Interesting article by the Nats GM that ran in the DC Examiner.
For a good review of the article go to the National Farm Authority web site (http://natsfarmreport.blogspot.com/
Managing the issues: D.C. passes muster
By Jim Bowden
Washington Nationals General Manager
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:26 PM EDT
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There's no doubt after the response from fans this season that Washington has the potential of being a Boston or New York type market with the Cleveland enthusiasm.
What the fans told us is this can be a phenomenal baseball town. And, after the stadium is built, it has a chance to be one of the most powerful and exciting franchises in baseball. It could be a St. Louis, Boston and New York rolled into one.
We saw it on Opening Day. There was a man on second, no one out and Jose Guillen hit a grounder to the right side, moving the runner to third. All of a sudden he gets a standing ovation. That was symbolic of what we were going to get with Washington fans. They're extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, whether we're winning or losing.
One of the reasons we stayed in the pennant race for almost the entire season was the support and love the players got. We projected our attendance to be 2.4 million; we'll probably hit 2.7 million.
But this won't change the way we build this franchise. We have to build through development like the small-market A's and Indians have -- whether it's by me or a new GM.
And how we finish with the other 30 clubs is important. If we have a bottom-15 record and we sign a Type A free agent, we won't lose our first-round pick. But if we finish in the top 15 and sign a Type A player, we'll lose that pick.
The fastest way to rebuild is by having four or five consecutive first-round picks like a Ryan Zimmerman.
Examples of Type A free agents are pitchers Kevin Millwood and A.J. Burnett and outfielders Johnny Damon and Brian Giles. A Type B free agent (which would cost a second-round pick) would be pitchers Jarrod Washburn and Brett Tomko.
Even if our revenue dictates that by the time we get to a new stadium we'll have a high payroll, scouting and development is still the best way to win year after year. Otherwise you'll have problems like what the Yankees are going through now. You'll have a $207 million payroll and the only way to fix anything is through money.
One thing we're already looking at for 2006 is our arbitration-eligible players and our free agents.
The players we have eligible for arbitration are: Marlon Byrd, Luis Ayala, Jamey Carroll, Alex Escobar, Brian Schneider, T.J. Tucker, Brad Wilkerson, Nick Johnson and Junior Spivey.
Only Nick, Brian and Brad have a chance of being awarded $3 million or more.
Our free agent list includes: Esteban Loaiza, Preston Wilson, Tony Armas Jr., Hector Carrasco, Joey Eischen, Mike Stanton, Gary Bennett, Carlos Baerga, Deivi Cruz, John Halama, Antonio Osuna and Keith Osik.
We'll rank these players 1-12 and when there's a new owner in place, we'll pursue the ones we want to re-sign. Some we'll want back; others we won't because maybe we can do better through our farm system, free agency or by trading.