Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Painfully familiar

I really wanted to comment on the Alfonso Soriano/ "Hell no, I won't play left field" story yesterday, but there was already so much good stuff written on the subject that I didn't think I had anything original to add. If you didn't catch any of it, here's a sampling:

  • Off Wing Opinion points out that the Nationals are in full C.Y.A. mode.
  • Capitol Punishment makes the case for Soriano.
  • Beltway Boys explains what putting Soriano on the "disqualified list" would mean.
  • The Washington Post's Dave Sheinin asks why Nats GM Jim Bowden made the deal without finding out if Soriano would move to left field, while also attempting to figure out the motivation behind Soriano's stubbornness.
  • Sheinin's colleague at the Post, Barry Svrluga (who, in my opinion, is one of the best baseball beat writers in the country), writes that this could be exploring uncharted territory in pro sports labor relations.
  • And Tony Kornheiser makes Bowden sound like the Matt Millen of baseball.

But for you Tigers fans in the room, doesn't this Soriano situation remind you of the Juan Gonzalez deal, back in 2000? Take a General Manager who's maybe a bit worried about his job status, feels the need to grab some headlines, and then makes a trade for a supposed superstar player without receiving any assurances in return. It looks like the same recipe that resulted in $#!+ soup for the Tigers.

Initially, I thought the Nationals made a worse deal because they gave up a player - Brad Wilkerson - who was essentially the face of the team last year. But look at the players Detroit gave up for Gonzalez: Francisco Cordero and Frank Catalanotto certainly would've helped the Tigers over the past five seasons. And Gabe Kapler probably would've disappointed, but could've at least become a valuable role player.

That Gonzalez deal was the beginning of a long, painful slide to rock bottom for the Tigers. Randy Smith tried to build a team for a big ballpark and then decided to trade for a guy who would've played better in Tiger Stadium. It was a drastic move that stunk of desperation and set a franchise back for years.

Is Jim Bowden about to do the same thing with the Nationals?

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  • At March 22, 2006 11:46 AM, Blogger Big Al said…


    Do me one favor and never, ever speak of that stiff Juan Gone. I bet his agent is still kicking Juan's ass for turning down that albatross of a contract Radar Randy Smith offered. He'd still be collecting on that 7/144 deal if he'd signed. Just think of the horrors that would be going on at Comerica if he signed...

    As for for the Nats/Soriano? Soriano is, no question, an ass, as he shouldn't be a 2nd baseman with his Dmitri Young-like fielding skills. But Soriano was adamant that he would not move, and the Nats knew it. He has a plenty good enough bat to play a corner position. But the Nats and Bowden deserve whatever grief Soriano gives them for being so damn stupid (and petty for their classless move in their blantently obvious attempt to embarass Soriano) in the first place.

  • At March 22, 2006 11:57 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Big Al, I apologize for dredging up bad memories. Mike Ilitch should be thanking Little Caesar every day that Gonzalez didn't take that contract.

    But here's one more thought: Whatever happened to Luis Mayoral, the "Latin American liaison" the Tigers hired, who was basically Gonzalez's caddy and spokesperson? It always cracked me up that Gonzalez had a paid mouthpiece.

    I agree - and wanted to put it in the original post - that Soriano is at least being up front about his intentions, while Gonzalez played the weasel. And that might be the difference in the Nationals salvaging something.

  • At March 22, 2006 12:12 PM, Blogger Big Al said…

    Mayoral? You just made me spit up my coffee! I haven't thought of that clown in ages! Look up either lacky or lapdog in the encyclopedia and you'll see Mayoral's pic. Mayoral in the Tiger front office was the highest of comedy, and possibly the low point of Smith's regime.

    I can still hear the Juan Gone sound drop 'DFN had on a seemingly continious loop, "No house, apartment, apartment..."

    The Nats have some work to so in salvaging something out of this mess, as I'm guessing the rest of MLB is laughing their asses off right now, and waiting for the fire sale.

  • At March 22, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Ah, Big Al's reaction brings me sunshine on a cloudy day...

  • At March 22, 2006 12:51 PM, Blogger Big Al said…

    I'm still wiping the coffee off of my monitor. Damn you, Ian!


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