Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Wilson? Wilson!

Wilson Betemit? Just save the money and buy the volleyball, guys

It was reported over the weekend that, in the interest of bolstering shortstop depth, a couple of Jim Bowden's old pals snuck into Braves' camp in order to scout Betemit, a perennial prospect who knows Richmond's dirt more intimately than even a couple of ex-presidents. And they observed him jack two homers off of Tom Glavine, apparently. (The Nats reps, I mean---not Messrs. Monroe and Tyler.)

A two-homer game would probably make an impression on most people, but Barry Svrluga is apparently not like most people:

But don't get too excited. One, the guy's not that good. And two, the Nationals aren't going to trade for him unless they can get him for next to nothing. The Braves need a great bullpen arm. Yes, at first glance, the Nationals seem to be overloaded in the pen (see today's Post), but GM Jim Bowden
understands injuries will come, and he'll probably need those arms. My guess: This won't happen. But we'll see.

(emphasis added)

Well, as Francis William Abagnale, Jr. might say, "I concur." Just check out his career record. The guy's a serious Triple-A repeat offender. In his third shot at Triple-A, he boosted his OBP beyond Chavezian levels. Yeah!

Moreover, I get in the stands and watch baseball games, and that means I've seen a good deal of Betemit up close and personal. Hoo boy, let me tell you this: Betemit's "baseball IQ" is pretty much Cust-ian. Plus, purportedly Betemit would be acquired as insurance in case Cristian Guzman goes down. That's nice---except that shortstop hasn't been Betemit's primary position in Richmond since he was a 21/22 year-old in 2002. Furthermore, Betemit, a pretty tall guy for a shortstop at 6-foot-3 (though that's the trend nowadays, of course), exhibited a little bit of a power spike last season at age 23/24---which coincided with him appearing a bit bigger last season. I think he'll continue to add some weight/muscle/'roids, and as such I would imagine his future is exclusively at third. He might serve as a passable starter there in a good year someday, I'd imagine.

That's my take, at least.

---Last summer, it was reported by various sources that former big leaguer Chris Brown, an all-star back in the 1980s, is now working on eighteen-wheelers for Haliburton in Iraq. Taking nothing away from the work Brown is doing, that's a rather unexpected career path. Speaking of unexpected career paths, would you have guessed even last year that Nick Johnson would be mentioned in the same breath as these guys?

Among the infielders on [Tampa's] radar are Damian Jackson, in camp with the Padres as a nonroster invitee; shortstop Pokey Reese* of Seattle; infielder Chris Woodward of the Mets; and first baseman Nick Johnson of the Nationals. The Rays have relief pitching to spare, and could be persuaded to part with left- hander Trever Miller or right- handers Travis Harper, Lance Carter or Jorge Sosa for the right player.

Well, at least Johnson has enough clout to able to induce the Rays, perhaps, to be persuaded to part with a 32 year-old LOOGY. I do wonder if Johnson is that fabled "right player" to come along.

Memo to Jim Bowden: If Nick Johnson's trade value is really as low as this article states, and if you trade him away anyway, then I'd be forced to remove the presumption: you, sir, would be an idiot.

* Of course, being mentioned in the same sentence as Pokey Reese, at least as far as Bowden would be concerned, might not be an insult to Johnson; after all, Reese was one of those rare "untouchable" players way back when.

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