Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not Exactly What I Was Expecting

My cell phone started to chime, shake, rattle and roll a few minutes after 5PM this afternoon. For the next 25 minutes, I could do nothing else but turn the noise maker off as we were on deadline at work. The lead news story, and I was editing. But I knew right away, some news was breaking somewhere else too--over on South Capitol Street--surrounding Our Washington Nationals.

Someone or Some Bodies had been traded. There was no doubt about that, because all the preset tunes on my cell phone told me exactly who was calling. All Baseball Fans--including The African Queen. We had probably made a trade. And once Our News Story made air--it was time to check messages to discover what all the commotion was about.

Big Jon Rauch had been traded to Arizona. Not surprising. But for whom?

Over the past few weeks, many teams were mentioned as possible suitors for "The Wookie". Easily one of our most prized veterans whose services would be cherished by other Major League Teams. Stepping into the Closer Role with Chad Cordero out this season, Our Number 51 had been good--closing 17 of 22 opportunities while sporting a 2.98 Era. Solid Numbers.

What could Jim Bowden get for him? This question has been constantly asked by fans. After hearing the answer at 5:30PM, I could only think: We could have gotten more.

In return--Our General Manager received a potential leadoff hitter, supposedly good fielding second baseman, slap hitter with good speed. OK, I can go for that. 23 Year Old Emilio Bonifacio was considered the Number 6 Prospect in The Arizona Diamondbacks Farm System heading into 2008. Building for the future--not a bad pickup.

But, what really surprised me was NO ONE ELSE was coming over to Washington to complete this trade.

Rauch for Bonifacio WAS THE TRADE. How is that possible?

Should not Our Washington Nationals have received another player for a veteran reliever, workhorse, who can setup or close, and has proven to be pretty durable over the past four seasons? Honestly, I was expecting a little more. Maybe a lower level pitching prospect? Maybe another youngster to help build Our Farm System?

Don't you think Big Jon Rauch was more valuable in a trade? And if he was Our Top Veteran available for trade--that doesn't bode too well for any return for Ronnie Belliard, Tim Redding or Odalis Perez. Paul LoDuca and Johnny Estrada are certainly not even being considered as possibles.

And with "The Guz" being re-signed today to a two year contract extension by Washington, Cristian Guzman is not going anywhere soon, also. Clearly, Our Number 15 and Bonifacio are Our Double Play Combination for the future--beginning in the year 2009. (By the way--I like the Guzman signing--Our Washington Nationals have zero shortstop prospects near ready for The Majors--"The Guz" coming back is a no brainer--even at $8 Million per season).

No, I not surprised Our Now Former Number 51 is gone either, his trade has been coming for some time. But after all the buzzing and chirping of my cell phone late this afternoon, I sure was expecting more bang out of the news that "The Wookie" is now a Snake. Just hoping Our Assistant General Manager & VP Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo (Former Scouting Director for Arizona) knows what he is doing on this one. This trade has his name written all over it. Rizzo knows Emilio Bonifacio--probably well.

We may not know the final answer for some time, but this trade was not EXACTLY what I was expecting right now. Bonifacio is OK by me, but I really believed Big Jon Rauch would return at least one other quality prospect.

Didn't you?

The PostScript

Who will Close for the rest of the season with Big Jon now gone?

Joel Hanrahan only has two reliable pitches, fastball and changeup, no curve and a limited slider. Our Number 38 is overpowering, but his control and unreliable third pitch has to make him questionable as a closer. Hitters may tee off on his pitches--waiting for his straight stuff.

Luis Ayala closed at times playing in Mexico. When Our Number 56 was at the top of his game a few years ago--Ayala would have been a solid choice as closer. Unfortunately, his 2008 season has been poor. It's going to be interesting for a while at the end of any game Our Washington Nationals have a lead.

And Garrett Mock, called up today to fill a roster spot for Rauch--will most likely be the long man and spot starter.

Finally, today was the start of the long awaited mid-season youth movement--meaning FLop's days as a member of Our Washington Nationals has to be numbered as well.


paul said...

We're buying low and selling high, so it doesn't look good now. He better be a really good fielder, because his OBP and stolen base percentage are nothing to write home about. I am salivating for a middle infielder with range! We've never had it.

So our HR leader hits the bench???

Anonymous said...

The art of negotiation. JimBo needs a copy of Donald Trump's book The Art Of The Deal.

We had what the and others wanted---A quality reliever.

We should have received Bonifacio and a AA pitching prospect in my opinion.

Bonifacio's Minor League stats are good, but he is not a guaranteed sure thing and only time will tell the tale on these type of trades.

Now that we won't need Orlando Hudson in Free Agency which was coincidentally the player that Bonifacio was set to replace at 2nd in the DBacks infield, we can now work to replace Rauch in the free agent market. Hmmmm, KRod from the Angels is set to be a Free Agent!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The other vets you reference really have no value at all. This is the end of the road for deals......Time to cut the dead weight because nobody is going to give you anything for Lo Duca, Estrada, Lopez etc.

Anonymous said...

Let's see combined number 102.
Combined height 13'9"
Johnson & Rauch

John & Erica must be ecstatic since their main home is in AZ.

Anonymous said...

Felipe Lopez has limited value given his 2008 stats, and I think EVERYONE who reads this blog agrees PLoD and Estrada have near ZERO trade value.

My only thought is how long they remain on this roster after August 1st.

PLoD is back showcasing his LF talents tonight in San Fran and already has a RBI double!!!! His stock is rising (LOL).

Anonymous said...

I guess this means the Nats won't be going after Orlando Hudson this winter... Too bad.

Anonymous said...

I hope this does not mean that all former D-backs will have a home in the Nats system like former Reds do now. This is the 4th former D-back we have acquired and the last one was waived before spring training even started!!!

Anonymous said...

Was thinking the same... Bowden says "You have to trade a reliever when you have the chance to get an everyday position player who's 23 years old." But do you have to trade a reliever of Rauch's caliber?

Anonymous said...

Hanrahan only has a Fastball and Changeup? Tim Kurkjen said his slider is probably the second best in baseball behing Lidge, and he is throwing it around 88. He hasn't thrown many changeups at all this year. Most closers only have 2 pitches.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - Joel has a great hard slider. It is getting his slider in for strikes which has been his problem.

Could Joel develop into a closer? I hope so! We don't have anyone else now.

Dave Nichols said...

everyone is overvaluing Rauch.

Anonymous said...

In the Arizona Republic, Diamondback GM was quoted as saying he was surprised at how little he had to give up to get Rauch. Bowden strikes again. I suspect that Bonifacio will turn out to be another Nook Logan or Brandon Watson. I've said it many times before and I say it again--this franchise will remain a loser as long as Bowden is the GM.

An Briosca Mor said...

Last year at this time, people were complaining about Bowden overvaluing Cordero, asking too much for him, and therefore not being able to close a deal for him.

This year, people (probably many of the same people, too) are complaining about Bowden undervaluing Rauch and not getting enough back in trade for him.

Cordero is (or was) a proven major league closer, successful at it for over three years. Rauch is a proven set-up man who has performed well when thrust into the closer role for half a season. Tell me, all you sage judgers of a player's trade value, why would Rauch be worth more than a healthy Cordero on the trade market? I agree with SBF in the expectation that it should have been Bonifacio plus another minor prospect or PTBNL in exchange for Rauch. But don't you think that a Bonifacio-plus-one kind of deal is what Bowden was turning down last year when offered for Cordero? With Rauch undoubtedly viewed by the rest of MLB as less valuable this year than Cordero was last year, don't you think that Bowden correctly realized that the Bonifacio-alone deal was probably the best he would be able to get for Rauch?

SenatorNat said...

Dead FLOP Loafing:

Fun to watch Lopez last night giving even less effort on cut-off throws from right, etc., than before, as the trade and the description of Emilio B. as a guy with great range, "great hustle who runs out every ball - a real battler" and of course a switch hitter sounds FLOP's deathknell as a National.

How can a player who has 357 at bats and is hitting .302 with Tucson "need more seasoning" however?

Cut Estrada and his "I bunked with Dmitri Young this winter" bulk immediately and start the lad at second. Two weeks at Columbus isn't going to convert the young man into a classic lead-off hitter.


Was it worth it to trade Rauch - all depends on whether Emilio B. can hit .260, lead-off, play hard and smart, and become part of the Gang of 24's next year (Z-Man; Lannan; Milledge; Dukes; Florio) and especially should the Chief return. Should Joel Hanrahan and Ryan Wagner impress this season, too, then of course it shall be worth it. Lots of if's.

In the meantime, Garrett Mock might be serviceable as long stint reliever. Who knows. I tend to trust acquiring ex-Diamondbacks with Mike Rizzo involved over ex-Reds, as I think Rizzo is more systematic (translates into harder working) than Bow-Bow. In fact, I think that should this deal work out, Rizzo could start to look like suitable replacement for Cold Pizza Jim...


The resigning of Guz was done right by both sides - means he shall earn $32 million for his six seasons with the Nats - $5.33 million, or so per year. Good deal for both sides. He obviously likes it here and playing for Manny and did not jump at chance to go elsewhere - which is a good sign. Nats fans should cheer the man for his loyalty and steady play. Last night, he hit two shots that were caught; but think about how many great line drives he has had consistently this year put all over the diamond. Not a great fielder; but certainly adequate, and it hurts not having a real first baseman to throw to...


Jon Rauch was a true original National - as tall as our monuments, and all around good guy. He pitched last night already, striking out first two batters in the desert. May he help the team reach the play-offs and have a great run out there for a long time.

And Emilio B. - welcome to D.C.!

Trust in those whose surname ends in an O. All Goodo.

Anonymous said...


Interesting article. They also thought that Bonifacio was the "heir apparent" to the ODawg!

An Briosca Mor said...

Cut Estrada and his "I bunked with Dmitri Young this winter" bulk immediately and start the lad at second.

Estrada or (let's hope not) Nieves is likely going to get cut when Milledge comes back off the DL, which will be soon. So someone else would need to be moved to make room for Bonifacio - unless of course JimBo can unload FLop or PLoD. (Hey, here's an idea: No players whose last name begins with "Lo". Lopez, LoDuca, and last year Logan. Works for me!) But in less than six weeks, rosters expand and Bonifacio can come up with impunity. Six weeks more of seasoning at Columbus won't hurt him in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Phil, where in the Arizona Republic is Josh Byrnes quoted as saying he was surprised at how little he had to give up to get Rauch?

asnowballschance said...

So if the Nats hope this new guys will start in 09, what happens to Belliard?

In fact, why do we still have D-Young, Nick Johnson, and a few relievers on this team? Shouldn't the youth movement have began by now?

Also, Teddy's failure to win the President's Race parallels the National ineptitude of winning or being successful in baseball. Then again, I don't know what DC has against a New York President, so letting him win, is just a slap in the face. Making fun of him is an even further disgrace.