Chris Needham returns

Fans of the now-defunct Capitol Punishment blog will be happy to see that Chris Needham is writing about the Nats again, this time for NBC.

As he explains at the old space, he’s only doing it for the Benjamins. Well, since it’s blogging, he’s probably only doing for the Jacksons and maybe the Grants, but you get the idea. At least I hope it’s just about the money, because anyone who would subject themselves to as much Nats baseball as he does on a volunteer basis is certifiably insane.

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  1. Wooden_U_Lykteneau said...

    If you read through the Nats blogosphere, you’ll see that the vast majority of the “fans” have exactly the team they deserve. Few realize, if even understand, just how thoroughly MLB and Omar Minaya gutted the Expos and its farm system prior to the current ownership. Needham is no exception.

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    If having Minaya gut the minors wasn’t bad enough they now have Jim Bowden in place to bring in paper talent like Wily Mo Pena, Lasting Milledge and Elijah Dukes.

  3. pete said...

    Sure, MLB and Minaya gutted the Expos. But that was four years and many, many missed opportunities ago (Dmitri Young, Chad Cordero, Aaron Crow to name just a few off the top of my head).

    Four years might not be enough time to turn around a franchise, but it’s plenty of time for real progress, and there’s not much evidence that the Nats have made much.

  4. Wooden_U_Lykteneau said...

    See what I mean? The sale was finalized on May 17, 2006, which is less than three years ago and about three weeks before the 2006 draft, which to these philistines is “plenty of time” to assess thousands of potential players.

  5. pete said...

    I’d argue that Pena, Milledge, and Dukes are exactly the type of players an organization that has no hope of winning anything any time soon should be bringing in. Even if you don’t believe they’ll make it they’re at least lottery tickets, and if even one pans out it’s well worth the trouble.

    The problem is clinging to guys like Dmitri Young, Ronnie Belliard, and Willie Harris—has beens and never will bes that:

    a. Take up roster space.
    b. Block players with even the slightest chance to have long-term value to the organization.
    c. Could be converted into players that can help them turn it around.

  6. VanderBirch said...

    Not to mention the Soriano debacle. They’ve been in the cellar for a while now but have not managed to develop any semblance of organisational depth. I find Bowden a loathsome, offensive brute; he appears to have no plan beyond an irrational overvaluation of toolsy guys.

  7. Charles Kitchen said...


    So Glenn Gibson for Elijah Dukes is a trade you would not make?

    Whatever one says about history, the guy hit .264/.386/.478 last year. Granted, he missed too much of the year with injury, but I wouldn’t call him a paper talent or put his name next Wily Mo.

  8. Charles Kitchen said...


    Bowden had been around alot longer than 3 weeks. Also,  I don’t think people criticize the 2006 draft. That got us Marrero, who people still have hope for. The Sean Black decision was annoying, but ah well.

    Aaron Crow would have been our best prospect on BA. They let him go over a couple hundred K. That is not the fault of Omar. 

    I would love to have Grady Sizemore, among the many others we lost. That would be spectacular. But if Omar Minyana had not gutted the Expos, they’d still be the Montreal Expos and I wouldn’t have a baseball team in my town.

  9. Charles Kitchen said...


    The Soriano debacle is what got us Jordan Zimmermann, our best prospect at the moment.

    Unless there was a better offer Bowden left on the table, its hard too criticize that too much.

  10. pete said...

    Keeping Soriano and letting him walk did work out for them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the right choice (perhaps some luck was involved).

    We don’t know exactly what the offers were, but it’s kind of difficult to believe that there was never one on the table worth more than 2 draft picks.

  11. pete said...

    Regardless, there are plenty of other reasons to hate on Jim Bowden, even if you assume the Soriano decision was the right one. I’m sure we can agree there.

  12. Charles Kitchen said...


    You are right, luck is not a good basis for a decision. It just makes it hard to call it a debacle if it works out.

  13. Chris said...

    The best actual reported package offered for Soriano was Phil Humber.


    I’ll take our second Zimmerman(n) over that.

  14. MooseinOhio said...

    Wily Mo I would bring for the fan excitement aspect so maybe he wasn’t the best example however I’d would not have brought in Milledge or Dukes due to their past issues.  Milledge had his show boating and not taking the games as seriously as he should with the Mets and Dukes has had his fair share of off-the-field problems.

    In my opinion that is not the type of example I would want my minor league and young major league talent to be around.  I believe that a team that was essentially rebuilding needed to establish a culture of winning through preparation and bringing on players with their histories did not appear to do so.  I believe that Frank Robinson was a good manager to establish such a culture and Manny Acta may be as well but they also need help from the GM to fill the roster with players who have the work ethic of a Grady Sizemore.

    Please do not get me wrong – I think both Milledge and Dukes have the potential to leave all that baggage behind them and become great players.  However I believe they would be better suited to join an establish team (e.g. Red Sox, Angels) where the culture of winning and being a professional is well established and a veterans such as David Ortiz or Mike Lowell can nurture them in the non-baseball aspects of being a professional ballplayer.

  15. VanderBirch said...


    The Nats got lucky in hitting on one of their draft picks. In hindsight, that makes the decision to keep Soriano seem acceptable, but it was clearly a mistake. The team would most definitely been able to get a higher value by trading Soriano than taking the picks, particularly as he was in the middle of a great season. A deal should be judged on process, not results.

    Unfortunately, Bowden has demonstrated a consistent inability to trade veterans. He seems to overvalue his own players and hold out for the perfect deal, and this has seen him fail to trade Cordero and inexplicably re-sign Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard.

  16. Charles Kitchen said...


    I think bad teams need to chances. Elijah Dukes is a really good ballplayer. It’s hard for the Nats to get really great ballplayers. That trade was a way to get one. We will have to see how he does.

    I can understand that someone would not like Lastings Milledge due to his behavior in a few games, but I am suprised how deep that goes in alot of people. He will grow up. Or he wont. I dont think teams should pass on him just for that.

    I think your argument works great for explaining why the Lo Duca signing was so terrible.

    A really great post on a Nats blog about Bowdenball.

  17. Charles Kitchen said...


    Your right that having a draft pick pan out does not make the decision right. However, we do not know how good the actual offers were. As Chris points out, the ones we are sure of were not that good. I also think the Nats thought they might sign him.  The decision not to trade him has never seemed a terrible one to me.

    That might be because the team is so terrible and watching somebody go 40-40 made the pain go away.

    Resigning Young was a mistake.

  18. Chris said...

    The $ value and length of Dmitri’s contracts were a mistake.  It was rumored that the Nats were pretty close to shipping him out before the deadline, but not many contenders need DH’s.

    Reading between the lines, I think the Nats were close to sending him to Minnesota, but they went into a pretty big tailspin right before the deadline, which took them out of any viable spot once the deadline actually hit.  The trade didn’t make sense for them then.

  19. pete said...

    I’d encourage anyone who associates Milledge with trouble to look into what he’s actually done to earn that reputation.

    There were “sexual misconduct” questions about him before the draft (the Mets investigated and drafted him highly anyway, and obviously nothing ever came of it), he high-fived some fans as a rookie, and he appeared in a rap song with a friend that used some foul language.

    I’m not a knee-jerk player of the race card, but there is really little else to explain his reputation. I buy the argument with Dukes, though.

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