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Open Heart Surgery for A. Boone

Former Nat Aaron Boone will have open heart surgery.

More detail from the Houston Chronicle.

Also, just got a release from Sports Illustrated; there will be an Adam Dunn piece by Ben Reiter in the next issue, entitled "Where's the Love." Here's what SI says about it:

Washington Nationals' Adam Dunn is featured in this week's Sports Illustrated. Ben Reiter writes about how Dunn has a bad reputation in the baseball world as a lazy and selfish player yet he plays hurt and hits so many home runs.

Sounds reminiscent of this Boz column. Here's a tidbit from the article:

"He's kind of a funny guy because he used to come in the clubhouse every day and be like, 'I can't believe my father made me play the game of baseball! I should be on a football field!' " recalls Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, a former teammate.
Arroyo, to Dunn's delight, once did a rewrite of the Craig Morgan country hit "That's What I Love about Sunday" with lyrics that reflect Dunn's shtick. Arroyo shared the recording around the clubhouse. "The lyrics were like, I'm Adam Dunn, I'm so glad the season's over, I just want to get home and be sipping on a beer by the pool and get away from this bulls---," says Arroyo, who quickly adds that he would never write such a song about a friend if its contents were essentially true. "He'd always joke around like that, because baseball can be a grind sometimes. If you came and listened in the clubhouse, you might think, God, this guy never wants to play the game. He could definitely come across as a Texas boy who's friggin' laid-back and maybe doesn't appreciate being a big league ballplayer. But it wasn't the case at all. It was just the persona he gave off, not what was honestly in his heart. Because if he wasn't in the lineup one day, he'd be like, Whoa, why am I not in there? The truth was, he could have a broken toe or broken wrist, and he'd still be out on the field, and he loves playing the game hard."

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 18, 2009; 11:47 AM ET
 
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Comments

Amazing. This just flashed up on The MLB Channel too. Our prayers are with him and his family.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 18, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Tracee: Thanks for the info. Just FYI, Grissom's name is misspelled in the headline on the main Post website. (Currently spelled "Grisson,").

Posted by: Bethesdangit | March 18, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I loved having Boone on the team last year. Might have been my favorite Nat last year -- and that's really saying something for someone who has rooted for the Red Sox and hated the Yankees for 30+ years. Hopes are with him for a successful procedure.

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Kearns 200 AB's for $8 Million Dollars.....just cut him at that point....why drag down the moral of the whole organization.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 18, 2009 11:49 AM

********************

okay, JayB, this is where our agreement comes to a screeching halt!

--Sincerely,
Kearns's Mom

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, Bethesdangit. I've alerted the proper authorities.

Posted by: traceeh | March 18, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who believes Kearns could be Pattersoned in three weeks?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 18, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

JD:

"Pattersoned"?

I think that's a little strong for Kearns. JP was hurt and completely untradeable. The only way he gets released is that nobody wants to give up anything for him. I have believe there is some team out there that would give the Nats a low level prospect for him.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 18, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

It would be better to pay Kearns whole salary and trade him for a C prospect and/or a bag of balls than to Patterson him but if they do keep him, getting him 200 or less AB's makes no sense at all.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 18, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I believe Kearns should be released, but I don't think the FO will do it. I just don't see the point of having him on the roster. We have 5 OF's without him or Pena. I'd rather carry the Torture Czar or Casto (who can play 1B, 3B or OF), or even Valentin as a pinch-hitter.

It really annoys me to learn that JimBo pulled him back from waivers last year. He could be someone else's problem now. How stupid.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Am I the only one who believes Kearns could be Pattersoned in three weeks?"

That won't happen, for at least two reasons.

(1) When Patterson was Pattersoned, he was basically worthless. (Recall his painful spring training start against the O's that was televised on MASN for all 9000 of us to see.) Kearns isn't worthless, he's just overpriced. He's actually playing better now than he was last season, certainly well enough to be a fourth or fifth outfielder.

(2) The Nats were actually able to save some money by Pattersoning Patterson when they did, since he was working under an arbitration contract and by cutting him they no longer had to pay him all of it. Not so with Kearns. His contract is guaranteed. Even if they cut him, they still have to pay him every cent of the $8M - plus his $1M player option for next year. Basically, he's stuck to the Nationals like Andruw Jones was stuck to the Dodgers. The Nats won't cut him unless he becomes Andruw Jones bad, and even then they'll wait until later in the season to do it, just in case he might turn things around.

Really, the best possible outcome of the Kearns dilemma (for both him and the team) would be if they could trade him to some other team for prospects or pitching, taking back some chunk of his salary to get the deal done. Let's hope that happens. But the only way it will is if Kearns gets at least some playing time to prove that he'd be worth another team's interest.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Pena OTOH probably will be Pattersoned, because (a) he IS pretty much worthless at this point, and (b) it will only cost them $2M to do it, whereas Kearns would cost $9M.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

just to play devil's advocate regarding kearns. if we had released him would everyone have jumped up and down as if it were a pure salary dump? i'm sure bowden pulled him back to attempt to negotiate a trade. didn't happen. at the time we didn't have willingham or dunn. we had milledge and dukes and willie harris. pretty thin. this isn't a terrible problem. it's an outfielder with one season remaining on his contract. it's not like the dodgers situation with pierre. that would be brutal.

Posted by: longterm | March 18, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tip on the Dunn piece, Tracee.

As previously noted, I wish Aaron Boone well with the procedure and recovery.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

[from previous thread]

"The proper name is FJB, at least for now. Doesn't stand for anything--just FJB. Like AARP."

~~~~~

... au contraire. It stands for:

American Association of Retired Persons

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 18, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

longterm,

Nobody would have caused a fuss because he was the highest paid player on the team and he was hitting .214. We also had Casto and Bernadina as options (even Bonafacio as he was playing CF for the D-backs when we got him).

I agree that there are other terrible contracts out there, but Kearns' has to be on of the worst. Now, best case scenerio is we pay him around $5 mil to play for somebody else while getting little in return. Worst case scenerio, we play him $8 mil to ride the pine.

Even is somebody goes down, we have Maxwell and Bernadina ready to fill in.

We have to hope Dr. Rick can work his magic and Kearns plays himself onto another team in the next two weeks.

Rizzo has hinted that the best time to deal is right before the season, so if he gets moved, I don't see it happening until then. But I think he has to be moved regardless of whether Johnson or Willingham is traded.

I'd rather have Maxwell as the 4th or 5th OF than Kearns.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Re. AARP, they dropped the full name and starting using only the acronym some years ago as part of a re-branding effort.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't get all of the Kearns hate. The 200 AB number was something I threw out in the last post so there is no sense railing against that as if it was fact. I wanted to give him more ABs but ended up reaching the same conclusion Chico did which is that, unfortunately, he's probably the odd man out. However, for those arguing that he should be Pattersoned, you're crazy. He is far more likely to be the opening day right fielder than he is to be cut. Will he ever live up to the expectations we had for him in 2006? Probably not. But is he the guy that put up an admittedly horrible .217/.311/.316 line while hurt in 2008? No, he's not. Those numbers are about 40 points off his career AVG and OBP percentages, and 100 points off SLG. AK should bat around .260/.360/.400 with 15 dingers and 70 RBIs. Add in his plus defense and professional attitude and you have a better than average MLB player. You don't just toss those guys after one bad season. Case in point: The Yankees gave up a couple of prospects to get Nick Swisher from the ChiSox in November. Yes, that would be the Nick Swisher that batted .219 in 2008 and is owed some $21 million over the next three years.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Re: AARP

Huh, I didn't know that. You learn something new every day...

Posted by: swang30 | March 18, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

BobLHead: Nick Swisher is with the YANKEEs. The Lerners haven't done such a good imitation of the Steinbrenners. I like Kearns as a person and a player, I just don't know how he'd fit into the crowded outfield right now. Personally, I'd prefer if they traded somebody, maybe WMP and Willingham, for pitching.

Posted by: swang30 | March 18, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I will agree with BobLHead that the Kearns hate is just stupid. We all shared a bond of agony watching his at bats last year, but I consider that an abberation of an injury filled season. If he is traded that is a fine solution, if not I can certainly live with him being on the team. And where does Jaybee get off inferring that Kearns hurts the morale on the team? I guess Jaybee has to have random targets every week to blow apart. Next it will be Hill on his list for trying to come back from a lost season.

I have a feeling that the real pinata this season might be Cabrera. I see some very frustrating outings in his future.

Posted by: driley | March 18, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Re. AARP, they dropped the full name and starting using only the acronym some years ago as part of a re-branding effort.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 1:16 PM

```

... nevertheless, the arrangement of those particular letters is not only an acronym, but a series of letters with real words associated with them.

... but hey, let's play baseball.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 18, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

1a,
I was getting excited because I knew the AARP answer. I was too slow. Where do I go now that I am too old and too slow to answer AARP questions? What happens now?

OOOOPS.
Don't answer that question.
I need to pick a new area of expertice.

I know, I know!

Based on my softball career,ask me if you have any question on.....

swinging bunts.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | March 18, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Swang (and missed! haha) --

We don't need the Lerners to be the Steinbrenners, we need the Steinbrenners to be the Steinbrenners and take Kearns off our hands. The point being, the dude has value, to this team or someone else, and all talk of cutting him is bunk. In a vacuum, I wouldn't mind at all if he was our right fielder this season, although I recognize that The Plan may dictate otherwise.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh, SP! That situation happens to me all the time when I'm watching Cash Cab. Wait, I know this one. D'oh!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

True, natscan. I just saw an opportunity to post about an area where I had knowledge, which doesn't happen that often here, so I jumped on it. I guess you could say that I was looking dead red pencil... ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Keep Kearns. Unless we get a serious offer, what do we possibly have to lose?True, he had an abysmal year last year (as did Zim and everyone else except Guzman) but he is showing some signs of life this spring (which is unusual - typically he has been a slow starter).

But everyone needs to take a deep breath. We have played exactly 0 out of 162 games so far folks. Dare I say - it is still early. In the last five days, though, we have contemplated DFAing Milledge and Pattersoning Kearns. At this rate, Destin Hood will be starting in CF on opening day.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 18, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I would actually contribute to a fund to send Austin Kearns somewhere far far away from DC this summer. He's demoralizing to his teammates (not to mention fans) because he never gets a hit when there are guys on base.

I'm not sure why we're supposed to think he's so professional. Last year, it seems like he hid his injury, surely to the detriment of the team. That's not professional, that's selfish and stupid.

If he were a black guy from Tampa, nobody would have a problem about giving him up for a bag of balls.

Posted by: mike8 | March 18, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

i guess i just don't care how much we owe kearns. it's already been figured in. he's valuable and cutting him loose won't help us add a free agent or extend zimmerman or sign strasburg or anything like that. well, i have no reason to believe it would. i'm not part of the "cheap!" crowd.

to me he's just a sign of great depth on our team this year. if we can trade an outfielder, great. if not, fine. we finally get our lineup settled and now the bullpen is a mess. doh!

Posted by: longterm | March 18, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If he were a black guy from Tampa, nobody would have a problem about giving him up for a bag of balls.

Posted by: mike8 | March 18, 2009 2:11 PM
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I take offense to that as it is just ridiculous.

They didn't even get a bag of balls for Paul LoDuca when he was released.

Also I still believe IMO that Bowden wanted LoDuca showcased at LF and 1B which cost the Nats at least 2 or 3 games with costly errors, misjudging balls, and horrific hitting as well as his sourpuss face on the bench (but maybe that is his normal demeanor). Still p!ssed because 99 losses doesn't sting as bad as 102.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 18, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

You keep Kearns if he can't be traded for something of compareable value.

Depth is a nice problem to have, especially a good clubhouse, team player like Kearns.

Does anyone remember the injury filled season of last year?

One of the other 29 teams in MLB may need an OF at some point in the next few months and we have a nice one we can trade away but, you can't just cut him, that would be foolish.

"The Weapon" on the other hand see ya wouldn't want to be ya.

I also say the Rule 5 guy, T. Young should be kept in the Pen. See what he can do.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 18, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd like to get more out of a corner OF spot than a .260 avg, .400 slg, and 15 homers. That's what Kearns is when he's not hurt. And his defense is overrated. There are a lot of balls he does not get to. His arm is accurate, but it's not nearly as strong as Dukes' (or even Guillen).

Willie Harris put up comparable stats last season to what Kearns did in '07:
Kearns 07 .266 avg/.411 slg/.355 obp w/ 16hr & 74 rbi in 587 at-bats
Harris 08 .251/.417/.344, 13hr, 43rbi in 367 at-bats

What I don't understand is all the love for AK on this forum. Dukes is our RF and I for one will be pissed if AK becomes our regular out there at any point. Like I said above, I'd rather have Maxwell at this point.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico, those of us who make it down to Viera--may we come up to the press box and say hello?

Posted by: Section109 | March 18, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

No backup shortstop?

Didn't someone with the Nats recently refer to Zimmerman as a shortstop playing third?

I mean, it'd be crazy to try, wouldn't it?

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 18, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

As for the depth arguement, we don't need 6 OF's, which is what we'll have if/when AK makes the team. We have depth without him - Dunn, Dukes, Willingham, Milledge and Harris are all better than Kearns.

Maxwell and Bernadina may be better than him too.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"What I don't understand is all the love for AK on this forum. Dukes is our RF and I for one will be pissed if AK becomes our regular out there at any point."

I don't see anyone here saying that Kearns should be the regular or starting right fielder. I do see lots of people saying that he's worth more as a 4th/5th outfielder than as someone you'd just throw on the trash heap. There is a difference there.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I like Kearns as a player. He works hard and does not make excuses. The moral problem is $9 Million sitting on the bench each night. It is in everyone’s face every day. It is a Jimbo legacy....a sign of how dysfunctional organization days......when Dukes is playing for MLB min every day and Kearns is riding the pine for $9 million....that is not good for moral.....Play him or trade him....do not hold him and sit him.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 18, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Hey Chico, those of us who make it down to Viera--may we come up to the press box and say hello?"

No, during the game you're only allowed to talk to broadcasters while they're on the air, as someone apparently did to Jageler while he was calling the game the other day.

How come no one ever comes up to talk with Clint while he's on camera? Or better yet, how come no one ever pies him in the face?

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@longterm:

Since we're still in Spring Training, I can speculate a little. On paper, the 2009 lineup might be the best (in terms of starters) the Nationals' have had since 2006. And the player depth in the minors is certainly better than it's been since the team came to DC from Montreal.

As for the bullpen, it was great over the 1st half of 2005, and overacheived in 2007 - other than that, not so good, imo. The 2009 version has some pieces, and may not be relied on as heavily early in the season. The team still has 162 games to play - I think some of us will be pleasantly suprised by the outcome.

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

OZ (origial Zim) made his major league debut as a SS (due to guzzie's injury of course).

But he's the best damn 3B in the biz. It's tougher down there than it looks, just ask A-Roid.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Why are no Nats preseason games on MASN?!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 18, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I think some of us will be pleasantly suprised by the outcome.

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 2:33 PM

************

me too.

It's nice to see some positive press lately, but part of me wants to keep that stuff secret for awhile longer. Then when they start to see the same little happy developments we're already seeing, the surprise would be that much more delicious.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Why are no Nats preseason games on MASN?!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 18, 2009 2:52 PM

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
You got your wish. Tonight at 7:05 on MASN. If you were hoping for HDTV tonight, keep wishing!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 18, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

307 says AK's defense is overrated. The Fielding Bible disagrees.

Here are the ground rules (splitting up into two posts due to length and fear of rejection):

"The Fielding Bible, goes into great length (ad nauseum to some) describing the new fielding system we developed at Baseball Info Solutions, the Plus/Minus System. Video Scouts at BIS review video of every play of every major league game and record detailed information on each play, such as the location of each batted ball, the speed, the type of hit, etc. Using this in-depth data, we’re able to figure out how each player compares to his peers at his position. How often does Derek Jeter field that softly batted ball located 20 feet to the right of the normal shortstop position, for example, compared to all other major league shortstops?"

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow- I can't read this thread right now, but I wanted to suggest that "Pattersoned," I thought, was meant to mean "released because his career was over." It loses its power when it simply means "released." That will happen to a lot of folks, but it isn't the same.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 18, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Second of two:

"A player gets credit (a "plus" number) if he makes a play that at least one other player at his position missed during the season, and he loses credit (a "minus" number) if he misses a play that at least one player made. The size of the credit is directly related to how often players make the play. Each play is looked at individually, and a score is given for each play. Sum up all the plays for each player at his position and you get his total plus/minus for the season. A total plus/minus score near zero means the player is average. A score above zero is above average and a negative score is below average. Adam Everett had the highest score we’ve had in four years of using the system with a +43 at shortstop in 2006. That means he made 43 more plays than the average MLB shortstop would make."

Over the period from 2006-2008, Austin Kearns ranks third in the NL and 5th in all of baseball among RFs, with a plus-29.

For comparison, RZimm's numbers are similar, plus-33, good for second in the NL among 3Bs, 6th in MLB.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Bobble!! Awesome post. Thanks for doing the research.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Well done BobL. Love the fielding bible, just got my copy last week.

Just to clarify, I assume you meant that AK is an average offensive outfielder among all players, meaning including subs and starters. That is correct, those number are average for all players. For a starter with over 500AB, they are well below average. I have a feeling you know this.

Anyway it means that AK is an excellent guy to have on your team for a back-up outfielder especially because he is one of the best defenders in that position. Great for defensive substitutions but more generally you just don't want to give up defense when you put in a weaker hitter.

Now, w/o a doubt AK is way overpaid for what he has shown he can produce so far. But at the $2-3m range he is a guy almost any GM/manager/teammate would want on their team. I for one would be thrilled to see him back as a 4th OF in '10 at a market rate for that service.

Posted by: Avar | March 18, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Point to Mr. Bobble.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 18, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

BobL,

Thanks for the stats, but let's take a closer look shall we?

By year, here are AK's RF ratings:

04 = +4
05 = +9
06 = +9
07 = +18
08 = +2

AK's high rating is based on his '07 year in RFK, where the field provided opportunities for plays to be made that most parks don't. He topped out at +9 in Cincy, which is what I think a healthy Kearns probably is. I see the '07 year as a product of the park.

I think his injury caused his drop in rating for last year (Dukes was +11 btw), but look at other RFK numbers such as Super-Nook's +22 in CF in '07 or Soriano's +15 in LF in '06. Sori doesn't show up in '07 or '08 which means he was lower than +8 in those years - meaning his value dropped by half once he left RFK - which would support my theory that RFK was the reason Kearns' numbers look so good.

If we give AK the benefit of the doubt for '08 and toss out '07, his +9 is not as good as Dukes' +11 from last year.

So I stand by my assertion that AK's D is overrated these days.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Touche, 307! Nice theory, and it might hold some water. With that said, however, Kearns was still rated 4th in all of baseball before he got to RFK in 2007. So while the cavernous OF might have helped, it didn't invent the idea that he was a good defensive OF.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Couple of new posts. One of them may surprise you.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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