Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nationals Add a Former Red AND a Former D'Back

Continuing a pattern that was once kinda funny, then a little worrisome, and now just plain freakishly weird, the Nationals today signed former Reds catcher Javier Valentin and former Diamondbacks shortstop Alex Cintron.

Valentin is an ok defensive catcher who is probably a better fit as the Nationals back-up than Wil Nieves, since at least he gives the team a platoon advantage with Jesus Flores. He's technically a switch-hitter, but given that his OPS is .240 points better from the left side you have to wonder why he ever goes up right-handed. He's also a better hitter overall than Nieves, projected by CHONE to hit .260 / .320 / .382, compared to Nieves's .251 / .297 / .350 projection. Though he's a former Red, he was actually signed in 2004 while Jim was on Cold Pizza.

Cintron is that rarest of rare creatures: a weak-hitting shortstop who's also a bad fielder. OK, so that's a little unfair. He makes a lot of contact. But he rarely walks and has no power at all at this point in his career. As a fielder, he's pla/yed SS, 2B, and 3B, but the stats hate him at all three spots. His UZR/150 numbers as a shortstop over the last years are -10.9, -17.4, and -21.9. It's also hard to imagine where he would fit in with this team. There probably isn't room on the 25-man for Alberto Gonzalez, and then you also have Freddy Bynum, Pete Orr, and Jose Castillo coming to camp, in the event that they feel like they really need a failed major league infielder handy at some point.


El Rey said...

Change we CAN'T believe in. More junk from the MLB trash heap. Good move, Jimbo!

Uncle Dak said...

This is beyond freakishly weird. It is frighteningly incompetent. Valetin is one donut away from not being able to get behind the plate and reach for the ball if last year is any indication. He lost his job to Dusty favorite, Paul Bako, at the start of the year. It so obvious . . . fire Jim Bowden!

James Bjork said...

Um, guys. These were minor league deals. Depth in the system for pennies. While the details of their deals are not known, I suspect they'll only get a pro-rated major-league minumum if they even made it to the major-league team. I should point out that Dmitri Young's All-Star comeback-player-of-the-year season of 2007 came dirt cheap, and it started in the minor league portion of the spring training complex.

Bowden is an annoying buffoon, who has made several bad decisions (including re-signing Young for big bucks instead of trading him at peak value). This move, however is just cheap insurance.

Steven said...

I agree with James. You'll notice in my post I didn't object to these signings. I make fun of Rizzo and Bowden for the D'Backs and Reds obsessions, but Valentin is probably an upgrade over Nieves.