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[July 31st] -- Well, "era" might be a little "much," but you know what I mean. Was Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Dodgers Alfonso Soriano's last game in a Nationals' uniform?

Probably. Or maybe not. I just don't know.

All of the "big" names that were rumored to be on the trading block have already joined their new teams except for Soriano. Well, that's another exageration. There were only two other "names," Carlos Lee and Bobby Abreu. So why is Alfie still here? Will Jim Bowden cave and accept a trade that doesn't involve the other team's "top" prospect(s)? Where the past week has been a seller's market, the tide has turned, and the buyers are now "behind the wheel." There is only one team still seriously interested in Soriano (the Angels), and a couple of others with "some" interest. Bowden is going to have to decide in the next eighteen hours or so just how badly he wants to make this deal.

I think it's obvious that whatever he's being offered today is less than what he could have gotten last week. Gamblers need to know when to "hold" 'em and know when to "fold" 'em, and perhaps Jimbo held a little too long. If he did, and since he's painted himself into a corner regarding what he'll accept for Soriano, his only move may be one of omission -- that is, to do nothing at all, and hope he can sign Soriano in the off-season. Worst case scenario would be the two draft choices the Nats would receive should Alfonso sign somewhere else.

The guessing is all but over. All of the "what if's" are spent. It's either going to happen or its not. My only concern is if Bowden does re-sign Soriano, his salary is likely going to be 20% or more of the team's payroll, which makes no sense if the team is going to be rebuilding as they've suggested. I've given up trying to work this out where it makes any sense. I'm just going to wait and see what happens.
But what about all those "other" players that the Nationals have on the trading block as well? I haven't heard nary a rumor about Livan Hernandez and Tony Armas Jr., not to mention the beavy of backup players that could be had for low level prospects. Are these players being talked about, or is a Soriano trade the only real possibility here in these last hours?

NATS NOTES: Did you hear that the Texas Rangers offered Brad Wilkerson to the Houston Astros for Brad Lidge? That would be a trade involving two under-performing players .... Just hours after Mike O'Connor was sent back down to 'AAA' New Orleans, he complained of pain in his shoulder and was placed on the disabled list. I wonder if that allows him to keep making the $27,000/month Major League minimum as opposed to the $2,700/mo that minor leaguers get .... Ryan Wagner, acquired from the Reds in "the" trade a few weeks ago, has been called up to replace Mike O'Connor on the 25 man roster.

With Soriano -- we'll see. This isn't at all what I expected last winter, when the trade was made. Sure, the initial adjustment was a little rough; but since spring training, the team, the staff, even the Washington media have had nothing but good things to say about him. He has been the consummate professional the past few weeks, in the midst of all the trade discussions. No matter what the outcome, I have to give him credit for being a truly class act.
There may be a possibility that the Nationals expand the deal with the Angels to include Soriano, a starter of LA's choosing (Hernandez, Armas or Ortiz) and CHAD CORDERO. In exchange, the Angels would include Wood and Adenhardt and two or three other lesser known pitching prospects, from a pool of Saunders, Medoza, Bell, Shell, Arredondo, Marek, Espinoza and Bootcheck.

It would be a shame to lose Cordero, but this would be very good return and, let's face it, by the time that the Nationals are truly in need of a closer, Cordero will be a free agent. Suspiciously, Cordero himself pointed this out yesterday -- take a look at this link (article title "Cordero Dreams of Retuning Home"):

Remember also that Cordero wasn't happy that Wettland was fired or that Majewski was traded, and that Wagner was just called up from AAA.
We know that Alfonso, Hernandez, Ortiz, Armas and Astacio are on the market. But I say if we going to blow up this team we might as well tear it all down. Lets put everybody who dosen't have he last name Zimmerman on the market and get a ton of prospects. I don't think its fair for guys like Johnson and Vidro who are good players to be on the Royals of the east for 3-6 years, if not longer. I'm just saying if the team is serious about this, which they are, they should do this right. So instead of watching a 65 win team we'll be watching a 105+ loss team, so whats 5 wins???
Yeah, I know my veiws on the teams future have changed alot; but since this is going to happen wheather I like it or not I might as well be on board with it.
Mariofan, I agree 100%. What's the difference between losing 90 games vs 110? I mean, a loser is a loser. I would much rather take on those additional fifteen losses and gain five or six top-flight prespects in return.
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