Monday, May 17, 2010

A bullpen audit reveals some problems for Mets, Nats and others - Buster Olney - MLB blog - ESPN

A bullpen audit reveals some problems for Mets, Nats and others - Buster Olney - MLB blog - ESPN

The feeling among rival executives is that they are apt to be aggressive before the trade deadline, the kind of team willing to take on a contract -- like Oswalt's -- that might appear oversized to other teams. The Nats' window of opportunity is opening, and Storen's promotion so early in the season tells us that they will work like crazy this summer to climb through (in spite of their three-game slide in Colorado)

This is the money quote from Buster's column this morning. One, if these "rival executives" believe the cheap ass owners of the Nats are going to open the vaults for any reason, they are seriously mistaken. (I note but don't link to, the fact that the Cincinnati Reds signed ANOTHER Cuban defector. The Reds. With their puny media market. They could afford to spend money on a lottery ticket for the future and the Nats wouldn't. That tell you all you need to know about the willingness of this team to spend)

Of course, I could be wrong and the Nationals could decide they are "in contention" and would make a play for Oswalt or another big contract. I seriously doubt two things about this scenario: First, the fact they would actually pony up the dough and two the contention that this team is in any way shape or form a contender.

News flash: it is not. It wasn't at 20-15 and its still not at 20-18. You are two games over .500 with otherworldly performances out of Livan!, the ancient Pudge, and Clip and Save. With historically bad RF production. With a bench that is at best atrocious and at worst a joke. This is not a contender. Please don't think a month and a half of .500 baseball makes you into one. Stick with the Plan such as it is. Be sellers. Get more assets, get a RF for the future, get more pitching, get a real 2B (hey how's about Kelly Johnson??? Oh wait, he was freely available for a little bit of the Lerner's cash this offseason and well THAT's a bridge too far, spending cash.)

I know the marketing psychology: hey we need to show the Washington baseball consumer we will do everything we can to win. We'll build some momentum with SS and Storen in town. Add a high profile trade and we can market a lot more sizzle this summer.

I don't even necessarily OPPOSE a trade for a overpriced veteran. I've lobbied for such things in the past. My only reservation is: overpaying. If the Nats want to take bad contracts off the hands of other teams, I am in favor of that. I am not in favor of actually paying any price in future baseball talent for the privilege of paying overpriced veterans. Leveraging the asset of massive payroll room would be a good thing, make a trade to add a high priced veteran at the expense of future assets with the thought of actual post season contention is a delusion and a terrible mistake.

Not that we will ever know, but if the theory the Storen call up is a reward for an easy signing then I have to question the wisdom of such a deal. Calling him up now means a shot at Super 2 status and essentially getting Storen to arbitration a year early. That's potentially a $3-5m swing. Is it worth the risk for these few weeks? I don't see why. BUt I am glad he's here now.

The sweetest words I've seen all season: Willy Tavares DFA'ed. Should I feel bad the guy lost his job with a kid on the way? No. Not when you've pocketed millions over the past two years. Willy: enjoy your kid and take what's left of Cincinnati and Oakland's money and buy gold.

So long Brian Bruney. It was a decent risk and it just didn't pan out. Call us when you can find home plate.

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