Dmitri Young won't open the season in the major leagues.
The Nationals first baseman will remain in Florida at the team's extended spring training for at least three weeks, getting more at-bats and getting himself into better playing shape, according to a club source.
Late this morning, the media and bloggers that are not consistently on the ground in Florida covering Spring Training 2009 for Our Washington Nationals were invited to join in a Conference call via phone...
Hmmm...well, even though we're not consistently on the ground in Florida, sadly, Nationals Enquirer staff was not invited to partake in the festivities. So, what does it take to become a blogger with access these days, anyway? Heck, we even bought a mini-plan for 2009! Stan, let us know what else we need to do; we'll pay up!
"I want to apologize for the comments that I made. I didn't mean to make those comments. I want to apologize to my teammates, all the fans in Washington, my manager and the media. I wasn't serious. It was something I didn't think the media would write down. Things happen in life, and I can correct it. I won't let this happen again."
"I don't want to be on the Nationals' bad side. I just want to get along with everybody -- manager, pitching coach, Minor League guys. I don't want anybody to hate me. I have 16 years in the Major Leagues, and I want to play in this game. I want everybody to know the person that I am." (Julian Tavarez, via Nationals dot com, 3/29/2009)
Make that a 400-pounder?
Julian Tavarez apologizes for the greatest quote by a player in the short history of the Washington Nationals. To recap (via Nationals dot com):
"Why did I sign with the Nationals?" Tavarez said then. "When you go to a club until 4 a.m. and [are] just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J-Lo. And to me, this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's four in the morning. Too much to drink. All the girls look hot. So the Nationals are Jennifer Lopez to me."
Apology accepted, Julian. Now, let's just hope you stick around long enough to keep us entertained for the rest of the summer.
"I think he needs to go down there to get his everyday at-bats and reps in the outfield. He needs to prove, not only to the Nationals but 29 other clubs, that he is a viable Major League force." (Mike Rizzo, via Nationals dot com, 3/28/2009)
The gift that keeps on giving: Jimbo's inexplicable handshake agreement with Dmitri Young forces Stan's hand; Da MeatShake to be added to Nats' 40-man roster before Opening Day. Via Nationals Journal:
The Nationals intend to add Dmitri Young to the 40-man roster before Opening Day because of a handshake agreement that was made this winter between Young and then-General Manager Jim Bowden.
Good for the Nats for honoring the "agreement", as bizarre and inexplicable as it may be. But the obvious next questions get a little scary: How many other handshake agreements did Jimbo make with other embedded ex-Reds on the payroll, and will the Nats honor those handshakes, too? Don't be surprised when Javier Valentin is suddenly named starting catcher, and Wily Mo Pena is starting in left. We're only half-kidding about that.
"We're certainly eager and planning to take the best player that we can, and we know what number-one picks get, and we intend to sign our number-one pick...The one thing I can say about the silly media hype is it will motivate both the owners and the players to fix the system. because this certainly isn't good news for any existing players" (Stan Kasten, via Nationals Journal, 3/22/2009)
Pitching phenoms were born to break your heart. That's bad enough. Don't let them break the bank, too...
History is unequivocal. Strasburg, no matter how much he dominates college hitters, will probably either be a .500 pitcher with a 150-150 record. Or he'll be a bust.
Unless his price drops to the same general range as David Price ($8.8-million) in 2007 or Mark Prior (a record $10.5-million in 2001), the Nationals should pick somebody else with their top choice in the draft in three months.
Sorry Boz, but the Nationals have no choice but to draft the best player available with the #1 pick - and if June 9th rolls around and Strasburg hasn't blown out his arm, then he's the guy. And nobody in their right mind believes Boras will extract $50 million and a pound of flesh from the Nationals for his client, but the price will be well north of the David Price/Mark Prior range (think $15 million). Just ask Stan; he'll tell you the same thing.
Memo to Ted Lerner: Please start saving your pennies.
Be warned Nationals fans: The Aaron Crow Debacle hurt. And (at least at the time) getting burned in the Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes back in December felt every bit as painful. But what Scott Boras has in store for Stephen Strasburg could be pure hell.
Some club officials think that if Washington takes San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick, Boras will ask for Daisuke Matsuzaka money (six years, approximately $50M) or take him to Japan for a year, a threat that may scare Stan Kasten into selecting a lesser prospect.
Hello, Stephen Strasburg! Next question: will the cheapskate, penny-pinching, tight-fisted Lerner Family pay Scott Boras' obscene ransom for the services of Strasburg? The only acceptable answer is: Yes.
All kidding about the cheapskate owners aside, the question is: if Boras signals before the draft that the price for Strasburg will be completely insane and unreasonable -- is the only acceptable answer to draft him, and prepare to go toe to toe with The Devil Himself? Will the Nats really consider looking elsewhere if they believe the price for Strasburg will be too high?
Is the only acceptable answer for the Nationals: Strasburg?
Meanwhile, just thinking about a 2010 rotation led by Strasburg, Lannan, and Zimmermann makes you wish you could simply push the fast-forward button on 2009, doesn't it?