Friday, July 16, 2010

Second Half Run

The Nats aren't buyers; they ought to be savvy sellers, understanding the value of a draft pick versus taking another team's castoff farmhands. So how does that translate into a "run"?

The Nats finished strong last season when September call-ups were given the chance to succeed without the pressure of being re-designated or planted on the bench (see Maxwell, Justin). The key is to determine which of these guys will be Nationals in 2012, not just the rest of the season. Desmond is off to a better start in July. Mike... er Michael Morse has hit when he has been in the lineup. Roger Bernadina's plate discipline improves each month. Justin Maxwell even has a cameo through Monday. So question now posed: none of these players are WORSE than Willie Harris, and given Nyjer Morgan's shenanigans this season, one could argue that Bernadina should be starting in centerfield everyday, regardless of age, service time, or trade value. Given the Nats lack of outfield prospects, these are their guys for now. If they choose to keep him, it should be Hammer, Bernadina, and Morse most nights with Maxwell spelling the three of them. If a sweet package can be had for the Hammer, it will be tough to turn down considering how barren the cupboard is, but Josh Willingham has been to valuable to give the Nick Johnson treatment. Work a small trade for Morgan to free up room on the 40-man for another outfielder who can obtained...

By trading Adam Dunn. Both Willingham and Dunn's value will never be higher, but Dunn's raw power numbers make him more appealing to other GMs. There are teams with logjams in the outfield, too many bats and not enough positions on the field, and Rizzo needs to exploit that. Get the outfield set now so they aren't still rebuilding when Strasburg is due to walk to New York. Also, feel free to shop around Guzman and Kennedy.

From a personality standpoint, it sucks to trade any of these guys; it isn't like dumping Milton Bradley on a team. These are character guys that the younger players do look up to, but that's the penalty for playing the Jim Bowden error. Freeing up the roster and putting these young players in a position succeed is important and it is what the organization should be focusing on... and with a little luck, maybe catch the nosediving Marlins.

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