The Nationals are promising “a grand re-opening” of RFK Stadium this weekend, and as enticing as the crab cakes and beef brisket might be, the Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell says “for heaven’s sake, whatever you do, don’t look at the team.”
The Nats may not be much of a ballclub this season, but they’re more fun than a barrel of trade rumors. Anybody in the rotation who pitches a decent game starts to look like Steve McQueen digging a tunnel out of prison. If Ramon Ortiz or Tony Armas Jr. managed, somehow, to have back-to-back quality starts would they suddenly find themselves on the mound for a possible World Series team?
If they want to know what that feels like, they can ask Austin Kearns, recently arrived from Cincinnati. To pick out Kearns at RFK, just look for the outfielder wearing the black armband. Kearns is in mourning — for himself. He not only got traded from a contender in his home town where he had spent every day of his career, but got shipped to a rebuilding last-place club.
Since Kearns and Felipe Lopez became Nats, they’ve played like two guys who think you can reverse a trade if you hit less than zero. Sorry, guys, it can’t be done, no matter how many men you leave on base. You’re stuck here. Think of us as Siberia with humidity. (Try the new catfish platter on the 200 level, it’s not bad.)
Of the Nats’ most coveted bargaining chip, the Detroit Free Press’ John Paul Morosi describes talks between the Tigers and DC concerning Alfonso Soriano as “stagnant”.
The Nationals recently asked for prospects Humberto Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens and Cameron Maybin (above) in exchange for Soriano — an outrageous demand. The Tigers countered with their own three-man offer, of unknown composition. The Nationals were not enthused.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski knows that Jim Bowden’s recent acquisitions of the arbitration-eligible Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez suggest the Nationals will not have enough money to re-sign Soriano. Dombrowski also is aware that his organization’s greatest strength — pitching — matches with Bowden’s greatest need.
Bowden, meanwhile, knows Dombrowski needs a bat, and that Soriano, who hits right-handed, stands alone atop Detroit’s wish list. Because Abreu is not in consideration, and Aubrey Huff already has been traded from Tampa Bay to Houston, the Tigers’ next-best options would come from the likes of Pittsburgh’s Sean Casey, Kansas City’s Matt Stairs, Philadelphia’s David Dellucci or other veterans. No one from that group, however, compares to the dynamic Soriano, in whom five teams have interest: the Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners.
If baseball is serious about curbing drug use, this season will be Bonds’ last in a major league uniform. Major League Baseball officials may not have the evidence for a banishment or even a suspension, but they don’t really need it.
Bonds is a free agent after this season. Many think at least one team will take a chance on him next year. They figure the surly slugger will still be productive at the plate. Most tab him as a designated hitter for an American League team. It’d be a shame if that’s how this plays out.
No one is suggesting collusion, but one by one, teams should take a pass on Bonds when he becomes available. The message that would be sent would stretch much further and have far more impact than whatever numbers Bonds might put up next year.
Baseball has shown signs recently that it wants to do more than pay lip service to its problem. The owners need to follow suit. Don’t reward a guy who has disgraced the game with another multimillion-dollar contract. Fifteen homers and 70 RBIs – or whatever Bonds would post next season – just wouldn’t be worth it.
I certainly hope Maese has a similar editorial ready to run the next time Jeromy Burnitz is looking for a job.