NATS GET QUANTITY, NOT QUALITY IN FREE AGENT SPLURGE
[November 7th] -- Well, he warned us. Stan Kasten, speaking publicly for the first time last week about the future of the Washington Nationals, said that the team would be signing a great many minor league free agents and would be announcing them as soon as this week.
Boy, he wasn't kidding.
First, the names: pitchers Tim Redding, Joel Hanrahan, Jermaine Van Buren, T.J. Nall, Colby Lewis, Felix Diaz, Eduardo Valdez, Josh Hall, Winston Abreu, Jim Magrane, Mike Bacsik, Billy White, Chris Michalak, infielders Josh Wilson, Joe Thurston, and Alejandro Machado, outfielders Darnell McDonald and Wayne Lydon.
Here are some quick thumbnails on some of the new players:
Tim Redding (28): 12-10, 3.40 last year with 'AAA' Charlotte. Has a career 21-34, .516 career minor league record
Joel Hanrahan (25): 11-5, 3.53 with 'AA' Jacksonville and 'AAA' Las Vegas.
Josh Wilson (25): .307-10-45 with Rockies 'AAA' farm club. Plays shortstop.
Jermaine Van Buren (26): 4-0, 2.98 with 'AAA' Pawtucket, 0-1, 11.77 with Boston.
T.J. Nall (26): 10-7, 2.82 with 'AA' Jacksonville. Has won 41 games over eight minor league seasons.
Colby Lewis (27): 6-7, 3.96 with 'AAA' Toledo. Had a 'cup of coffee' with the Tigers.
Felix Diaz (26): 6-8, 5.00 with 'AAA' Charlotte.
Wayne Lydon (25): .263-9-46 with 26 stolen bases at 'AAA' Syracuse. Has played over 1400 career minor league games with a .261 career average.
Alejandro Machado (24): .260-4-32 with 'AAA' Pawtucket.
Joe Thurston (26): .282-9-55 with 'AAA' Scranton. Batted .222 in 18 games with the Phillies.
Josh Wilson (25): .307-10-45 in only 335 at-bats with 'AAA' Colorado Springs.
Chris Michalak (35): Oldest of the signings, went 2-4, 4.89 with the Cincinnati Reds.
Mike Bacsik (28): 11-0, 2.79 with 'AAA' Tucson. Has a career 95-91, 3.86 minor league. record
Jim Magrane (28): 12-12, 3.80 for 'AA' Montgomery and 'AAA' Durham.
Winston Abreu (29): 9-4, 2.48 with 'AAA' Ottawa. Had 'cup of coffee' with the Orioles.
This group is very similar to last year's crop of minor league free agents. Most of the pitchers have toiled in the minor leagues for seven or eight years, and the position players have shown that they have some talent, but not enough to land a job in the major leagues.
Looks like the Clippers are going to be a very good team next year. Some of these players will probably see some time in D.C., but I don't see anyone who is going to make an impact on the big club. Jim Bowden is hoping to catch "lighting in a bottle" like the Marlins did with Dan Uggla, but that just doesn't happen very often.
At least there will be enough bodies to fill out all the uniforms come spring training.
MANAGERIAL UPDATE: Stan Kasten announced that Tom Jewett and John Russell were no longer managerial candidates. Although there might be others being considered, it seems like the Nationals are going to go with either Manny Acta or Tony Pena.
Manny Acta would make a tremendous manager, and I hope he gets the job. But as much as I'm rooting for Acta, I'm praying that Pena is nothing more than "filler" for Bud Selig's diversity hiring program. Sure, he had a good year in Kansas City, but he also had two very bad ones. From what I've heard, several Nats' players have already voiced support for Acta. Brian Schneider said the team would love to play for Acta, who is a coach on his all-star team.
C'mon, Jimbo. C'mon, Stan. Make the announcement and let's call it good.
On the side: We both used "lightning in the bottle" in our pieces about the 21 free agents. How similar are we?
That said, I wouldn't change a thing.