Friday, March 24, 2006

N.L. East Preview: Washington Nationals

All previews of the Washington Nationals must start with this: For a team that's only been around for one season, the Nats have some of the best blogs in the division (other than Mets blogs of course...but I'm biased). Go and see for yourself at blogs like Ball Wonk, Nasty Nats, Capitol Punishment, and Federal Baseball. I guess when you wait 34 years to have a baseball team all your own, there's a lot of pent up creativity waiting to be penned onto the information super-highway.

I expect great things from these blogs this season, because writing can only become more entertaining when the baseball team being written about becomes more and more of a mess. And make no mistake about it. This franchise is, through almost no fault of their own, an absolute mess. They traded for a pitcher who is out for the season, they lost one of their important relievers to an-all important World Baseball Tournament pitch, their top of the line pitcher goes back and forth between threatening to quit and coming close to collapsing in a heap of body parts, their shortstop makes Rey Ordonez look like Tony Gwynn, and their right fielder has the potential to not only hit 40 home runs, but also the potential to set Mike Scioscia on fire (considering what he did to the Mets in 1988, Scioscia probably has it coming anyway).

And I haven't even mentioned a certain ex-Yankee who's ex-Yankee sense of entitlement kept him from moving to a position in the field where he would do less damage than he normally does.

(Speaking of Yankee sense of entitlement, I hear where they blamed the Red Sox for Jorge Posada getting hit in the nose. I think, that while you have all this talk about Giambi and Sheffield, what about the part in "Book of Shadows" that talks about Posada's ears shrinking since the new steroid rules went into effect?)

But I'm not going to completely trash the Nats here. Here's what's right with Washington:
  • Chad Cordero, even though he wears his hat funny, is a closing stud.
  • Ryan Zimmerman is the best third base prospect south of David Wright, and east of Andy Marte.
  • Livan Hernandez will still give you 700 innings. He's Tim Keefe re-incarnate.
  • John Patterson is a solid "2" starter, and might be the best pitcher on the Nats in 2006 (thanks to Jaap for the reminder)
  • Frank Robinson takes garbage from no one...NO ONE! (Except when it comes to Nick Johnson and his Adam Morrison mustache. Can't he fine him or something?)

But poor Frank is going to have to do his best managing job to keep this ship afloat. Because you can give them sharp new uniforms, you can give them a brand new ballpark, you can even give them Alfonso Soriano. But when it comes right down to it, they're still the Expos. Prediction: fourth place.

Tomorrow: the third place team.


Jaap said...

Could've done with a mention of Patterson on what's going right with the Nats. He might be one of the better pitchers in the NL East this season...

Metstradamus said...

Good point. I have stuck him in there.