Hot Stove Not So Hot

Well, it’s not even Christmas and already I’m worried about the 2011
Nats.  This was gonna be the year we finally turned the corner, RIGHT??
Already we’ve lost out on some front-line pitchers and now Adam Dunn is
gone too. I know it’s early in the Hot Stove season but so far for the
Nats, they haven’t even lit the fire yet.

When you read from Bill Ladson, the Nationals beat reporter, ‘Nationals
third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and general manager Mike Rizzo
were both happy for first baseman Adam Dunn…’ it makes you wonder.

Why would they happy for him?  Zimmerman, I understand.  Sort of.  He’s
happy because his buddy just got paid.  But just why would Mike Rizzo be
happy for him?  GM’s are  generally not ‘happy’ when they lose their #1
free agent especially for mere chump change.   To me, when it looks
like a GM is almost holding the door for the guy to leave it points at
something else.   I’m not going to outline the details of why the Nats
say they didn’t sign Dunn.  It’s already been writen ad nauseum about
why they couldn’t agree.  But consider these tidbits.  The team had the
chance to re-sign him early last season and didn’t get it done. Then
they made a half hearted offer at the end of the year.  They say they
aren’t interested in a four year deal.  Hogwash!   Then, they say he’s
defensive liability, right?  Hmm,  Ryan Howard makes $25 Mil  a YEAR,
and he made just 1 less error last season than Dunn.  So count that
argument out too.

So then the White Sox sign Dunn for four years at $57 million.  You’re
kidding right?  I know, Adam has a hankering for South Side sausages,
right?  He just has to go see Buddy Guy at his Legends club right? 
Making a sale in Monopoly is harder than this thing.  The White Sox have
to be laughing.  I know the rest of the NL East are smiling too.  If I
wasn’t a Nats fan, so would I. You are either ignorant, stupid or, wait
for it… just plain CHEAP.    And there lies your answer.

Even the budget conscience Lerner family cannot justify this one.  4
years, 57 mil IS CHEAP.  That a 2 for 1 sale on Ryan Howard.  No one,
except Albert Puhols, has stroked the ball out like Dunn has the past 2
seasons. 

As fans, we can only speculate as to how or why the team would allow
this to happen.  Washington is the town he WANTED to stay and his family
LOVED it here. That all points to a guy getting re-signed.  Unless the
GM was not allowed to pull the trigger on a deal.  Mike Rizzo knew it
and Adam Dunn sensed it, so he took the first legitimate deal he was
offered.

Right now, Ryan Zimmerman is a sitting duck in this lineup.  He has no
protection and he can’t be happy about that. Because he is such a
professional, he speaks softly of his concern but that’s it.  Zim says
he wants to be a National for his whole career.  The Nats need to read
between the lines here.  Zimmerman will stay on 2 conditions:  1) He
gets a long term contract similar to the one just given to Troy
Tulowitzki.  2) The Nats make moves towards being competitive.  Right
now, they are 0-1.  If the Lerners don’t start writing checks soon they
will have bigger problems on their hands.

I never thought I’d say this, but for the first time,  my loyalty is being messed with. I
have been a partial plan owner since year 1.  These kind of goiongs on make
me want to reconsider. We can only hope the next few weeks bring some
clarity because patience is wearing thin around here…

There’s a Lull in the Action

It’s another dreary mid-winters day, and I’m thinking about the goings on and decide that there is a definite LULL in the Hot Stove action.  I mean, this has already been the most exciting off season since the Nats came to town.  I don’t know about the rest of you Nats fans, but I’ve already booked my Spring Training flights and motels and I’m rarin’ to go.  But I want MORE.  More Free Agent signings, more invitees to Spring Training, WHATEVER.   I feel like Dan Snyder.  I’m itchin’ to make something happen.and it really doesn’t matter WHAT.  Let’s gas up NatsOne (do we have a team plane yet??) and make something happen.  Let’s just break the ice again with something that will light up the Sports Talk Lines and get us out of the doldrums.

There’s talk of interest in Marlins/Royals first baseman Mike Jacobs.  Is there a problem with Adam Dunn? Jacobs has said in so many words that he’s not interested in being anyone’s backup, so where does he fit in the puzzle?

Another interesting option out there is Orlando Hudson.  Do we want to pay the price and more importantly, enter into the business of hiring high priced Free Agents for and one and gone deal?  There is another attractive option out there in Adam Kennedy.  Sure he doesn’t carry the glimmer like Hudson, but his marquis will only cost you a fraction of the price, and he is the kind of guy the Nats needs at this juncture of their existence.  Kennedy leaves it all on the field, will feel any role management needs out of him and would have a huge clubhouse effect on the kids  And they can sign him for a couple of years and solidify the roster.

That’s my 2 cents.  if you think I’m a pinhead, GREAT, I’d love to here from you!

Hustle, Hustle, Hustle

Watching the gamer this afternoon, I became bristled with the sloppy defense presented to the fans.  Player make errors and thats OK.  What matters is how a player reacts AFTER they make an error.  Nothing burns me up more than watching errors happen because of a lack of effort or loss of concentration.  Elijah Dukes had such plays today.  Ever since he came to the club my attitude towards him was that he gets a fresh start with fans that are not nearly as critical as the New York mongers.  He should be able to be comfortable here be able to show that the potential upside is worthy of his second chance.  Even though criticism has been harsh, I have stood back as watched him quietly.  Now, I have seen enough from him to begin to have doubts  Both plays today were easy and he botched them both with what appeared to be either nonchalant effort or loss of concentration.  Neither of them is excusable, especially for a player in his position who needs to be doing it harder and better than anyone else on the field.  Even worse, after he blew the play, I didn’t see him hustle to retrieve the ball and get it back to the infield.  

Days like today stick in the mind of GM’s and more importantly, the fans.  Look at the Opening Day roster next season and we’ll see how this translates.

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