Friday, January 12, 2007

Nationals Bloggers Land Exclusive Interviews

Say goodbye to the chicken

I know just about everyone else has pimped Screech's Best Friend's exclusive interview with Stan Kasten, but I wanted to be sure everyone reads it, and I wanted to point out a couple of exclusives obtained recently by Farid at The Beltway Boys and Brian at Nationals Farm Authority.

Screech's Best Friend landed the exclusive with Stan Monday January 8 and posted it in three pieces.

Part 1: Chatting with the President, wherein Stan never agrees 2007 is a lost cause and confirms something we all knew: MLB ran the Expos down to the nub, to a little bonsai tree in a mature forest. The farm system has to be rebuilt from scratch, and the team fully intends to resist the urge to restock quickly with expensive free agents. Hrmm...Stan already has experience with MLB, NBA and NHL...wonder if he could spare a few hours this offseason with the Redskins...

Part 2: The Interview Continues. Highlights:

  • Manny Acta doesn't have to worry about his inexperience hurting player recruitment because players sign with teams that give them more money and not teams that sign the greats of baseball management.
  • Starting pitching is a worry for Stan. 37 pitchers will report to spring training and it is presumed five will be installed as starters.
  • Screech's Best Friend, like me, is a big Chad Cordero fan, and he told Jim Bowden so, directly. I bought a Chief hat for gameday. The brim is flat as two day old soda.
  • Stan on the new stadium: "It's kind of a bland design, which will require an awful lot of sprucing up." Sounds great.
  • Stan loves the loyalty of the Redskins fans in Washington. This is worthy of its own post on Curly R as many Redskins fans in town are looking around wondering why they are being loyal to a bad team.
  • Kiss Screech goodbye (when he is finally 'retired,' he will lie like Lenin in section 320 forever). Get used to the big-head presidents which means the Nationals are going to be a President's Day used car commercial for the forseeable future.

Part 3: The Final Chapter with Stan Kasten, wherin we learn the Nationals were never offered matching value for Alfonso Soriano. Considering how upset Stan was in this section of the interview, I still wonder if the team's demands at the end of the trade window for a guy about to become a free agent were not so high (ie, a 'king's ransom') there was just no way to get a deal done.

An excellent interview. Thank you Screech's Best Friend. Now I editorialize: I never saw Ryan Zimmerman's name in this interview. For some reason, that guy has been on my mind lately.

Meanwhile, back on December 23rd, Farid posted an exclusive with Vermont Lake Monsters General Manager CJ Knudsen. The Lake Monsters are the Washington Nationals Class A Short Season affiliate, based in Winooski, Vermont. Prefacing the interview, Farid summarizes the past decade for the former Vermont Expos, and if you were at all skeptical as to whether MLB really killed the Expos on the vine, have a look at the Expos/Lake Monsters performance. From the beginning of their affiliation with the Expos in 1994 through 1997, the Vermont Expos were 129-86, with a league championship. Since then: 104-193. We also learn the Lake Monsters have one of the oldest ballparks in all of baseball. It's a good read and we should all go and buy Lake Monsters hats. Great get, Farid.

Over at Nationals Farm Authority, Brian has landed three interviews in the past month. On December 28, Brian published an exclusive with Potomac Nationals Vice President and General Manager Bobby Holland. The Potomac Nationals, or P-Nats, are the Washington Nationals Class A Advanced affiliate, based right down the road in Woodbridge, Virginia. Bobby has experience with Stan Kasten from his time working with the Richmond Braves, or R-Braves, the Atlanta Braves AAA affiliate. I hope to catch a few P-Nats game this season when John Patterson is there on rehab (doh!).

On January 2, Brian published an exclusive with minor league analyst Deric McKamey, who generally thinks the Nationals are on the right track. He gives a sneak preview of the Nationals' top ten prospects. Then a day later on January 3, Brian published an exclusive with Aaron Fitt of Baseball America. He also thinks the Nationals are headed in the right direction prospect-wise. Money quote:
It’s easy to blast [Jim Bowden] for holding onto Soriano and then losing him to free agency, but he insisted to me that there was not an offer on the table that was better than the pair of first-round picks Soriano will yield in free-agent compensation. So that might end up being the best long-term move for a franchise in long-term rebuilding mode
Great gets, Brian. It's true what Brandon told me while I was busy chronicling the Redskins: Nationals bloggers are taking it up a notch this season.