2/19/07 The Plan Begins To Take Shape. Now Wait A Few Years. Just Be Patient.
Dmitri Young, formerly of the Detroit Tigers, a career .289 hitter, with 154 HR’s and 599 RBI in 4,152 at bats in 11 Major League seasons, signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals.
Ronnie Belliard, last seen winning the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, formerly of the Cleveland Indians, a career .272 hitter, with 247 doubles, 80 HR’s and 439 RBI in 3,812 at bats over nine seasons in the Majors, signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals.
Signed a contract with the Washington Nationals. I just like saying it…Signed with the Nationals. I started to get this feeling back in July when the Nationals outbid several of the same old teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers…) for the services of 16 year-old Dominican shortstop Esmailyn Gonzalez. In MLB.com’s Bill Ladson’s article on the signing, Nationals President Stan Kasten was quoted saying, "This is an important signing…We can now compete for the best talent in Latin America."
The Nationals are not yet in a position to compete for the best talent in the MLB Free Agent pool, as they have made it abundantly clear they are rebuilding, but as a recent, great, article by writer Aaron Fitt on Baseball America.com states, the Nationals have already begun rebuilding, "…without giving up anyone in Washington’s long term plans," acquiring pitchers like Luis Atilano, Matt Chico, Garret Mock, Emiliano Fruto, Shairon Martis, and Jhonny Nunez from the Braves, Giants, D-Backs, and Dodgers in return for players like Jose Vidro, Marlon Anderson, Mike Stanton, and Daryle Ward.
Draft picks and pitching prospects in return for aging veterans or over-priced stars. Not a bad formula? Ask me again in July…
So the franchise that is responsible for producing Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Randy Johnson, half of the current Indians, Javier Vazquez, Orlando Cabrera, Vladimir Guerrero, Vidro, Brian Schneider, and Ryan Zimmerman is now being run by the man, Stan Kasten, who helped rebuild the Braves before their decade-plus dominance of the NL(tee hee), and Kasten has hired Tom Rizzo, the man responsible for the most recent rebuilding of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and then Kasten hires a Manager best known as a talent evaluator, in Manny Acta. This finally sounds right.