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Why Tucker? Why now? Why? Why?

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I wonder if Shane Stant bats lefty; come to think of it, maybe he plays the outfield. If so, and if so, he too might join our merry NattyNats06Nats outfield. Admit it, he looks kind of toolsy.

For now, the line ends at Michael Tucker, who is the latest mole in Jim Bowden's subversive quest to field a 30-man roster while no one is looking.

I would try to spend my usual 4,000 words detailing why this signing is on first blush rather foolish. But sometimes nothing beats a good visual, especially when it's a dramatic recreation:


Needham, as Bowden, torches currency.
I, off camera, take photo.
Special thanks to Ryan, way off camera,
for the fake photo gimmick idea.

Back to reality, St. Barry really elucidates what Bodes saw in Tucker:

Tucker, a 34-year-old veteran of 11 major league seasons with six teams, could be a candidate for the final outfield spot. He is a .257 career hitter who failed to reach double figures in home runs for the first time in 10 years in 2005, when he hit .239 and slugged a career-low .362 in 126 games with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.

Buy low, baby. (Sell . . . I don't know . . . when you waive him.)

Fret not, though: Tucker's contract is non-guranteed. That way, if Brandon Watson hits .320 in 50 spring at-bats, he can spirit a regular role away from Ryan Church, all for the low, low price of nothing to Tucker. But if Tucker hits .300 in 30 spring at-bats and really impresses the team with his veteranness and versatility and lefthanded essence, then at least we know he'll make the team over a fourth or fifth outfielder who can actually steal bases or play centerfield.

C'mon, it's a mystery. It'll be fun!

__

Capitol Punishment noted and expounded greatly on another signing today. Righty reliever Luis "Take These Broken Wings and Learn to Hold Again, Learn to Pitch Pain-Free" Ayala re-upped for two years and $2.2 million. This is good, although Chris provides a thorough recounting of the inherent reservations:

Barry's story notes the problems that last season's frequent appearances eventually had on him. But Barry's missing the larger point. It wasn't just the 68 games he appeared in last year, but the 81 he appeared in the previous year, and all the innings he logged in Winter Ball (notably as Caribbean World Series Champion, Mexico's closer). Ayala threw a lot of pitches over very few months, and the tendinitis he started reporting in June was a portent to him being completely shut down by the end. Thankfully, Barry gets Ayala's agent to say that everything's ok, and that he'll be ready to go in the Spring.

I've had a long look at Ayala's workload in the hopper since about July. And I'm going to spring it on you, just when you're not looking . . .

But not tonight.