With No Payroll, Leadership, Nats Beginning To Make Things Happen
Jose Vidro's knee will require surgery after all. Team orthopedist Tim Kremchek recommended surgery last September, a move endorsed by both Jim Bowden and Frank Robinson. Vidro, however, sought out the advice of a second doctor, who suggested rest followed by a three week exercise regimen. Tests now show that Vidro's knee is still weak and surgery is no longer an option. The operation will be performed Wednesday morning, and Vidro is expected to be 100% when spring training begins in March. His knee has been bothering the heavy-set 2nd baseman for more than three years. Manager Frank Robinson was disappointed that Vidro reported to spring training overweight and out of shape this past season. Rumors have suggested that his extra weight may have caused Vidro's surgically repaired knee to give out in 2005.
Jose Guillen's 2005 numbers were down significantly due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. Guillen was injured in a game against the Blue Jays in June, and played hurt the rest of the year. Say what you want about the volatile right-fielder, he's a gamer. Said Guillen, "The shoulder is pretty damaged and I can hardly lift weights. It's not a big deal. It's going to take a few weeks to rehab the shoulder. I'm going to be ready for Spring Training."
A number of sources reported Monday that Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley was being pursued by Nats' GM Jim Bowden. The report was backwards. The Dodgers contacted Jim Bowden and asked if the team would be interested trading for the mercurial 27 year old. "No thanks" was Bowden's reply. The main drawback to that potential trade would be the Nats outfield defense. No no, Bradley's every bit as good as Guillen in the field. The problem would be playing with only two outfielders, because who in their right mind would want to play between Milton Bradley and Jose Guillen???
Indications are that Bowden still covets former Marlin Juan Encarnacion. Encarnacion was "this close" to becoming a National last season. The Marlins traded him to D.C. for Zach Day in June, but the Nationals pitcher couldn't pass his physical. He was later traded to the Rockies for Preston Wilson. Encarnacion has never lived up to his great potential. Last year, he had one of his best seasons, batting .287-16-76. Bowden had him when both were with the Reds.
Reports continue to suggest that the Nationals have as a top priority the upgrading of the outfield. That is strange, because the outfield is the team's only real strength. Jose Guillen is a lock in right until he kills someone. Brad Wilkerson has quickly grown out of favor with Bowden and team management, but if Wilkerson is dealt, the team has to receive a speedy leadoff hitter in return. Encarnacion is neither speedy or a leadoff hitter. Ryan Church, though hurt, had a great year in 2005. If healthy, he could easily hit .300-20-90 in 2006. Encarnacion is certainly not better than Church. Behind them are Brandon Watson and Marlon Byrd. Encarnacion is nice, but the team needs a slugger, and we just can't afford one right now.
Gee, an entire story and not one mention of the sale of the team. How cool.
The Cubs would only trade Pie for an established MLB player who could make an immediate impact for the Cubs next year. I just don't think that the Nationals can afford to trade a good player for one that could be great, but also could fall flat on his face.
I'd trade Brad Wilkerson and Gary Majewski for Griffey in a heart-beat; I'd even add a minor leaguer or two to get the deal done. I'm just not sure how much trade value Wilkerson has these days. His 2005 numbers showed that he's reached his peak -- he'll always be a low average, high strikeout batter with good power. Guys like Wilkeson are fine in the short term, when there isn't anyone else to play the position, but he is one of the first people I'd upgrade if I were the Nationals' G.M.
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