Tuesday, June 30, 2009

100th Post- Lots Going On...

I was going to discuss the closed polls results, and how three of the four options had been rendered obsolete. However, Mr. Rizzo has been busy, closing a couple deals.

Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett

The easiest thing to do is to break this into two separate trades, OF for OF, P for P. From the Nationals perspective, given the players involved, it was an offer Rizzo couldn't refuse. The two areas that needed to be addressed were the bullpen and the defense. Nyjer Morgan more than addresses the defense. He can play CF if necessary, which will allow the Nats to keep Dunn, Willingham, and Dukes fresh in the corners. Harris loses out the most in the deal, as he will probably see his playing time cut in half. Burnett is Rizzo's dream... a left-handed, ground-ball, relief pitcher. He has battled back from injury to become a solid major league reliever and will be under control for a couple more seasons. He will benefit from working with two veteran LOOGYs in Villone and Beimel.

So what did the Nats give up? Starting with Hanrahan, since fans have been dealing with his shenanigans all season. Hanrahan was great last year, but pretty well abused. 84 innings of relief on 69 appearances is a number relievers build toward. Hanrahan had been a starter in 2006 and 2007. Basically, Hanrahan could get back to his 2008 form with a couple months off, but does that even make him as valuable to the Nats as Burnett? Villone is 40. Not quite. Lastings Milledge, on the other hand, doesn't need rest. Who knows what he needs... for him to make up for his defensive deficiencies, he needs to hit as well the premier corner outfielder in the league. Nick Markakis is a good young comp. Does anyone believe that is possible for Milledge? Sure, maybe for a couple months, but he is a natural underachiever, a tease. Guys like JD Drew show flashes of their potential, but rarely put it together for 162 games, and that the player the optimists refuse to see in Milledge. However, after watching him play first hand for a few years, the patterns are obvious.

It is difficult to criticize the Nats for making this move. Milledge offered the current major league roster nothing. Hanrahan had been banished to the mop-up role. Burnett will pitch high-leverage innings and Morgan will start in the outfield five days a week. Honestly, what are the Pirates going to do with the players they got? This trade gets a solid B+ for now and really will not look bad unless Milledge turns into Sammy Sosa.


Man, does Elijah Dukes ever field a ball cleanly in the outfield? Stammen's third time through the order woes continue, further indicating that he may have more work to do in AAA before formally claiming a rotation spot for next season. Not sure what is wrong with Nick Johnson, but he isn't showcasing his talent very well for contenders right now... Guzman has made up for a rough outing at the plate with a great dive and throw early in the game. Zimmerman, on the other hand... woof, 3 error games aren't helping the pitchers, especially the relievers. Clippard may not have the stuff to be effective for long runs, though his delivery can be deceptive enough to kill AAA guys.


To the poll. The Nats have officially addressed the bullpen. Colome and Tavarez are crappy guys, but almost every team has one of them. Teams try to get a few innings out of them before they wear out their welcome. Manny isn't going to be fired in the immediate future, and Rizzo has earned the right to see his handiwork through. The Nationals haven't dealt Nick Johnson, and have made a few moves that may make that unnecessary. Tough to really say what additional moves can be made to improve a team that dominates innings 1-5, but then stagger back to the clubhouse two out of three times. I'll try to think of a new poll, maybe two.

The symmetry for The Bombs is beautiful, 50 posts in May, 50 in June... it will be difficult to keep that pace through July, but the staff at The Bombs will try.


  1. Great job thus far, Deacon Intellecual. Keep it up!