Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another Victory for The Plan

That's 20 for 20 overall and 3 for 3 for the top talents (let’s not panic about Ross Detwiler’s shaky start at Potomac shall we?). That adds up to a big-time restocking of the much-talked-about desolate minor league system. Clearly we applaud the move in getting Jack McGeary signed (and at a steak house!), but we even more applaud the way in which he was signed. A $1.8 million bonus! Take that, MLB! Where's your overly anal "slotting" system now? Sure, the Nationals aren't the only team that went over the suggested donation that baseball royalty encourages for each draft position, but it was nice to see nontheless. As we've mentioned many times before, the Nationals owe MLB no favors.

The signing is also another telling and tangible indication of how far the Nats have come as a grown-up ball club, one no longer forced to bow to the whim of 29 other major league owners. The $1.8 million to McGeary is the kind of cash-doling that would never have been allowed under repressive hive management. The team would have been lucky to come away with ten cheap draft picks if Premier Selig et all were still calling the shots. So let the royalty fume away at the (in their eyes) excessive money being spent. What can they do to this club that they already haven’t?

Not to be overlooked in all this good news is the tremendous 4-2 victory over the Chase Utley-less Phillies last night, or Tim Redding’s beautiful stroking of a double down the third base line to score a pair of runs. Or Ray King striking out back-to-back-batters with the bases loaded at a time when it seemed we might be forced to re-live the heartbreaking late inning breakdown of the night before.

Redding’s stellar pitching also shows us again the nice rotation that is building here: Shawn Hill (2.41 ERA), Joel Hanrahan (2.76), Redding (2.88), and John Lannan (3.00). Matt Chico will inevitably rebound and pull down that ERA that we don’t need to mention right at the moment.

What we can mention at the moment is a review of the teams in the rearview mirror: Houston, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Texas, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City, Tampa Bay (not fair, really). Those slippery Marlins and their fourth-place pedestal are still a game away, but they can’t run forever. And are those the Chicago Cubs we see just coming into view at a distance of 5.5 games? But we thought they were run by manager-god Lou Pinella! How could they be slipping so? Welcome to the gutter, Lou.

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