"There's certainly nothing certain about what will happen after this year. But we do love Alfonso and what he's done for our team, what he means to our team and what he means to our fans. And if there's a way for us to keep him consistent with building a world championship...but we're always going to look at the best of our alternatives. For today, there wasn't anything that was good enough for us to trade him." (Stan Kasten, via Washington Post, 7/31/2006)
In the end, JimBo wanted steak, and all they were offering was burgers.
Kudos to Bowden for sticking to his guns. He had a price in mind - and a lot of people are hollering that said price was too high - but nobody was willing to meet him at that price, so he walked away from the table. As much as it probably killed JimBo as 4 o'clock came and went, you don't make a trade just for the sake of making a trade: Hell, that's part of the reason why the Nats ended up with Soriano in the first place.
Next question(s): Does Soriano fit in with the long-term plan that Kasten's been preaching? Does signing Soriano to a long-term deal impede the organization's ability to go young, develop their farm system, and ultimately become a perennial contender? Do these first two questions put the cart before the horse? Is there any chance that the Nats can lock him up before the end of the season? If they're not able to sign Soriano before the end of the year, what are the chances they'll be able to sign him in the offseason? Will there be a bidding war?
Answers (in order): Probably not; hopefully not; Yes; maybe; probably not very good; Yes.
So where does that leave things? Relax. Worst case scenario is that you get to enjoy Soriano for the rest of the summer, he walks in the offseason, and the Nats get a couple of draft picks. That's not such a bad scenario considering what Bowden gave up for him to begin with. An even-worse case scenario is that the Nats overpay for him.
At the end of the day, the most aggravating thing is that nobody wanted to take on the Nats' sucky pitching for a playoff push. So the Nats are still stuck with The Former Ace and Tony (sore)Arm ass, etc. Throw out everything we just said about not making a trade for the sake of a trade. 2nd most aggravating thing is that our WMP dream didn't come true. Oh well.
(Photo by Danny Moloshok/AP)