Wheeling and Dealing in DC

Nationals general manager Jim Bowden has been very aggressive this winter.

He was arguably the most active GM at the recent winter meetings held in Nashville, Tennessee.

You have to credit Bowden for taking a risk on players such as Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes.

While there is baggage, both players have huge upsides. When you’re building a team athleticism is key and Dukes and Milledge could turn out to be some pretty special players.

It’s a credit to the organization to recognize that. Let’s hope Bowden has the Midas touch like he did last year with Dimitri Young. Perhaps a change of scenery and a second chance is just what Dukes needs to jump start his career. And, so far, it seems like Dukes is buying into that idea.

“I am excited about getting a fresh start with an up-and-coming franchise like the Washington Nationals. It’s an important move for my career and gives me the chance to prove myself both on and off-the-field,” Dukes said. “I appreciate this opportunity and am looking forward to meeting the fans of Washington, DC as we move into a brand new ballpark.”

All in the Family...This season in the brand new ballpark fans will get to see a team that’s more polished coming off the bench. Newly acquired veteran Aaron Boone brings plenty of experience that includes playing in the World Series for the New York Yankees. The 34-year-old is the youngest member of baseball’s three-generation Boone family which includes his grandfather Ray, his father Bob, who is the Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President, Player Development and his older brother Bret who also had a successful career in the major leagues. Aaron plays multiple infield positions which gives Acta flexibility and a chance rest his regulars.

The Glass is Half Full...
While it appears the Nationals are saving some of their financial bullets for a later time the team has certainly strengthened itself this winter. The outfield is filled with athleticism and there is competition for playing time. The young starting pitchers will also have to bring their “A” game to spring training since there are only a limited amount of spots. Although health is an issue with pitchers such as Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann, as Bowden and Acta said repeatedly last year, injuries often create opportunities. So in looking ahead to ‘08 the glass is half full.