Thursday, July 13, 2006
"You're JOKING?? RIght??!
That was my first response at about 4PM this afternoon, while editing tonight's news piece at NBC. Todd from intake, who for the past few years I have chided by making up fake trades just to see his reaction, handed me the AP wire story about a Nats/Reds 8 player trade. I quickly read it and looked up at him and said "You're JOKING?? RIGHT??!" Todd gave me this solemn look, shrugged his shoulders, and said "I don't really know--but its very strange." I knew right then this story may be TRUE!!
I jumped up and ran over to my desk and logged onto nationals.com and, sure enough, the breaking news story was there. The Nationals trade Bill Bray, Gary Majewski, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris and Daryl Thompson to Cincinnati for Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner. I WAS SHOCKED!!
My first response, Jim Bowden, he of "pitching, pitching, pitching" and "get younger" trades away two stellar arms (and Bray's a lefty that can reach 95MPH) for older players, making more money), a solid utility player (Harris), who never got his fair shot, a caretaker shortstop and a minor league pitcher. We get back a power hitting plus outfielder with a good arm, potential leadoff hitting shortstop who can't play defense and, a one time first round draft pick, struggling in the minors. I said to Todd: "Jimbo gave up too much again"
I sent an email to the other 320's and Andy replied that Bowden has the Steve Spurrier tact--unless you played for Spurrier as a Florida Gator, you couldn't play in the NFL. And, Jimbo has the same feelings about anyone connected to the REDS. And, I agree, he is too obsessed with Cincinnati.
Now--As I write this after 8PM, settled down, this is my more objective response.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO GIVE UP BRAY!! I understand that you have to give up something to get something back, but Bray has CLOSER POTENTIAL and is just 23. He is going to be good and last a long time in the Majors. HE IS A LEFTY!! A VALUABLE COMMODITY!! Would not have traded him with these guys.
I liked Gary Majewski, having a terrible season, but really does have a great arm. Totally lost his confidence in 2006. Hate to see him go, but that's OK with me.
Royce Clayton was a caretaker shortstop, only here because Guzman was sooo awful last season and The GUZ got injured. Didn't expect much from him. He was OK, filled the void, but not much else. Not a loss at all.
Brendan Harris is a talented hitter with power that, for whatever reason, The Nationals just were not going to give a legitimate chance to play. I feel he will end up being a solid utility player, like Jamey Carroll.
Don't know much about Minor League Pitcher Daryl Thompson.
Austin Kearns--Good Hitting outfielder with power. Does strikeout alot, but plays defense well and can throw runners out. Hustler, like Nick Johnson, only 26 and under control, by the team, for the next 2 seasons.
Felipe Lopez--Also 26, boots alot of balls at short, erratic arm, but can be a good leadoff slap hitter and can steal bases. Changes the Nats top of the lineup dramatically. Overall, a decent upgrade over the free agent signed Clayton. Also, under team control for the next 2 seasons.
Ryan Wagner--23 years old, 14th pick in 2003, just beat Chad Cordero in being the first player from the 2003 draft to make it to the Majors. Can reach the 90's with his fastball, slider in the low to mid 80's, but has struggled mightily for the Reds and was playing at AAA in 2006. Some feel he would be better as a starter, than reliever. Sent by the Nats to New Orleans. Talented, but needs to be straightened out. He and Majewski are similar. If it was a one for one trade, this would be even.
All three originally drafted by or traded to the Reds originally by Jim Bowden. Bowden is quoted as saying that you can't pass up the opportunity to get 2 everyday players for, basically pitching. I not too sure about that, because, if you can't pitch, you are not going to win anyway.
So where does that leaves the Nats. Our Bullpen, already streched to the max, just got amazingly worse for 2006. We do nothing, yet, to upgrade our starting pitching either. The Nats can hit though, with a lineup of Lopez, Soriano (or Guillen), Vidro, Johnson, Zimmerman, Kearns, Escobar & Schneider. This lineup has SPEED AND POWER. Should be able to score more runs. And, with the bullpen depleted, we are going to need as many runs as possible. But Kearns opens up the outfield revolving door even more. To make this trade (which just begs for more questions than answers), Jimbo has got to have Guillen or Soriano (or Both) traded. Soriano would certaintly bring in some pitching. Guillen not much. For next season, what happens to Lopez?, with Guzman coming back (I doubt the Nats are going to unload that Guz contract). Are we trading Vidro and moving Lopez to 2nd?? Is Lopez an upgrade to trade off later for something better, that Clayton could never bring?. Unless the Nats get something back for Vidro in a trade, we have no backup second baseman to fill the void. Harris is now gone. This also means, my main man, Damian Jackson, is with our Nats for the remainder of 2006--that really sucks!!
Who will be next? Most likely Soriano, Ortiz and Vidro, in that order. Guillen, Livan and Armas, only if they come around healthwise and on the field but that's unlikely on these 3.
The Nationals are suppose to be building, with their own players from within. Kasten has said this numerous times. This trade makes us slightly better, but older with other teams players, for the short term, but opens up more holes at the same time. I have to wait a few more weeks to see how this all pans out to give my final judgement.
One thing about it, this trade is going to be talked about for the rest of the season. And, I guess that means there is fan interest, which can't be all bad.