Monday, June 1, 2009

The Worst of the Worst

This is not a post dedicated to detailed statistical analysis. This is a rant. This is my list of the absolute worst players on this miserable team.

Now, I could use metrics like wins above replacement or win shares or VORP to tell us who are the worst players on this historically awful excuse for a baseball team. But no, in this post I'm following my gut to create my list, as a fan, of the players I most hate to look at in a Washington Nationals uniform.

Let the countdown begin:
5. Cristian Guzman
Yeah, yeah, he was our affirmative action all-star last year, and he hits over .300. Whatever. Three walks in 169 plate appearances is mind-blowingly dumb baseball, and he brings so little power that his overall offensive production is below average at best. His fielding range has been in steep decline, and he's now reached nearly Vidro-esque levels of immobility. Even floating on a ridiculous .377 BABIP, he's barely better than replacement. And, this is a guy who will by the end of next year have been paid $32 million dollars by this team, more than any other player in Nationals history and 45 times more than the difference between Aaron Crow's final offer and the team's. And we gave up a draft pick to sign him back in 2004, a pick that became Brian Duensing, who's looking like another serviceable (if totally vanilla) Minnesota pitcher. Cristian Guzman stinks.
4. Dmitri Young
For the love of Pete, what on earth is that whale still doing on a major league roster? You know he's still getting $5 million a year from this team? Even in his one affirmative action all-star season, he gave back nearly half his value at the plate with his trained black bear-like agility at first base. Remember when we thought he was going to be the team leader who would help coach young guys like Elijah Dukes? What a joke. Arguably the worst single example of delusional excess of the ex-Red-loving, DH-stock-piling Bowden years.
3. Julian Tavarez
I'm keeping it to one relief pitcher only, and it's Tavarez. Like most of our bullsh*tpen, he can't find the strikezone with a map, he's slow on the mound, and he gives up runs by the bushel. He's also a jerk. No beer goggles can make this guy watchable.
2. Scott Olsen
I've gone on at length about Olsen, so I'll just hit the high points. When he's not getting decked by teammates, tasered by cops, or lighting up a cigarette in the clubhouse, all he does is get rocked.
1. Anderson Hernandez
Given that we gave up next to nothing of value to get him and his near league-minimum salary, it's taken some doing for ol' AHern to earn his way into this position. He can't hit, but he bats lead-off. He was supposed to be a good fielder, but he's constantly in brain lock, whether he's forgetting to cover second base on a steal, forgetting to cover first on a bunt, covering first but letting the throw sail past him inexplicably, failing to even attempt a throw on a critical double play, booting a lazy roller... all plays that cost the team runs. On a team of bad news bears, Anderson Hernandez is the baddest news of them all.


ben said...

To be fair to the Anderson Hernandez trade, we gave up an angry relief pitcher who was mentally done with Washington. And you should always trade relief pitching. Hernandez was at best a genuine shot at a servicable big leagure, most likely a good role player and at worst... Well, this is obviously the worst case.

I think he should be DFA'd but, I have no problem with them making that trade. I just hate that we won't admit our mistake. Its becoming our trade mark.

Harper said...

Guzman #1!

flippin said...

Unfortunately, that is the tip of the iceberg. I am having trouble finding players I actually like. Why can't we have lovable losers? We have reprobates like Tavarez, Olsen, and Hernandez. For god's sakes, Mothra is a more sympathetic figure.

Anonymous said...

Good choices all, but...for me, the list of the "worst of the worst" begins and ends with Austin f*cking Kearns. The prototypical Bowden "toolsy" corner outfielder (and he's a former Red!). Every year we hear from management about how he's really turning things around (especially in the spring) but the reality is that he has never once put up the numbers he used to consistently put up in Cincy. His numbers with runners on-base are absolutely pathetic. Yes, he can field okay but the reality is that for $8 million per year I think it's okay to expect more from a player. Same monstrous contract as Guzman with (if it's possible) LESS production.

Harold said...

Do we miss Bonafacio? Should we have signed Orlando Hudson, despite failing a physical? Who else can play 2B within the organization? Belliard has regressed and Pete Orr is no better. Maybe we could sign Ray Durham and hope for the best cause there is no solution internally... Maybe we could switch Guzman to 2B and rush Danny Espinosa to play SS? We got nothing to lose...

Deacon Drake said...

I'd put up for honorable mention Daniel Cabrera, since he since he still has a day or two to accept his DFA. Seriously, he really thinks a team is going to give him a major league contract?

I do have to point out to Ben above that Anderson Hernandez rocked the following line at AAA last year: .203/.307/.568. Which would be fine if he were a pitcher...

Steven said...

Bring back Brendan Harris!!

Steven said...

How about if we had made this trade:

Think Bavasi would have maybe picked Dmitri Young over Eduardo Perez? Or Austin Kearns?

Souldrummer said...

#1 for me must be Kearns, Kearns, Kearns. The gap between expectations and delivery is so huge. Plus he is seriously retarding the growth of the team because we won't put outfielders with upside in his position.

Steven said...

Wow, I didn't expect Kearns to be drawing so much ire. Maybe it's the contract.

John O'Connor said...

Add me to the Kearns lack of appreciation club.

To quote the Grinch, Kearns "stinks, stank, stunk."

As of a week ago (I haven't updated my stats), Kearns had eben up 34 times with less than two outs and a man on first . . . and grounded into 8 double plays. He can't even get the ball out of the infield anymore, it seems. Being a swell fella only gets you so far. Giving high leverage at bats to Kearns might be Manny's greatest failing as a manager.

Any list that doesn't have Kearns at #1 is suspect in my book.

Sasskuash said...

Kearns has to be somewhere on my list too. It's partially the contract. It's partially the hitting stats (this year AND in years past). It's partially the team constantly feeding the b-s that he has "superstar potential" and Ladson repeating every offseason that he will have a "breakout year" and that Kearns is such an asset in the field (he seems pretty mediocre with the glove to me). He appears to have no personality and I can vividly imagine him sitting in the corner smelly his own farts instead of trying to step up and be a veteran leader for a young team like he should be. Or at least should have been at one point. I got tired of Kearns being Bowden's boy, and now I'm really annoyed with the undeserved preferential treatment he gets from Acta. Bench him and let the younger kids play. I am so f-ing done with Kearns, I cannot wait to get him off of this train-wreck of a team.

I think Guzman should be higher on this list than he is. I'm not as upset with Anderson Hernandez as I should be, but I don't think he deserves to be #1. Olsen could easily be my #1, D-Cab should still make the list, and Manny Acta might make my list at this point too. I think Hanrahan is still on my list Does it make me overly bitter if I still want to put Wily Mo Pena at the top of my list? We ARE still paying him, isn't that worth something? Am I beyond a top 5 at this point?

I think the sad part is I'm realizing I could round out a top 10 most hated players on this team. Maybe a top 15. If you let me include guys who are no longer on the team, I could go 20. Why do I still cheer for this team?

Berndaddy said...

Harold, I think they've got Leonard Davis at 2nd / AA this year for that reason. In the future he's probably nothing more than a home grown utility player, but he's bat is coming around from a slow start early in the season and he's got some pop in that swing. Hey, he was hitter of the year for the Nats farm system last year and not a bad fielder. He's the best we've got right now if we had to go internal. I don't think we should rush Espinosa. He's one of the promising players we've got down on the farm. BTW Steve keep up the good work and thanks for bringing out topics that are uncomfortable. I like getting real that's the only way to get to the under belly of the problems, eh...

An Briosca Mor said...

"Wow, I didn't expect Kearns to be drawing so much ire. Maybe it's the contract."

No, it's because he sucks.

Q: When the Austin Kearns Era ends this October, what will be the one thing he did that had the biggest impact on the Nationals?

A: He wiped out Nick Johnson. If that doesn't happen, there's no Dmitri Young. A pre-injury Nick arguably could have batted leadoff after Soriano left, eliminating Guzman as your leadoff guy. Zimmerman would have been able to emerge a year or two sooner than he did. They could have picked up one of Dunn/Willingham, without the need to get both of them as extra insurance in case Nick wasn't healthy. Wouldn't all that have been nice?

Austin Kearns is the devil. Devil in a John Deere hat.

Anonymous said...

It's the contract. The lack of production. The constant team-PR stuff that he's about to break out or that he's a great leader.

Personally, it's also the redneck thing. The John Deere hats. The awful country entry music when he comes up to the plate (always makes me throw up in my mouth a little). If the Nationals pick up his option for 2010 ($10 million! That in itself is just sad.) I will officially break up with this team.

Steve Shoup said...

Also remember with Kearns we gave up some proven talent to make that trade. Surrendering a draft pick is bad for Guzman, but he was relatively, young, effective, at the time. Wasn't too expensive, played a premium position and the brand new Nats needed some 'names'. Trading for Kearns can't be as easily rationalized. Yes we needed power and were looking at losing Soriano in the offseason, but we gave up too much in the deal. Any way you parse that trade up Kearns has not equaled what we gave up. These past two years have been way too much of a disappointment. Also while I'll say Guzman is frustrating player to watch, I would have a hard time putting him in the top 5 Worst Nats. Kearns deserves to be there, hell even Belliard. Guzman as frustrating as he is still has some value. And if the Nats eat some salary they could prob get a solid prospect or two for him. You can't say that about Kearns.

Harold said...

My list would probably be more like:
1. Dimitri Young
2. Anderson Hernandez
3. Scott Olsen
4. Tavarez/Wells (tie)
5. Kearns (no offense but the best defensive outfielder we have believe it or not)
6. Guzman (he at least hits the ball)

Berndaddy, thanks for checking me there. I forgot about Leonard Davis. I see him listed as an outfielder but yeah I heard he was a good utility guy. I was "partially" kidding about rushing Espinosa. That would be a terrible idea. I was trying to think of anyone that could play 2B within the organization. I am pretty tired of how bad our SS and 2B positions have been.

dcusimano123 said...

Daniel Cabrera MUST be at the top of the list, because the ripple effect of signing him was so large - no Tim Redding, no $2.6M to sign another real player, his holding of a slot for Bergmann or anybody else, etc. etc. etc.

I have no real problem with Anderson Hernandez, outside of the fact that he sucks. He's Ramon Vazquez on a good team - a guy who will get 150 AB and be able to play all IF positions if somebody's arm falls off.

Berndaddy said...

Yep, Davis played 3rd, LF, RF and than this year they started putting him in at 2nd. Here's a name we haven't heard yet this year, Langerhans. This dude can play the outfield and he gets on base. When J-Max flamed this last time I thought for certain that langerhans would get the call up...
Hey, that's why I'm a fan and they're the management. I'm afraid that the nats are going trade Johnson for pitching when we really need a SS. Then we could move Guzzy to 2nd where he belongs.
Oh the team and the drama it creates...

Steven said...

I chose to only look at current players on our 40 man. Cabrera would have been there. Alex Cintron has a special place in my heart. Wil Ledezma and Logan Kensing would have been more deserving than Tavarez. But I just decided to go with the guys we have, since, like McCain, I prefer not to look back in anger.

I will however look side to side and forward with the red hot fury of 1000 suns.

Will said...

I think a Best of the Best List would be significantly more difficult than a worst list.

Putting aside the young pitchers who've been promoted for the first time this season and haven't had the opportunity to become stained with the Nationals' past yet, I can only come up with a handful of players.
1. Zimmerman
2. Dukes
3. Johnson
4. Flores
5. Lannan
6. Harris

And that's it. We have six to ten players who aren't complete disasters. Ugh.

Tom said...

By the way Langerhans is getting a lot of time at 1B and doing a very good job at Syracuse.
Also we are in need of a CF and Patterson is heating up and playing an excellent CF. (Neither is on 40 man)

Rob B said...

John Deere hats and country music?
Come on dude, if you're going to make a criticism make it a legitimate one related to the game.
If you had made that type of comment about a player on the team who was Latin or African descent you would be immediately labeled a racist, bigot, Nazi, and about a million other things.
Double-standards help nobody

Dave said...

Kearns, hands down. I remember in that season before he wiped out Nick, my wife and I would look at things going on in the outfield and seriously wonder whether he was hard of hearing or something. He seemed never to hear the CF call him off a play.

That's what happened that fateful afternoon at Shea Stadium, when he knocked Johnson out for well over a year.

An Briosca Mor, I had forgotten all about that day in September 2006 until you reminded me. That's plenty reason to dump him.

DMan said...

Kearns must go. Glad somebody else has noticed his apparent deafness in the OF. He's just a Great American Bandbox wonder. Embrace the bad folks and enjoy the ride to infamy! 62 Mets, here we come!!