Friday, December 10, 2004


RFK to be filled with Chacon-eheads?

You know the daughter in Coneheads (not played by Lorraine "The other one" Newman) was in Major League II? It was on TBS this morning after my daily fix of SBTB. That movie is like an uncomfortable visit with former friends. And much like a uncomfortable visit, the topic turns quickly to sports. How 'bout them Nats?!

Heading to the winter meetings Bowden said he's targetting Odalis Perez and Shawn Chacon as pitchers. Odalis will not be signed by the Nats. He will not fall under 6 million per. Why do I say that? We all know about the crazy signings so far (Jaret Wright for 7 mill a year?). These are what other pitchers are asking for or were offered.

Russ Ortiz - 3 years, 9 million per expected
Carl Pavano - 4y, 9-10 mill per offered (expect more)
Tim Hudson - 4y, 12-14 mill per wanted
Eric Milton - 3y, 8 mill per wanted
Derek Lowe - 4y, 12 mill per wanted
David Wells - 5 mill per
Matt Clement - 3 years 6 mill per offered (expect more)

Perez is at least as good as Milton, and I expect him to sign for at least 7 mill. Worse for the Nats, if the Pedro deal falls through for the Mets they are looking at Odalis as a back-up plan. That could drive up the price. Given our pre-set limit of about 4 mill per year, we won't even be close. (by the way Bowden - if you can get Clement for 6+ mill per in this market - grab him now, please)

So that leaves us with the real possibility of signing Chacon. Shawn was miserable as a reliever last year but some think he can make a living as a starter. It's the whole Coors field thing in reverse. To be fair to Bowden let's answer this in three questions:

Do the stats agree with this theory?
Not really. In 2002, as expected he was better away from Coors, but oddly enough he had a better K and BB per nine innings at home. In 2003 as a starter he was actually better at home. Less hits per inning, and still better strikeouts, walks. I can't fathom a reason for this walk and strikeout pattern. So stats say that he's a 5.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6K/9 pitcher. Ok, I guess that could work as a starter. Just not a good one.

Do we have anyone better/cheaper/younger at the position?
Better? No. About the same? Plenty. Patterson, Rauch, Ohka, Armas, Day are all about the same type of pitcher. I'd say Armas and Ohka have a slight edge in performance, Rauch is almost the same, and Day and Patterson are slightly behind. I would say that Armas, Patterson, and Rauch all have more potential.
Cheaper? Chacon will probably be about 2 mill a year. Armas and Ohka are around that. The rest are tip jar cheap.
Younger? They're all about 26/27/28.

Is anyone ready to leave? Is anyone coming up?
Well with the Nats contracts are all a rich tapestry, since almost everyone was on one-year or minor league deals. But no, noone is up for free-agency right now, and performance will dictate who can go anywhere next year. Can't really worry about that right now.

Clint Everts is coming up. Maybe the Nats best prospect.

Should you sign Chacon?
Probably not. There are plenty of alternatives just as good, with more potential, and as cheap or cheaper already on hand. BUT if Bowden was to take a flier on Chacon with a short and cheap contract (say 2 years, 4mill). I could hardly argue. Post-Coors pitchers are always worth a look.

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