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One Paragraph, March 22

[Note: I don't really want to retread my overwrought post from the other night, but I do want to focus on something I didn't communicate with enough clarity: I like to write longer posts which, hopefully, have some depth and foundational support. But I have used up many of the angles undergirding such posts in the past couple seasons, especially last year, and I can't conceive the benefit of duplicating those posts on the same subjects over and over again, on a regular basis. As I said the other night, the "fastball" is shot. But I do not wish to convey that I am tired of the Nats as a fan; writing repeated, long blog posts about a team and retaining much interest in a team are separate things entirely. I have to mix in the changeup liberally. So, as a regular thing, I will tend to go shorter rather than longer. I'll still mix in "journey" posts about the Nats (and, as I said the other night, about baseball in general), but I aim to reflect my continued Nats interest in shorter daily posts. And when I mean "shorter," I mean just that---something I can write while eating breakfast and reading the day's stories, something I can do in a single paragraph. Fittingly, I will call these posts "One Paragraph."]

Bob Boone said something interesting and candid the other day: Essentially, he said the team brought in too many starting rotation candidates. He's right. There's a difference between depth and chaos, a difference between diamond-hunting and circus-elephant-tailing. A front office's job is to provide its manager with an appropriate number of options; it then must trust the manager knows how to sort the options and align them in the most effective manner. Foisting up to fourteen candidates for four spots is not providing options; it's aiming a lasso at a wing-and-a-prayer. It is, of course, impossible to know if Manny Acta has made the right evaluations so far, though we hope he has; more to the point, it's hard to tell if he has been given meaningful opportunities to evaluate at all. For instance, Jason Simontacchi had a few good appearances prior to his groin tweak. Immediately, he became a frontrunner, floating to the surface above all the raw sewage. I do not mean to isolate Simontacchi more than any other pitcher in camp, but will this emergence be to anyone's benefit this season? He has a substantial history injury, and his performance record when healthy has been spotty. In contrast, Tim Redding has completely stunk from the get-go and is now on his last legs. It's possible he sinks back to Columbus without anyone else noticing, but that meager solace evades the broader point. Redding was supposed to be a rotation anchor---such as this team is likely to have---and many observers lauded his signing as shrewd and potentially beneficial. Was last season's solid performance in Charlotte a fluke, or has Redding just lost it this quickly, or has he just been lost in this sea of numbers, not getting the time and attention he requires? I don't know, obviously, but it's worth noting that he remarked the staff had tinkered with his delivery, urging him to change what made him successful last season. Some fans criticized Redding for having the temerity to slam Randy St. Claire; although I don't think Redding went quite that far (publicly, at least), maybe it's a valid point and Redding is just manufacturing excuses. Or maybe a projected starter---regarded by some, and I don't just mean bloggers, as the second-best option entering camp---has been lost in this wave of mediocre arms. I'd say it's worth considering.