Fish and whales feed on plankton, who are incapable of swimming against a current. When a player gets to free agency without a contract, he becomes in effect plankton for teams to feed on at their convenience and their cost.
The Nationals have taken this bottom feeding movement to their team building philosophy, and it’s working. Despite having options at first base such as Ryan Zimmerman and Derek Norris, the Nats signed Adam Lind to be a lefty option at first base. And check out what he said when asked: Why Washington?
That’s how plankton talk before they’re eaten.
And now the Nationals have done it again, waiting for the moment that Matt Wieters failed to swim upstream to sign him to a two year deal with a one year player opt-out. When your team enters a season that one of your players is pinning his Washington career to, and whose owner is getting up in years and wants anything to see one World Series, of course you can understand why they want to collect assets and ask questions later. Wieters, if you remember from Mets twitter, was the guy we all wanted to replace Travis d’Arnaud. And I can’t say that I blame them.
Is Wieters an upgrade from Derek Norris? Somewhere in between marginally and substantially, yes. Wieters dealt with injuries, Norris dealt with having to thrive in the most screwed up petry dish: A.J. Preller’s Padres. Take all that out and what do you have? Two decent catchers. But Wieters does represent a modest upgrade.
Now here’s the question: Does the upgrade from Norris to Wieters enough to overcome the lack of a proven closer on the roster? Absolutely not. If Norris, who the Nationals will probably want to trade now, is part of a deal for David Robertson or a proven closer, then it might be time to panic a lot. Mets fans are already panicking a little bit, because the Nationals are getting incrementally better. But having a team like the Nationals are trying to build and having Shawn Kelley close is like having Bobby Flay cook your filet mignon and then dousing it with ketchup. So while having David Robertson “out there” worries me, until that happens the Nationals aren’t swimming away with the East just yet.