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Washington = Cincinnati East

I guess it's not surprising, finding so much Nationals news on the Cincinnati Enquirer website. After all, Cincinnati has done so much for the Nats. So here's some reading to fill the time until Chico arrives at Lakeland (ah, memories...) for today's game against my the Tigers.

(Some day, when things are really slow, we should have a day-long discussion of how many teams we as fans (not editors) are allowed to claim and if there should be limits, etc. There are no rules about this and I think we are just the bunch to establish some.)

Anyway, Mike Lopresti of Gannett News Series wonders why baseball in Washington is such a mess. Gerry Fraley write for USA Today about the addition of Adam Dunn and what it means to the lineup. And the Reds join the long list of teams who want President Obama to throw out a pitch for them.

Saul Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to get his second save for Puerto Rico. No link; still looking for a story that does more than just mention his name.

Nothing to do with the Nats, but Plaschke on Manny is always worth a read.

Oh, and Boz -- Thomas Boswell -- is chatting at noon.


By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 5, 2009; 9:43 AM ET
 
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Next: Uh Oh. Shawn Hill. James Andrews.

Comments

"(Some day, when things are really slow, we should have a day-long discussion of how many teams we as fans (not editors) are allowed to claim and if there should be limits, etc. There are no rules about this and I think we are just the bunch to establish some.)"

That discussion has been had already. Check the archives.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 5, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Newposted:

So Boz maintains that Kasten, Rizzo and Acta are all glad Bowden is gone, that Jimbo was responsible for spreading the rumor that Stan might leave for greener pastures (pun intended), and that Bowden wanted to spend on free agent pitchers and on a long-term contract for Ryan Zimmerman but was quashed by Stan and his spreadsheets.

If all of that is true, it's pretty interesting. It implies that Stan is the architect of The Plan, and that Trader Jim was operating in restricted airspace. Perhaps that led him to acquire the very high-upside but "halfway house" players that reportedly caused Manny some angst.

Overall, if Boz is to be believed, the front office with Bowden there was pretty dysfunctional. Bowden may have wanted Kasten gone so that he could remove the shackles of The Plan via his direct line to Mark Lerner and resume wheeling and dealing. Kasten may have tired of Bowden's relentless pursuit of questionable deals, much in the way that other MLB executives reportedly have. Rizzo may have wanted Bowden gone so that he could take over as GM. And Manny may have struggled to maintain his desired clubhouse chemistry amidst the malcontents foisted on him by Jimbo.

Amidst such a whirlwind, the current stance amounts to saying "Let's all take a deep breath and see where everything lands after Tornado Jim abates, we'll make decisions after that."

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 9:56 AM

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Don;t miss it folks! At Noon, Boz is going to be blaming Bowden for global warming, the failure of mortgage backed securities, Darfur . . . and, worst of all, bashing the DC sports media on his way out of Washington!!

Posted by: dfh123 | March 5, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward (because I'm all about moving forward as opposed to focusing on the past):

I've also been really impressed with the way that Kasten has handled this situation. It's interesting to me that coverage seems to continue to focus more on what's wrong with JimBow than on what's right with how Kasten and the organization have dealt with the situation.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Boz is a tool. Let's count the ways...

In today'd article he claimed that JimBow leaked that "he wanted to re-sign Ryan Zimmerman for close to $60 million for six years, but Kasten saw the player differently."

This is news to me, can anyone else find a reported reference to this rumor?

Boz is also just plain lazy and doesn't know the team he's trying to write about;

"he'd love to put Nick at first base in a lineup with Adam Dunn, Zimmerman, Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge and Josh Willingham."

Hey Boz, just checking - how many outfielders can play at one time? You have 4 listed here, with Nick Playing First Base! Maybe Boz thinks Milledge is a second baseman.

Posted by: estuartj | March 5, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of coverage, it's worth pointing out that it has not been lacking since Spring Training began. We've had Chico and Tracee, and Barry and Boz and the Bog. Well done, let's hope this continues, and that the team plays well enough to deserve coverage of baseball rather than controversy.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I noticed that flaw in Boz's "lineup" too, ESJ. Worth bringing up in the chat, perhaps.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I always thought (IMO) that JimBo was pushing and trying to showcase for trade the has-beens like LoDuca in LF and heck even at catcher and yes at 1st base. I believe PLoD cost the Nats 1 loss with a costly error at 1st base and he was just a plain disaster.

Think of some of those showcase moves with Felipe, LoDuca, Estrada, and count how many losses that amounted to. Maybe the Nats would have lost only 99 games. LOL

I know Manny Acta denied that wasn't going on, but I always doubted that.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 5, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Boz has Willingham at catcher.

And the Nats have played with four outfielders before. Just ask Ronnie Belliard.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 5, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Tracee FWIW I grew up a Cards fan and find myself, as an adult, a Nats fan. I still get misty eyed when i hear about a Albert Pujols' home run and or any mention of The Wizard of Oz. Two is the limit, though, eh...and don't tell my Dad, but I loved Pete Rose, Joe Morgan in the 70's. Boy they put a beating on a lot of my Cards' teams. Isn't that so wrong?

Posted by: Berndaddy | March 5, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

To Brue: Boswell out of misery = BOOM

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 5, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

... sorry, I'm just a dumb Canuck, but I gotta ask. What possible benefit could derive from a guy (Lopresti) on a Cincinnati website writing a column bashing the Nationals in Washington, unless he simply can't supress his own personal frustration at the loss of so many Reds who've gone on to bigger (ball park) and better (front office) things.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 5, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Looking forward to when the tracks of the Underground Ex-Reds Railroad are dynamited.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 5, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

nunof1, i remember the original discussion but i didn't know there was a resolution reached. i'll go back and look.

Posted by: Tracee Hamilton | March 5, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

It's not clear to me that the content was generated by the Cincinnati site (credit is given to Gannett and USA Today). There are also links to stories about the Dodgers and the Yankees, but that doesn't fit in with the whole JimBo heritage bashing scheme.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Natscan, we're competing with Cinci for the services of #44 (Obama, not Dunn) on Opening Day. So Commietown has some motivation to trash the District.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that we ever established rules, Tracee. Not sure that we should try to, either.

Plenty of fans have "heritage" teams, at least in part due to the Washington Metro region having something of a transient population and there not having been a team for years.* It is what it is.

*A time gap that the author of one of the above-linked stories seems to ignore in his futility calculations, BTW.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"nunof1, i remember the original discussion but i didn't know there was a resolution reached. i'll go back and look."

If you ever want resolution of ANYTHING, you sure ain't gonna find it here.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 5, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

willingham at catcher? i guess it's possible, he did come up through the marlins' system as a catcher. but he was never considered much more than a liability defensively at catcher, and that was before he had a bad back.

Posted by: sec231 | March 5, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

BobLHead, we're not competing with the Reds for the Opening Day services of the President. They're trying to get him on a later date (likely conceding that Opening Day will either go to the White Sox, Nationals, or both), the Civil Rights game, which the Cincinnati Enquirer says is June 20.

Posted by: faNATic | March 5, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was just joking, 231.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 5, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"Overall, if Boz is to be believed, the front office with Bowden there was pretty dysfunctional."

I think that whatever few brain cells are still operating in Boswell's head are pretty dysfunctional. Just more than a week ago he was characterizing Bowden as kind of a rascal, but admitting that he (Boswell) always has had a soft spot in his heart for such rascals. Now today in his column he portrays Bowden as a kind of cancer that had metastasized throughout the otherwise good men in the Nationals organization, turning them sour and damn near killing them and the whole Nationals organization. Which is it? Was Boswell going easy on Bowden before he got canned out of fear of losing one of his prime sources for anonymous info? Or is he just piling on and kicking the corpse now because that's what sells papers? Seems odd that Boswell's true opinion of Bowden could shift so dramatically and so quickly.

As for believing anything that Boswell says, I quit doing that long ago.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 5, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Plenty of fans have "heritage" teams, at least in part due to the Washington Metro region having something of a transient population and there not having been a team for years.* It is what it is.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 10:37 AM

_________________________________________

Here, here, natsfan1a1, That's it in a nut shell. I'm an army brat. I remember lots of my friend growing up here in the DC area. Fans of many different teams. Being transient most of my life I can say that my introduction to Nats fandom has everything to do with having my own team to root for and not my family's (Cards & Mets). Even if it's meant watch a team start from scratch, I actually think in the end winning will be sweeter because of these last four years and years to come...

Posted by: Berndaddy | March 5, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"I know Manny Acta denied that wasn't going on, but I always doubted that."

We probably will never know why they played so much. Bowden insisting on showcasing makes sense, but so does assuming that career norms would re-establish themselves.

Posted by: Section506 | March 5, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Boz was referring to a team being able to get enough at bats for 4 OFs.

from 2/26 chat:

OF crisis: With NJ healthy, where do you put Willingham (when healthy)? I think it would be a tragedy if Willingham doesn't start in the OF.

Tom Boswell: The Nats look like the Redskins with Willingham and Dunn joining Kearns, NJ, Zim, Dukes. It's one of the biggest baseball teams I've ever seen. As I've pointed out before and will again, I think the Nats will score 750+ runs this season, after only 641 last year. Part less injuries, part young player development and a lot of Dunn and Willingham.

And good team can use four OFers. So, there's no problem with thinking of Dukes, Milledge, Dunn and Willingham as the OF. But then you have Kearns! That's why everybody on earth assumes that the Nats will make a fairly significant trade before Opening Day. Unless an injury, like NJ, means that they need their "depth."

Posted by: dclifer | March 5, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

6 Outfielders: they also have Wily Mo Pena, don't forget. He picked up his $2 mil option.

I see Willingham as the top choice to be traded, since - with Dunn - we don't really need him as backup at first and, as mentioned, he's a liability at catcher. He would actually bring something back, too.

At Kearns' salary, no one is going to take him. At his recent performance, no one is going to offer much for him.

Similarly, we're saddled with Wily Mo one more year. Better hope they both turn things around.

Posted by: Section506 | March 5, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Not sure we can assume the Nats will hold onto Pena just because he picked up that option. The $2 million is a sunk cost, if someone is a better use of a roster spot than he is, you release him and move on.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 5, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Tracee:

re former team affiliations:

... I guess you all know why I’m here. It’s the Expos, and when Bud Light ripped them from my very being, he ripped out my heart. The Nats for me, have been a transplant, and the prognosis seems good, the possibility of rejection long since past.

... growing up in the far east of Canada, I was much more a baseball fan that a hockey rat. My uncle built the local diamond and the very successful team that went with it. I virtually lived baseball and to this day, thank the creator for that.

... I was, until the age of reason, a Yankees fan, probably because of Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on TV every Saturday afternoon. It was assumed that I would fall in line behind everyone else and jump on the Boston bandwagon. But that was in my teen years, the years of my long hair, my social awakening when I had my consciousness raised. The Red Sox had such a dismal track record racially that I simply couldn’t give them support.

... then came the DH and that was it for the Junior Circuit. Coinciding with that abomination was the arrival of the first MLB team based outside the USA. The Expos owned me lock, stock and equipment bag.

... and the rest, as they say, is (NJ) history.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 5, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Fair enough, Brian. And with JimBo out, we can't gauge what the rest of the management thinks of his potential. But given his performance at the end of 2007 and the injury at the beginning of 2008, do you think that most decision-makers would err on the side of one last chance, instead of swallowing the money?

Posted by: Section506 | March 5, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Balester and Zimmermann might not be competing AGAINST each other after all;

"Shawn Hill was scratched from his start today against the Tigers and will see Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., tomorrow to examine soreness in his right arm."
POSTED March 05 2009 11:30 AM BY Ben Goessling

Posted by: estuartj | March 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Releasing Wily Mo would not be smart. The guy has serious RH power (1HR/20AB's), he's young and coming off an injury plagued season. He has value. Milledge is the most tradable guy they have, but I don't think that they want to move him (nor do I think that they should unless they get a serious starter in return). Kearns could be moved if he starts well and if they eat a LOT of his salary. The Phillies could use some right handed pop for example. We shall see.

Posted by: dfh123 | March 5, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

*&#$% [expletive deleted]

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

That was for estuartj's 11:37 news item, BTW.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Ex-Mets fan here.

I'm with BobL. I want as much coverage from as many members of the Post family that we can get. That allows us conversations on the points that each one makes, even if they are/appear to be self-contradictory. That is so much better than talking about the lack of coverage. That was always depressing.

As for Cinci talking about us, have at it! Let everybody finally recognize that the team exists. Let them talk about how awful the team was last year. With that baseline, we can look forward to articles later about how the team surprised everybody, or later how much they improved in just a few years.

If Boz calls Bowden a cancer, he is in line with what a lot of others had said across the country, when they refused to give the team anything but scorn. Bowden is going to take much more blame and abuse than he could deserve, but his leaving is another point at the bottom all will remember as the team improves. It will allow the next GM to take credit, even if Bowden's moves help toward the improvement.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 5, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The Lopresti column was pretty lame. He's not a Cincy writer, by the way; last I heard, he was based with Gannett's Westchester (NY) Journal or whatever they call that mess of a publication. And of course, being a journalist, his math was bad regarding the Senators. I always hate it when people play with stats to make a .500 record seem less than it was -- too bad the '05 Nats lost that last game to finish 81-81; 82-80 would have shut up a lot of the critics like Lopresti.

Posted by: nats24 | March 5, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Ah, crud. Hill will end up being Pattersoned after all. That is a big blow to any hopes of real improvement this season.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 5, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Chico has a new post up on the Shawn Hill news.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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