roster to keep from getting Flores-ed by someone.

Don't know about the clock and the options, but it's moot, because getting to pitch in a game this September (also?) started the clock.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 11, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Actually Geezer, Jimenez was hot for those few days he started in September.
He brought his average up from .156 to .245. Plus, with 6 starts(ish) at SS I think he had only 1 error.
He was seriously hot in September. Not saying that's reason enough to keep him, but he was impressive.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 11, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

506, I thought the Rule 5 draft was after they've been in the minors for a long time (3 years?), allowing those who are held back by circumstance (glut of position players in the majors with long term contracts) a chance in the bigs. I don't think Detwiler qualifies for Rule 5.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 11, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Are we going to be looking at that same picture of Dmitri all winter? Just wondering.

Posted by: cevans (unmoving) | October 11, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks."
from
www.baseballamerica.com/today/columnists/askbarule5.html

Posted by: cevans (after checking) | October 11, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

from the same article: "Players from the 1998 Rule 5 draft to stick all year include ... catcher Alberto Castillo"--who is still around, just up 95 a piece, a 12-years-and-counting backup catcher. No Josh Gibson, sure, but Omar Minaya should have remembered him, when he reportedly laughed at Bowden drafting Flores because no rule 5 catcher ever panned out.

Posted by: cevans | October 11, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

cevans-the picture of Dmitri is warm and cheering - like he yule log. Or like MASN's coverage of rain delays for 2005-2006 - just a picture of the rain falling on the tarped diamond.

Posted by: flynnie | October 11, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

506, I think by "candidate to be moved this offseason" Barry must have meant "traded if the offer is right," for the reasons you mention among others.

-----
What's the deal with Batista? He seemed to find a pretty solid groove as a pinch-hitter during the season. Isn't that the first time he's been in that role? And why would we ditch a guy who was near the top of pinch-hitting in the National League?
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 11, 2007 02:57 PM

Posted by: c(!)evans | October 11, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I bet he makes a GREAT Santa at kids' parties.
------
The picture of Dmitri is warm and cheering - like he yule log.
Posted by: flynnie | October 11, 2007 04:59 PM

Posted by: c(!)evans | October 11, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

So Da Meat Hook becomes Da Yule Log in the Hot Stove League?

Posted by: Bob L(og) Head | October 11, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, cevans and BobL - Leave the Meat Hook there as our Nats Jouranl Yule Log! He does resemble Santa! Good eye, there!

Posted by: flynnie | October 11, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, are you an octupus or a bobblehead? ;-)

---

I think I got enough hands into that last post, no?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 11, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

You guys are killing me with your posted by lines and Dmitri talk...

Posted by: natsfan1a (giggling) | October 11, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a, you and Manny are very good people. A sincere thanks to you for brightening this blog.

Posted by: flynnie | October 11, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Why, thanks, flynnie. That's sweet of you to say so!

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 11, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I wish Manny would do a little bit on the english side of the nlcs. I'd like to be able to understand his expertise. TY for the post B.S.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | October 11, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

In other news, Monument is threatening to slow down (further) its work at the Navy Yard site unless Metro sells them that disputed parcel near the park; the issue is now in litigation:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101101117.html

Posted by: Bob L(itigation) Head | October 11, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

RE: Navy Yard Metro -

I'll walk to the dern game, if I have to...

I'd rather take Metro, though.

I really wish people would write clear, concise contracts, and live up to their terms.

Posted by: Wigi | October 11, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

On a different topic, but not really all that different...

I have been enjoying watching the Nats Field webcams... but the press box view, which was cool when it was started, leaves me wanting, now... The view I want is from INSIDE the press box.

The (left) Centerfield view is kinda nice... but again, it is kinda far away...

In case you've not seen it:

http://clarkconstruction.oxblue.com/clarkhuntsmoot/

Posted by: Wigi | October 11, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Re: Monument...they better watch out. The Lerners know how to use attorneys and will. I have a feeling that Fenty is much more likely to play hardball than either Williams or Mayor for life. He only has to do it once to make a point. Don't bet that Monument won't be the designated target.

On the other hand, I'm pretty good at baseball rules. I've been umpiring at a number of different levels (some actually serious) for quite a few years, but can't ever seem to get a handle on some of these obscure player / roster rules. Is there a single source that might provide not only a set of rules, but a "case book" that would explain how the rules are applied?

Posted by: Catcher50 | October 11, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

To go the very knowledgeable catcher one further, anybody got a fave reference on the business side of baseball?

---

Is there a single source that might provide not only a set of rules, but a "case book" that would explain how the rules are applied?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 11, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Also remember to be outrighted to AAA the player has to pass through waivers. Perhaps those not being outrighted did not pass though waivers which means they still have trade value.

Posted by: Tom | October 11, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Go Rocks, man, they had a party with Webb. Who saw that one coming?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 11, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, people try to write clear contracts, although clarity often leads to more and more detail, rather than to concise documents. And of course, Murphy's law, as applied to contracts, means that if anything can go wrong, it will be the thing that nobody was thinking about in detail when the contract was drafted.

I do not have any inside info here, but it seems to me that this is a problem that can be solved with an appropriate amount of timely horse trading. Let's hope things don't get bogged down in the courts, as in the missing pants scenario.

Speaking of missing pants ...

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 11, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

"In other news, Monument is threatening to slow down (further) its work at the Navy Yard site unless Metro sells them that disputed parcel near the park; the issue is now in litigation:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101101117.html"

This just in: Lisa Farbstein--The Acting Director--Office of Public Affairs for The Transit System--returned a reporter's email and answered some of his questions.

The following are her precise remarks:

"Here's a little more data on the Navy Yard station expansion. We're expanding the mezzanine to accommodate 15,000 fans per hour instead of the 5,000 per hour it can handle now. We're doing the mezzanine expansion. The work we are doing is ON SCHEDULE. Meanwhile, Monument Realty is doing work on the entrance to their building. To get to the station, one will need to enter their building. Their work is what is not on schedule."

Also, from a Metro press release: "The west entrance of the Navy Yard Metrorail station on the Green Line will close starting Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, through April 2008 due to construction related to the expansion of the station entrance. The east entrance on the northwest corner of M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE, will remain open."

Here it is again in case you missed it: The west entrance is what Monument is building, and yes it is behind schedule. BUT THERE IS ANOTHER ENTRANCE TO THE STATION THAT HAS BEEN OPEN ALL ALONG AND WILL REMAIN OPEN, AND THE PLATFORM WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE 15,000 PEOPLE PER HOUR ON OPENING DAY.

Oddly, though, I don't think any of this has been reported in the Post. I had to read it here:

http://nats320.blogspot.com/2007/10/navy-yard-metro.html

So folks, despite what the Post may have you thinking, you will be able to take Metro to the ballpark on Opening Day 2008.

Posted by: Section 419 | October 11, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

just a guess, but I'm seeing "grease spot in the road" where Monument Realty once got testosterone poisoning...

Posted by: cevans!rafters | October 12, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

glad to see you back, flynnie : )
-====
Natsfan1a, you and Manny are very good people. A sincere thanks to you for brightening this blog.
Posted by: flynnie | October 11, 2007 05:43 PM

Posted by: Surprise!Flynnies | October 12, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Off topic, but, C-50, you don't DC Ponce, by chance, do you?

-----------
I've been umpiring at a number of different levels (some actually serious) for quite a few years ...
Posted by: Catcher50 | October 11, 2007 07:38 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Which reminds me, just curious: how many of us actually play baseball, recently or now? (umping counts)

Posted by: SurpriseEvans | October 12, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, baseball buddies. There's a new post!

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 12, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Why is Billy Traber still on the 40 man roster. The players outrighted make sense, but Traber, if anything, is in the same class as they are. He wasn't even called up in September.

Posted by: KM | October 12, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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