Musical Chairs About To Begin In Viera
[February 16th] - Well, it's over. Thankfully, mercifully, the past five weeks of uncertainty ended yesterday with Sammy Sosa's realization that his gas tank was indeed empty. But I still feel a bit numb, somewhat c0nfused and altogether unsure of the direction my beloved Nationals are heading.
And spring training has arrived.
The Sosa conundrum was but one of several scenarios that were waiting to play out. At virtually every position, there is some intrigue, some question mark just waiting to be asked.
LEFT & CENTER FIELD: Alfonso Soriano. Ryan Church. Marlon Byrd. Brandon Watson. Michael Tucker. And two starting positions. If Brandon Watson wins the centerfield job, and Alfonso Soriano relents and plays in the outfield, Ryan Church is out of luck. If Church starts, Watson's out. If Soriano gets traded, but Watson plays poorly in spring ... well, you get the idea.
RIGHT FIELD & CATCHER: Jose Guillen is entrenched in right field, but exactly when will that "entrenching" begin? Will Guillen's shoulder allow him to play in April? May? Brian Schneider is healthy, happy, and one of the best catchers in the National League.
So, even without Sammy Sosa, the Nationals have a grand total of ONE position that is set and locked in for opening day. Brian Schneider is a given. But the rest of the team is facing more intrigue than a 40's spy movie. If Alfonso Soriano is traded, who will that bring in return and where will he play, and who might the team have to trade to make room for that player? Makes the brain cramp just thinking about it.
Last season, Endy Chavez was the only question mark facing the team as spring training began. My, how simple life was in the old days.