The Nats are the new Royals

You’re the GM of a team that went 71-91, finishing last in the NL East, the toughest division in the National League Obviously, a number holes exist, which you need to fill in order to not repeat.

Early in the off-season, your job gets tougher. Not only do you lose your best player to free agency, but he signs with one of the two teams in the National League that finished worse than you. According to WARP3 (Wins Above Replacement Player), Soriano added 10 wins to the 2006 Nats. This isn’t to say he’ll add 10 wins to the 2006 Cubs, but he sure as hell takes away those from the Nats. So now you’re down to 61-101.

At this point, most clubs would become agressive, overspend where need be and somehow make up for the loss of an impact player. What did Jim Bowden do? Why, he signed Travis Lee and Tony Womack!

Let’s get nerdy for a second and talk about VORP – Value over replacement player. In essence, it takes the value of a random minor league call-up and compares it to a Major League player’s performance. In 2006, Travis Lee’s VORP was -11.4; Tony Womack’s was 0.5. Yet, these are Bowden’s marquee signgings for his 2007 team. In fact, the Washington Post went so far as to call Lee’s signing the Nats “first order of business” (see headline on the linked article).

Instead of moving to improve this off-season, Jim Bowden has made his team worse. He made one good move: trading Jose Vidro for Chris Snelling and a young arm. The rest of his off-season can be defined by non-moves which, in the Nats case, translates to bad moves. They’ll field arguably the worst team in the Majors this year, and don’t even have an up-and-coming minor league system.

This means one thing: rebuilding. There’s no problem with cutting your losses in order to build a team for three years down the road. There is a problem with Jim Bowden leading that front. If the Nats knew they weren’t re-signing Soriano and that they’d need to enter rebuild mode, they should have fired Bowden after the season and started fresh. Having Bowden on this year will only make the rebuilding process one year longer.


5 Responses to “The Nats are the new Royals”

  1. 1 bobestes January 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Um, the Nats are the new Reds. When GM of the team, Bowden made trade after trade after trade for “the future” that never came.

  2. 3 bmtg January 20, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    You really don’t understand what the Nats are doing, do you?
    The Nats have made a lot of great moves since last year – you have to be patient to rebuild a team from within. Has the Yankees way worked recently? Let’s see if the Cubs have “bought” them a World Series(even into besides winning).

  3. 4 Del Brennan January 20, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    What have the Nats great moves been? True, Bowden fleeced Bavasi with the Snelling trade, and they got a few more useful players in Kearns and Lopez. But those are not the bases of a championship team.

    They have absolutely no farm system. Since you mentioned the Yankees, let’s use them for example. They had absolutely no farm system in 2004. They began to rebuild then, and they’re still a year away from having most of their efforts show up in the Majors.

    The Nats won’t be good until at least 2009.

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