July 24, 2008

This One You Can Blame on Bowden

If Chad Cordero decides to tell the Washington Nationals to go take a long walk off a short pier this offseason it won't be difficult to assign at least part of the blame. When it comes to discussing player performance and compensation, Jim Bowden just shouldn't. The personality quirks that make him entertaining (or embarrassing) as a GM/Carnival barker also suggest that he should be fitted with one of those electro-shock dog collars when discussing team business on the record.

Of course non-tendering The Chief is the right thing to do. Any other course of action would amount to professional malpractice. (NFA, as always, has the definitive run-down here.) The team shouldn't pay, and Chad shouldn't expect, somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-6M for a season of rehab. A 2-year deal, with low base salaries and high incentives, would protect both parties, and that's likely the deal that Cordero will get.

Whether he gets that deal in DC remains an open question. I doubt JimBo's impromptu interview/announcement was the first that Chad and/or his agent heard about this proposed course of action. (UPDATE #2: But I've been wrong before. What an ass.) All else aside, it is a rather slapdash, informal way to make a pretty big announcement about a guy who had been the face (or at least the hat) of the franchise. And it fits the pattern of announcements or activities that suggest the filter between Trader Jim's brain and his mouth is pretty well shot, assuming it ever existed in the first place.

I don't buy that this is a big story, or a major slap in the face to Chad, (but see UPDATE #2.) If the non-tender had been announced in the offseason, and we'd been told that it had been planned for months, plenty of people would have screamed bloody murder that JimBo sat on this important information. What it is, however, is another unnecessary bit of negative publicity that could have been easily avoided. At a minimum the announcement should have been made formally, rather than blurted out on a drive-time radio program that ranks Nats news right above rugby scores in order of importance.

But for all the people who complain about the stubborn message discipline of the Lerners, or the opaque, endlessly qualified Stan-speak, let this be a reminder. The candor for which we all clamor is not always a virtue. Nats Journal has the latest from Trader Jim, and again, it seems obvious that the problem is with the timing and the medium, not the underlying message.

UPDATE #1: On the other hand, anything that wakes the Distinguished Senator from his deep and dreamless slumber must be news.

1 comment:

Nationals Fan said...

The point re: Guzzy's injury history is just that some guys tend to get hurt a lot. The shoulder, the hammy, the thumb... You can choose to ignore a history of unrelated injuries, but at some point you have to conclude that some guys (Nick, Church) just can't play 162 year in, year out. If you ignore durability, and load up on guys who are older and have a history of owies, then you shouldn't be shocked when you have more injuries than most.

And the shoulder as I understand it is more of a chronic nagging thing than a permanently solved problem.

But you are absolutely correct that this deal is reasonable market value, and in fact he probably got fewer years from us than he would have on the open market.

That's also however a good lesson on why it's a fallacy to believe there's a championship out there for the buying if only the Lerners weren't so cheap. Free agency is at best a crap shoot, loaded with declining old and bad players like Lo Duca and Estrada. The number of really great players out there is vastly outnumbered by Eric Gagnes and Tom Glavines.