Look, forget the loss; it'll end up being only one out of 90 or more that the Nationals will amass before the season is over. It's the timing of the loss that is causing me angst. Had Jim Bowden been willing to pull the trigger on some big trades two weeks ago, he would have received in return buckets full of prospects. Livan Hernandez, Tony Armas Jr. and Ramon Ortiz were all pitching at the top of their game. Jose Vidro was blistering the ball. Jose Guillen wasn't playing, but neither was he upsetting anyone. Alfonso Soriano was hitting a home run pretty much every evening. And Bowden could have told a prospective trade partner, "Look, Nick Johnson has been healthy all season -- that injury "bugaboo" is long gone!"
Now, two weeks later, Hernandez and Armas and Ortiz are getting the stuffing beat out of them each time they take the mound. Jose Vidro's line drives are a lot softer these days. Jose Guillen is hitting, but he's getting grumpy again. Alfonso Soriano is striking out a couple of times a game and Nick Johnson is hurt. How many prospects have the Nationals lost in potential trades by waiting to make deals until we get closer to the July 31st trading deadline? Many. Too many.
I think it's safe to say that those three weeks where the Nationals had the best record in baseball was a fluke, a once-in-a-season "give 'em all you've got" streak. Now, the team is looking suspiciously like that those Nats who started the season 13-27. That's not bad, and I'm not complaining. But the Nats are going to have a tough year with or without the aforementioned veterans. Why not get some deals done now before they play worse, or worse, they get injured and have no trade value at all.
The Nationals could finish the season with Schneider, Larry Broadway at first, Bernie Castro at second, Brendan Harris at short, Zimmerman, and a combination of Robert Fick, Ryan Church, Daryle Ward and Marlon Byrd in the outfield. A starting rotation of John Patterson, Mike O'Connor, Shawn Hill, Jon Rauch and (if healthy) Pedro Astacio (or another yet unamed rookie) could provide the team at least the opportunity to win a respectable number of games the rest of the way.
I'm not suggesting we field a minor league team for the remainder of the year, but if we're going to continue to get spanked this badly with the veterans, we might as well lose with the kids. It won't hurt as much.
What do you think?
But Vidro....his batting average has dropped 50 freakin pionts... I mean Vidro is a contact man who is got to have a good BA if they want more than one good prospect.
And it seems after his father's day blast that Zimm is in a slump of his own. It really gets me mad when the whole team seems to slump at the same time.
I've been saying trade Vidro since the end of April, but Bowden's nature will make him play the field as much as possible. That's not always a bad thing in fact it's usually good, but if you are dealing with commodities you are sure will only get worse (like Vidro isn't going to hit .330 for the year) you have to strike while the iron is hot.
Anyway - everyone stays until post All-Star brek. Then Soriano and Guillen go. Beyond that we'll just have to see.
As for Livan, be grateful we have 5 weeks left. If he can do anything worthwhile we will find a buyer for him. For what, I don't know, but someone looking for that last piece will take him.
Sure, all of the vets can come back and play "top-notch" ball for the rest of the summer, but the more likely scenario is that they hot summer sun is going to continue to wear down Livan's arm, Vidro's knees, Nick's back and Jose's temper.
Trades now will bring little; trades later will bring nothing. Payroll relief will be about the only benefit.
I wish I was wrong, but I'm thinking I'm right on this one.
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