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Nats Cannot Lure Durham

According to this report from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, 14-year veteran infielder Ray Durham rejected a minor league contract from the Nationals that would have allowed him to attend spring training, paying $850,000 if he made the ballclub. Durham, according to the report, is still hoping to find some team willing to offer more "than a minor league invite or a utility man's salary."

Durham is also said to be contemplating retirement.

The 37-year-old split last season between the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Brewers. Though he no longer resembles the player who earned trips to the All-Star Game in 1998 and 2000, Durham is still a serviceable veteran. (In 2008, he batted .289 with 6 HR, 45 RBI in 370 AB.)

Had the Nationals lured Durham to camp, they would have added an option at second base, a position where, for now, Anderson Hernandez and Ronnie Belliard are atop the depth chart.

UPDATE, 3 p.m.: For whatever it's worth, I have independently confirmed the Durham news. He was offered a deal worth, potentially, $850,000, but the sides never even discussed much about incentives, because Durham flat-out wasn't interested. Given the Nats' depth chart at second base, he thought he was worth more. Durham earned $7.5 million last season.

One interesting thing to note: Durham has told people that he loves hitting at Nationals Park. It's a small sample size -- too small for any significance -- but he went 8-for-17 there last season (.471 AVG, .647 SLG) with three doubles, no homers.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 10, 2009; 11:58 AM ET
 
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Comments

Got new posted, from the last string:

Lannan
Olsen
Perez
Cabrera
Balester

I think they will take their time with Hill and reward Colin's nice work on the blog with the last spot.

As for Durham, who cares.

Posted by: sec307 | February 10, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico,

Apropos of this - any word that the Nats are looking at Adam Kennedy? Hudson's a better hitter, but Kennedy would come very cheap, be a not-terrible offensive slap-hitting option, could cover SS in a pinch, and wouldn't block Hernandez if Hernandez proves he's ready.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | February 10, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Rebutting a post from the previous story, I think we can be confident that the Nats were offering Durham a chance to make the team. I doubt there was any intent to keep Durham at AAA if he did not make the Nats. He either made the team or did not. The significance of a minor league deal was only that the money was not guaranteed and no one had to be moved off the 40 man roster at this time.

As to the worthiness of Durham as a leadoff batter, it is true he is no longer fast, but a slow runner on first is still better than no runner on first. A .380 OBP would have been 4th best on the team last year after Nick, Dmitri, and Elijah. Ain't none of them leading off unless it is Elijah, but he would be better off in the middle of the lineup.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 10, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Adam Kennedy, I have loooked for but not found an explanation of why the Cardinals released him. It seems there is more to the story than offensive production alone. Was it behavior? Defense? Undisclosed injury? Character?

Anyone got a clue?

Posted by: natbisquit | February 10, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for signing players that will help. Dunn.

But what is the point of suggesting that the Nats should sign "not-terrible offensive slap-hitters"? We have plenty of those guys already.

Posted by: comish4lif | February 10, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Durham????? Wow, the Nats just continue to tease and excite, don't they!?

Posted by: Pete433 | February 10, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think durham would have been a good veteran addition to the clubhouse, when I saw he was thinking about retiring I was hoping we'd pony up and give him a chance

Posted by: bford1kb | February 10, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy was considered a malcontent by Tony LaRusa in STL. Complained a lot about playing time.

I'm sure there is more to it since they are eating his $4mil salary to go with "internal options", obviously they can't afford to go for someone like Hudson unless his salary number comes way down, I think STL has also said that no way will they give us their first round pick this year, but don't quote me on that...

Posted by: estuartj | February 10, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

maybe it's the midday sugar crash, but I'm lost. Care to elaborate?

**********
I think STL has also said that no way will they give us their first round pick this year, but don't quote me on that...

Posted by: estuartj | February 10, 2009 1:09 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 10, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

maybe in the new post ...

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 10, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Durham is going on 38, is coming off an injury shortened season, has very limited range (never a great fielder to begin with), does not hit for much power and has well below average speed for both his posistion and lineup spot (generally 2nd). He was never going to be a lead-off man even if he did sign the dotted line. Getting on base is only part of the equation, the player needs to be able to score on a double, not clog-up the base paths.

Posted by: dfh123 | February 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Eric Seidman & Ray Durham - reads like a Barry article about Shawn Hill's sinker.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/durhams-end

He speculates that Durham is "worth" closer to $4 million, or Adam Kennedy's (former) money. We've had some back and forth about how the Nats can get league average performance out of 2d base. Seidman suggests Durham would be one way.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 10, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Can someone give me a rundown on how the Super Two works (player has four arbitration years?).

Posted by: estuartj | February 10, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

>He speculates that Durham is "worth" closer to $4 million, or Adam Kennedy's (former) money. We've had some back and forth about how the Nats can get league average performance out of 2d base. Seidman suggests Durham would be one way.

Now THAT is depressing

Posted by: Brue | February 10, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

eh, Seidman's musings on Durham seem tepid compared to Barry's breathless, deathless odes to Hill's sinker. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Nice job with the sample size caveat. We'll make you a stathead yet! :)

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 10, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Ray Durham turned down the Nats? Jaysus. I'm now more nervous about who we will be able to keep rather than who is willing to come play for us.

Posted by: 6thandD | February 11, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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