Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Josh Whitesell has proven he can abuse the Pacific Coast League, and the Nats are giving him a chance to audition as Adam Dunn's understudy. Dunn isn't going to be a National forever. He is worth 10-15 M to an AL team, and that type of investment for the Nats is foolish given his defensive liabilities. Bringing Nick Johnson back this season would also have been foolish, given that his value has peaked and his presence would require reshuffling the defense.

It isn't fair to judge Whitesell on his 115 ML at bats; that wouldn't even qualify for the rookie status (though his 45 games may... I forget). Plus, with the number of extra moves needed to work in pinch hitters for pitchers, it helps to have a first baseman who doesn't have to be lifted late in games. He should get a fair shake at the job should Adam Dunn choose to seek greener pastures next year. Obviously, the organization thought highly enough of his skill set to bring him back after Jim Bowden left him for dead on waivers.

Eric Bruntlett, on the other hand, doesn't really provide much to the organization other that utility value. He's an average fielder and a very weak hitter. It is difficult to argue he can improve a single position at Syracuse, let alone on the ML roster. Fortunately, minor league deals, unless they have a clause built into them like Mike MacDougal's, are a win-win for the player and the team.

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