Flat Brim Caps, Mexico, Jenga and the Wire

Please don’t trade Chad Cordero, please don’t trade Chad Cordero, please don’t trade Chad Cordero. When the Nationals talk about building around their young talent, Cordero and Zimmerman come to mind. It’s bad enough the starting pitching is a huge question mark entering next season so don’t trade the young anchor of your bullpen without a closer waiting in the wings. Who would take over? Ayala? I hope this is just a rumor. We have enough former Reds on the team as it is.

Nationals skipper Manny Acta filled out his coaching staff Tuesday by selecting two of his Houston mentors, a veteran major league coach and a former colleague from his Montreal days.

Barry

Acta followed the smart rule of hiring experienced coaches he felt comfortable around.  Pat Corrales was a Kasten hire all the way and getting him out of Atlanta was a nice pull on the Nationals part.  Corrales definitely brings the experience with 48 seasons in baseball not to mention having three MLB managerial stints under his belt which was three more than Acta had entering November.

Ladson

According to the Washington Post, GM Jim Bowden said Acta would have the most input on the coaching staff selection but with two conditions:  A) Acta needed a veteran bench coach (Corrales. Check) and Bowden reserves the right to change the coaches after a season if they don’t work out like 2005. In other words, if Bowden wants to bring more Reds coaches over, he can do so. Or if he wants to micromanage the heck out of Acta and tell him what to do and give him zippy freedom, he has that right too. Acta has been on the job for only a week and he already his guidelines like a high school junior with a curfew.

So Ryan Church didn’t go to Mexico and play in the Mexican League.  And the strange relationship between Church and the Nationals continues.  Like this situation doesn’t have trade written all over it. Bowden is declining comment on how this affects Church’s standing with the team. Cough, cough (trade bait), cough, cough!

The Church-Nationals relationship has been an awkward one.  Last year, Church, who was expected to make the 2006 Opening Day Roster, got sent to AAA New Orleans instead.  That did not go over too well with No. 19 but he did finish with a .276 average, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs in a half-season at the big-league level.

Would participating in the Mexican league really helped him in the long run?  The talent pool would’ve been a little different than customary MLB pitching but he might have picked up something useful. Church’s agent didn’t see it that way.

Jeff Borris, Church’s agent, told mlb.com Monday that he advised his client not to go because “he had nothing more to prove in Mexico and should be given a chance to start for the Nationals.”

Instead of Mexico, Church did work with a visualization specialist. The gentleman, Ty Webb, told Noonan, I mean, Church, to just be the ball.

In a related story, Church is going to the carry logs up mountains in Russia during the winter based on the advisement of Nationals management. He might grow a beard and eventually fight Ivan Drago while he’s there.

The Nationals request seemed like a simple one, go to the Mexican league and improve on the outside breaking pitches in preparation for the 2007 season. I don’t think the Nationals were doing this to jerk Church around. Borris was looking out for his client and I can appreciate that. But no matter how this spins, Church doesn’t come out of this one looking too good.

So, Alfonso Soriano! Did you leave for more money and/or the desire to win? Did you leave because the Nationals didn’t call you?  I love the part of the story that says Soriano and the Nationals had a meeting after the season that lasted from 30-45 minutes about a possible contract extension. In the story Soriano says the Nationals front office never called him and that prompted him to move on with his career. I’m confused.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the following events happened:

a)      The Nationals called but Soriano saw his Caller ID and didn’t answer the phone. Kasten left a message saying “Hey, Fonzie, it’s Stan. Give me a call when you get a chance, I want to talk to you about staying in DC for $12 million a year.”

b)      The Nationals called Soriano’s agents. They picked up the phone by accident, told Bowden they’d call him back after Thanksgiving and forgot to tell Soriano. Oops!

c)      During the meeting, these were the following points of discussion: the latest season of The Wire, Dancing With The Stars, the political future of the Republicans and the Washington Capitals. During the end of the meeting, the Nationals brass said they would like to sign him to a long-term deal which prompted Soriano to bust out laughing and ask where Ashton Kutcher was hiding.

d)      Soriano’s future was decided during a Jenga game against Kasten. Soriano wins, he walks. Kasten wins, he stays trade clause and all.

Random Observation: It seems Bowden has a lot of “could not be reached for comment” and “declined comments” in stories lately.  Maybe he’s in hiding after providing the world with “Acta-vate.”

I know Bloghoncho Mark won’t like this one so I’ll ask it rhetorically.  Who in the world would give Jeter a fourth place or a sixth place in the AL MVP balloting? Morneau is a deserving winner but a fourth and a sixth for Jeter? Wow!

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