Picking Splinters: Mid-Summer Mailbag


What do you think about Andre Dawson’s election to the Hall of Fame as an Expo? Did that feel right to you?

Bud S.

No, it didn’t feel right to me. I simply have no idea why baseball gets to decide which team a player will represent when they are immortalized on their plaque. How does that help anyone?

Dawson said he would have preferred to enter the Hall as a Cub, but instead MLB decided to stick him on the Expos, where he spent the majority of his playing career. That’s logical, but is it fair? Why can’t these guys just choose, which team they want to represent. I think that could even create some buzz for the game. Heck, maybe we can have a televised hour-long special and the Boys and Girls Club in Beverly Hills can get a new hot tub out of it.

While we’re on the topic of Dawson however, I’ve glossed over a more important question: Does he even belong in the Hall of Fame. I don’t think I’m about to touch that one though after my colleague at ESPN Matt Meyers, who concluded Dawson wasn’t HOF-worthy, was eviscerated by Dawson’s supporters. And when I say eviscerated, I mean, well, I’ll show you what I mean.

“As a lifelong Cubs fan I simply say ~Screw you~.”

“What a great way to get your name out there. I did the same thing and look how famous I am… — Paris Hilton”

And my personal favorite:

“Eat a dick you classless #### bag”

There’s about 200 more where that came from, with the most constructive counterargument being that new-age stats are dumb and have no place evaluating players from the past (Huh?). I personally love sports debate, but why is anyone with a different opinion automatically a know-nothing, self-indulgent clown?

Meyers’ argument was a sound and logical one. The retorts, though occasionally witty, were not. And it’s very hard to take any pleasure in a debate that instantly devolves into name calling. If that’s what does it for you, join Parliament.

If you have nothing constructive to offer, stop cluttering the Internet.



Should they shut down Stephen Strasburg for the year given his recent scratched start due to shoulder inflammation?

Mike R.

Darn it Mike, I’m a columnist, not a doctor! The answer is I don’t know, but I’m not particularly concerned until I hear the name “Dr. James Andrews.” Inflammation isn’t good, but it’s not a torn ligament.

I’m positive the Nats won’t trot him back out there unless they’re 100-percent sure he’s okay. And I’d bet that this scare will accelerate the date of his final start this season. For all the boos the decision earned them Tuesday night, it’s better than enduring 10-15 years without a franchise-changing ace.



What should the Nats do with Dunn? Ink him to an extension or trade him for prospects?

Mike R.  (Again)

In this day and age I feel like it’s going to be tough to get equal value in terms of prospects for a guy with Dunn’s talent. Teams just hold their young players so close these days because, frankly, they’re cheap. It’s doubtful the Nats could snap up any prospect with 40-home run power in return, or even a top of the rotation starter.

Though it feels like he’s been around forever, Dunn is still just 30 years old. And we all know they guy can mash. Take him out of the Washington order and that lineup looks very, very different.

I have no issue with the Nats floating him on the trade market. Frankly, by the time the Nationals are contending for a title, he’ll likely be out of the picture. But this team owes Stephen Strasburg and the rest of the pitching staff some run support and I’d argue strongly for signing him rather than trading him. Best advice I have: Dangle him for another day or two. If you don’t get any stellar prospects offered in return, take him off the market and try to hammer out a deal. If it doesn’t get done by the morning of July 31, put him back out there and get what you can.



One more thing. Would you make a run at Roy Oswalt if you were the Nats. Thanks!

Mike R.

Geez, Mike, did they have a good sale on stationary at Staples or what? Anyway, my answer is no. No chance. No way. No how.

Oswalt is a great pitcher, but he’s not worth the money he’ll be paid on the remainder of his contract. If I’m the Nats, I’d rather have that cash go towards my draft budget or a deserving free agent this winter.