In an interview last week with Sirius/XM MLB Home Plate hosts Rob Dibble and Jody McDonald, DC GM Mike Rizzo talked about the players the Washington Nationals have acquired or signed already this offseason, and Mr. Rizzo assured the hosts and any fans that were listening that the Nationals were, "...not finished yet,":
"...we still have a lot of moves to do to get to where we want to be as a franchise, but we're certainly looking towards 2010, but I also always have an eye toward 2010 and beyond, so we're going to be active in the market, be it the free agent market, the trade market, waiver claims, any which way that we can acquire the talent that brings us to become a viable championship type of organization and franchise, we're going to do it..."
Nationals' team President Stan Kasten elaborated on the team's plans in an article by Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell entitled, "Rizzo's checklist for the Nationals is halfway there", wherein Mr. Kasten is quoted stating, "We're still in the middle. We're working on stuff every day...But our name hasn't popped up [in rumors] until we got who we wanted. Mike finds that approach very useful." Mr. Boswell estimates that the Nationals, having already signed Pudge Rodriguez, Jason Marquis and Matt Capps, "...have at least another $10 million to spend and $15 million for the right moves," with the "right moves", in Mr. Boswell's mind, including adding another starter like Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Jarrod Washburn, Joel Pineiro or Vicente Padilla, all of whom could be had for something close to, "the Marquis price range", ($7-8M a year) and then going after, "...almost any free agent middle infielder on the market, such as Orlando Hudson or Kelly Johnson."
Kelly Johnson has since signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but former D-Backs' infielder Orlando Hudson remains on the market, as do all of the pitchers Mr. Boswell mentions above, and don't forget international free agent Aroldis Chapman. The Winter is far from over, but Spring's closer every day. What will Mike Rizzo do next?
Federal Baseball.com's: Top 5 Albums of 2009.
I know I'm just going to get myself in trouble doing this, like the time I mentioned during a game thread that I preferred the early Pink Floyd records and Syd Barrett's solo work over the mid-to-late era Floyd albums, but I'll do it anyway and anyone who takes my recommendations and comes away unimpressed will have a drink on me at some point next season in Nationals Park...With that out of the way...
Federal Baseball.com's: Top 5 Albums of 2009.
5. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "Beware" - The seventh or eight (who knows with all the side projects) album from Louisville, Kentucky born Will Oldham is more of the same spare laid back American country music he's been making under the Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker for more than a decade since 1999's "I See A Darkness". • Key Track: "Beware Your Only Friend"
4. Circulatory System - Signal Morning - Will Cullen Hart, one of the founding members of the greatest band ever, the Olivia Tremor Control, took 8 years between releases from his post-OTC band, the Circulatory System, but it was well worth the wait, as Hart delivered another dense "pop" album full of production touches you'll still be discovering months after you first listen to the album. Key Track - "Woodpecker Greeting Worker Ant".
3. Karen O and the Kids - "Where The Wild Things Are Sdtck" - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' front woman's first "solo" release is a collection of childish (in a good way) pop songs created by an indie rock all-star ensemble including members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Deerhunter, Dead Weather and (one of my personal favorites) the Liars, who collaborate to create sounds to match Spike Jonze's brilliant adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved children's story. • Key Track - "Rumpus" (ed. note - "And yes that is James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano) in the intro.")
2. The Decemberists - "The Hazards of Love" - Portland, Oregon's Colin Meloy and The Decemberists no doubt raised a few eyebrows when they announced their intention to create a rock opera for their fifth proper studio album, but they somehow pull it off...with some of the most beautiful musical passages recorded anywhere in 2009 and a compelling though hard to follow narrative...Here's how Wikipedia describes the plot, "'The Hazards of Love' tells the tale of a woman named Margaret; her shape-shifting lover, William; his fey forest queen mother; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake." • Key Track - "Isn't It A Lovely Night?"
1. Atlas Sound - Logos - Deerhunter's Bradford Cox released his fourth album as Atlas Sound in 2009, and one track in particular, his collaboration with Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox of Animal Collective) ends up being by far my favorite song of 2009, a simple keyboard driven blip-pop ode to forgetting that deconstructs pop music, leaving a spare drum and bass track surrounded by the sort of percussion, echoes, chants and harmonies that have come to define both Lennox's solo work and his contributions to Animal Collective's sound. • Key Track - "Walkabout (w/ Noah Lennox)"
(ed. note - "All Key Tracks are available from iTunes...it's $5+tax and 17+ minutes of your life you'll never get back, but for me it's the soundtrack to the last year of writing.")