This is a Yankee blog, but I'm a fan of baseball in general and wanted to talk about that Nats for one post. We all know that they missed out on Teixeira, so they have to turn their attention elsewhere. Their offers to Tex would have paid him roughly $20mm next year. That's a good amount of money, and here's how I think they should spend it.
For $20mm you can buy a nice collection of pitchers.
I say they should go out and offer contracts to Victor Zambrano, Eric Milton, Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Bartolo Colon. These guys aren't great, but they all could be good investments. I say get 4 of them. Pitching is everything, and if one of these guys can perform to his full potential than it's a worthwhile investment. When the trading deadline comes around pitching is gold and they can flip someone of younger prospects if they are out of the running.
The Nats also should try to get some pitching via trade. They have Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes, Wily Mo Pena, and Josh Willingham all out in the outfield. Trade at least one them and get some pitching. Those guys aren't going to get you a Jake Peavy kind of guy, but maybe they could pick up an experienced veteran reliever that might give the young guys some guidance.
The Nats should try to sign one of Brandon Lyon, Trevor Hoffman, and Takashi Saito. A veteran closer type on the cheap is a great investment. Having someone they can hand the ball to, and be confident in, is a valuable thing. If you want proof, think Mariano Rivera. Joel Hanrahan is not the answer at closer and the Nats should know that. Personally, I think it would be a cool idea for them to sign El Duque(former Yankee Orlando Hernandez) to close for them. He says he wants to be a big league closer this year, and they could give him that opportunity.
Washington's lucky that they have the 1st pick in next year's draft. Stephen Strasburg is going to be a successful major league pitcher, most likely a perennial all-star. He needs to be signed. None of this crap where you give up on signing a top draft pick because of a matter of less than a million dollars like they did with Aaron Crow.
Pitching wins baseball games. That's the truth. You can win with a crappy offense, but you can't win with crappy pitching. That should be Jim Bowden's main focus. But I understand that pitchers aren't the marketing tools that hitters are, so if they want to focus on position players, then the plan should consist of signing Sean Casey, signing David Eckstein, and signing Ivan Rodriguez. Look, these guys aren't the best available, but here's why they'd be a smart investment. Casey is up there on the list of baseball good guys, right next to Sabathia and David Ortiz. He's a guy that will be a great role model for the young guys on the team and could emerge as a team leader while putting up league average offense. Eckstein is a hard worker who has won two World Series rings (02 Angels, 06 Cardinals). He's a guy that gives it all every game and he's another guy that will be a great influence on the young guys. Pudge is a former superstar. He's a future hall of famer and he can still hit and play defense. Having a guy like Pudge catching the Nationals' no-name pitching staff would be reall valuable. Guys like Pudge that can call a game the way he does, and have his pitchers trust him the way they do, help a team succeed immensely. I hate Jason Varitek a lot and I think he is way overrated, but the reason the Sox and their pitchers have been successful in years past is that his staff trusts him completely. Even though he was practically an automatic out for the Sox this year, his ability as a catcher has been an integral part of the team since he joined the team full-time in 1998. And having a year or two of Pudge doing that for the Nats could have the same kind of impact that Varitek has had on the Sox. You might say, well then why not just sign Varitek? Because he's going to be more expensive.
Those are my thoughts. How would you spend the Nats' money? Let's hear it in the comments.