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But Commissar, These are Potatoes!

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Press Release:


The Washington Nationals today outrighted infielder/outfielder Tony Blanco to Columbus of the Triple-A International League. Righthander Jerome Williams, whom came to terms with the club on January 12, has been added to the Nationals' 40-man roster. Nationals Vice President/General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.


The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training with right-handed pitchers Jesus Colome and Anastacio Martinez, left-handed pitchers Luis Martinez and Arnie Munoz, outfielders George Lombard and Abraham Nunez, first baseman Travis Lee, and infielders Melvin Dorta, D'Angelo Jimenez, Jose Macias, Jorge Toca and Tony Womack. Nationals Vice President/General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.

Must've been a hectic day for Bodes, given the active announcement-making.

Anyway, let's plow through these guys with some haste.

  • Blanco: It's a miracle poor Tony spent two full seasons on the 40-man roster. I'm not sure if any Rule 5 pick can truly be considered bad---and Ty Godwin's probably a better example of one---but Blanco was close. From day one, he was a fish out of water, a duck without . . . quacking. Whatever. He is now officially considered "organizational depth."
  • Colome: Hard to believe it was six-and-a-half years ago the hard-throwing Colome was dealt by the A's to the Rays for John Kruk's favorite injured pitcher, Jim Mecir. This Colome fan site looks like it hasn't been updated since about 2001, which seems appropriate. Pitched decently for Columbus last season, so there is a familiarity angle. Not a bad chance to take on a minor league contract, I suppose. Could help the Nats, but most likely won't.
  • Martinez, Martinez, Munoz, Nunez: Martinez I is an organizational returnee, having posted a pretty nifty strikeout rate at New Orleans last season. Martinez II is an impressive 6'7" and was last seen pitching in Japan in '05; no clue what he's been doing since. Munoz is a former starter turned lefty reliever; pitched okay in the minors last season. Bet you he gets a little LOOGY work for the Nats at some point. Nunez, we've covered before---not the Philly infielder. This one was dealt from Arizona way back in the Matt Mantei trade; I recall him having an attitude problem, but I can't find a cite thereof on the internets.
  • Lombard: One of the worst players I've ever seen perform in person. Really. It wasn't a very small sample size, either, considering he was in Richmond for parts of four seasons. The stats don't do that justice. More outfield options for the Nats cut down on Lombard's potential to repeat his Kenny Kelly Role from '06.
  • Macias, Jimenez, Dorta: They are who they are. Macias stinks, Dorta's fungible, and Jimenez . . . well, some statheads once thought he was a better prospect than Soriano. Really.
  • Toca: Minor league first baseman. Why am I even mentioning him? Not as powerful as he seems in person; once inexplicably walked late on a frigid night at The Diamond, making my life hell.
That leaves two players, Womack and Lee. I want to mock, I want to be indignant, but---it's just not happening. They're minor league deals, so we'll see what comes of it. If Womack pukes up 500 at-bats at .260/.295/.310 and Lee takes over first after Nick Johnson is dealt for a Happy Meal, then I'll get upset. Both guys have their uses. Womack still has some legs and presumably still knows how to use them. He's ultra-versatile, which might be of aid if Jesus Flores is a little-used third catcher on the active roster. And, while Womack is a pretty bad baseball player, at least he can hook up with a pretty bad baseball team. So there's some symmetry there. As for Lee, he can still pick it---but when I said I wasn't in to Larry Broadway, I didn't quite expect this.