The big news last week was the signing of Adam Dunn, and there will be more to discuss on that front at some point. For now, there are a few other big stories, as pitchers and catchers reported this weekend, and the Washington Post printed the Nats 40-man roster on Saturday.
Conspicuously absent from the 40 man roster was Odalis Perez. He is holding out, on his initially agreed upon $800K minor league deal. He’s basically said he’d rather sit on his couch than play for the Nats at that price. I’d rather sit on my couch than come to work, too, especially with the XBox 360 right there, so I sympathize. I’d frankly rather sit on his couch, too. It’s in the caribbean, and I’m sure it’s nice considering he pulled in about $30 million between ’02 and ’07. He might have an XBox as well. This doesn’t seem like the best season to hold out, he’s not exactly the top pitcher on the market, and you may have heard that contracts are a little difficult to come by this offseason. And he initially agreed with the contract THIS OFFSEASON, only to back out as players are reporting. Maybe he, like me, is in the middle of playing Fallout 3 and feels that it takes precedence.
At the same time, he may not be making a bad decision. Even if last year was his peak potential, and even with the bad economy, you’d think 30 starts and a league average ERA should get you more than $1 million. Andy Pettitte’s a better pitcher, in a tougher league, and he’ll throw more innings, but you gotta figure he’s going to make ABOUT 30 starts and have ABOUT a league average ERA. He’s gonna make $5 – $12 million, and most people said his contract was pretty reasonable. If I were the Mets, or another team that is looking for a 5th starter backup, I might think he’s a bargain at 2 or 3 times what the Nats want to pay him. And that’s why his idea might not be as laughable as it first seems. If Jon Garland can get someone to sign him for $7 M, Odalis might be thinking “Why can’t I (or O)?” Not that the Nats should be the ones spending the money on him, at 32 years old, they need to push him aside for youngsters. Of course, until guys like Ben Sheets or even Mark Mulder get signed, he may remain on his couch.
Flores not there yet
The Washington Post also had an article this weekend about Jesus Flores. It’s a nice day in the life type thing about the first day of spring training, gets someone like me all amped for the season. But on the preview for the article (and I’m not sure if this is the author’s or the editor’s writing) it says “Despite a breakout 2008, young Nationals starting catcher Jesus Flores is determined to improve…” Ok, I just need to interject here. Flores had a ok first real season for a catcher, especially compared to what the Nats have been getting in terms of production there. But a .296 OBP is not a breakout season, it’s considered pretty awful. In late July when he was hitting .286/.340/.464 for the season, it looked to be a breakout year. But he slumped bad the next month and played his last game on September 2. I am a big Flores fan, and I think he’s prime for a good year, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He needs to put it together for a whole year, and play the whole season (and he’s young, this was his first go round for a full season, so he has leeway here) before I christen Jesus with a breakout.
Still not sure about the lineup
But Adam Dunn in left, Lastings Milledge in CF, Elijah Dukes in RF and Nick Johnson at 1B still seems to be the most effective. The BEST lineup in terms of bats probably puts Milledge on the bench, moves Dukes to CF and puts Willingham in RF. If he can play there. But Acta (I believe he knows this) can’t sit either Milledge or Dukes more than once a week, those guys are supposed to be the future, they need to get there legs under them now. Ideally, there would be a way to play those 2, Dunn, Johnson and Willingham simultanesouly, but other than at AL stadiums, I don’t see it happening. It may mean that a trade is coming up soon.