Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Random Thoughts On The Changing Times
The handful of roster moves committed to by Our Washington Nationals over the past few days had me thinking random thoughts this afternoon on the changing times ahead.
Since taking over Day-To-Day Baseball Operations of Our Washington Nationals, Interim GM Mike Rizzo has slowly changed team makeup from that of his predecessor--Jim Bowden--to one more in line with his own thinking. Just take a look at the former JimBo Washington Players no longer even a part of Our Franchise. Players which Bowden inherited or picked up but Rizzo has moved off the organization's depth chart in four short months.
In no particular order: Shawn Hill, Mike O'Connor, Gustavo Chacin, Josh Towers, Steven Shell, Ryan Wagner (retired), Jose Castillo, Javier Valentin, Wily Mo Pena, Alex Cintron, Daniel Cabrera, Lastings Milledge, Mike Hinckley, Joel Hanrahan and Ryan Langerhans. That's 15 total players no longer with Washington--at least those that I could recall.
Mike attempted to send Rule V pick Terrell Young back to Cincinnati--but Major League Baseball nullified the transaction due to Young still being injured. Terrell currently on the 60-Day Disabled List. In all likelihood has no future in DC.
Mr. Rizzo has also optioned Elijah Dukes to AAA Syracuse along with Jason Bergmann, Saul Rivera, Kory Casto, Wil Ledezma and Corey Patterson--all players under Bowden's direct control sometime during the past four years. Six more Players total.
Off the free agency junk pile--Rizzo has picked up pitchers Joe Beimel, Ron Villone, Kip Wells, Julian Tavarez, Logan Kensing (via trade) Mike MacDougal and catcher Josh Bard. Only Wells and Kensing not sticking with Washington's Team. Wells Designated For Assignment--Kensing now at AAA Syracuse in the closer role.
He gave both Garrett Mock and Justin Maxwell opportunities to stay on The Big League Roster. They didn't stick--and both are back at Syracuse making adjustments. Mock now starting, Maxwell learning to hit a curve ball. And watched painfully as Roger Bernadina broke his ankle making a spectacular catch in centerfield at Nationals Park.
Our 2008 Starting Lineup included five guys under 24 years old--Ryan Zimmerman, Jesus Flores, Emilio Bonifacio, Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes--now has just one (The Z-Man). Flores on the Disabled List. All supposed staples of Our Future.
Our 2009 Starting lineup now includes five guys that are at least 30 years old. And five more bench players that are 29 years of age or older. In fact, Ryan Zimmerman is the only Nationals everyday player currently under 25 years of age.
Our 2009 Starting Rotation that includes three 25-year olds and two 23-year olds has become decidedly younger.
Our Bullpen currently has five guys above 32 years of age with Tyler Clippard the only current reliever under 25. Clippard is 24-years old.
You just know Mike Rizzo is far from done in giving Our Washington Nationals a complete face lift.
Many different transactions involving Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Cristian Guzman, Willie Harris, Austin Kearns, Ronnie Belliard (though unlikely), Ron Villone, Julian Tavarez, Joe Beimel, Jesus Colome, Mike MacDougal and even Scott Olsen are probably being considered.
Although I can see some good reasons for keeping Nick Johnson--solid bat, decent fielder, someone to catch Ryan Zimmerman's sometime's errant throws--NJ is probably going to be traded by the end of July--even though no team is going to be giving up much in return for his expiring contract. But signing Johnson to a one year incentive laden contract with an option can't be ruled out as well. Washington doesn't have many solutions right now at first base. He can help now and through next season while our infield situation settles.
Save for Ryan Zimmerman, Jesus Flores, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and maybe even Anderson Hernandez and Craig Stammen--I can't imagine many other players on our current 25 Man Roster NOT being available in trade. A couple of times now, Mike Rizzo has stated "We are open for business." Obviously, that must be true, because Our Interim GM is overhauling our roster once again--attempting to discharge the dead weight he feels does not have a future in Washington, DC.
The Changing Times are certainly upon us. And it is going to be very interesting when Our Washington Nationals play The Pittsburgh Pirates on August 1st at PNC Park--exactly what 25 Men are then sitting in the visiting dugout wearing The Curly "W" Washington Script Away Jersey. The Non-Waiver Trading Deadline ends the night before. So, how many new faces will be representing The Nation's Capital that evening? And will DC's Team become even younger once again?
Will this newer direction pan out?