Monday, February 28, 2005

Bobbing for mail

Bill Ladson takes reader questions on* and . . . well, you know the drill

Nothing tremendously noteworthy (in fact, if there were, that would be noteworthy in itself); couple of head-scratchers.

Now that the Nationals are no longer bound to Montreal, do you think the team should trade some of their valuable prospects for some well-needed veterans?-- David S., New York.
[Ladson:] The Nationals do not have a lot of prospects to give up. They need to rebuild their farm system with quality right-handed hitters, catchers and left-handed pitchers.

In other words, "just about everything."

Now, I'm no John Sickels, but I . . . hey, let's just let Sickels do the talking.

Sickels has Mike Hinckley (a/k/a "The Assassi--", er, what about "The Frequent Flyer"?), not surprisingly, as the Nats' top prospect, rating him an "A-minus." No one else is above a "B" (Bray, Broadway, Harris; Church is rated a "B-minus), and there's a whole big mass of "C-grade" prospects after that. (In the reader "comments" section, Sickels did say his rating of Clint Everts was a cautious one.)

So, to summarize: We've got Hnickley, who is fourth-best among lefty prospects, according to Sickels. After that, we've got Bray, who Sickels appears pretty high on, and then Broadway/Harris/Church, three position players characterized by Sickels as potential "solid contributors" but not potential stars. After that, we've got some rather flawed prospects.

Sickels is just one source, of course; another, Baseball America, is leaking its top 100 list in a mock-suspenseful fashion this week. (I would guess we'll see Hinckley tomorrow or Wednesday, probably the latter.) [Note: In addition, Nationals MLB News is treading this ground right now.]

Still, Sickels' evaluation aligns well with Ladson's estimation that we just don't have many "valuable" (as seen through another team's eyes) prospects to trade.

Carrying on:

I'm a huge Jose Vidro fan and a huge Yankee fan. Is there a chance that the Nationals could trade Vidro to the Yanks?-- Shawn P., New York
[Ladson:] It's highly unlikely the Nationals would trade Vidro, who signed a
four-year extension with the club last year. In addition, the Nationals have no one in the organization to replace him.

Not even Brendan Harris?

Now, I don't want to contradict things I've written and quoted three inches above, and Harris is no Jose Vidro, obviously. However, you would think Harris would earn at least a mention, right? I figure:

a) Ladson forgot about Harris;
b) Ladson doesn't think much of Harris; or,
c) Ladson has some information from the inside that Harris's future is not as second base.

You make the call.

Other items of note from the chat? Not much:

---Ladson says it's possible that another pitcher (but not necessarily a starter, as the fan inquired) will be brought in via trade. Who would we get, and who would we give up? If Ladson knows or suspects, he's not sayin'. As for who would be dealt, I guess the unspoken possibility is Terrmel Sledge.

---Matt Cepicky is in the club's accelerated developmental program. Don't know what that is? Neither do I. But Nationals MLB News does.

* URL, because it won't play nice with me:

I was thinking of the Southpaw Assassin. Or the Southern Assassin.

Maybe John Wilkes for short? :P
I remember when he threw at a dude's head just to get Jodie Foster's attention.
Maybe Squeaky?

Grover Norquist's Personal Nightmare?

Hmm... I'll keep working on it.
"Mama's Boy"? (In light of J. Hinckley's desire to get weekend supervised releases to see his mother, IIRC.)
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