Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bowden busy again

Yesterday Bowden signed Gary Bennett to play backup catcher, for 1 year at $750K. Bennett will be 33 next year, and is a typical backup catcher in that he can't really hit, particularly not for power, hitting .247/.310/.335 lifetime. He's got a great reputation behind the plate, particularly at calling games, the only exception being that he isn't good at stopping the running game. Note that the Brewers weren't willing to guarantee him his backup job next year, and offered him a minor league contract. All in all, at least Bowden is only wasting about $300K for one year.

The Post article on the signing spends time on the pitching situation. Apparently, Bowden doesn't expect to sign anyone until the market is more established, with one or two of the big fish signing. This means that the people he's talking to are asking for even more money than Bowden thinks they're worth, if you can believe that.

Who's on his shopping list? We've already heard about Paul Wilson, who seems like the most likely signing, particularly if something happens quickly, simply because Bowden seems to be a big fan of anyone he ever signed in Cincinati. Other rumors are Jaret Wright (3.28 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.68 K/9 for the Braves last year), Russ Ortiz (4.13 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 6.29 K/9 for the Braves last year) and Odalis Perez (3.25 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 5.87 K/9).

I'll be surprised if we can afford any of these three. And if we do, I just have my fingers crossed that it's not Ortiz. Not only have I never been a big fan of Ortiz (#1 in walks in 2003, #2 in 2004), based on what I've read as to what his likely market value is, paying him at market is probably overpaying based on his performance -- he's expected to get a raise over his current $6.2M salary.

In other on-field insight, the MLB.com Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson answered some questions that are worth a read, giving a bit of insight into who he thinks will or won't make the team out of spring training. I'm happy to hear that he thinks Gary Majewski is unlikely to make it.

Today, the D.C. city council should also take its first of two votes necessary for approving the new stadium. There's still more drama surrounding it due to Linda Cropp, but nothing that's expected to impede something acceptable to MLB getting approved.


At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, the Brewers wouldn't guarantee Bennett his backup job because they've signed Damian Miller. That means the incumbent starter (Chad Moeller) is now the backup, and Bennett has nowhere to play. For what it's worth, I like the signing.

At 7:36 PM, Blogger John said...

I've definitely read that the Brewers weren't happy with his performance, which isn't inconsistent with what you said. Still, what we're paying for Bennett is probably twice what we would pay if we promoted from AAA, or picked up someone off waivers. Offensively, that would likely be a wash at worst. Defensively, there's something to be said about Bennett.

The duration of the contract and the amount of money doesn't make it a big deal at all, and the amount of playing time he'll get make it even less of a big deal. It's just indicitive of a trend, though, where Bowden probably spent more to get less (more offense for less money would have been a plus).

At 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fair point, especially since the Brewers managed to sign Moeller, who's younger, for only $700K. Bowden is definitely overspending for the talent he's getting. If it costs us a shot at acquiring someone better, that's what it comes back to bite us.


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