Nationals prepare for 2010 season
Spring training is right around the corner, and the Washington Nationals seem to be well prepared, for once.
Second baseman Adam Kennedy, age 34, has just agreed to a contract worth $1.25 million in 2010 with a $2 million team option for 2010. Kennedy batted .289 with the Athletics last year, and is .277 lifetime; most of his career has been with the Angels. The first choice was Orlando Hudson, but he signed with the Twins, for a substantially higher salary. The addition of Kennedy to the Nationals' roster "likely means that Cristian Guzman will remain at shortstop." (Guzman says he has overcome his physical ailments and will become more mobile this year.) See MLB.com. This is yet more great news for the Nats. If someone had told me three months ago that the Nats would add Jason Marquis, Ivan Rodriguez, and Adam Kennedy to their roster in 2010, I would have said they were pulling my leg. Granted, it's hard to know what to expect from aging veterans, but we Nats fans have a lot to be hopeful for this year.
Another good sign is that the Nationals and Adam Dunn are negotiating a multi-year extension to his contract, which ends after this season. Both sides appear to be in accord, and Dunn is happy in Washington, notwithstanding the awful 2009 season. See Washington Post. In Friday's Post, Dan Steinberg called attention to Adam Dunn's use of jiujitsu to enhance his agility for defensive purposes. Like Manny Ramirez, he has a reputation for being a big slugger who has mediocre fielding skills, but he seems determined to prove his worth as a first baseman, occasionally covering left field. Interestingly, the Nationals now have a surplus of Adams (Dunn and Kennedy) all of a sudden, much like they had a surplus of Ryans a few years ago: Church, Drese, Wagner, and Zimmerman.
Two weeks ago, "The Nationals came to terms with outfielder Josh Willingham, relief pitcher Jason Bergmann, and catchers Wil Nieves and Jesus Flores." They are all solid contributors to the team, and if Flores is healthy, he might end up playing as much or more as Ivan Rodriguez. Only two more Nationals players remain eligible for arbitration. See Washington Post. The catcher position is like the first base position was during spring training last year, with three contending players. Finally, the Nats front office is discussing a possible contract with former Yankee pitcher Chien-Ming Wang. Hmm-m-m!!
Even more stadium news
It turns out I left out a couple news items yesterday. (NOTE: Mike Zurawski clarified that PGE Park in Portland, which is being renovated for use as a soccer stadium, "isn't going to have baseball at all. The Portland Beavers MUST have a new stadium somewhere.")
In Miami, on the site of the former Orange Bowl, workers are in the processing of installing the tracks on top of the 150-foot high concrete columns that will support the massive, hurricane-proof retractable roof of the Marlins' future ballpark. Eight of the 12 columns have been completed thus far, and the construction project overall "is slightly more than 20 percent completed." (That is consistent with what I had estimated previously, 15%.) See MLB.com.
In Santa Clara, California, the City Clerk verified that a sufficient number of signed petitions had been submitted, which means that voters will get to decide whether to provide public funds for the construction of a San Francisco 49ers stadium in a referendum on June 8 ballot. If a majority of voters approve, preliminary work on a stadium will proceed on a plot of land near the Great America amusement park. See the San Jose Mercury News, which says the project will cost $937, but I'm pretty sure they mean $937 million. So what will become of Candlestick Park???