Rich Tandler's Nationals blog.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Drudgery of Spring

The lyrical descriptions of winter turning into spring have been pretty well worn out. The excitement of pitchers and catchers reporting and that exhibition opener against the Mets have given way to the drudgery of endless drills and split squad games featuring AA players and non-roster invitees. There isn't much news to report except that some players have been sent to the Nats' minor-league camp. From Barry Svlurga's journal on Monday:
Other news: The team made its first cuts of the spring, reassingning the following players to minor league camp: pitchers Seth Greisinger, Luis Pineda, Chad Durbin, Micah Bowie, Drew McMillan, infielders Rick Short, Jared Sandberg and Phil Hiatt and outfielder Brandon Watson. After today's game in lovely Lakeland against the Tigers, pitchers Bill Bray and Josh Karp will be sent down.

So with such a news vacuum, the conversation become speculation, like will Terrmel Sledge be traded. From Svlurga in yesterday's Post:
His name will come up as much as anybody's in the Washington Nationals' spring training camp, whispered by scouts and media members alike. He will appear in left field, in right, at first base and maybe a bit in center. He has the respect of his manager because of the way he handled himself during a miserable stretch to start his major league career. He draws the praise of his general manager because of the look in his eye every time he steps into the batter's box.

So while there are questions about whether he'll start and where he'll play, the most significant uncertainty about Terrmel Sledge continues to be: On Opening Day, will he be a Washington National?

Jim Bowden, or Trader Jim as many refer to him, said this about trading Sledge:
"It'd be real hard for me to trade a guy like him," Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said Monday, "because they don't come often."

Note the missing words and phrases typically associated with a statement about a player that a GM won't trade such as "untouchable" or "no way" or "don't bother calling" or anything like that. What he's saying is code for "I'll only let him go for a left-handed starter" or something like that.

The emergence of Alex Escobar as a possible viable alternative as a fourth outfielder makes such a deal a possibility. Still, the view here is that it would be better to give Endy Chavez--who is still hacking away at anything thrown in his general direction--his walking papers and have Sledge lead off. His OBP wasn't great last year at .336, but he did have two minor league seasons where it was near .400 so there is a prospect for improvement there.

TV Blackout Continues

Cartoon courtesy

This is a red-letter day of sorts; the Washington Post wrote an editorial that I agree with 100%.

The situation is not simple, and the stakes are high. Washington's team,
the Nationals, is owned by Major League Baseball, which has a considerable
interest in getting the best price it can from the people who will be bidding on
the franchise when it goes on sale. Any team that has had its prospective TV
money greatly reduced by an uneven revenue-sharing arrangement such as the one
Mr. Angelos appears to be seeking -- and we are talking about sums that would go
a long way toward financing a major league payroll -- would be worth a lot less
at sale. One possible scenario has Mr. Angelos and the Orioles getting the
lion's share of money from a joint regional network that would televise both
teams -- regardless of whether the more populous Washington area and Nationals
fans were the primary source of that money. Another possibility would be for the
Orioles and Nationals to make their own separate deals with broadcasters. The
complication here is that Mr. Angelos appears to have a far more expansive view
than do his baseball peers of how large a viewing area should be reserved for the Orioles, and thus kept off-limits to the Nationals.

The Post proposes a solution:
If Mr. Angelos is entitled to compensation, it needs to come in some other way, perhaps as a one-time payment from all of baseball. Baseball's leaders should not be cowed by Mr. Angelos's legendary litigiousness.

Not a bad idea. Not as good as closing up the "negotiations" and tell Angelos not to let the door hit him on the way out.

Angelos has no case. He has no right to the DC market, none at all. It's as though he's got a poker hand with an eight high and he's betting like he has a full house. Bud Selig and organized baseball can see his hand, it knows it has trip aces, and yet they won't take his chips.

Call his bluff, Bud. This has gone on long enough.

1 comment:

Zennie said...

Angelos is not entitled to much compensation as according to an economic study he would lose only 1 percent of the Baltimore income. So, compensate for that 1 percent only.

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