The Nationals have known for 11 months that they needed to make a deal to stay either in the International League or east of the Mississippi.
They did neither.
Yesterday afternoon, Washington announced it had signed a two-year PDC with the Fresno Grizzlies, endearing themselves to
…Young Republicans without trust funds …Rap Stars who went to Juilliard …Gay Nazis for Christ …charter jet operators in more than a dozen cities.
No longer will a 40-man player be able to hop a puddle jumper or literally drive himself to DC to join the team on short notice, something so obvious even Joel Sherman noticed. Even worse: if the Nats want to move a player from AA to AAA, it’s 9-12 hours with multiple layovers.
Sure, the pollyannas and MASN Commenters will point out that these travel concerns can be mitigated. And they’re right. Harrisburg is going to have a hell of a bullpen the next two summers.
The fact of the matter is this: Since the Syracuse Chiefs were bought in October 2017, the Nationals have known that this could be a possibility.
Now some folks have pointed out to me on the Twitters that they weren’t allowed to negotiate until this week. While that may be technically true—and I’m sure they’ll hide behind that factoid as deftly as Mike Rizzo claimed “We ended up going to a place that wanted us and we’re happy with.”—you have to be pretty naïve to believe that no team made any overtures to the available teams before this week.
And it’s not like there was a team in the International League who was having issues with the local government that might have been persuaded to sell.
For the sake of the fans in Fresno, my sincere wish is that the Nationals fill the Grizzlies roster with enough AAAA players to win 67 or so games. Granted, they haven’t done that in Syracuse the past four seasons, but I can still hope for it, right?