Johnson, Expos Gone

July 31, 2009

And there you have it, the expected trade was made, with about 180 seconds to go on my clock. The Nationals have finally made a trade deadline move, sending Nick Johnson to the Marlins in exchange for minor league pitcher Aaron Thompson. With his contract expiring, no chance at getting prospects for him when he goes to free agency, and a team going nowhere, trading Johnson was a necessity. It give this team time to test out some of their other players at first base, and hopefully bring Dukes up to play the OF (he’s hitting .288/.397/.545 in AAA, in case you were worried he’d pack it in once he was sent down). Before getting into what they got in exchange for Nick, a moment of silence please, for the Montreal Expos.

That’s right, with the departure of Nick, the last player on the Nats to have played on the 2004 Expos team is gone. The connection isn’t quite severed, as some players were drafted under that regime, but look at that roster. Everyone has left. Maybe the curse of Montreal is over, maybe this team will continue to suck. Maybe this is a symbolic gesture that indicates the team has turned the corner, maybe it means nothing at all. Either way, it’s the end of an era.

The New Guy

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One Trade Made

July 31, 2009

But it wasn’t the one everyone assumed. The Nats traded fairly effective lefty reliever Joe Beimel to the Rockies for 2 minor leaguers. Seems like a pretty decent deal to me, even though I don’t know who they got. That’s because Beimel signed a one year deal, so he’s gone after the offseason. And they aren’t gonna get compensation picks for him, so why not trade him away. Anything that helps the farm system in any way would be good.

Beimel wasn’t anything spectacular, he’s middle relief help on a good team. So for the Nats to move him at all should be considered a win. They should be happy about singing someone in the offseason to a one year deal and flipping him a few months later for some minor leaguers. Still waiting to hear if they trade Nick away, but signs are pointing to the unbelievable conclusion that they aren’t going to move him…


Adam Dunn Continues to Hit

July 30, 2009

A few months ago, I noticed that Adam Dunn was hitting the baseball. Ok, so what I actually noticed was that his batting average was well above .300, a rarity for him, despite it being a month into the season. I took a look at some of his swing and contact rates and realized that he was swinging at less in general, but hitting way more baseballs outside of the strike zone. My theory at the time was that he was possibly becoming more selective on types of pitches, but less selective on balls and strikes. That is to say, if he is looking fastball, in the past if it was 3 inches off the plate, he figuered to let it go. But now he says, “heck, I can still smash this” and does.

I figured it’d be a good idea to update these, so let’s start with the more interesting one from last time, the contact rates:

AD Contact 07-30-09

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Nats Heating Up, Trades Aren’t

July 29, 2009

The Nats have now won four games in a row, which on the season is… their longest win streak. Yikes. So, the losing streaks haven’t exactly been balanced out. They’d need to win about 34 in a row, and even then, they’d still be 2 games under .500. But all that aside, they have played well of late.

Bally’s Back

Collin Balester pitched well, making him the 45th young pitcher to come to the big league club this year and offer up a quality start. While it wasn’t remarkable, 2 ER in 6 IP against the Brewers is pretty impressive. Balester, a 4th round pick in 2004, was their #3 prospect last year. This outing could be something to build on, especially if the team keeps hitting like they do.

Dunn completely smashed a ball out of Miller Park, I am pretty sure it burned up on re-entry into the atmosphere. And Nyjer Morgan hit a home run to start off the game! Guzman is on a power surge, he’s hit 2 HRs, in 5 days. Does anyone need a middle infielder? Minnesota, I’m looking at you, it could be a nice little reunion. Back to Morgan, he’s now hitting .389/.417/.489  since he came to the Nats. That, my friends, is a catalyst. It may not be sustainable, but it’s fun to watch.

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Stresses, and Maybe Some Hope

July 28, 2009

Want to know what is causing me stress? Teams not named Nats making trades. Here are some examples, and my thoughts, with thanks to Rotoworld as I’m stealing their headlines:

Trade 1

Translation: After getting LaRoche and Anderson, Boston probably doesn’t have interest in Johnson or Willingham

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That’ll Help the Trade Value

July 28, 2009

Or at least it’ll make your GM not wanna trade you. Either way, 2 Grand Slams by Willingham go along with 1 by Dunn this weekend reminds everyone who are the most tradable players on the team. Other than the ones like Zimmerman who are not allowed to be traded. But with the power that they’ve displayed, going along with the third baseman, it’s almost a shame to get rid of either of them. The Nats have hit 8 HRs in the 4 games, 3 by Willingham, 3 by Zimmerman, and a grand slam by Dunn.

The thinking around these parts was that Dunn and Willingham aren’t complementary players – too similar. You’d love most of your players to hit like that, but stick each one at a corner outfield spot and you’re in trouble. If only there was a speedy, rangey center fielder to help them out… Oh, the Nats actually have that. I think Morgan does help it make it easier to play those 2 at the same time, as does their constant baseball mashing. There is, as usual, a problem with keeping both of them…

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Wait, A Rumor!

July 27, 2009

Ok, here’s one. It’s one you’ve already heard, but sending a scout adds more teeth to it:

The Giants, still in the market for offense, have been following the Nats around. Word is, they are checking out OF Josh Willingham and 1B Nick Johnson. Either would help the Giants’ anemic attack.

Giants GM Brian Sabean and Nats acting GM Mike Rizzo have a strong rapport, so perhaps something will get done.

I know, I know, it’s just a rumor. I shouldn’t get excited. Well, I’m going to anyway.

Here’s a non-rumor, but some speculation on my part. Brett Gardner is out for as much as a month, and the Yankees have said that they won’t call Austin Jackson up to be a part-timer, and have admitted that he may not be ready to start in 2010. They’re losing Damon and Matsui this offseason, probably re-signing neither. Melky can slide over to CF, but they need LF solutions not just for the immediate future, but for next year as well. Seems to be Willingham would be a good answer for that LF problem. They’ve also shown interest in Joe Beimel. Maybe the Nats could send both over for something nice.


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