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Weird Whispers Winding Way Through DC's Back Alleys

[January 12th] -- I don't know what to make of this. I came across a couple of stories just before bed-time that made my toes curl just a bit. I don't know if I'm excited or worried.

Weird Story No. 1: ESPN Deportes is publishing a story with the headline "Sammy Sosa Could Be Headed To Washington Nationals." Hmmmm. Initially, the story was that the deal was all but finished, but now it seems that Jim Bowden and Sosa's "people" are in preliminary negotiations. The story says that Sosa would man left-field for the Nationals, with Jose Guillen remaining in right and Ryan Church taking over center. This would allow Bowden to trade Soriano for pitching and/or prospects.

"We're going to sit down and see what happens," Sosa said by telephone from Miami, his offseason home. "It's a good opportunity. It's a good chance. We don't know anything yet, but we're going to sit down and talk." Don't think that the Nationals are high on Sosa's list, though. The Washington Post is reporting that there are no other teams looking to sign the 37 year old. Sosa has guaranteed money waiting for him in Japan, but he really wants to hit that 600th homer here in America. As he likes to say, "America been berry berry gude to me."

Had he remained healthy, Sosa probably would have hit around 20 or so homers and driven in 70-75 rbi's. His .221 batting average isn't good, however, and his .295 on-base percent is downright Soriano-like. And that isn't good either. Looking at his stats the last few years, there is an obvious and steady decline. Sosa might have another good year left in him, though. His ego wants to show the baseworld that is was talent, and not steroids that allowed him to hit 588 career home runs. Could he hit .270-20-85? Sure, but he could also hit a lot less. We'll see.

Weird Story #2 Basil at Federal Baseball and Rotoworld.com are reporting that Jeff Weaver might still be on the Nationals' radar screen. I don't think this story has legs. I do, however, believe the Sosa story. And if Sosa is the real deal, then Alfonso Soriano is no longer in the team's plans, and he'll be traded for pitching, making Weaver duplicative.

Weaver's cost vs. production isn't very pretty. I've never understood this whole concept about signing a guy because he's an "innings eater." What's the point in having a guy who pitches seven innings per start if he loses two-thirds of them?

Hey, I don't make this stuff up. I report. You decide. Sorry. I get a little too "foxy" sometimes.


Comments:
My head says this would be a bad signing but my heart says that Sosa wants to prove last year was a fluke. If the contract is all about incentives, then the Nationals aren't taking much of a risk.
 
I wouldn't say I was reporting it. I was more like trying to demonstrate that Rotoworld itself added the part about the Nats to an article from the OC Register that didn't have it. I probably wasn't clear, but the rest of it was just to play along with the premise for a moment. Anyway, I think an "innings eater" has a good bit of value insofar as the pitcher is usually just about of league average quality or above, pitches a lot at that rate, and enables the team to avoid falling to the twin evils of instability and having to toss bad pitchers out there any more than necessary.

But it's not happening, of course. From Ken Rosenthal:

Since talks ended with the Dodgers, Boras says, eight teams have expressed interest in Weaver. Boras declines to specify teams, but Weaver’s possible suitors include the Red Sox, Cardinals and Orioles. Rival executives say Boras is seeking a four-year, $40 million deal for Weaver, who earned $9.35 million last season.

Barring a quick Soriano trade, there's no way we'll meet those prices. Weaver would be smart to put the Nats on his radar, given the home park, but there's not much reason for him to do so otherwise.
 
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