Sunday, December 12, 2004

Good news on the DL front

You can find interesting Nats news in the strangest places. I'd put off reading the MLB article, Nationals to unveil jerseys until this morning, and was surprised to find that the bulk of the article was news I haven't seen elsewhere:
  • The Devil Rays, not known for their pitching, are looking to trade a reliever for Nick Johnson.
  • Jose Vidro's knee is in good shape. He's running on it, and is set to resume baseball activity.
  • Zach Day's broken finger is completely healed.
  • Tony Armas Jr. is pitching in winter ball, and just threw 5 1/3 innings of shut-out ball.
Looking at the Devil Rays rumor, they are basically offering to give us a closer in place of Nick Johnson. They have three right handers we might be interested in:
  • Jorge Sosa (1.55 WHIP, 5.53 ERA, 5.03 dERA, 2.1 VORP)
  • Danys Baez (1.31 WHIP, 3.57 ERA, 3.71 dERA, 16.5 VORP)
  • Jesus Colome (1.11 WHIP, 3.27 ERA, 3.18 dERA, 12.8 VORP)

Sosa's numbers look horrible, yet Bowden might be interested. The guy has gotten a good bit of time as starter so far. Interestingly enough, he was an outfielder until he reached the bigs, at which point Tampa Bay converted him to a pitcher.

Why we would want him is why he was converted to a pitcher... a 98mph fastball that is effective. He also has an okay change-up and slider. The major problems with him have been two-fold. First, he has control problems that are particularly bad when throwing his fastball in late innings. Second, he takes time to build up steam on his fastball. It's unclear that he would convert to the guy we're looking to have in the bullpen. It doesn't seem worth the risk to give up a good chip like Johnson, since Sosa wouldn't clearly be an upgrade.

I'm pretty lukewarm on Baez. He's posted similar numbers for a few years, but those numbers aren't overwhelming for a reliever, and he's been reasonably erratic over the course of the year... he had and lost the closer job in Cleveland, blowing 10 saves, but did a bit better there in TB last year, with only 3 blown saves.

Colome, though... I wonder if the Rays would let him go. Last year opponents hit only .193 against him, and he struck out almost 1 per inning. He didn't look quite as good in the two years prior, but seems to be steadily improving as his slider and change-up continue to improve (previously, he got by on his 98mph fastball alone).

Colome for Johnson I'd consider. By the way, the difference in VORP between him and Baez is strictly due to innings pitched. With the same number of innings pitched, Colome's VORP projected to be 4.5 runs higher.

Oh, and for those interested, the uniforms will be unveiled by Zach Day and Terrmel Sledge on Wednesday at 2pm at the ESPNZone in the city. If I can go, which seems dubious but might be possible, I'll take pictures.


At 3:31 PM, Blogger Steven J Berke said...

Will the fashion show go forward on Wednesday if the DC Council defeats the stadium funding bill Tuesday (not that I think they will)? I suppose it will, but would be a much less exuberant occasion....

At 8:23 PM, Blogger John said...

Though it's highly unlikely that Tuesday will go poorly, if it does, they'll definitely have the event. The Nationals will definitely play in RFK for the next year or two no matter what, even if the stadium deal falls through. If it does fall through, there's likely to only be a temporary stop-over in the area, because the VA legislation is about to sunset, and they don't seem likely to be able to extend it even if the opportunity to get the team returns.

I don't think MLB is willing to play in RFK, but maybe a new owner would be willing to build a stadium. The problem is that MLB wants to maximize what they're getting for the team, and having the new owners pony up a stadium won't do that. So on the off chance the vote falls through, the most likely result in my mind is a few lame duck years in D.C., then a move to Las Vega$.

From MLB's perspective, they'd be okay with that. It'd be D.C.'s fault, and it would wet the area's appetite, hopefully causing funding to go through the next time around. Or, maybe the next time around, an owner will be willing to kick some dough in just to move to a better market.


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