This off season started out with such excitement and promise, but is quickly degrading into an absolute disaster. We say this for two reasons:
Fighting For The Job – MLB.com reports that the Nationals have decided to determine who plays centerfield in 09′ by staying in-house and allowing Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge to “duke” (ha, ha, so witty) it out during Spring Training.
So two corner outfielders, one who is questionable at center field, the other can’t stay healthy, will be throwing down for the honor of being the centerpiece of the outfield? Oh, I can’t wait!
Sounds Like A Disease – Reliever Will Ledezma has signed with the Nats for a Minor League deal and will probably be in Spring Training says Denverpost.com. Ledezma, which sounds terminal, will attempt to shutdown left handed hitters from the pen.
Left handed hitters hit .255/.359/.364 off him in 2008. “Attempt” is the key word here.
So the Nationals have gone from possibly picking up the biggest FA this off season to scrounging for scraps. Orlando Hudson and Adam Dunn are still out there, but our feelings say they aren’t going to come to DC. Why? The Nationals know:
The Nationals did not give a reason why [Milton] Bradley rejected their offer, which was a reported three years at $30 million. He is the second free agent to bypass Washington. On Dec. 23, Mark Teixeira decided to sign the Yankees even though Washington made a nine year, $180 million offer.
They didn’t give a reason because that reason is already spreading like a virus to remaining free agents and every team, player, fan and soul: Players do not believe the Washington organization wants to win. The money is there, but the substance behind it isn’t.
Of course Washington wants to win. Winning fills seats and brings in the money. It is in DC’s best interests to want to do so, but ever since Mark Teixeira rejected the Nationals largest offer to play for the circus in New York, that action has sent a message to all other FAs and their agents that maybe they should avoid DC. They possibly believe that maybe Teix saw something they didn’t and so they politely avoid JimBo and company. Whether or not Teix really wanted to play for New York or the whole thing was a scam to get him into New York, the event has damaged DC’s reputation at the bargaining table, even though the team put up the most money.
To win, the team needs improved pieces, but the improved pieces do not want to come to DC because they aren’t winning. It’s a vicious cycle the Nats are caught in presently and a rut where fans might find themselves once again rooting for secondhand castouts and the same batch of injury infested players that made 08′ so miserable.
That’s right, the Nationals off season might officially be over, starting today, unless by some miracle they can start convincing players that Scott Boras and Mark Teixeira are full of crap and have no idea what they are talking about.
While they do that, I am going to go take a few Zoloft, drink herbal tea, and spray myself with lavender for better vibes.