December 30, 2005 [LINK]

Nationals sign Armas, Ortiz

The Nationals are trying to solidify their starting pitcher rotation well in advance of spring training. Tony Armas Jr. avoided arbitration by signing with the Nationals for another year, the same term as the contract signed by former Cincinnati Red Ramon (not Russ) Ortiz. Both have been steady if unspectacular starting pitchers for the past few seasons, though Armas missed many games last summer becuse of a bad shoulder. See Former Indian (and Brave) Kevin Millwood, who was also pursued by the Nationals, just signed with the Texas Rangers.

On-base averages

David Pinto recently compiled a ranking of the top MLB leadoff batters in terms of on-base average over the last three seasons. He was focusing on Johnny Damon's likely effect on the Yankees (Derek Jeter is ranked #2), but I noticed how much higher Brad Wilkerson (.372) is compared to Alfonso Soriano (.335). Did Jim Bowden realize that before he made that trade with the Rangers? At the bottom of the list: former National Endy Chavez, traded to the Phillies last May.

The E-mail bag

I'm still struggling to get caught up with old e-mail correspondence. I always appreciate a friendly compliment or tip from new visitors to the site (welcome Gilbert Ohlson, Michael Springer, and David Bennett), but I regret that some messages requiring serious thought on my part often languish on the back burner for weeks or more. To help me keep track of what to get to first, please include something specific in the subject line when you send a message. Steven Poppe submitted modified versions of the Ameriquest Field (ex-Ballpark in Arlington) diagram, with a retractable roof (a lot of territory to cover), and one of Miller Park; both would be symmetrical. Sean Holland posted a comparison of the Fenway Park (which he sponsored) and Yankee Stadium diagrams on a message board, properly crediting me and including a link to this Web site. That's the way to do it.