What was Bowden thinking?
Why should I even care about this team any more?
Is it any wonder the Nationals are the biggest joke of a team in baseball?
I don't even know how to express my total lack of respect for the Nationals' front office. I'm not going to defend them anymore. They're idiots. Complete morons. Guys that should be doing (insert name of non-noble work here).
Why am I so mad? Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that taking Wily Mo Pena's place on the 25 man roster is none other than....JOHNNY ESTRADA!
Here's what Ladson says exactly:
This is so wrong on so many levels. I don't see why they want to torture us so much. Here's a good analogy-Johnny Estrada is to baseball as William Hung is to singing. Sorry, William, I hate to compare you to such a worthless baseball player, but you're the best I could think of.
With Pena expected to go on the disabled list on Friday, the Nationals are expected to activate catcher Johnny Estrada from the DL. Estrada has played in only 17 games this year because of a sore right elbow.
The Nationals will have four catchers -- Estrada, Jesus Flores, Paul Lo Duca and Wil Nieves -- on the 25-man roster. Manager Manny Acta said that Estrada will come off the bench and get some playing time behind the plate.
"I have to see Johnny Estrada out there," Acta said. "We have to take a look at him. It's July. Other than that, we'll deal with what we have."
Johnny Estrada has only had 1 season that has ever been deemed "above average" in OPS+ (where 100 is average, anything above 100 is above average and everything below 100 is below average). Estrada topped out at 113 in 2004, carrying a career OPS+ of 84 and OPS+'s of 74, 92, 78 and 8 from 2005-08 (note the small 2008 sample size, only 39 AB). With such a below-average bat, he must be valuable elsewhere, right? Wrong. Estrada has only thrown out 24% of potential base stealers over his career. Estrada is one of the slowest men on earth (more on that later).
My roommate (a Brewers/Nats fan, so he gets double the Estrada fun) wrote up a quick 5-tool assessment on Estrada for me:
me: i need for you to give me a scouting report on johnny estrada for my blog...very quick...just hit his skills in the 5 tools
roommate: he doesn't walk
roommate: but can hit for average
roommate: no power
roommate: speed blows
roommate: defense sucks
roommate: arm sucks
Here are some opinions of Estrada from fans:
"At least (Jason Kendall is) likely to post an OBP greater than .300 and not be a distraction in the clubhouse, unlike Estrada. And be fast enough that you can actually bunt him over to second base. And who won't be a double play machine. And Estrada had a pretty crummy year defensively as well." -Chud.com commenter EvilTwin (Brewers Fan during Estrada's time there)
"Johnny Estrada sucks. He was the worst catcher in baseball last season at throwing out baserunners. He is overweight and I have read more than one report that he has a pathetic work ethic. No thanks."-SignOnSanDiego.com commenter Fixxer019 (Padres Fan when Estrada was rumored to be negotiating with them)
"Can we simply replace 'Johnny Estrada flied out to left' or 'Johnny Estrada grounds out 6-3' to 'Johnny Estrada sucks?' Seriously, after each out he makes, I don’t want to hear who got the putout or who got the assist, I just want to here 'Johnny Estrada sucks.' For example: 'The 2-2 to Estrada. Grounder to second. And Johnny Estrada sucks.'"-BravesJournal.com commenter Aram (Braves fan during Estrada's time there). Also from the same site: "#%$^ing Estrada……"-LatNam, BravesJournal.com commenter.
"Omar Minaya, to his undying credit, did do one good thing this off-season -- trading away Guillermo Mota, though we had to accept Johnny Estrada. Johnny Estrada sucks at baseball. But at least the cheater is gone."-Wheres-Luke.Blogspot.com (Mets fan after the Estrada-Mota deal)
"The difference between Estrada and Schneider is negligible, although I suppose Estrada is glacier-slow, whereas Schneider is just catcher-slow."-Matt Collins of BaseballMuse.WordPress.com (Mets fan)
"He may actually be a .300 hitter, which when you add in doubles power (36 last season) and a few walks is pretty darned valuable. (Written in January of 2005, so obviously not the case-.278 career hitter). On the other hand, if he can't hit near .300, he's a drag on the team, because he only hit nine homers and is painfully slow (no stolen bases or triples in his major league career, or in the minors since 2000) and his defense looked pretty shoddy. Interestingly, he wasn't charged with a passed ball last season, despite seemingly having trouble blocking the plate."-Mac Thomason of BravesBeat.com
"I hate him as much as anybody here. He's a butcher behind the plate, he's slow as hell, he has no work ethic, and he does nothing with runners in scoring position."-RealGM.com commenter Comet
Had enough? Now do you understand why Johnny Estrada is an awful call-up in any situation? WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Estrada is being called up to be our 4th catcher. 4. We have 13 hitters on our roster and 4 of them are catchers (3 of them being ONLY catchers, with Lo Duca being an impostor at 1B/LF occasionally...with a .939 fielding percentage on the balls that he actually gets near). That's absolutely ridiculous. Behind our normal starting lineup (I'll call it C-Flores, 1B-Young, 2B-Lopez, 3B-Belliard, SS-Guzman, LF-Casto, CF-Harris, RF-Kearns), we have 5 bench players-2 guys who can ONLY catch in Estrada, Nieves, 1 guy who can ONLY catch in Lo Duca (but we play him at 1B/LF occasionally to decrease the quality of our team), 2 guy who can play 2B/SS/3B in Pete Orr and 1 guy who can play all of the OF positions in Ryan Langerhans. Estrada's only value is as a backup catcher, where he should be fourth on the depth chart.
I know Zimmerman's coming up soon, but who is going to be sent down? The only real possibilities are Orr, Casto and Langerhans-the three guys with the most versatility. So we'll be even MORE shorthanded. Unless Bowden's going to pull the trigger on a deal (he no longer gets the benefit of my doubt), this is probably the worst baseball roster strategy I have ever seen. 31% of our batters on the roster are catchers, and only 1 of them can hit. At least Nieves is good defensively. Lo Duca and Estrada are the Terrible Twins.
Things are not looking good for our future if the Nats are this reluctant to swallow their pride and dump obvious mistakes. Combine that with a 100% irresponsible spending system (which allowed them waste $6.25 mil on both Lo Duca and Estrada in the first place rather than anyone of value) and suddenly defining the team as a "slot team" in terms of the draft and there is no hope visible for the Nats.
For the Nats to ever make the playoffs, 2 things need to happen:
Jim Bowden needs to be fired
The Lerner Family needs to sell the team. It's obvious that they are not capable of running a big league team. They approve spending money in the dumbest places (Johnny Estrada and Paul Lo Duca) and won't allow it for the most important areas (our 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th round draft picks).
As far as I'm concerned, The Plan will never succeed with the 3 Stooges (Bowden, Ted Lerner and Mark Lerner) running this team.
For the love of Frank Howard, can someone bring DC a respectable baseball team?
I'm sure there might be holes in my logic and maybe some bad grammatical errors, as I was too ticked off to even read through this post again. So just leave them in the comments and I'll correct them.