Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trade Thoughts

The First thing that came to my mind upon hearing that Our Washington Nationals had traded for Josh Willingham from The Florida Marlins was--That Guy Has Killed Us!! Seemingly, he hit a home run against Washington pitching every single time we've played him. So I looked up his stats and I was close enough. Josh Willingham has 63 Career Home Runs--13 against Our Washington Nationals. At least he won't be feasting on DC Pitching for a while.

The Second thought that came to my mind--Where is Willingham going to play? And is this a precursor for another swap to occur? Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes and supposedly Austin Kearns are already in place. Washington's made no decision on Willie Harris or Roger Bernadina. Whether you like it or not--Wily Mo Pena is also coming back. Yeah, the trade reports claim Willingham can play first base--but he's only actually done so twice in his Major League Career.

Third thought--Left Handed Innings Eater Starter received in Scott Olsen--with an interesting personal background. Only 24 Years Old with Randy St.Claire now available to take him under his wings. Our Pitching Coach has done wonders with talents far less than Scott Olsen. You have to figure Olsen is going to get better under St.Claire.

Fourth Thought--I guess Emilio Bonifacio wasn't Our Second Baseman of The Future after all and Anderson Hernandez is. You would have never figured after Emilio's electric debut back in August--that by December--he would be gone. And by the way--Don't Ever Wear Number 7 as A Washington Nationals. It's quite remarkable how that uniform number has become The Bermuda Triangle for lost players. Brad Wilkerson, Wiki Gonzalez, Felipe Lopez, Nook Logan, Roger Bernadina and Emilio Bonifacio have all worn Number 7. Bernadina the only player still in the organization.

Fifth Thought--I don't know much about P.J. Dean or Jake Smolinski--the two young talents Our General Manager traded to The Marlins in exchange for Willingham and Olsen--but they do seem to have ability. So, a few years are going to have to pass before the final trade grade is determined.

Final Thought--Our Washington Nationals pick up a starting pitcher that is left-handed and a complimentary power bat for an young, talented, but inconsistent second baseman. I'm OK with this deal. For 2009, Our General Manager Jim Bowden has made a move to improve The Major League Quality Talent on the field--Right Now. The Bigger Question Is--What's coming next? No way the off-season is done for Our Washington Nationals.

And--how much do Willingham and Olsen get in Salary Arbitration? The are both eligible and the very reason The Florida Marlins traded both players to Washington--in the first place.


Anonymous said...

...and when you do grade this trade at some point in the future, don't forget to consider the price paid in Rauch and not just Bonifacio.

This definitely raises more questions about which players represent the starting lineup of the future! At the same time, it does confirm some other points:

1) The Nationals are willing to open the checkbook for young talent -- at least more willing than our poor division-mates down south.

2) Position is not as big a consideration as talent, value, and youth on Bowden's shopping list.

Can't complain about either of those points.

An Briosca Mor said...

You would have never figured after Emilio's electric debut back in August--that by December--he would be gone. And by the way--Don't Ever Wear Number 7 as A Washington Nationals. It's quite remarkable how that uniform number has become The Bermuda Triangle for lost players.

You may recall that during his electric debut back in August, Bonifacio was wearing number 6. For some unexplained reason, he decided to switch to the cursed number 7 after being on the team for a week or so. That was the beginning of the end for him, and I believe I commented on it at the time. Number 7. The Curse of Nook Logan. The Nationals should buy up the entire stock of that ugly blue stars-and-stripes jersey, imprint them all with the number 7, and burn them. Most teams retire some of their jersey numbers sooner or later. The Nationals should be the first team ever to exorcise a uniform number. Take number 7 to Georgetown and heave it down the steps, then retire to the ESPN Zone for a press conference.

Anonymous said...

I think this was a great trade for the Nats. Willingham is a talented player and although Olsen has had his share of personal problems, he has tremendous upside and will slide nicely into the Nats rotation next year with Lannan and Balester. I guess this means they are not going to sign Perez - cannot see them going with 3 starting left handed pitchers.

I think you have seen the last of Austin Kearns in a Nats' uniform, unless the eat Pena's $2M salary or as you note they move Willingham to 1st base. Of course, if they shock they world and somehow sigm Texeria, all bets are off. I guess this leaves Willie Harris as their starting
2nd baseman.

Anonymous said...

As a result of the trade for Willingham, I would ordinarily conclude that Kearns is as good as gone. However, he had such a terrible season that I doubt he has much trade value. Same goes for Wily Mo.

Anonymous said...


Your analysis is pretty good, but your Nationals Rosy Red tinted glasses are keeping you from being entirely fair.

This was probably a good deal for the Nats BUT- What does it say about Willingham that 20% of his HR production has come against a team he only played against 12% of the time? And when that team has pitching as crappy as we do (relative to the other teams he often played such as the Mets and Phillies), you realize that as a National, his numbers would be much lower.

The dude may break out. Til then, he is a Ryan Langerhans type 4th or 5th outfielder.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Letteddywin: It true, in essence--Jimbo traded Rauch, Bonifacio, Smolinski and Dean for Olsen and Willingham. That how it stands right now and we won't know the answer for some time. But if Olsen breaks out and wins--say 15 games each of the next few years--it's a win. No Nationals Pitcher has ever done that in the four years since baseball returned to Washington.

Carl: Willingham's HR are way out of proportion with the rest of his AB's against other teams--that's clear and he is now a player without a real position either. And that makes him the most interesting player in the trade. It's almost as if The Marlins threw him into the deal just to get rid of his arbitration eligible contract and Washington took him. Really, I believe this is just the beginning of some other deal over the next month or two.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, SBF, it does look like the Marlins just wanted to unload Willingham. Maybe that suggests that they think his back problems aren't going away. It's also hard to figure out exactly where he plays. In left? OK, but then what about JimBo's indication that Lastings would move out of center? At first? Maybe, but he's only played there twice in the majors. From our side this looks like we're just stockpiling assets without much regard for where they fit.

Anonymous said...


My thoughts when I heard about the trade were similar to yours -- (1) the acquisition of Willingham is the precursor of another trade, perhaps even Willingham being spun off for someone else; (2) it's a great relief that Willingham won't be hitting against us for up to 18 games a year anymore; and (3) Olsen has the true potential to solidify our starting rotation and eat a lot of innings for many years, and it's a bonus that he's a lefty.

Since the acquisition of Willingham crowds the outfield even more and doesn't satisfy the need for left handed hiting, I can't imagine that another deal isn't at hand.

Followup from last week's uniform unveiling:


(see second paragraph)

I don't know what Uni Watch's source is, but he thinks the omission of the gold accents on the small front-of-the-uniform numbers was a mistake and that the gold will be included, at least on the gray road jerseys. (Something that, if true, is an improvement.)

Anonymous said...

SBF (addendum to Anon at 2:48):

I wonder where Bonificio fits in with the Marlins. Do you think they might move Uggla before he gets too costly for them? I wouldn't mind seeing him leave the division either, as he's killed our pitching as well.

An Briosca Mor said...

I guess this leaves Willie Harris as their starting 2nd baseman.

More likely it will be Anderson Hernandez or Ronnie Belliard at second. Is Willie Harris even signed for next year yet? Although I'd hate to see it happen, there's at least some chance that he won't be back in 2009.

Anonymous said...

i like this trade for now. but i like to think long term i see these guys playing a year in D.C. and then leaveing to be free agents. i think it was a good trade for now but if they resign it will be a great trade. i think willingham is going to ask for big bucks, which hopefully the nats will pay becuse when this guy is heathy he is the real deal. as for olsen i think he is a good picher but only time will tell with him
thanks and i love this blog

Jim H said...

Actually, we got Bonifacio in trade for Rauch. So if you like, you can look at it as Rauch, Smolinski and Dean for Willingham and Olson.

Anonymous said...

SBF---Livan Hernandez won 15 games for the Nats in 2005.

Anonymous said...

For An Briosca Mor, the numbers game:

2005 - Brad Wilkerson (wore #6 in Montreal, switched to #7 with arrival of Jose Guillen)

2006 - Wiki Gonzalez (outrighted May 27), Felipe Lopez (acquired July 13 from Cincinnati, switched to #2 when Damian Jackson was released August 25), Nook Logan (acquired September 1 from Detroit)

2007 - Nook Logan

2008 - Roger Bernadina (wore #2 during second MLB stint), Emilio Bonifacio (originally wore #6)

Anonymous said...

Glass half full -- St. Clare has done good things with lots of pitchers. Certainly someone who can eat innings is a good thing. And both Olsen and Willingham have been Nats killers.

Glass (possibly) half empty -- Olsen has a history of character issues. But maybe he's gotten past them. Willingham has a history of back problems. But maybe he can provide some veteran leadership in the clubhouse. But if these two have been Nats killers, what will happen to their stats when they play for the Nats instead of against them?

Question re: trading a consistent set up man for the second baseman/leadoff batter "of the future", and flipping the second baseman three months later? Is there a coherent direction (I'm tired of the word "plan") for what kind of team we're building? Do we know if we want speed on the basepaths? Do we know if we want strong defense in the outfield?

I hope somebody knows. As several people have said, this is probably not the last move the Nationals will make this offseason. But time will tell...

Anonymous said...

The #7 thing kind of goes way back - Bernie Allen wore #7 for the Senators in 1969-71 and he had knee problems and didn't get along too well with Ted Williams.

Did we have any #7's who did well in Washington (other than Joe Theismann?)

WFY said...

Yvon Labre's #7 is hanging from the rafters in Verizon Center. Nothing against Labre, who been a member of the Capitals in one form or another for many years, but retiring his number sets the bar pretty low.