2/18/08 Washington Nationals' Spring Training... aka SURVIVOR: Viera, Florida

     I was with Bret Boone until about halfway through MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nats sign Boone to Minor League deal", as the thirty-eight year old veteran of 14 MLB seasons said he was fully committed to a comeback attempt with the Washington Nationals because he simply felt he had something left in him, but when Bill Ladson writes:

          "Boone made it clear that he wants to be the starting
          second baseman and is not willing to stay in the Minor
          Leagues for a lengthy period of time."

    ...Well let's just say, I'm off the comeback train if it's Boone or Ronnie Belliard. Mr. Boone will join the Nationals' "Accelerated Program for Minor Leaguers" this week, according to Mr. Ladson's article, the same program that fast-tracked Dmitri Young to the Nationals' roster last season.

     Boone's five seasons removed from 2003, when he hit .294 with 35 doubles, 5 triples, 35 HR's and collected 117 RBI's for the Seattle Mariners, and his production declined dramatically over the next three seasons, culminating in his release from the Minnesota Twins' organization in July 2005...

DY vs Nick Johnson UPDATE...

     According to Howard Fendrich's examiner.com article entitled, "Dmitri 'Da Meat Hook' Young arrives at Nationals camp, takes 1st swings since September", DY arrived at camp noticeably slimmer and took his first swings since last season ended.

     Mr. Fendrich asks Dmitri Young directly about the first base controversy that's developed in the papers between himself and Nick Johnson, to which DY responds:

           "One of us might get traded. It's a good thing when
           you're wanted, as well - wanted by our team and maybe
           by someone else," Young said. "Nick is going to bring the
           best out of me, and I'm going to bring the best out of
           Nick."

     MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported yesterday in his article, "Johnson gets back into swing of things", that Nick Johnson had his first public workout in front of the Nationals' brass, and Mr. Ladson got reactions from GM Jim Bowden and Nationals' Manager Manny Acta:

     Mr. Bowden:

          "Nick looked phenomenal," Bowden said. "What a great
          way to start Spring Training when, in Day 1, he comes out
          and swings and shows that he is going to be potentially
          100 percent by Opening Day. It was a very surprising day
          for me."

     Mr. Acta:

          "That was refreshing because the last image I had of him
          last season in D.C. -- taking ground balls and swinging
          the bat -- was totally different than what I saw today."

     Baseball Prospectus' writer Joe Sheehan weighed in on the DY vs Nick Johnson question back on 2/8/08 with one of his featured series of articles, "Spring Training Preview: NL East", in which Mr. Sheehan starts off writing:

          "Wow, he's still here? Nick Johnson missed the entire 2007
          season with a knee injury suffered in a late-2006 collision.
          While he was out, the Nats committed to Dmitri Young for
          2008 and 2009. Hilarity ensues."

      And later, Mr Sheehan writes:

          "Job battle to track: If he's healthy, Johnson is a better
          player than Young, so there's the potential for a problem
          there."

     According to Mr. Sheehan, Wily Mo Pena will be challenged in left by Elijah Dukes, Felipe Lopez and Cristian Guzman are going to butt heads at short, and the pitching battle will be between, "...eleventeen guys for two rotation spots. Manny Acta has his work cut out for him."

     One of the "eleventeen" pitchers Mr. Sheehan mentions is another of the 19 Minor League free agents the Nationals signed on 11/27/07, Dennis Tankersley, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 38th Round of the 1997 Draft, and then traded to San Diego, where he made his Major League debut in 2002, going (1-4) in 9 starts and 17 appearances, over which Tankersley's posted a 8.06 ERA with 39 K's in 51.1 IP.

     In 16 starts and 27 games over three seasons in the Majors, Tankersley is (1-10) with a 7.61 ERA in 86.1 innings, and in nine Minor League campaigns, Tankersley is (65-61) with a 3.67 ERA in 197 starts with 1,039 K's in 1,128.1 innings.

     Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan's of Tankersley's chances:

          "It wasn't that long ago that we couldn't decide between
          Dennis Tankersley and Jake Peavy. Now, one is rich and the
          other is trying to make the worst staff in baseball.
          Tankersley's peripherals have not been good of late, so
          he's a long shot."

     Did Mr. Sheehan just call the Nationals' pitchers, "...the worst staff in baseball?" Well, Mr. Sheehan what if the Nationals were to add...

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080218&content_id=2378774&vkey=sp t2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Odalis Perez?

*Nationals Spring Training Links*

MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nats sign Boone to Minor League deal", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080218&content_id=2377944&vkey=sp t2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Bret Boone's career stats at baseball-reference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/boonebr01.shtml

examiner.com's Howard Fendrich's article, "Dmitri 'Da Meat Hook' Young arrives at Nationals camp, takes 1st swings since September" at the examiner.com:

http://www.examiner.com/a-1227911~Dmitri__Da_Meat_Hook__Young_arrives_at_Nationals_camp__takes_1st_s wings_since_September.html

MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Johnson gets back into swing of things" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080217&content_id=2377315&vkey=sp t2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Baseballprospectus.com's Joe Sheehan's article, "Spring Training Preview: NL East", at baseballprospectus.com:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7119

Dennis Tankersley's career stats at thebaseballcube.com:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/T/dennis-tankersley.shtml

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