March 26, 2006

Minor Issues

Say what you want about the Alfonso Soriano fiasco (and by now we all have, twice) but it gave sports writers and Nats bloggers something to talk about. Now that the A-Sor issue has been momentarily resolved, what's next?

Apparently the topic du jour is the minor leagues. I'm still not conviced that the front office doesn't hand out a weekly topic sheet to the media (Tuesday - Vidro's knee; Wednesday - Guillen's wrist; Thursday - Church's soul patch; Friday - TBD but feel free to write about Bowden's fashion sense.) In any case, both and WaPo have inside looks at the Nats farm system. The official happy-talk overview of the team's minor league talent can be found here, while the Post takes a not exactly hard-hitting look at the changes to the farm system staff. Of course, the Natsosphere is blessed with its own source of insight and analysis, the Nationals Farm Authority guys. Always check with them first.

A lot of the problems facing the 2006 Washington Nationals are directly attributable to "Crazy Omar's Montreal Fire Sale", when everybody expected Les Expos to be contracted out of existence and then-GM Omar Minaya gutted the farm system:

  • No leadoff hitting CF? That's because Grady Sizemore is racking up the hits in Cleveland.
  • No starting pitching? Say hello to the Cleveland's Cliff Lee and San Diego's Chris Young, former Expos farm-hands.
  • Update: NFA's Scott reminded me that 2005 All-Star OF Jason Bay was another casualty of Les Expos clearance event. If you're keeping score at home, that's 2/3 of an outfield and 2/5 of a starting rotation, all under the age of 29.

So Omar Minaya sold off our platinum prospects for peanuts. But that only crippled our farm system. Killing it was Jim Bowden's job:

None of those guys is an All-Star in the making, but all of them might turn out to be at least major league utility/bench/bullpen players. And what do we have to show for it? A 1-year rental 2B turned disgruntled LF, a back-up 1B, a consistently injured AAAA outfielder, and Jose Guillen, who might be playing himself onto the DL as we speak.

There's no question that the farm system was a mess when the team relocated from Montreal to DC. But putting Bowden in charge was the worst move possible. He did the same thing he always does when he finds himself in a hole. He kept digging.


Scott M. Collins said...

The one that kills me is Jason Bay - dude's a stud and he used to be ours.

Nate said...

I'd completely forgotten about him. A starting outfield of Bay-Sizemore- Wilkerson with Church on the bench, and a rotation of Livan, Patterson, Cliff Lee, Chris Young and Tony Armas... Gee, thanks Omar!

King said...

Escobar for Owens was a pointless move... we gain Escobar, a guy capable of hitting 20 HR whenever healthy which is never which is something we don't need, for Owens who would be a good leadoff hitter which is something we do need.

Yuda said...

I can't complain about Bay too much. He's just had an OPS of .578 as a 23-year-old in the Florida State League when we let him go. The Mets proceeded to give up on him after us as well.

King said...

Also, we must not forget the Pre-Omar farm system executions of the Expos that could've made us a better team (Milton Bradley and Jake Westbrook to name two).

Imagine that lineup and rotation!

1. LF Grady Sizemore
2. 1B Brad Wilkerson
3. 2B Jose Vidro
4. CF Jason Bay
5. RF Milton Bradley
6. 3B Ryan Zimmerman
7. C Brian Schneider
8. SS Macier Izturis

1. Livan Hernandez
2. John Patterson
3. Cliff Lee
4. Jake Westbrook
5. Chris Young

Chris Needham said...

I don't know about Owens. He really looks like Brandon Watson to me -- or Nuke Logan. Maybe Jimbo could trade Escobar for Nuke for balance or something. ;)

Abajo Bowden!

El Gran Color Naranja said...

That's not exactly fair to Minaya. It wasn't a fire sale as much as an idiotic attempt to make the playoffs in 2002 that cost us a bunch of good players.

Let's look at Bowden's trades and see which ones were necessary. Getting Guillen? Ok. I'll buy that. The, not that one....uh uh...nah.

Fire Bowden.