August 23, 2008

Lucky 13

Sorry Cubbies, you're not allowed to be the "best team in baseball" from now on. The "best team in baseball" simply does not blow a 4-run lead and lose to the Washington Nationals 13-5. Dropping two out of three at Nats Park in April is one thing. But you're getting awfully close to losing the season series. No self-respecting World Series caliber team drops two sets to the worst team in all of professional sports ever. So be afraid, be very afraid.

Is Willie Harris Belliard or Da Meat Hook?

One of the many pitfalls of running a terrible team is that you're constantly afflicted with the curse of the mediocre player having a career year. In 2007 Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young spun Spring Training signings into two-year, multi-million dollar contracts. I'd say the Belliard contract has been a good deal, the Young deal, not so much (even with his impending return to baseball activities.)

Willie Harris is poised to repeat the pattern this offseason. The Nats have expressed interest in resigning the utility man, though negotiations haven't really kicked in just yet. On the heels of his first career multi-homer game, Big Willie is hitting .255/.342/.455 and is tied with Lastings Milledge for the team lead in homers, with 12 long balls. But Harris's career line is a much less sparkling .248/.323/.345, which suggests that this year's power surge is something of a fluke.

There's no question that Willie has value as a left-handed bat who can come off the bench and play all over the field. He's only 30, and if he gets a two-year deal on the order of what Ronnie Belliard got, in the $3.5M range, it could be another nice signing to bolster the bench. But if the Nats go crazy for another average guy having an above average year on a terrible team, watch out.

Crow Calls

Aaron Crow's appearance on Baseball Digest Daily's weekly radio show generated a lot of buzz in the Natosphere. I know for a fact that Mike from Hendo's Hutch was listening in to the Nats former top draft pick. You can listen to the show for yourself, so I won't bother with a transcript, but after hearing Aaron's side of the story I'm inclined to think that this is a deal that wasn't ever going to get done. Crow is where he wants to be, following in the footsteps of his former Mizzou teammate, Arizona's Max Scherzer and hoping for a better deal in 2009. The Nats have two top ten picks next season. Maybe that's the optimal outcome for everyone.

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