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Bowden Working Overtime, Coveting Texas' Soriano

[December 7th] -- Well, you've got to give Nationals GM Jim Bowden an 'E' for effort.

After being constantly rebuked by the free agent class of 2005, Bowden is trying to pull off what would be considered a "blockbuster" trade with the Texas Rangers. He's close, but it's not done yet. The Rangers are willing to trade Alfonso Soriano to the Nats for Brad Wilkerson and either Luis Ayala, Colin Balester or Kory Casto. Bowden is balking at adding one of those players to complete the trade.

Soriano is a leadoff hitter with power [sounds like Wilkerson, doesn't it?] In 2005, he hit .268 with 36 homers and 104 RBI's. He stole 230 bases as well. According to team sources, Soriano would play leftfield for the Nationals, making both Ryan Church and Terrmel Sledge expendible. That's too bad. I'd much rather jettison the aging and oft injured Jose Vidro and let who ever is left from the troika of Church, Sledge and Marlon Byrd patrol Frank Howard's old position.

Why this trade makes sense: Soriano would become the premiere power hitter on the club, and provide speed that the Nationals sorely lack. Problems with this trade: The 29 year old had a miserable .309 on base percent last year. Having him hit lat the top of the order makes no sense. He needs to be batting third, protecting Jose Guillen.

In another surprising move, Bowden was ready to send Ryan Church, Jamie Carroll and [probably] Mike Hinkley to the Arizona Diamondbacks for former Expo Javier Vasquez. Some in the organization believed the deal was done, only to have the Diamondbacks suddenly turn a cold shoulder towards the Nats. It's a dead deal as of this moment. I'm happy this one didn't pan out. Vasquez is going to cost the team twice what Esteban Loiaza is making with numbers a little bit below the former Nat. Church is thiiiiiiis close to a breakout year, and I'd much rather that occur at RFK and not the BOB, or whatever they're calling it these days.

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