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11/23/07 Nationals' Center Field Options? One Less Than Yesterday...

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     LA Angels give Torii Hunter, 5 years, $90 million dollars?

     The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim finally acquired the protection they think they'll need for Vladimir Guerrero in the batting order when they signed Torii Hunter to a 5-year-$90 million deal to play center field in Anaheim only one year after the Angels gave center fielder Gary Matthews, Jr. a 5-year-$50 million dollar deal.

     Yes, you read that right, that's $140 million dollars in two years for two players that play the same position. What?... Does Florida really want Gary Matthews, Jr. as part of a package deal for Miguel Cabrera? Or do the Angels plan on paying Matthews, Jr. $10-million next year to play part-time as a fourth outfielder?  

     Torii Hunter is a career .271 hitter in 11 seasons, and Hunter hit .287 last season in Minnesota with 28 HR's and 107 RBI's in '07. Matthews, Jr. hit .313 in '06 with 19 HR's and 79 RBI's in his contract year, earning the career .261 hitter the long term deal in LA after eight Major League seasons.

     So what will Andruw Jones command in this market? A.Jones, who hit .222, with 26 HR's and 94 RBI's? A career .263 hitter in 12 seasons over which he's averaged 30 doubles, 34 HR's and 103 RBI's per 162 games played. What's that worth?

     ...and how about Aaron Rowand and his .309 AVG last season with 27 HR's and 89 RBI's and his willingness to literally attempt to run through walls to make plays? According to Ken Rosenthal's article, "A's pull out of running for Bonds" at msn.foxsports.com, Rowand is looking for 5-years and $60 million...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7460518

     ...Corey Patterson? A career .258 hitter in 8 seasons, coming off a .269 season with 8 HR's and 45 RBI's? Or...how much for Mike Cameron's career .251 average? Cameron hit .242 in '07 with 33 doubles, 21 HR's and 78 RBI's?

      Do the Washington Nationals, who everyone seems to agree are about 2-3 years away from realistically competing, have any business getting involved in any of this free agent madness? Suddenly Ryan Church and Justin Maxwell splitting time doesn't seem like such a bad idea...Or is Elijah Dukes the answer?...

     washington.nationals.mlb.com has Austin Kearns listed as the starting center on it's Depth Chart, with Church in left and Wily Mo Pena in right?...

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/depth_chart/index.jsp?c_id=was

     ...(I wonder who is in charge of the Depth Chart? Cause that doesn't seem right?)...espn.com's Nationals team page has the same lineup in the outfield...?)  

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/depth?team=was