Monday, November 17, 2008

In attempts to continue the delay on the minor league FA post...

Here's your Monday Mailbag!

With the acquisition of Josh Willingham and rumors swirling about the Nats wanting Carlos Gonzalez, I can't help but notice that the team has a lot of outfielders. What do they plan on doing with all of them?
-- Pat R., Oakton, Va.

Well...most teams carry 5 outfielders. Either Pena or Kearns will be moved by Opening Day I bet. I'd rather hold on to all 5 (Pena, Kearns, Dukes, Willingham and Milledge). All of them spent time on the DL in 2008 (Milledge played 138 games, Willingham played 102, Kearns played 86, Dukes played 81 and Pena played 64. That's a total of 471, whereas 3 outfielders multiplied by 162 starts a year equals 486, so that might not even be enough depth! Resign Willie and Langerhans!

How do you think Scott Olsen will impact the clubhouse dynamic? He's not known for his cool.
-- Unidentifed Nats fan, Washington, D.C.

FishStripes, a Marlins blog, has (on at least 3 different occasion) stated Scott Olsen has been given an unfair shake in the media, saying things like: 

"There are too many comments by his present and former teammates to lead one to believe he his a jerk," (Feb 2008)

"Scott isn't a bad person and actually he is a good kid, warts and all. Just try to find one of the off-season meet the players functions where he isn't there.  Olsen made more fan appreciation and charity events scheduled by the team than any other player last season.  That alone doesn't qualify you for good kid status, but his teammates state emphatically that he is, and they should know,"  (Aug 2007

(About Gondeee of Talking Chop, a Braves blog, and the following comment he made: I always thought Olsen was considered a hot-head. I remember clashes between him and Joe Girardi when he managed the Marlins -- kind of a strange personality to add to the Braves clubhouse.) 

"I like Gondeee, he is a good guy, he knows the Braves and he knows baseball, but he knows absolutely nothing about Scott Olsen. Olsen is an excellent teammate and anyone on the Marlins will tell you the same.  He is not a "hot-head", contrary to what has been written in the past.  But the point of all of this is not to call Gondeee out, I mean really, how could he know. It is just to bring out the recurring theme that is being said about Olsen by the sports writers and the baseball bloggers.  And actually, Gondeee treated with more dignity than most. Now, I'm not trying to sell Olsen, heck, I want him back.  It is just that I think he is getting an unfair shake in the press." (Nov 2008)

Now I don't know if Craig from FishStripes has some sort of man-crush on Olsen, but he pretty emphatically defended him back there. It's only one viewpoint, but until the guy screws up as a member of the Washington Nationals, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and so should all of you.

Do the Nats have a legitimate chance at landing Mark Teixeira, or is it just talk? 
-- Chris E., Glendale, Calif.

If they put up the money, they have a legitimate chance. Here was my reasoning that I posted on the comments of back on Nov 9: "The Nats have some decent up-and-coming prospects. Nothing too amazing, but they could be able to hit .500 this season with him if the right players get healthy and the young guys improve. Tex could go down in history as the guy who turned the Nats from a loser to a winner. Or he could go down in history as the guy who played first base for the Yankees after Jason Giambi." I know it won't necessarily work out that way, but I'd like to think the Nats would be a better fit for him than most teams.

Now that Emilio Bonifacio has been traded to the Marlins for Olsen and Willingham, do you think trading Jon Rauch to the D-backs for Bonifacio was a good trade? The Rauch trade never sat well with me, and I think this confirms the Nationals lost out in the deal. 
-- Will R., Rose Haven, Md.

I went back and forth on the deal for a while, but in the end, I don't think it was a good deal. I do think that the deal was salvaged by the Olsen deal. My initial (documented) opinion was kinda non-commital: "
My first reaction is that we got a decent player in a position of need. I think we could have gotten more for Rauch (perhaps another low-level prospect), but if this was Rauch's market, I'm happy. I heard rumors of Reid Brignac for Rauch, which would have made me happier, but this is fine." I went back on July 30th and changed my mind: "I tried to rationalize it for a while, but it simply wasn't a great trade for the Nats. Now that being said it could end up being a win for the team, but Rauch is worth more than Bonifacio. They should have (and definitely could have) gotten more than Emilio." One note-Nats Journal commenters ended up voting 61% to 39% in favor of the trade. I know I originally voted in favor. Would be interesting to see Chico run a new poll over there.

I agree with you that the Nats should play the kids. But is there any indication they will? They have a lot of young outfielders and now they have more. No matter how good they are, I don't see a place for Roger Bernadina, Leonard Davis or Justin Maxwell. 
-- Garry F., Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Canadian math: Bernadina+Davis+Maxwell>Milledge+Dukes

Uhhh. I think not. Maxwell's always hurt, Davis hasn't proved much above AA so far and Bernadina was awful his first time around in the majors (and only decent his second time there). If we were talking someone of Burgess' talent level that was ready, I would agree. But none of these guys project as starting ML outfielders in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on the new jerseys? Will they amount to more wins in 2009? 
-- Michael S., Mount Airy, Md.

I like the new road uniforms, am semi-indifferent to the Curly W red ones, but dislike the DC/patriotic ones. I am definitely patriotic, but there's way too much going on there.

As for more wins-does anyone feel like crunching some numbers to see if there is any correlation between getting new uniforms and getting more wins? It would be a coincidence, but an interesting coincidence in my opinion.


  1. Hoag- As much as you bring up Bowden's obsession with the reds, I'm surprised that you haven't pointed out that our new Curly W Alts are EXACT COPIES of the Reds alts.

  2. To call them "exact copies" isn't 100% true-the Reds' alternates have black piping rather than white and the number on the front lines up with the logo across the chest, but good point. They're waaaaaaaay too similar.

    For a reference point:
    Reds alternate:
    Nats alternate:

  3. Nope, no Man-Crush.

    Just thought he was being unfairly portrayed.


    Good luck in the 2009 season, except when the Nats play the Marlins, of course.

  4. Glad to hear it. Good luck to ya'll as well.


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