First, thanks to the Nationals for conducting a second Bloggers Day yesterday. Since I wasn't able to make the first, another one was most appreciated. We were even written about in the Washington Times. That's me, Mr. Senior Citizen. I think I'm going to change the name of this to Grandpa's Blog or Droolings or something.
The Nats don't have to do this. Most teams just ignore us and hope we'll stay in our basements. There's another motive, too, let's not forget that. Stan Kasten is no dummy. He's been in the sports management business a long time. He admitted yesterday that they're still trying to figure out the Blogosphere (so are we) - but he does understand we reach people who might not otherwise be reached. So maybe it helps them, too. Nothing wrong with helping each other.
Uncle Stan and Mike Rizzo spent about 20 minutes chatting with us, and then Stan came back for some more during the game. One thing they said really intrigued me - they'd like to add a veteran pitcher to provide a mentor for the youngsters and some stability to the rotation. Not a No. 1 type - no Sabathias, Stan said - but a solid, proven pitcher who could help on and off the field.
Right away, my mind went into overdrive. Who? Who? WHO?? They can't say, of course, it would be tampering. But since I'm already thinking pretty much of 2010 and 2010 alone, I went to Cots and found a list of free agents.
One name jumps out at me, maybe not the first one who would jump out to most: Jason Marquis. Not great but much better than people think. When he pitched against the Nats the other night, MASN threw up an interesting graphic about the number of teams he's been on that have been in the playoffs.
He's won 37 games the past three seasons (including 14 thus far this season). He has 93 career victories. He turned 31 last week. He qualifies as a veteran but he has some years left. This is his sixth straight year with at least 10 wins.
Plus, he can hit. Career average of .205 and I seem to recall him being used as a pinch hitter here and there.
Another option: Kevin Millwood, though the asterisk by his name means there's an option controlled either by the player or the team. So he may not be available. He's a little older (35 in December) and not quite as good as Marquis. His best years, by far, came earlier in his career. But he is a veteran still capable of a lot of innings. And, unless he's changed dramatically in recent years, he's one of the best people I dealt with in my previous career.
I was covering the Richmond Braves way back in 1997 when they brought him up. His numbers in AA weren't that great and I remember thinking, "This is the best they have?" Well, in Richmond, he was darn near unhittable. Two one-hitters over a stretch of seven starts. He got yanked up to Atlanta pretty quick.
He won 45 games his first three full seasons. I covered a 1999 playoff game against Houston where he threw a one-hitter, maybe the best pitched game I've seen live. I thought for a long time that he was the game's next great pitcher.
That didn't quite work out but I think he still has some value. I'd rather see Marquis but I'd never complain about Kevin Millwood.
An interesting choice/risk given his injury: Brandon Webb. Without the injury, he falls into the Sabathia class and isn't even a topic of conversation.
Look over that list and form your own opinions, with that silly song "Who Will It Be Now?" playing over and over in your head.