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Morning, er, Afternoon Reading

First things first: Chico on Shawn Hill and the injuries to Milledge and Belliard.

Check out this blog post by Richard Justice -- one of my all-time favorite people -- on Aaron Boone.

The Nats' injury curse apparently spreading to former Nats -- Brian Schneider is the latest victim.

Chipper Jones does NOT make new friends with his remarks about Toronto.

Maybe a new way to go to Nats games? The Circulator bus will have a new route that runs "close" to Nats Stadium. So far, the website doesn't have details of the route but surely that will change before the 29th.

Finally, A-Rod kisses A-Rod. Can't make up this stuff.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 19, 2009; 12:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Through Four: O's 2, Nats 0

Comments

Dibble was terrible, agreed. He was just flat out wrong half the time. He thought it was a good move to "pitch around" Dan Uggla with nobody on and nobody out to start an inning. Yes, that will work wonderful. Just walk all the .240 hitters with power for fear of them hitting a solo homerun. What an a$$. I'm sure that is what Olsen was doing. Surely Olsen couldn't have walked him by mistake!

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

... I've never met the man - how could I - but every time I've seen him on TV, I've gotten the impression that he's not someone I'd take to easily. That's why I wasn't surprised to hear what C. Jones had to say about TO.

... I liked what Wilbon had to say about it: "You can't make any informed criticism of a the place if you never leave the hotel room and get out onto the streets to see what's what." - or words to that effect.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 19, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

How can you justify paying the completely pathetic Daniel Cabrera to continue to suck, knowing full well that suck is all he will do, and then not be willing to pay the potentially very good Shawn Hill to at least have the rest of Spring Training to prove himself. What a joke. Then they try to sell it as purely about the injuries, never mentioning the money involved (Rizzo's interview last night in-game infuriated me - what a load of lies and crap coming from his mouth). As someone else said, the most telling sign is that Manny wanted Hill and disagreed. It will be a long season watching Cabrera and Olsen every fifth day.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see, isn't it, that even though Bowden is long gone all the irrational hatred remains. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Boone piece, Tracee. It reinforces my impression about that he is a classy, stand-up guy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 19, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Curse you, submit button. You have vanquished me this time, but we will meet again, my friend. We will meet again.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 19, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Which is more prevalent, irrational hatred or mindless fanboy acceptance?

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Cabrera vs. Hill

DC gives you 200 innings a year; Hill gives you 20. It's that simple.

Posted by: sec307 | March 19, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I think it depends on whether you're asking the irrational haters or the mindless fanpersons.

*******
Which is more prevalent, irrational hatred or mindless fanboy acceptance?
Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 1:38 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 19, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Neither irrational hatred nor mindless fanboy acceptance. Just cold hard facts. To wit:

"Then they try to sell it as purely about the injuries, never mentioning the money involved (Rizzo's interview last night in-game infuriated me - what a load of lies and crap coming from his mouth)"

By dropping Hill yesterday, the Nats are on the hook for 1/6 of Hill's salary - or $129,167.

If they waited until the end of spring training, the Nats would be on the hook for 1/4 of Hill's salary - or $193,750.

The difference is only $64,538.

Right, it was all about the money.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I will really, really miss Shawn Hill. To me it's a 700K gamble that the Nats should have played with a bit longer, less than 1/60 of their total payroll. Sometimes a poker player has to pay to see how the hand is dealt out, this is one of those times.

Posted by: driley | March 19, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1
Per Chico's 03/18 post:
"The decision's timing was largely based on money. Hill, set to earn $775,000 this year, will now get only a sixth of that, or roughly $130,000. Today was the deadline to allow such a fractional payment."

Can't say it any plainer than that.

@sec307: I don't want 200 IP from DC if it comes with a 5.50 ERA. Might as well use Balester for cheaper.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, DC had a 4.5 era last year in the AL, so I don't think he'll get to 5.5 this year.

Bally Star is giving up too many dingers this spring to make the team now. But I would not be opposed to him eventually replacing DC w/ the big guy moving to the pen.

But DC is a better option that Redding would have been, so you can't blame the team for getting an innings-eater.

I see Cabrera as a place-holder for Strasburg anyway, but I do think he can be a solid back of the rotation guy in the meanwhile.

Posted by: sec307 | March 19, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hill now won't see about $645,000. MLB minimum is currently $390,000, so if they offer to trade him for a new Segway--and *somebody* would have taken them up on it, I think--the Nats would be out a little over a quarter of a million dollars. Which is a lot more than I make, but in context, not worth firing him for.
So I would like to believe it's a baseball decision based on the unlikelihood he'll ever be an effective pitcher.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 19, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It's never as simple as that. Every pitcher is a crapshoot, as far as arm health is concerned. Hill might be more so, but they didn't give him a chance. One day where he complained of pain, after the first time he threw. And, nothing after the second (assuming Hill was being candid). Considering he hadn't pitched in a long time, maybe that should have been expected. And, it might be something that won't be repeated.

Posted by: fischy | March 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

But for all I know, they DID offer him around, basically free for the taking, and no one took.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 19, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@kfisher32: Also can't say it any plainer than this. It only saved them ~$65K to cut Hill yesterday instead of hanging onto him for another couple of weeks, at least through the end of spring training. So why didn't they at least do that much for Shawn Hill? As I said yesterday, they needed the spot on the 40-man roster for Joe Beimel. Look at the 40 man roster at nationals.com. Note exactly 40 men on it. Note Beimel's name there where Hill's used to be.

Clearly, this was not about the money.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I've asked this before, more or less rhetorically, but can you name a major league pitcher who was chronically injured, like Hill, who one day just stopped getting hurt, and could play regularly? I can't think of one.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 19, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@sec307: Not sure where you are getting your Cabrera stats, but his ERA last year was 5.25 in 180 IP.

@nunof1: No offense, you seem like an intelligent person, but when it comes to judging the motives of the front office, I will take Chico's word over yours, as he actually interviews and talks to the people involved. The discrepancy seems to be whether, after yesterday, Hill was then required to receive 100%, or, as you suggest, there were further incremental deadlines in the future. Chico seems to be suggesting after yesteday's deadline, they are then on the hook for 100% regardless of when he is later cut.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"but when it comes to judging the motives of the front office, I will take Chico's word over yours, as he actually interviews and talks to the people involved. The discrepancy seems to be whether, after yesterday, Hill was then required to receive 100%, or, as you suggest, there were further incremental deadlines in the future. Chico seems to be suggesting after yesteday's deadline, they are then on the hook for 100% regardless of when he is later cut."

But why do you blindly take whatever Chico seems to be suggesting as the gospel truth? He may have talked to the people involved, but he seems not to have asked the questions you're now believing were answered.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1: Wow, that was a dodge worthy of a good politician. What is your basis for claiming Hill would have only been owed $193,750 if cut at the end of Spring Training? Are you just assuming it is pro-rated? If I thought I'd get a reply from Chico I would ask him too. As it is, I'll have to settle for you. I think you are kidding yourself. You know the Lerner's history. Do you HONESTLY believe money was not at least A motive, if not THE motive (as I claim)?

@sec307: One final note. In addition to his 5.25 ERA last year, it was 5.55 in 2007. I see a pattern here, regardless of league. Are you honestly defending Cabrera's track record. I'm not saying I want Balester either. I'm saying they should have kept Hill around and given him another chance.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

@kfisher32: I don't have a reliable source for the different dates and the amount of pro-rating of salaries, but I've seen it discussed multiple places on the internet today. I'm not saying you should believe what I seem to suggest over what Chico seems to suggest. That's up to you.

And I'm not saying money wasn't a consideration at all. I'm just saying it didn't drive the decision. It's eminently clear that a roster spot needed to be opened yesterday for Beimel. They could save some money by releasing Hill now rather than later, so why not? Who else would have been a candidate for release other than Hill? The only one I can see is WMP. Well, I'd say there's a good chance he'll be gone soon too to make room for someone else. So if he'd been released yesterday instead of Hill, they'd still be needing to release Hill before the end of ST anyway. He wasn't going north with the parent club only being able to pitch an inning every other week, and he was out of options and couldn't have been sent down. There was literally nowhere else for him to go.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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