02.24.06

Nats, Soriano Still At Odds

Posted in Baseball at 12:26 am by

The Washington Nationals haven’t found a new owner, nor resolved a dispute over their name. They do however, have a surplus of highly paid second basemen, the younger of which would be a better candidate for DH than say, a move to left field. Shame the Nats are in the NL, then.

The Washington Post’s Dave Shenin reports from yesterday’s bizarre press conference in Viera, Florida.

“The only thing that I know is that I’m happy to be here in Washington,” Soriano said, in response to a question about a potential move to the outfield. “I have one week to practice second base because I have to go to the [WBC]. And that’s what I have now in my mind. I no think about outfield.”

Any further examination of the two-hour meeting Thursday morning between Nationals officials (including Manager Frank Robinson) and Soriano and his agent at a restaurant near the team’s spring headquarters requires reading between the lines. And such a reading can leave only one obvious conclusion:

Nothing had changed fundamentally in either side’s position. The Nationals still want Soriano to play left field. Soriano does not want to. And in what amounts to a compromise, the sides essentially agreed to put off a confrontation over the subject for about a month, until Soriano returns from the WBC — the final game of which is March 20.

“Is he going to play left field? . . . Who knows?” Robinson said. “No decision is going to be made — as to whether he is going to play left field or second base — today, tomorrow or the next day, or when he comes back. Those decisions will be made before we leave Florida.”

Although both sides did their best to appear conciliatory during Thursday’s news conference, privately they are far less so. A source close to Soriano said the player is “very mad” and remains adamant about refusing the position switch. “It’s going to be ugly,” the source said, “because I’m telling you, he won’t play.”

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