While Washington Waits For Mark Teixeira To Decide...
...Aaron Boone's decided that he will be coming off the bench for Houston this year after plying his trade with the Washington Nationals last season. Boone signed with the Astros today for one-year and $750,000 dollars after playing for $1 million dollars in DC in '08 and hitting .241 with 13 doubles, 6 HR's and 28 RBI's in 104 games. In September of 2008, when Boone was asked if he'd like to return to DC in '09 by MLB.com's Bill Ladson for an article entitled, "Boone amped to play next season", he told Mr. Ladson he'd like to come back because:
"'I feel like better days are around the corner [for the Nationals]," Boone said. "I see guys that want to come and get better and learn. I couldn't necessarily say that earlier in the year."
...After two seasons and 48 starts in DC with the Nationals in which he was a combined 13-17, (with his 10 wins this past year the most for any DC starter), right-hander Tim Redding was non-tendered by the Washington Nationals back on December 13th with the team claiming it was concerned by the way the 30-year old pitcher had struggled down the stretch, going (3-8) with a 6.82 ERA in 13 starts after the All-Star break, after posting a (7-3) record and a 3.85 ERA in his first 20 trips to the mound.
Redding told Washington Times' writer Mark Zuckerman, in an article entitled, "Nats agree with Harris, opt to let Redding go", that he felt the Washington Nationals had non-tendered him in order to avoid having to pay him the $3-$4 million dollar salary he thought he'd be due in arbitration after last season's performance, because in his opinion, Washington thought:
"'They can pay all five guys in the rotation for only a little more than they'd have to pay for me. So there was always a chance I thought this could happen."
Redding also told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Nats give Harris two-year deal", that the organization's decision to non-tender him:
"'...kind of came as a surprise, but I also know they are trying to cut cost and everything else because they are trying to bring in [Mark Teixeira],' Redding said."
Early this week, while Washington was waiting for Teixeira to decide where he'd like to play in '09, MLB.com writer Joe Frisaro was reporting, in an article at the Baltimore Orioles' official site entitled, "Redding targeted by Orioles", that the Orioles were one of ten clubs "showing an interest" in the free agent pitcher, and in Mr. Frisaro's read of the situation:
"...if a team steps up with an aggressive offer, a deal involving Redding could be reached by the end of the week."
While no deal has yet been announced as of time of this post, (9:26 pm 12/19), it's clear that Redding will be pitching elsewhere next season, and with Boone's signing today, that means two players who made fairly significant contributions to what little success the Nationals had last season are gone...Is this a sign that Washington is comfortable enough with young starters like Jordan Zimmermann and Collin Balester, and fielders like Anderson Hernandez, that they think they can let last year's veterans, like Redding, Boone and Odalis Perez, go, or is DC just going to wait and see what Tex does before it puts its contingency plans into action...???
DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE UPDATE...
Anderson Hernandez was 0 for 4 today for the Tigres del Licey, who lost a 2-1 game to the Azucereros del Este at Los Toros del Este's home field, Estadio Francisco Michelim. Ronnie Belliard, starting at third for Licey, (A.Hernandez started at 2nd), was 1 for 4 with a double, his 3rd this winter in 15 games in which he's collected 4 HR's and 15 RBI's and hit for a .344 AVG. Hernandez is hitting .359 after the 0-for, with 19 doubles, 6 triples and 29 RBI's.
PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE UPDATE...
With a slim two-run lead in the ninth inning as I write, the Criollos de Caguas are trying to hold off the visiting Indios de Mayaguez, who have rallied back after losing a 3-2 lead to a 6-run Criollos' third inning. DC prospects Garrett Guzman and Justin Maxell both started for Caguas. Guzman's 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI, his 17th this winter, and Maxwell's 2 for 3 with a double, his 6th, and a run scored, which leaves Maxwell hitting .232 after 29 games, while Guzman's up to .297 on the winter...
Teixeira Update...as of 10:11 pm EST 12/19/08...Mark Teixeira has not yet accepted or rejected the Washington Nationals' generous offer...
The latest on the ongoing Mark Teixeira saga, from ESPN.com's Peter Gammons and Buster Olney, in an article entitled, "Source: Teixeira would take $195M", is that the Red Sox might not be out of the race just yet, and Scott "Maximum" Boras and Teixeira might have just named their price, with Mr.'s Gammons and Olney reporting that this $195M number is what drove Boston from the negotiations last night, though they also quote Mr. Boras who refutes those reports...why does it feel like the media, the teams, and all of us fans are getting played...?
MLB.com's Lyle Spencer is calling out the mysterious big spender who is said to have outbid the Red Sox in his most recent article entitled, "Mysteries abound in the Teixeira chase", where he cites Peter Gammons and Buster Olney's reports on the $195M dollar price tag, and writes, in response to all the stories about Boston's meetings with Tex and Co. last night, that:
"Neither the Nationals nor the Orioles were identified as having extended a fresh offer that would have sent Boston's ownership scurrying home to Red Sox Nation, no deal done."
So what we now know, or at least what's being offered in reports, is that Boston was blown away by "someone's" offer, but the Red Sox are still in the race, and NY GM Brian Cashman claims it wasn't the Yankees who made the big offer, while Mr. Spencer is reporting that it wasn't the Nationals or Orioles...and the Angels GM Tony Reagins? He has remained tight-lipped according to Mr. Spencer, who writes, that Mr. Reagins, "...offered "no reaction" and then "no comment" when asked if he knew or sensed who might have upped the ante." Hmmmm?
All I know is that no one has said no to DC yet...