Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Beast Awakens...

Blogspot has apparently been blocked by my place of work, making it more difficult to post timely responses.

Gotta love the Winter Meetings

The Nationals filled one of the openings on their roster at catcher by replacing Josh Bard with Ivan Rodriguez, and opened another by trading for Brian Bruney.

Let's start with Pudge. The value for the deal is fine, but the truth of the matter is that he isn't here to push Wil out; he is in as insurance for Jesus Flores. If Flores can't make it back for the start of the season, a viable (although below average) 1-2 punch behind the plate exists. Nieves could probably move on, but is still a good clubhouse presence and the team. Rodriguez does not offer much of an offensive upgrade over Nieves (and I could easily extrapolate that he will be worse), but the biggest weakness the Nats had behind the plate in 2009 was experience. The pitchers were not well managed, baserunners were able to run at will, and there was no major league credibility off of which to build confidence.

The pressure is going to still be on Flores to match his hot 2008 start, and Rodriguez represents a mentor, not competition. The Nats probably could have driven a harder bargain, but losing out on Pudge and bringing in a younger backup represents pressure.

The Bruney trade will be covered later, as it reveals more about the philosophy of the front office moving forward.

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