Monday, June 29, 2009


The Nationals front office has been busy this weekend. We should probably look at the moves one by one to try and guess what each means.

Ryan Langerhans for Mike Morse

On the surface, this looks like the Nationals are trading one of their surplus major league outfielders. Lastings Milledge had been rumored to be going to Pittsburgh, which probably would have been the preferred move, as Langerhans has more ML value. However, Langerhans has been stuck behind the glut of corner outfielders in the system, and was clearly behind Justin Maxwell in terms of age and Corey Patterson in terms of... ugh. Good for Langerhans, though. He hits well enough to fit into their ML plans, and he fits into Safeco's ginormous outfield so he will see playing time.

What does Mike Morse's arrival mean? The Nats have been running a rotation of Guzman, Gonzalez, and Hernandez through the middle infield, and Belliard is on the roster as well. Belliard isn't going anywhere until the end of the year, and if anything, he is done as a pro. Hernandez just got to the Nats and really hasn't shown much to be considered a bargaining chip. That leaves Alberto Gonzalez and Cristian Guzman, both of whom have been playing their asses off the past month. Gonzalez has been great for the Nats, though his glove has been suspect in 2009. Guzman is signed through the end of next season and is playing the best baseball of his career, despite the erratic defense and free-swinging.

Are the Nats getting into a position to leverage one of their two shortstops, using Morse as short-term insurance until Danny Espinoza is ready?

I give the move C+ for now, with a chance to upgrade, depending on how they can improve their defense up the middle before the trade deadline.

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