March 20, 2006

The Soriano Saga Continues...

It would appear that A-Sor has opted not to cowboy up. On the heels of Dave Shenin's first-rate recap of the Soriano fiasco comes a report from Nats beat writer Bill Ladson that Alfonso refused to take the field at the start of tonight's Nats-Dodgers game. Soriano was slated to bat leadoff and play leftfield. (Why in God's name he was batting at the top of the order is a question for another time...)

The Nationals will give A-Sor one more chance to get with the program Wednesday afternoon against the Cardinals. If he again refuses to play the outfield, the team could hang a T.O. on him. Soriano could be placed on the "disqualified list" which I've never heard of and frankly sounds a little bit like double-secret probation. The Business of Baseball has a throughly unhelpful definition of the disqualified list, and it is mentioned several times in the 2003-2006 Basic Agreement (search the PDF for 'disqualified'.)

Essentially it's a place to put recalcitrant pain-in-the-ass prima donnas who won't admit that they're lousy infielders. If Albert Belle had been a shortstop he would have made the list every year. Players on the disqualified list don't draw their salary, but I can't remember it ever being used and it probably comes with a grievance procedure that makes the stadium negotiatons look like a Rotary Club luncheon. So don't expect to see that $10 million in the form of a "Michael Tucker Platinum Bobblehead Night" anytime soon.

I hate that this forces me to side with Jim Bowden. I hate it. But just like picking sides in the MLB-DC City Council feud, you just have to swallow hard and back the least reprehensible side. Like the city council, Bowden made a terrible initial deal, and has been desperately trying to improve it ever since. Like MLB, Soriano figures he holds all the cards and has been trying to strong-arm his way to his preferred outcome. But this time the contract favors the Nats.

I'm sure Don Fehr will make a half-hearted argument on Soriano's behalf, but the players' union has bigger worries these days than one disgruntled nominal second baseman. The Barry Bonds steroid circus may end up being worse for Soriano than for Bonds. The union needs to make nice with the owners for at least a while to keep a lid on the current medicinal mess, and A-Sor is nobody's poster-boy for employee rights.

Bottom line? I miss Wilkie...


Brandon Kriner said...

No! No! No! I refuse to let you side with Bowden! This is all his fault! Bowden is the one trying to "strong-arm his way to his preferred outcome." Soriano said all along that he wouldn't play left field. It's not like the Council signing a deal and then backing out.

Argh! Bowden! Argh!

Nate said...

Don't get me wrong, I'd still prefer to have them both in the front seat of the bus when it goes over the cliff (with Michael Tucker and Robert Fick in the back for balance.) I don't really care if Soriano has "I'm a 2nd Baseman, Dammit!" tattooed on his [edited], he needs to do as he's told.

It'd be different if Bowden and Robinson wanted him to catch, or pitch middle relief, or operate the t-shirt cannon with the Nat Pack. Hell, it'd be different if he were a gold glove middle infielder. But he ain't. I get that he doesn't want to move. I get that, you get that, Bowden and Robinson get that, everybody get's that.

I'm still forced to conclude that Bowden, while clearly an incompetent, moronic jackass, is the marginally lesser of two royal pains in my [edited]. "Argh!" indeed.

Brandon Kriner said...

So at your job the bosses force you to move to another department in the company that you have no interest in whatsoever. You're in Marketing and they make you move to Accounting. Do you just sit there and take it, or do you protest and, eventually, quit?

I don't see this as analagous to the T.O. situation. T.O. was badmouthing his teammates and coaches in the media...Soriano has stayed out of the media and has argued his case exclusively with Frank and Bowden.

Nate said...

See, to me this is more like being moved from one client to another within the marketing department. Say you're on the Toasty Oats account, and you think you've done a good job and want to stay on the Toasty Oats account. Your boss wants to move you over to Wheatie Puffs, because that account is struggling... is there a credible bases for barricading yourself in your office?

It's not like Soriano has a God-given right to play second base. (I'd say it is arguable whether he has the God-given talent to do so.)

Did Jim Bowden do something titanically stupid by trading for Soriano and asking him to switch positions. Yea verily, and he should be sacked for it at the earliest opportunity.

But is he doing something wrong, spiteful or improper by requiring Alfonso to change positions as a condition of his employment? I just don't think so.