Friday, January 14, 2005

Now, the moves...

OK, now let's take a look at the moves our Nats have made this post-season. Or, more accurately, the moves that Jim Bowden has made, for as best I can tell he's the ONLY one minding the store. And that's the problem: Bowden, understandably, is out for Bowden. He very likely may not have a job when new ownership comes in, and his incentive is to DO something -- anything -- with the limited budget he has. And thus explains the moves he's made. Handing the 3b job to young Brendan Harris makes sense for a team that is not going to compete for the playoffs this year, but it doesn't make any sense for Bowden personally. No headlines will be created by an announcement, "We're going with Harris at third." Signing Vinny Castilla, late of Colorado's thin air, gets headlines. Not Carlos Beltran To The Mets headlines, mind you, but it got Bowden's name in the news. And I'm not accusing Bowden of malfeasance -- he was hired, after all, to do something, and given a (relatively small) budget, and by golly, he's doing something with it. Trolling the minors for Rule 5 players isn't going to fill the budget, or be very exciting, so he signs the "cheaper" players. Announcing that Maicer Izturis is going to start at SS doesn't use the budget (or garner any attention), so he signs Cristian Guzman and then trades for Jose Guillen. Long-term, moving guys like Izturis and burying Harris is not smart management. This is a team that needs to build its young core, even at the expense of some additional losses in the inaugural DC season, so that when it's ready to compete -- 2007, 2008? -- it has saved the dough (and has room for) the Lance Berkmans and Mark Priors of the world. Let's hope that new ownership is found soon and gets someone with a long view of the franchise.