Friday, March 26, 2010

What purpose does it serve?

A stat heavy analysis showing how Willie Harris is just as good if not better than Elijah Dukes got me to thinking about the why's and wherefores of this decision. And as I did, the beginnings of a pattern emerged . . .

It is true to say any angst over the Dukes release is over his potential not his production.

And it's also true that the most likely outcome is no real difference in production between Harris and Dukes in RF for 2010.

But this angst as it were is real. Essentially, the Nats FO decided they would rather have veteran mediocrity rather than gamble on finding a potential All-Star.

I'm not saying Dukes will develop into a feared middle of the order power hitter and model citizen elsewhere. In fact, he likely won't. But a player with his skill set (which included until 2009 plate discipline) has a chance to turn into a far above average player. The Nats NEED above average players. They have 1. One.

This continues the path this new FO has taken since they took over. A preference for veteran stability over gambles on potential. That's fine if you are the Yankees or the Red Sox but when you lose 205 games over two years, what do you have to lose taking big risks?

They didn't take a risk and sign Aroldis Chapman. They could have. Easily. They have plenty of spare payroll not doing anything useful. The Morgan trade was the same thing. Got older and less upside. Sure Morgan was undervalued but if his hammy's are barking, he less than useless.

Pudge, Marquis, Adam Kennedy . . . all the same thing. Old and average at best. What is the point of squandering playing time on them? What purpose does it serve?


  1. It's one thing to pick up an old player and block a young player with talent, it's another to "block" a young player going nowhere. Kennedy blocks who? If they are set on Desmond at SS and not going to move Guzman then one year of Kennedy hurts no one. Marquis eats up much needed innings and only takes a spot from another 26 yr old AAAA starter.

    Smart short signings for positions where you have no prospects will never be a bad move. They don't preclude other signings and they don't hurt development, while keeping the team performing at a respectable level.

  2. Kelly Johnson was non-tendered by the Braves. He's 26 I think and has a decent track record in majors and minors EXCEPT for last season where he didn't hit and lost his job. A closer examination shows his "slump" was the product of an extremely low BABIP. In other words, he was just damn unlucky. So, why not him?

    Or just today, the Red Sox trade for Kevin Frandsen (sp?). He older but not as old as Kennedy and has some patience and pop for a middle infielder. It would be interesting to see what he could do with 500 ABs.

    Instead, we get Adam Kennedy who will surprise no one and will be worth nothing going forward.

    I don't want to see a team trying to ensure competence. I want a team focused on winning and willing to use their financial advantages to be creative and aggressive in doing so. This team shows zero signs of being anything other than concerned about not making mistakes. That will give you 70-80 wins but it won't make you elite. Not unless Teddy opens the wallet and we both know that'll never happen.

  3. Rather than focus on the particulars, focus on the pattern. You hit it right on the head. Mike Rizzo would rather have $1 in his pocket than a lottery ticket, even if that $1 isn't going to get you anything at all.

    It's a very conservative, risk-intolerant approach.

    I'm not sure that's the best fit for a franchise in this position. Time'll tell, i guess.