BOWDEN TO ESPN: SORIANO STAYS!
I have to believe that Bowden made this decision because he really believes the Nationals have a good chance to re-sign him to a long term contract before he becomes a free agent. Perhaps negotiations were going well enough over the past few days that the team feels comfortable that he'll become a part of the team's long-term future. Kevin Kennedy said on his XM radio program that his "sources" within the Nationals team stated "emphatically" that Soriano would be gone by 4:00 Monday. Because Bowden turned down a "significant" offer from the Angels, Soriano might be ready to sign a long term contract with the club.
Some websites are suggesting that Bowden didn't intend to keep Soriano as some "sign" that the Nationals are now emboldened and able to create a first class franchise. They are saying that Bowden kept the price too high, played one too many GM's against another, and his "house of cards" came down with a thud about half-an-hour before trade deadline. His keeping Soriano, they say, was the only option left.
As for Livan: he is more valuable to the Nationals next year -- as a starter in the first half and as deadline trade bait in the second half. Hopefully, he will get himself in shape and have real market value next year (this year, he was viewed as a salary dump and other teams were expecting the Nationals to eat salary and take a minimal return). As for Armas and Ortiz, I have to assume that the packages that the Nationals were offered (if any) were so poor as to mean their greater value was as keepers to finish out the season (and possibly targets to resign for next year). The Nationals just don't have many MLB-ready options at the starting pitching position in their system, and there isn't that much available on the free agent market next year.
Bottom line is that today doesn't influence my view of the rebuilding process, other than to say it's too bad that they couldn't get the package they were seeking. BUT ...
Now, they need to turn their focus to signing Black, King, Gibson and Dickerson before they are off to college. Failure to sign them will be a huge negative. And then prepare for the off-season, when they will have Guzman, Broadway and others to shop, hopefully for some pitching.
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