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CATCHING UP

[February 22nd] -- So, it's been a week since I've last posted. This isn't uncommon, of course. All of us are afflicted at one time or another with writers block or general apathy. For me, it was a week of teaching 9th graders the inner workings of the Civil War. I stayed up nearly every night creating powerpoint presentations that wouldn't bore a bunch of 15 year olds; they aren't usually keen on student-teachers after all. Now I understand why some teachers use the same lesson plans year after year after year.

But, like I've said over the past four years, it sure beats working.

Okay, let's get back on topic.

I dug up these photos of some of our former players - Jose Guillen, Jose Vidro, Tony Armas Jr. and Alfonso Soriano. Take a look at the picture of Vidro. See all those balls behind him? I sure hope for the Mariners' sake that those aren't all the balls that got by him during practice. Vidro has been getting pointers on how to be a DH from former Mariner Edgar Martinez. I hope he takes them to heart. If he remains in the dugout, he has the chance to almost return to his old self offensively. How good can he be? Well, .300-13-80 wouldn't be out of the question if he bats 5th as Mike Hargrove has suggested. Reports out of Arizona indicate that Jose Guillen is 100% and is ready to replace Ichiro as the team's right-fielder (with Ichiro moving over to center). Guillen could easily hit .285-25-100 for Seattle in 2007. To some, the Vidro trade (and the loss of Guillen to free agency) might look very bad for the Nationals by the time October rolls around. Not me. Jose Vidro the second baseman would have fielded poorly in Washington, and wouldn't come close to the numbers he'll put up as an American League DH. And the Nationals are in much better shape in right field as well. Austin Kearns is as good a right-fielder (both offensively and defensively) as Jose Guillen, but he is a far superior as a human being. I haven't heard any stories about Kearns' teammates avoiding him after all. And from early reports, Emilano Fruto is wowing players and coaches alike with his mastery of his fastball, curve and change. He's looking so good that there are whispers that he might one day become a starting pitcher. A dominant starting pitcher.

Who "won" the Vidro trade? Statistically, the Mariners will seem like the winner come the end of the season. But in the long run, having Emiliano Fruto and not having Vidro and Guillen will make the Nationals a farm better team.

Will Casto Lasto? I was stunned when Manny Acta announced that Nook Logan was the Nationals' starting centerfielder a month or so ago. With that surprise move, I figured the outfield was set with Austin Kearns in right and Kory Casto in left. Pretty much every beat writer believed that Casto would - save some implosion at Viera - be the starting left-fielder. So just when I was getting used to the idea of having Nook Logan in center, Acta says that Ryan Church is his first choice in left.

I think that pronouncement surprised everyone, especially Casto and Church.

After the Mexican bru-ha-ha, Church seemed destined to ride a rail out of town this spring, becoming yet another former Expo/National to become a star elsewhere. But St. Manny showed wisdom beyond his years and gave Ryan the chance to become a star right here in Washington.

So what does mean for Casto?

I don't know. If Church wins the job, Casto will begin the season at 'AAA' Columbus and hope for the best. If Church, Logan, Kearns (and Alex Escobar and Chris Snelling) play well, he'll likely spend the season in the minors. If he does, he'll be 26 come next spring training. 26, and a rookie.

I feel bad for the kid. I'm sure he believed that he had as much of a chance to be the team's left-fielder as anyone. As it is, he's going to be getting most of his at-bats while playing 3rd base this spring.

Tinkers To Evers To Marrero? 2006 1st round draft pick Chris Marrero has been moved yet again. A natural 3rd baseman, he was moved to left after the draft for obvious reasons. The experiment was short-lived. Chris Marrero is now a 1st baseman. The reason? Reports indicate that Marrero was an "average" outfielder at best, and it's believed that his fastest track to the major leagues will be at first. If he continues to play at his current level, he'll probably be ready to play with the big club sometime in late 2009. Nick Johnson's contract ends in - you guessed it - 2009. This would seem to indicate that the team no longer considers Larry Broadway as any real part of the team's future. And though I am a Broadway booster, there is no doubt that Marrero's upside is far greater than Broadway's, and the team will be far better with him as Nick Johnson's heir apparent.
More later.






Comments:
Perhaps they'll play Church for half the season and then trade him for prospects before the deadline, bringing Casto up to take his spot. This is, of course, assuming that both play well.
 
farid i would really like some help. I am wanting to put a photo up instead of a title. Think you could help me.
 
With Snelling, Church and Escobar out of options, Casto has no chance, this year. He basically told me this personally last week, and everyone in the media told me the same thing.

Marrero has to be 20 pounds heavier than when drafted last June. He is going to be Massive. Meaning he will have limited mobility over the long haul. He told me he was actually happy with the move. He did not like playing outfield.
 
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