one of the worst free-agent signings in baseball. However, his solid defense helped key our first-half stay in first and his impressive September gives us hope he can return to the solid performer he was in Minnesota.I beg to differ with his argument of solid defense. Guzman played serviceable defense, at best. He would make the spectacular play at times. But all too often he played indifferent defense and made a large number of errors on routine plays. Nick Johnson bailed him out on more times than I can count with scoops of low throws. Looking at qualified NL SS (2 GM per 3 team GM), Guzman ranks 13/15 in SS fielding percentage in the NL. He was tied for 3rd in errors committed by NL SS with 15. He was 11/15 in range factor ([PO+A]/innings played). And he was dead last in Zone Rating (The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by STATS, Inc) among NL SS. Next he discusses Vinny Castilla. I agree that his first half offensively was solid, and is not far from end of season expectations. And, his defense at 3B was very good. Among qualified 3B, Castilla's fielding percentage is 2/9, his had the second fewest errors, 6/9 in range factor, and 5/9 in Zone Rating. His knee injury really hurt not only him but the team. Bowden mentions that two teams have already inquired about his availability. I think he's blowing smoke, but I'll wait and see. The one thing he fails to acknowledge in the Guzman/Castilla free agent signings is the fact that he surrendered 2nd and 3rd round draft picks to sign them. That is way too often glossed over by Bowden. The Nationals farm system needs help. Badly. And by signing the guys when he did, he cost the Nats a chance to replenish the farm system. I really want him to address that aspect, but know he never will. He briefly discusses Tony Blanco and Ty Godwin, the Rule 5 (not V) draft picks. He says they were "...solid selections. But they'll be hard to evaluate until they're major league ready in another three years. Both have potential." Godwin is honestly no better than an AAAA OF. But he spent the season in New Orleans after a deal allowing the Nats to assign him to the minors. I have issue with his selection of Tony Blanco, who wasted away on the bench, robbing the Nats of the opportunity to promote an arm or a bat when it was needed. The reasoning? Bowden had no chance of consummating a deal with the Reds, his former team. Apparently, there was bad blood which forced the Nats to hold onto a player who was not ready. Why the Nats didn't find a phantom reason to place him on the DL is beyond me ... other teams do it. He only mentions Hector Carrasco and Mike Stanton as released player signings. Carrasco was a great find, though I still view it as a lucky, great find. And Stanton's signing needs to be couched with the fact that his acquisition led the Nats down the road that led to the loss of Sunny Kim. The acquisition of two prospects from the Red Sox yesterday helps a little bit, but it's still a move with questions. He closes with the two pitchers he lost for nothing, Claudio Vargas and Sunny Kim. Here is exactly what he had to say.
Lost Claudio Vargas to Arizona. He pitched well at times but still had an ERA over 5.00 and was just a .500 pitcher. His right elbow was an injury risk, but this move could be evaluated either way. He was out of options and not pitching well for us. Lost Sunny Kim to Colorado. This move, if evaluated right now, would be called a mistake. But if Blanco becomes a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy in 2007 or '08, then it will have been the right long-term move.That's news to me about Vargas being out of options. According to what I can find, Vargas only had 1.157 years of service time. From what I know about options, he could have been sent down. This may be an outright lie from Bowden. Comparing losing Kim to keeping Blanco is disingenuous. If you want to stick to the comparison, I'd argue that you could have done both. It was at this time that Blanco was experiencing vertigo. Bowden could have hid Blanco on the 15-day DL given that it's difficult to prove a player has fully recovered from vertigo. Personally, I still believe that Sunny Kim was lost in exchange for holding onto Mike Stanton, which was not necessarily the best move. But in both cases, he fails to address the biggest question. For a team bereft of high minor SP options, why would you drain the pool even further? As proven by the late season scramble to find any SP, this was a critical mistake that damaged the team's chances at competing for the Wild Card. For as much as yesterday's article seemed reasonable to me, this article is patented PT Bowden. ----- UPDATE: Mea culpa. It appears that Vargas burned up his remaining option years while with the Marlins. I stand corrected.