Less than a week after shades of shock and horror at the Nats’ typically risky-yet-strangely brilliant acquisition of Elijah Dukes, Thomas Boswell is again looking on the sunny side of the team’s off-season, praising the signing of Paul Lo Duca. Right off the bat, Boswell, in a DCO-esque fit of stat-spinning, cites Lo Duca’s .297 batting average over the last two years (neatly covering up the .272 from last season, which still would be an improvement over much of the Washington lineup), bringing the masses hope that the loss of Brian Schneider may not hurt so much after all. At the very least, the catcher position will receive an offensive boost.
Later, Boz rightfully praises what was essentially the second half of a cagey-veteran double signing, with playoff hero Aaron Boone’s inking being the first half. But it’s more than just a strengthening of the bench and a young team with such wise old timers, it’s something of a good-behavior-enforcer stockpiling.
Lo Duca, supposedly he of the famous “know your place, rook” admonition to Nats newbee Lastings Milledge, is almost certainly a guy to help keep the youngsters with (allegedly) troubled pasts in line. Along with the famously redeemed Dmitri Young, the increasing veteran presence in the clubhouse will help push high-risk signings/tradings like Dukes/Milledge towards the lesser-risk side of the scale. A dose of Manny’s patented optimism will cinch the deal.
Boz knows it, and probably did all along, even during last week's hand-wringing.