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NATS CENTER OF DISCUSSION ON BASEBALL TONIGHT

[July 7th] -- Well, they weren't the "center" of discussion, exactly. But they were talked about, and some interesting theories regarding these last twenty-three days before the trading deadline came to light. After almost every highlight, the three-member panel talked about possible trades that each team might make. When it came time to discuss the Pittsburgh Pirates, things got a little interesting. "There are really only a couple of teams who are going to be sellers," began analyst Tim Kurkjian. "The Pirates have three players to trade, Jeromy Bernitz, Sean Casey and Craig Wilson. They and the Washington Nationals will be the two busiest teams between now and July 31st."

A few minutes later, "Baseball Tonight" showed the Nats' highlights with the obligatory Ryan Zimmerman walk-0ff hit. The three men cooed over Zimmerman's ability, adding that Frank Robinson calls Zimmerman a "special player," something that Robinson knows "all about," they said. Then came the trade talk. When asked if the Nationals will be active in the next three weeks, Kurkjian responded by saying, "Yes, in fact, the Washington Nationals will be in the center of all trade activity over the next three weeks. I mean, how can the Mets, in need of starting pitching, not call Jim Bowden and inquire about Livan Hernandez. The Yankees are of course still very interested in Alfonso Soriano. [graphic of many Nationals' players now cover the screen] The Nationals are looking to trade Hernandez, perhaps Soriano, Tony Armas, Jose Guillen, maybe even Jose Vidro. There will be lots of activity in D.C. in the coming weeks." (I didn't record this, but it's a pretty accurate representation)

Kurkjian also said that Bowden was an easy general manager to deal with. Duh.

I agree completely with Kurkjian. All roads, at least for the next few weeks, lead through Washington. Although not specifically mentioned, Nick Johnson has to be available for the right price. If you were hunting for a playoff spot, and could afford one acquisition, would you go get Sean Casey (.300 with three home runs) or Nick Johnson and his near-golden glove? With few exceptions, other team's general managers will give Bowden a call first before making deals elsewhere. Guys like Livan Hernandez and Jose Guillen are judged in these hectic pre-deadline days not by what they're doing this year, but rather what they've done in the past, so their, off-years will have a negligible effect. Don't believe me? Jeff Weaver, he of the 6.49 ERA, was traded to the Cardinals for a guy who was hitting .309-22-65 with a 1.009 OPS at the 'AA' level. He's barely 23. And he got traded for a guy with a 6-10 record making somewhere around $8 million a year. Kory Casto, also at the 'AA' level, and who Stan Kasten said is the team's top position player, is hitting .289-13-57. So, if Weaver can bring Terry Evans to the Cardinals, what might Livan Hernandez bring? Interesting thought, isn't it?

That's the great thing about this time in the season. You can trade every player on your team 100 times and still send them out there every night to do their thing.

Cool.


Comments:
Farid, I recall the "drunken Wilbur Mills chasing Fanne Foxe into the Tidal Basin incident" as being a very big deal in DC and in the whose USA in 1974. Mills, a genius at writing income tax code, was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee at the time, which made him one of the most powerful guys in Congress. As a result of the incident, he lost his job as committee chair and then his job as congressman. Back then, such behavior was frowned upon. Today, it would be mainstream.
 
Hey, on the Jeff Weaver deal - don't forget also that they got that guy for Weaver AFTER having DFA'd Weaver. Even under the time pressure of having to make a deal, or risk losing Weaver altogether, they still put this deal together. Before DFA'ing him, they tried to get the Mets to move Milledge for him, but the Mets wouldn't budge. I'm not at all sorry to see O'Connor go down, if it means a two-week showcase of Armas, Astacio, Ortiz, and Livan. Move them all! Even if you're only getting back B - B-plus prospects, better a B-plus 23-year-old than Astacio or Ortiz. I'm also starting to think you're right, Farid, about our chances of moving some of our middle-relief drek. Everybody seems to be in the market for an arm, any arm, even an old LOOGY arm like Stanton. Again, we don't need to get a world-beater for Stanton, but I'd love to get a AA starter who grades out to be a back-of-the-rotation 8-12 wins guy in the majors someday.
 
Ah Phil.....
Of course it was a big deal, and Fanne Fox was the "butt" of every joke throughout D.C. for months. I was thinking about him earlier that day when my wife said, "Honey are you sitting on your fanny watching Fox again?" Fanne Fox? Wilbur Mills? Hey, I remember that.

I was going on the assumption that no one else was arround in those days. Okay, here's the retraction: I put a funny little line into a story that was historically accurate but not entirely correct. Phil Dunn caught me.

Phil, I'm glad you didn't read where I wrote that I am Gerald Ford's illegitimate son -- you probably would have caught that too! :)

Seriously, did you grow up in DC? I just turned 50 -- are we about the same age? I never thought getting older was going to be any fun, but really, the memories are wonderful. I tell my kids, "I remember when there was no beltway," I remember when ..." (though they roll their eyes like I did when my dad said "I remember when Palestine was for the Arabs ... I remember when the Zionists forced us off our lands...) I wish I could have a "do-over" and listen to all those things my dad wanted to tell me, but I was the only member of my family that didn't want to destroy Israel, and I was the only member of my family that wasn't a member of the radical left (which side is right doesn't matter,however), so there weren't discussions; they were fights. Talk about a black sheep! I mean, that's really cool stuff.

Take care, and I promise, I won't try to slide another Wilbur Mills past you again!
Farid
 
Farid, I probably have more than ten years on you. By the way, I had a nice chat with Frank Howard in the lower concourse of RFK last year. He is every bit the shy, humble gentleman that he was when he played for the Senators. I had the pleasure of sitting next to his table at the Prime Rib Restaurant in the Mayflower Hotel back in 1969, which gave me the opportunity to chat with Frank and his wife. He weighed 300 lbs back then and that day he consumed two Adam Cuts of prime rib following a Senators double header. He now weighs less than 200 lbs. You had a great boyhood hero. They don’t make them like him anymore.
 
Phil,
Ten years! Wow. I didn't think it possible for anywone to be that much older than me.

I sooo loved D.C. growing up as a kid. It wasn't a "city" per se, it was a big town. I left for good in the early 80's, but returned in '86 for my dad's funeral. I didn't recognize much of the region. I thought Republicans were supposed to shrink government, but it appeared that the city exploded under President Reagan.

My earliest memories of the Senators begin in '63, when we got free tickets from WTTG-5 for sponsoring a Bill Gormley "Carnival for M.D." I have vague memories of Don Lock, Jim King, Don Zimmer and those early expansion Nats. I was a fan, but I became a fanatic when Ted Williams was brought in to manage in '69 and the boys gave me a summer to remember with that 86-76 magical season.

Memories are wonderful things.
 
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