Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cheapskates and liars

Normally, I take the contrarian position when it comes to the Nationals.  I never tire of pointing out that while Aaron Crow didn't sign (for the largest bonus offered to a pitcher in last year's draft BTW), the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 15th round selections ALL signed for above slot money.  In 2007, the Nats spent more on the draft than any other team in MLB.

But the first day of the 2009 draft proves to me once and for all: this ownership group are cheapskates and liars.

Lie: We'll take the best available player.  Drew Storen was not the best player available at #10.  End of story.  He was drafted for financial reason alone. 

Same goes for the #2 and #3 picks.  They are even more obvious.  Neither was the best player available by a long shot and both will sign for slot. 

It is completely clear now that the Lerner's have no interest in building a winning team in Washington.  Actually, its more accurate to say they are not driven to build a winner but would be glad if the s*^&*^ they throw at the wall some how sticks and winning happens.

Do they understand they are 15-41?  There is sucking and there is embarassing. Are the Lerner's embarassed by their product?  I am.  They should be.  And I would be doing everything I could, exploiting every angle to erase the bitter taste of the last year and a half from the minds of the local fan base and the national scene (such as it is for this crew).

Let's go down the checklist:

1. Spending on major league free agents: Nope. 
2. Spending on the draft: put the brakes on THAT now too.
3. International signings: None of note.  Not even a hint of interest.  How can the Pirates be a player for the top international prospect and the Nationals aren't? 
4. Take on bad contracts:  Two months ago the Nats couldhave gotten Dontrelle Willis AND a prospect for two used parking tokens.  Willis was a $20m sunk cost and Detroit would have been glad to be rid of it.  So for $20m (half the PROFIT the Lerner's earned last year) they could have added a prospect and bought a ticket on the D-train lottery. 

I don't care to hear about how much SS is going to cost.  Do the Lerner's not build parking garages because the Boy Scouts running the cement concession charge a premium?  No. It's the cost of doing business. 

I wouldn't be able to face the public in any forum right now as a Nationals owner.  The only way I could is if I was announcing some important move to turn this disaster around.  I'd be damn humble, embarassed and humiliated and burning with a desire to right this wrong.

Instead we get BS.  Same message, different messenger.  "We're doing everthing we can to win" translation "keep spending on our crappy product and maybe if we luckbox into it, we'll win a little but in the meantime we can fill the stadium with Phillies and Met fans. Their cash is just as green as a Nats "fan".

You could disagree with George Steinbrenner when he ran the Yankees but there ews NEVER any doubt that what he did was designed with one goal in mind: WINNING.  That's not the case here. If the owners don't care, why should I?

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