The way I figure things, we've got two options: have a little bit of faith this team will turn out okay in '07, or accept it will be bad and have some fun with that. I wouldn't be averse to the former, of course, but the latter seems the safe route. We set the bar so low, and any failure to meet it will be pure hilarity. I'm reasonably confident Jason Simontacchi will surrender a five-run homer at some point. I called that one; you can't have it.
Recently, the appropriately-named Primates discussed the Nats' abject lack of pitching. (Hat-tip: Capitol Punishment, as well as my own participation in the thread.) Poster No. 18 expressed some surprise the first Major League reference occurred in Post No. 18, and you know, he had a point. So what if we lost our overpaid, washed-up, defensively-indifferent, Roger Dorn-ish infielder when Jose Vidro was shipped to Seattle, and if Manny Acta doesn't necessarily strike me as the
Joe Schultz Lou Brown type. I could see light-hitting, personality-rich Nook Logan doing American Express commercials, and maybe Robert Fick will relive past glories while rekindling an old flame by dropping a surprise bunt single. Not that I want to take this too far---the fellas won't find motivation in a scratch-n-strip board in the image of Stan Kasten.
Nah, that would be Poppa Lerner.
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Anyway, the Nats have this kid named Joel Hanrahan coming into camp next month. I have to be honest: I had no idea Hanrahan existed until a couple months ago, and I'm still uncertain about the matter. If you were at all honest with yourselves, you'd fess up to this as well. You too, NFA Brian.
Now, I don't want to dog Hanrahan too much. I'd push more for Simontacchi as the prototypical Nats '07 hurler, except I've actually heard of Simontacchi. So the burden falls on Hanrahan's shoulders. If he's going to pitch for this team---and he might---then we need to get to know him, to find something distinctive in him, and to make his name instantly recognizable.
To that end, I've been looking at Hanrahan's recent minor league record, and his control record doesn't look so hot. In 2003, for instance, Hanrahan walked 73 batters in 158.1 innings pitched. That's not a terrible ratio, but it did include 20 walks in 25 innings upon his promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. The performance augered ill for Hanrahan's 2004 control numbers, which were pretty horrid. Back in Vegas, he walked 75 batters in 119.1 innings. In 2005, following two demotions, Hanrahan walked 66 guys in 133 innings. Splitting last season in Vegas and Jacksonville (try putting those two cities in the same sentence), Hanrahan issued 77 walks in 140 frames.
This is a pitcher who, over the past four seasons, has walked one batter for every two innings, easy. Well over one for every two, actually. He's a tad wild. I'd prefer someone a bit wilder, but we have to take what we're given.
Hanrahan's our Wild Thing, baby. If you tell me he's been pitching in the California League, how do we know it wasn't the California Penal?
So what do you say? Get him the glasses, shave up that sideburn and behind-the-ear all ugly-like, and get ready for our loose cannon. Forget about the curve, Hanrahan, give him the heater. How about it?
All we need to do is give Needham a drum to pound in solitude up in the five-buck seats, and we'll be all set.