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LADSON INTERVIEW READY TO ROLL - LAROCHE DEAL DONE - WOMACK TO D.C?

[January 17th] -- I just got off the phone with Bill Ladson and we have finalized his interview with The Beltway Boys for Friday morning. I expect it's going to take a few days to make it available. I hope to have it up on the website on Monday or Tuesday.

Several of you left questions for me to ask Bill late last week, and now that the interview is finalized, this is your last opportunity to leave a question for the Nationals.com beat writer.

As previously mentioned, I will pass along any question regardless of content as long as it's respectful in nature.

I wish you could have listened in to our conversation this afternoon. Bill is a genuinely decent man who was asking me as many questions about my life as I was about his. He was funny and he was honest in his replies to some very tough questions. Though our discussions were general in nature, I can assure you that you are going to enjoy Bill's insight into the world of the Nationals.

I'll keep you informed as to the interview's time-table. One thing is for sure; you're going to enjoy it.

Pirates Finally Get Adam LaRoche

After two months of haggling, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves finally pulled off their "Adam LaRoche for somebody" deal. LaRoche, who had his breakout year in 2006, was traded to the Pirates for closer Mike Gonzalez. Each team threw in a prospect.

I don't think this was one of John Schuerholz's better moves.

LaRoche, 27, finally lived up to his press clippings after two years of coming oh-so close. LaRoche batted ,285-32-90 with a career high .354 on-base percentage. Scott Thorman, who batted .234-5-14 in limited duty with Atlanta last year, will likely take over at first base. He hit .298-15-48 in 81 games with Richmond. The guy has potential.

Gonzalez, 29, had a great year for the Pirates, going 3-4, 2.17 with 24 saves in 24 chances. In 168 major league games, he has a career 2.37 ERA.

My problem with the trade is Gonzalez's relative lack of experience as a closer. Prior to 2006, he only had four career saves. What's to say that 2006 wasn't representative of his capabilities? Even stranger, the Braves traded a very good first baseman for a pitcher who isn't even going to close this coming year. Bob Wickman, obtained from Cleveland during the season, has re-signed and will be the closer for at least another year.

Would we trade Chad Cordero for Adam LaRoche? Of course we would (assuming we needed a first baseman), and Chad has a longer track record than Gonzalez.

That's a pretty hefty price to pay for a setup pitcher.

Tony Womack To Be Nats New 'Mr. Everything?'

Tony Womack? Looks like the Nationals are going to sign former "pretty good" infielder Tony Womack to a minor league contract that includes an invite to spring training. If he makes the team, he'll be this year's version of Marlon Anderson and 2005's Carlos Baerga. Playing for the Reds last season, Womack batted .264 splitting time between the Cubs and the Reds last year.



Comments:
I have a question for Bill:

How exactly did you get to have one of the best jobs in the world? That would be sweet to be able to get paid to report on my favorite team. Or do you get paid?
 
It's not the best move for the Braves (I think they might have been able to get more for LaRoche), but it's a pretty good one. This makes room for Scott Thorman at first. He is essentially Adam LaRoche with more upside due to his age, and who's under control (re: cheap) for more years. And it gets them a guy with some closer experience, some very good stats, in their bullpen, so when Wickman retires (or flounders) they are ready.
 
I always associate LaRoche with his ADD story about how he was given a waiver by MLB that allows him to take some not-approved-by-MLB drug for his ADD. Supposedly his batting average jumped once he went on the medication because it slowed the ball down for him. I wonder if other players have considered claiming ADD so they can raise their average (joke), I do think it is an interesting story though.
 
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