Going .... Going .... Gone!
[November 3rd] -- Ryan Zimmerman just lost his lifeline.
Vinny Castilla was traded Thursday to the San Diego Padres for starting pitcher Brian Lawrence. It was believed that Zimmerman would be the starting 3rd baseman next season, but Castilla would be quick to step in if the 21 year old faltered. However, the signing of veteran infielder Damian Jackson last week made Castilla expendable.
The Padres were very thin at third base prior to the trade. Joe Randa, a mid-season aquisition, has filed for free agency and will not return. Sean Burroughs, the son of former Senator Jeff Burroughs, has never lived up to his press clippings; he only hit .250 in 2005 with 1 home run and 17 RBI's in 284 at-bats. Castilla will likely be given the starting nod until Burroughs can prove he can be an every-day major leaguer. With Vinny now in San Diego, Ryan Zimmerman is the starting third-baseman for the Nationals. General manager Jim Bowden thanked Castilla "for his many contributions..." then added, "This trade, however, clears a path for Ryan Zimmerman, who we believe will be a fixture at the hot corner in Washington for years to come.''
Brian Lawrence spent his entire career with the San Diego Padres, compiling a record of 49-61 with a good 4.10 ERA. Although 2005 was an "off year" for Lawrence [7-15, 4.83] he has had great success at the major league level.
From 2002 through 2004, Lawrence won 37 games with a 3.99 ERA. Lawrence has excellent command of his pitches, and tends to get better the deeper hs gets into the game. He is a ground-ball pitcher with very good control. Lawrence will be the number four starter next season assuming the team is able to sign Esteban Loaiza to a new multi-year contract.
This is one of those trades that helps both teams. The Padres now have a quality 3rd baseman who, if healthy, might produce one last productive season before he retires. The Nationals were thin in the rotation, but with the addition of Lawrence now has the chance to field five quality starters in 2006 [again, assuming that Loiaza re-signs with the team].
That said, I LOVE players with limited ability that give 120%.
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