First Real 2009 Trade in the Books

June 30, 2009

I’m not sure I like this book so far. The Nats have traded perennial complainer and potential star Lastings Milledge away, along with ace closer Joel Hanrahan. In exchange they get Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett from the Pirates.

What They Get

Well, the big piece that everyone is probably excited about it Nyjer Jamid Morgan. I am mostly excited about his name. And he can play the outfield, which is nice. Other than that… He is fast, too, but he isn’t exactly a good baserunner. His 18 SB go with 10 CS, leading the league in that dubious category.

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Perfect Time to Move Willingham

June 30, 2009

I like Josh Willingham. I liked when they got him in the trade for Bonifacio. More on that later. As for Willingham, he is a decent OFer, a guy who can hit 25 HR in a season and get on base. And the Nats have control of him for 2 more years. But I really think they should trade him.

Why Trade What’s Going Good?

Willingham is in the midst of the best year of his career. His .948 OPS is .100 higher than his career average. Some of this has to due with maturity, some has to do with the fact that his AVG and his SLG (and his ISO) have all spiked. I’m guessing, at 30 years old, he hasn’t started to become significantly better than before. It’s more likely that he is playing slightly above his head. Not to say he couldn’t hit .280/.400/.540 for another year or two, but I just don’t think that is realistic. I could see him hitting .270/.390/.500, although those numbers are admittedly arbitrary. Regardless, let’s just go with the assumption that his numbers are probably in the “sell high” category (even if they aren’t outrageous).

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Rotation Kept in a Somewhat Suprising Way

June 29, 2009

After I wrote an article discussing who should be moved and who should be demoted with the impending promotion of Scott Olsen, I was pretty proud of myself. After all, I found out that the Nats had indeed moved Stammen to the bullpen. This was my idea exactly, I was just waiting for them to decide whether to move down Hanrahan (my idea) or Colome. Then the job offer from the front office, I assumed, would arrive in my e-mail inbox.

So much for that, they instead decided to take Stammen back out of the bullpen, and he gets to stay as a starter. And as if to rub salt in the wound, they suggested to move Martis down to the minors. I was kind of surprised, considering I assumed he was the #2 of the 4 rookies in terms of performance. Yes, as the Nationals Journal points out “…since his May 13 victory against San Francisco, Martis is 0-3 with a 6.34 ERA. In those eight starts, he’s walked 22 and struck out just 13,” but that’s not the whole story. He has a better ERA than the other guys and started out so strong.

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Keeping a 5 Man Rotation

June 28, 2009

Scott Olsen is allegedly healthy and doing rehab starts in AAA. The success of these rehab can be debated – his last one wasn’t too bad but he has looked spectacular. In his latest, and really only good start of the 3 so far, he went 6 IP, give up 2 ER with 5 K and only 1 BB. But he did give up 8 H. Anyway, Manny was miked up earlier this week and said that when Olsen came back, one of the youngsters would have to either move to the bullpen or go down to the minors. I guess they feel that Olsen has the most experience of the group, might as well start him.

Who Should Be Moved?

I’m taking Lannan out of this discussion. Besides being the only non-rookie, he’s been the most successful starter. He’s the Ace of the staff, even if he’s not a #1 pitcher. As for the others, well let’s look at what they’ve done over their last 5 games. I’ve listed the stats for each one of them, including the average over these games their totals.

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A Reason to Watch Tonight

June 25, 2009

I don’t usually need a reason to watch the Nationals, or baseball in general. It’s baseball, why wouldn’t I watch? But not everyone is like me, and if you’re a more casual Nats fan who is disappointed in the last few games, or last few seasons, well, there’s still a reason to watch today. That reason is John Smoltz.

He’s the Smoltziest

Smoltz will be a member of the Hall of Fame, that is not in doubt. He is one of the best pitchers of his time, and any time you have a chance to see that, I think you should be watching. It’s easier to recognize these things when players are at the end of their careers, but baseball is an individual sport in many ways, and seeing the best individuals is a great way to see the game. And Smoltz, for the last 2 decades, has been one of the best.

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Behind the Scenes Photos at Nationals Park

June 24, 2009

As mentioned yesterday, The Nats Review was able to spend the day at Nats Park on saturday. It included lots of cool things, already gone over. But I didn’t throw out the pictures. I’m just going to put a few up here for now, until I can reduce their size, the rest can be found on the Nationals Review Flickr page.

Here are Dunn, Zimm, NJ and Willie Harris before the game:

Press Conf

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Pretending to Work in Baseball

June 23, 2009

The great thing about blogging on baseball is that you are kind of blurring the line between just a fan and someone who actually works in baseball. The Nats helped blur that line even more on Saturday by inviting bloggers to the stadium for a packed day of activities. I was not able to go, as I was about 1,000 miles away. But I really wanted someone to represent The Nationals Review. Friend of the blog, someone I bounce many ideas off of, and now fellow contributor Brian was happy to go to a free baseball game and meet baseball players. Go figure. Call him the official Nats Review beat reporter now. Here’s his take on the day:

I’ve never been to a baseball stadium at three in the afternoon for a night game. I’ve never had the reason to be. Today was different though. We here at The Nationals Review were invited to attend a blogger’s day at Nationals Park. The Nationals really rolled out the red carpet for us and a number of other Nationals blogs. Arriving at the stadium I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was able to make it to the home plate gate with a few minutes to spare. Once there, Mike Gazda (Nats Director of Baseball Media Relations) brought us upstairs to the main press briefing room. This is where they will hold the post game press conferences. Here, Mike went over the ground rules. I was expecting him to say that we couldn’t ask about Strasburg or steroids or the Manny Acta situation. I was surprised to learn that NOTHING was off-limits. This was very cool and appreciated from my perspective.

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