Today comes word of something I thought I would never hear anyone say: Cristian Guzman and Nook Logan "are being hailed not so much as saviors, but perhaps, if the Washington Nationals are lucky, as stabilizers."
Guzman may be the worst regular starting shortstop who received a major contract I have ever seen. In fact, he may be the worst starting shortstop I've ever seen, period. Does anyone remember 2005, Guzman's last season? Here are his 2005 numbers: .219/.260/.314. Guzman's OPS (.574) was less than 50 points higher than Barry Bonds' ON BASE PERCENTAGE this year (.528).
Logan's career OBP is only .319, which is awul for an alleged lead-off hitter.
This is the cavalry? For what, F-Troop?
The idiocy of Guzman and Logan coming to the rescue and yet another Nationals' loss obscured a pretty good pitching performance from Matt Chico. Chico gave up three runs, eight hits, and one walk in seven innings. He struck out five. Chico's fellow pitchers apparently told him that he was giving hitters too much credit and needed to go after them. That was good advice. We've said previously that Chico has to cut down on his walks if he wants to be successful, and that's just what he did.
Chico is someone the Nats should really try to develop. He has a pretty good fastball and a decent curve. He's only 24, so he should be capable of improving dramatically. He's not much yet, but he's the kind of player with just the right amount of talent that the Nats should be spending this lost year developing. I hope that Randy St. Clair knows what he's doing.
Speaking of developing pitchers, Jason Simontacchi will start for the Nats today. He hasn't started a major league game since 2003. Simontacchi has been injured ever since, but he wasn't very good before the injury, so don't expect much.
The Roger Clemens deal is apparently ruffling some MLB feathers. David Wells, Clemens' former teammate, says that Clemens is disrespecting the Yankee players by not traveling with them. Clemens' contract essentially provides that he can show up for work only on the days when he is designated to start. He had this same deal in Houston, and it didn't seem to create much of a stir there. But Clemens is in New York now, and everything he does will be amplified by an order of magnitude over what he did in Houston.
By the way, that same ESPN story makes the point that you could field a pretty good team of nine players with the $28 million the Yankees are spending on Clemens. This reminds me of a point my dad used to make: it isn't hard to live on a budget when you've got a lot of money; the real skill is living on a budget when you don't have a lot of money. The Yankees can afford to make a lot of dumb mistakes because they have gobs of cash. And the Yankees have made A LOT of mistakes--Randy Johnson, Jared Wright, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, etc., etc., etc.
It may be hard working with George Steinbrenner, but it's a lot easier for Brian Cashman to look smart than it is for GM's Billy Beane and Kevin Towers who are on very tight budgets and can't afford the big blunders that are routine in the House that Ruth Built. So, Yankee fans, please spare me the sonnets to Cashman's baseball genius.