Saturday, November 19, 2005

Middle Infielder Bingeing and Purging

The Nats added another free agent utilityman yesterday, signing Marlon Anderson to a two-year, $1.85 million deal. After a week of spewing vitriol at Bud "National Disgrace" Selig and Bob "Lying Sack of Crap" DuPuy, the ire of the Natosphere is once again fixed on Jim Bowden.

Nate at Nats Triple Play says that Bowden has "overload(ed) the roster with subpar utility infielders." This is true. But he goes on to say that: "The big losers here are Jamey Carroll, Rick Short and Brendan Harris, all of whom should probably start looking for a new gig in 2006." So if Carroll, Short and Harris (and Spivey and Baerga and Tony Blanco) find new gigs in 2006 will we still have a surplus of utility infielders? No. We'd actually end up having more space on the 40 man roster to sign pitching and other needs. I'm going to remain agnostic on Marlon Anderson until I see what other roster moves are made and how he works out. But I do think it was silly of Bowden to sign him for a two-year deal. At this point in the state of the franchise, only established, starting veterans should be getting multi-year contracts, period.

The debate we should be having is whether Damian Jackson and Marlon Anderson are better options than Carroll, Short and Harris. In my opinion, they are. Jackson and Anderson aren't perfect players, but they ARE multi-dimensional players. They can play defense, successfully pinch-hit and run the bases. Harris is hitting the ball well in Arizona, but all reports indicate that he's a pure third baseman. With Zimmerman set to hold the hot corner for years, we don't need Harris. I'd love to see him end up in a deal that netted us some minor-league pitching. Short is also a one-dimensional player. He can hit extremely well, but his defense is shaky and he's slow on the basepaths. Having a Rick Short on the roster means you have to have a Kenny Kelly on the roster to run for him. That eats up two roster spots to do the job of one man. Good luck DH-ing somewhere, Rick. Finally, I'd hate to see Carroll go because he is a class act and a great guy to root for. He's also the better of the three players. Let's look at the career numbers: Caroll: .269/.344/.338, Jackson: .245/.325/.355, Anderson .264/.312/.382. Yikes. The newcomers slug better (they won't in RFK) but their batting averages and OBPs are several points worse than Carroll!

I don't know what Bowden was thinking on this one. Maybe it's all a ruse to free up Carroll to be signed by the Boston Red Sox as soon as Bowden gets the gig?