December 7, 2006

Jesus is Coming, Everybody Look Busy

Whew! Well, that was exciting! And you thought the Nationals weren't going to make any moves during the Winter Meetings. Silly fans. Free agents may be for other teams, but Bowden is all over toolsy minor leaguers like some kind of animal all over some kind of spoiled meat product.

In one fell swoop the Nats managed to land power-hitting catcher Jesus Flores and a righty reliever already gunning for the All-Name Team. Granted, Jesus topped out at hi-A ball last season and the pitcher looks suspiciously like every other right-handed middle reliever on the roster, but hey, it's action. Something had to be done, the Nat(m)osphere was beginning to turn on our thrifty overlords.

The official press release also notes the selection of Triple-A LHP Justin Jones from the Minnesota system. Jones is a neighbor of Ryan Zimmerman from down Tidewater way. As always, the Farm Authority's definitive coverage is required reading for all things developmental.

Incidentally, we lost about a half dozen utility infielder/middle reliever types in the later phases of the Rule 5 Draft, but again per Farm Authority, no one we're going to miss.

Net result? We're either going to carry 3 catchers all season or turn over backup duties to a 22-year old rookie with no experience above A-ball. And if Speigner makes the roster, that's one less slot for Beltran Perez, Jason "Harvey" Bergmann, "King" Saul Rivera or some other fungible righty middle reliever. On the other hand, maybe we swing a deal with Minnesota to ship Levale to Triple-A where he belongs in exchange for Bernie Castro, killing two birds with one stone.

Do You Smell Smoke?

Which brings us to today's edition of "Hot Stove or Fire Sale?" The Nats have issued their first vague, tentative statement of interest, indicating a possible intent to sign veteran Jose Macias to a minor league deal. Macias would likely fill the utilityman role for the Nats in 'o7, with production hovering somewhere between Marlon Anderson and Damian Jackson levels. Now that's some Hot Stove action!

Rumors continue to swirl around The Chief and Ryan Church, with the latter most likely to be moved. The Nat(m)osphere has pretty thoroughly canvassed every approach to this offseason, from Capitol Punishment's "Buy some halfway decent pitching so I don't gain 500 lbs gorging on Hard Times Chili Nachos to smother my sorrow," to Banks of the Anacostia's "Dynamite the fecker. Let's lose 100!" and Farm Authority's impassioned, "Won't someone please think of the Type-B free agents and sandwich round draft picks?" Mmmm.. sandwich picks... ::drool::

Myself, I tend to look at 2007 as open audition time in Natsville. We've got Church (for the moment,) Casto, Logan, Escobar, Restovich and (maybe) Larry Broadway fighting for two outfield spots; "Irish Mike" O'Connor, Beltran Perez, Shawn Hill, Tim Redding, Colby Lewis and Joel Hanrahan are auditioning for the rotation; and more RHRPs than you can shake a stick at are clogging up the 'pen. Play 'em all, see who sticks, who might have trade value and who can restock Columbus for the next few years until Colton Willems becomes the Quad-A pitcher we all fear.

Will it be ugly as Katherine Harris first thing in the morning? Probably. But at least the brisket will be smoking!

No comments: