Friday in Miami and $12 million is at stake

There’s the Six Million Dollar Man, the $64,000 Question, the $100,000 Pyramid. Now, there’s the $12 million physical.

That’s how much Washington tends to save if Jose Vidro passes his physical Friday in Miami to complete the trade sending him to Seattle for outfielder Chris Snelling and reliever Emiliano Fruto, who also must pass physicals. Open up and say ahhhh!

If Vidro passes, tip of the cap must go to Jim Bowden for pulling this off.  To get Seattle to take on $12 million for a player whose best days might be behind him is quite a nice pull. Washington is on the hook for $1.5 million in 2007 and $2.5 million in 2008, far beats $16 million. 

Vidro’s pending departure clears up the logjam at second and short with Felipe Lopez moving over to second base. Christian Guzman will return to shortstop, which isn’t exactly cause for celebration.  Hopefully Guzman’s time off in 2006 will result in a fresh 2007, one in which he can make Nationals fans forget about 2005 (.219 BA, .260 OBP, both career lows).

Last year, Vidro played in 125 games and hit .289 with seven home runs and 47 RBIs. Gone was his ability to hit doubles, which is what he known for in the past. Also, his range at second diminished to the point where he was moved to first later in the season. Vidro’s diminishing skills can attributed to knee and ankle injuries over the past couple of seasons.

Vidro is expected to be a designated hitter for the Mariners and serve as a backup infielder. He joins former Nationals teammate Jose Guillen, who signed a few weeks ago.

I’m not too jazzed about Snelling and Fruto. Snelling will be one of several players competing for the left field spot. Like Vidro, Snelling has been battling with injury bug with injuries every year from 2002 to 2005. Fruto had an unimpressive 5.50 ERA in 23 appearances last season and is expected to be contending for a bullpen spot next season.

Analysis: It’s no secret Washington has wanted to unload Vidro for a while. Now, the Nationals seem to be on the verge of doing so selling him for 25 cents on the dollar on his current contract which expires in 2008.  Snelling and Fruto really don’t bring that much to the table which leads me to think this was more about unloading Vidro’s contract than anything else. Still, good move by the Nationals management on this one. Now if Guzman can perform like he did during his Twins days (or preferably better). Vidro will benefit from a DH role, giving his legs a rest. Seattle would be great place for comeback if healthy. A known doubles hitter, Vidro could benefit from the big gaps at Safeco.

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