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MORE HAPPENING THAN JUST A LOSS

[July 20th] -- There are many stories about the Washington Nationals clogging up the information super-highway this evening. First, to Wednesday's 1-0 to the Marlins. Ramon Ortiz greatly enhanced his trade value with a seven inning, six hit outing, allowing only one run while striking out two. My guess is that GM Jim Bowden will be trying to move Ortiz right now, before he has an opportunity to pitch again and revert back to "Mr. five-runs-per-game." Ryan Zimmerman's 17-game hitting streak is over as he went 0-4 on Thursday. Other than Alex Escobar getting one of the team's two hits, there is nothing else worth telling from the Nationals' perspective.

I've taken some flack about pushing for Bowden to "blow up" the Nationals and start anew. I understand that watching something akin to a triple-A team isn't exactly joyful, but look what happens when those kids start to figure things out. The Marlins, literally a minor league team this past opening day, is far ahead of the Nationals in the standings right now, and, it seems anyway, that they come up with a new star every day. Today it was Anibal Sanchez, a 21 year-old who came to the Marlins in the Mike Lowell trade that also sent Hanley Ramirez to Florida. After besting Roger Clemens his last time out, the kid pitched one-hit ball over seven innings, striking out five. That's why I was all for blowing up the team a month ago. Watching kids mature is cool. However, with Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns now on the team, the whole "blow it up" time-table just wouldn't work. I know we lost, but man, you just have to love all the Marlins' rookies.

What we've all feared came true this afternoon. The team announced that John Patterson will undergo exploratory surgery and, according to Frank Robinson, is likely done for the year. I really think this is a good thing for all concerned. This will open up his roster spot for a kid-pitcher, someone who can be better observed and evaluated in Washington and not New Orleans. Hopefully, Patterson will have ten months to cure all of his ailments, and will come back 100% in 2007. My only concern is that Patterson is becoming the Nick Johnson of the pitching staff.

Vinny Castilla was waived by the San Diego Padres this afternoon. That's too bad. Not that he didn't deserve it, however, as his .260 OBP will attest, but he's a great guy and well loved in the clubhouse and I'm afraid he's done playing major league baseball. He'd make a great coach, if he had the inclination, and I hope he does.

More out of San Franciso. Several sources say that the Giants are interested in Jose Vidro. As a first baseman. Holy Nomar Garciaparra! Actually, that's a good place for Vidro, at least for this year. Ray Durham is a free agent after this season, so if the Giants make the deal, they'll probably put Vidro back at second in 2007. Because of the $15 million or so still owed to him, the Nationals will do well to be rid of the contract; don't look for any "real" prospects to come our way.

More later.


Comments:
Patterson has already had Tommy John surgery. A 100% comeback in 2007 may be wishful thinking. I would not be counting on his return. More than likely, he is now the Kerry Wood of the Nats.
 
I agree with you, we need to blow up this team. It will be a painful second half, but hopefully in 2 to 3 years a pennant will ease our pain from this time of despair.
 
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