clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Federalbaseball.com's Readers, (The Fivethirtyeight.com of Washington Nationals-Related Polling), Decide On Elijah Dukes In Center For DC In '09...

New, comments

(ed. note - "I can't figure out what to do with that title, sorry. Should Fivethirtyeight.com be plural? as in...'the Fivethirtyeight.coms'?")

Alright, I'm willing to forgive all of the 87 federalbaseball.com readers who voted in favor of the Washington Nationals targeting free agent OF/1B Adam Dunn in a recent poll, because in the Current Poll, with 93 votes cast, those of you who have voted have chosen Elijah Dukes as the Nationals' starting center fielder for 2009, 26 votes ahead of last year's center fielder of the future, Lastings Milledge, who has something to prove heading into his second Spring Training with DC. So, in this one at least, I'm with the majority...having put my support behind the Josh Willingham, Dukes and Milledge left-to-right outfield, but that might not be how it works out...

I'm still a little troubled by what MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote about the battle for center field in his article entitled, "Nationals interested in Nady, Swisher", where Mr. Ladson speculated that Washington was interested in Xavier Nady:

"...as an everyday right fielder. Last year, Elijah Dukes played most of the games in right, but he will now compete with Lastings Milledge for the center-field job."

What bothers me here is not the idea that the Nationals might be interested in Nady, (which I hope they're not), but if you exclude "X" from the equation, does that mean that Austin Kearns is still slotted in for the right field job with Dukes and Milledge battling it out for center/4th outfielder status? If Nady would be the right fielder...(ed. note - "...and I know Bill Ladson doesn't set the lineup, but he's representing their thinking based on his reporting I assume...")...that means whichever player loses the battle for center between Milledge and Dukes ends up on the bench?

Austin Kearns told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Kearns ready to battle for outfield spot", with no lack of confidence in spite of his troubled '08 campaign, that when it comes to battling for an outfield spot:

"'I've been through that stuff before with a crowded outfield. Those things usually play themselves out,'  Kearns said."

...and as Mr. Ladson points out, Mr. Kearns' reference could easily be applied to the outfield situation in Cincinnati a few seasons back:

"'In 2005, for example, Kearns was in a crowded outfield that featured (Wily Mo) Pena, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ryan Freel. Kearns ended up playing 112 games that year."

Don't count Kearns out? Is that the message here? Should Dukes or Milledge play right if they don't end up in center, or should DC give Kearns a chance to reclaim what was his starting spot? Am I the only one pencilling Josh Willingham in for left field? (ed. note - "The only one other than Willingham himself, that is...?")

Dawson More, Raines Less Impressive Than Last Time In Hall's Eyes...

Andre Dawson's stats didn't change, he didn't hit home run number 439 of his career. Tim Raines didn't steal any more bases to add to his career total of 808...and yet, Dawson received three more votes, (361 in '09 to 358 in '08), than he did last time around, while Raines lost 10 votes, (132 in '08 to 122 in '09) in the Hall of Fame voting yesterday that elected Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice into its hallowed, uh, halls?

The Hawk and the Rock will have to wait until next year, but I thought that maybe while we were on the subject...

An Open Letter To DC-based Washington Nationals fans...

I was wondering if we couldn't all come to an agreement about the place of the Montreal Expos' history in the record books of the DC franchise, or more clearly, if we couldn't decide which player's histories we'll hold on to and which players "we" as Washington Nationals fans can choose to forget? Randy Johnson's awkward years under an Expos' cap? Let's forget those. How about Tim Wallach? Wallach is someone you might want to embrace as your own. Spike Owen anyone? We'll forget Pedro Martinez was even an Expo, but "El Presidente" Dennis Martinez? Who doesn't want to remember him? Vladimir Guerrero? Who doesn't want to join in the celebration when Vladi is eventually enshrined in the Hall in the royal blue version of the Expos' cap that he wore for 8 seasons in Montreal? 

Here's what I'm thinking? Five years into the return of baseball to the nation's capital, no one who has played for DC is looking like Hall of Fame material...(ed. note - "Pick it up, Zimmerman!") With the five year waiting period after a player's playing days end...It's going to be a looong time before anyone from Washington is even up for election. Montreal has Raines, Dawson, Vladi...just saying?

...and if you need a reason to think about the Montreal past of the franchise...How about Collin Balester, the Expos' 4th Round pick in '04? How about Mike Hinckley, who will be battling lefties in '09...Hinckley was the Expos' 3rd Round pick in 2001? Think about it, DC baseball fans. We can talk in the Comments section...

Winter League Playoff Updates...

The Tigres del Licey beat the Aguilas de Cibaenas 11-3 Monday to improve to 9-5 in the Dominican Winter League Playoffs. DC and Licey second baseman Anderson Hernandez hit his 5th double of the postseason, and was 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored for a .333 AVG after the game. WDJD? Jesus Flores started behind the plate for the Tigres, and the 24-year old Nationals' catcher, (ed. note - "Who has a great wikipedia page picture...") was 2 for 5 at the plate, but it was Ronnie Belliard who was good enough to earn a mention in MLB.com's Monday Caribbean Leagues roundup entitled, "Cardenales edge Leones for VWL lead", where the nameless MLB.com writer reported that, "Ronnie Belliard (Nationals) doubled and collected three RBIs."