The Nationals Just Don’t Get It….

There are some things in sports that I just don’t understand. Like Memphis hiring assistant coach, Josh Pastner to take over their basketball team. Did Memphis learn nothing from UMass’s mistake when Calipari left us back in 96? Never hire the dutiful assistant coach to take over a program like that. Maybe they will hire Steve Lappas next to really sink that program (Words can’t describe my disdain for Lappas). It was nice knowing you Memphis, we hardly knew ye. Or how about the Phoenix Suns, who have somehow, through just horrific personnel and financial decisions destroyed a good thing in the valley of the sun. That Shaq trade was never going to work and maybe now they will realize Barbosa is not the answer to backup Point Guard behind Steve Nash. Selfish, me-first Point Guards in the NBA never work.

Then there are the Washington Nationals. I have no idea what this franchise is doing. Yesterday they announced that 29 year old Austin Kearns (yes, he is still alive) will be their starting RF in 2009. A move that will force 24 year old and the Nationals best player, Elijah Dukes to the bench. The Nationals reason behind this move….Kearns had a better spring. Ummm ok.

Riding the pine in 09

Riding the pine in 09

As our friends at Fangraphs pointed out, even if Dukes went 0-60 in spring training he should be the starting RF.  Spring training is valuable to guys like Todd Helton and Chris Carpenter who are trying to make comebacks and for a team to check out their younger players. Not to make irrational decisions like this one. Why would the Nationals, who will be lucky to win 70 games this year put a 24 year old talent like Dukes on the bench in favor of a 29 year old, injury prone player like Kearns? I would love to give you an explanation but I really don’t have one. Maybe the Nationals think Kearns will be this years Ryan Ludwick? That is my best guess.

One other interesting note about this decision. Kearns in 86 games last year put up a .217/7/32/.311. Dukes in 81 games last year put up .264/13/44 with a very impressive .386 OBP and even swiped 13 sb’s. Apparently that was not good enough for the rebuilding Nationals. There are some things in sports that I just don’t understand.


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