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RAMBLINGS OF THE INCOHERENT

[December 22nd] -- No big news, so how about lots of little "newsies."

And away we go.

Both the Washington Post and Fredericksburg Free Lance Star had remarkable stories about Esmailyn Gonzalez and the general condition of life in the Dominican Republic yesterday. I haven't written very much about the youngster because it always took forever to find the correct spelling of "Esmailyn." However, it was reported today that Nats' "Mr. Everything" Jose Rijo has given Gonzalez the nickname of "Smiley." Thank you! "Now batting, number 39, Smiley Gonzalez." Has a nice ring, don't you think?

The AP reported that Sammy Sosa is getting back into shape for one more run at a major league job. Without the attitude, that is. Says Sosa: "This time I will accept an offer like the one with the Nationals because I want to get back to the majors." That would be ... cough - cough ... the $500,000, non guaranteed deal that Jim Bowden offered him last winter. Though I was disappointed that he didn't sign with the club last year, that turned out to be one of the few lucky breaks that the Nationals got last year. With Sosa in right field, there is no way that Bowden pulls off that blockbuster deal that brought Austin Kearns et. al. to D.C. Without that trade, the Nationals would be in for a l-o-n-g l-o-n-g season (instead of just a long one, I mean)

Brendan Harris was designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds yesterday afternoon. Harris, who batted .283-5-32 in 59 games with New Orleans, did even better with 'AAA' Louisville, hitting .324-5-20 in 43 games. For those of you mathematically challenged like me, that works out to .300-10-52 for the season. He hit a home run in 10 at-bats in a late season callup with the Reds. I would love to see Jim Bowden bring him back for two reasons. He would be a solid utility player for the Nationals, and it would make Reds' GM Larry Krivsky look even worse (like that's possible).

Emiliano Fruto, a member of the Nationals "Young Bucks" pitching staff, is playing very well in the Venezuelan Winter League, crafting a 2-1 record with five saves and a 2.61 ERA over 19 appearances. He's struck out 26 in just 21 innings and has not yielded a hit over his last six outings. Crap; I hope the Nats don't keep him in the bullpen because he's doing so well there. He could be a solid starter (if he learns to throw strikes). The Mariners put Fruto in their bullpen because he wasn't pitching as well as they'd hoped as a starter. Might the fact that he was an untested 22 year old have something to do with it? Whether in the 'pen or the rotation, look for Fruto to be something special.

And you think the Washington Nationals have pitching problems? The Kansas City Royals signed former Nat Zach Day to a minor league contract in hopes of bolstering their thin major league staff. Yuck. No offense to Day, who seems like a nice guy, but I think the guy's tank is totally empty. Also, Travis Hughes was signed by the Red Sox to a minor league contract, but he's received an invite to the big club's spring training.


Comments:
I would sign Brendan Harris in a HEARTBEAT. Decent stick, can play multiple positions and has a STRONG ARM to fill in at 3rd Base for Z. Have liked him for a while. And, Fellow 320--Erin, went to school and knows him from William & Mary. She would be thilled to see Harris return.
 
If you keep 11 pitchers and 8 regulars with a starting OF of Church, Kearns and Escobar, and if you assume Nats keep three catchers (including Fick and Flores), that leaves just four slots. So let's say Snelling and Logan stick. That leaves two slots. Broadway and D'Angelo Jimenez? Or would you take Harris over one of those? If so it might have to be Harris over Broadway since Harris can't play SS as well as Jimenez.
 
I don't think Broadway makes the club unless he's the starting first baseman. He has enough trade value that -- if Johnson stays -- he would be likely traded for a pitching prospect. Josh Whitesell is ready to play first at the 'AAA' level. If Johnson does go, he would be the logical "plan" player to take over, young and cheap.
 
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