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Monday, December 14, 2009

It's all making sense now (sadly)

This is what I feared when I heard the Nats were going to offer a contract to Wil Nieves - something is wrong with Jesus Flores.

My buddy Wil Yow was at the VCU-Richmond basketball game on Saturday. He's a Nats fan and a Rams fan, two points in his favor. We were talking about this. The only way you offer Nieves is if you know something's wrong with Flores. No offense to Nieves, I love the guy. Met him at the original Starbucks in Seattle. Saw his first home run, the one that beat the Cubs. I think he's a solid defensive catcher and I'd take him as backup for life, though I prefer a Rodriguez-Flores combination.

If Flores is indeed going to be ready, as we were told during the Pudge PC, does it make sense to sign Nieves to a contract that figures to be well above the $455,000 he earned last year? Aren't there cheaper alternatives available? Or can you go the Scott Olsen route and non-tender him, then bring him back for less?

Did something happen to Flores between the PC and now that caused this shutdown until February? I kind of doubt it. I don't want to accuse anyone of being less than truthful with us but we have quite the history of injury B.S. to support those fears (most notably Z-one-n being day to day for about two months and Z-two-n needing to shut down now instead of September but he's fine. Or needs Tommy John).

The actual story now up on makes it sound a lot less worrisome - almost makes it sound like a "shut down" is part of the plan.

I still don't like it. Something doesn't sit right. Maybe "shut down" is just a poor choice of words? Let's hope so.

Flo is a poor man's Pudge in Waiting if he can ever get healthy. I love his presence out there, I'm as comfortable with him at the plate in clutch situations as I am with Z-one-n, Willingham or Dunn., If his career is getting short-circuited as it seems to be, I will be very much bothered.

As for Olsen, I love that move. Clearly worked out in advance, the contract allows Olsen to earn what he'd probably get through arbitration if he can stay healthy and effective and pitch a full season. If not, the Nats are on the hook for a lot less money.

Great move, applause to the front office for working that one out.

But my mind is consumed by this latest Flo news. Worrying. It's what I do. It's in my blood. It doesn't make me a bad person. It just gives me ulcers.


Screech's Best Friend said...

Mike: In the side session with reporters after Pudge was officially announced on Friday, Rizzo specifically stated how The Nationals now had three Major League caliber catchers on the roster and how this gives them depth to avoid a situation they couldn't avoid last year. All reports proclaim that Flores is getting back to health and what offering Nieves arbitration has done is extend out the recovery period to make sure Jesus is 100% and ready--not rushed for any reason. I actually think it's a smart move. Wil's not going to get a high salary in arbitration. Worse case scenario he's becomes their AAA Guy there for the ready (depending on his options?). That's not bad from a team building standpoint, although Nieves might not see much Major League playing time in 2010 if both Rodrigez and Flores are ready to go. Just my thoughts.

Dave Nichols said...

if Flores isn't going to start throwing (as he, himself indicated in Ladson's article) until February, he's certainly not going to be ready for spring training, and possibly not ready for major league games until Memorial Day, in my humble and pessimistic opinion.

by the way, Mike, thanks for the ho, ho, ho you sent us. very entertaining!

MikeHarris said...

sbf - I hope you are right. I've always been a gloom-and-doom until proven otherwise guy. I need to get over that.

Dave - you sound too much like me! And you are welcome. Enjoy. I will e-mail a cheat sheet to the songs.

JayB said...

Wil is out of options as I recall from last years discussions. I agree that catching killed them almost as much as pitching last year. Rizzo is smart to over pay to make sure they are not repeating history this year. I think they will carry three catchers after May when I hope Flores returns. I agree that if he is not throwing now there is no way Flores is ready in April.

If they do a good job getting 2 more proven starters who pitch 200 innings go go along with Lannan then use Harris as a 5th OF and a Backup IN then can get away with 3 catchers.

An Briosca Mor said...

Carrying Nieves as a third catcher allows them the flexibility to use either Pudge or Flores, whichever one doesn't start that day, as the #1 pinch hitter or in a double switch involving the catcher. Also, one would have to presume that Flores will be back to 100% at the plate before he is in the field, so in addition to pinch hitting they might want to use him at a lower stress position like first base until he's fully ready to catch an entire game.