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Friday, May 22, 2009

Let's make a deal

Results of my trade poll aren't that surprising. Nick Johnson led the way with 14 votes. Josh Willingham got nine. Austin Kearns and Lastings Milledge got eight each.

Lord knows I'm not in the head of Mike Rizzo. I have no idea how he thinks, though I'm guessing he thinks highly of those he put in the Diamondbacks system. I do think Kearns and Milledge are off the table.

Kearns costs too much and just hasn't shown himself to be that good. I can't see the team getting much in return. Milledge? Who is going to give up something of value for a Triple A outfielder (beyond the Nats a couple of years ago)? And an injured one at that. He has to get better and prove himself somewhere. I get the idea Rizzo doesn't much like him but I also think he's still somehow part of the long-range plan.

Willingham is, I think, under club control for two years after one. I suspect he's the every day left fielder next year and I'm OK with that. I think with regular play, he'll be as productive as he was in Florida. Not a star but certainly functional. Decent outfielder. And I don't know that he brings a whole lot in return right now either.

That leaves ol' Nick, a guy I really like as a player. Who can dispute that, when healthy, he's a pretty good guy to have on the team? He's a professional hitter and strong fielder. We can question a lot about Manny but the move of Johnson into the No. 2 hole has worked pretty well.

But he's in the final year of his contract and there's always that health thing hanging over his head. Can he actually go a full year? He has the most value of the four discussed here. Is there another team willing to take a chance on that health and return something of value?

What is that value? I have no clue. I've admitted many times on here that I don't pay attention to other teams and I sure do know exactly nothing about farm systems of other teams. Is a real, live pitcher and decent prospect too much to expect in return? Jon Rauch, not the level of a healthy Johnson but still pretty good (then), brought back a prospect. Can Johnson bring more than that?

If the Nats don't trade Johnson, they'll almost certainly lose him at season's end. If he does have a healthy, productive season, his price will go up. Can you take that kind of risk given his history?

I hate to see him go. I don't see a better option.

Who's out there who could be had? What are the answers? Dunn's only signed through next year. Is Marrero going to be ready to play in the majors in 2011?


An Briosca Mor said...

"If the Nats don't trade Johnson, they'll almost certainly lose him at season's end."

They can always sign him to an extension before the end of this season, like they did with Guzman last year and Belliard and Young in 2007. (Two of those signings turned out well, and as MeatLoaf once sang, two out of three ain't bad.) I personally would love to see them extend Johnson's contract a couple of years, and not just because his is the only player T-shirt I own. (And if I ever get a replica jersey like I've been thinking of doing, his number will be on it. Which of course means he'll be traded the very next day.)

MikeHarris said...

I hear you. I'd love to see the guy there for years. I just think it is a risk.
Do you trade one of the others instead or stand pat and hope some pitchers develop?

An Briosca Mor said...

Actually, I don't think they'll end up trading any of the trio of Kearns, Willingham and Johnson. Johnson's name is the one you hear most often as the one other teams would want, but he's also the most valuable to the Nats - because without him they have no one to play first base. Dunn has shown that he is not an everyday first baseman, and Marerro is not going to be ready for a couple of years yet. So if they trade Johnson, they would need a lot in return for him, and I don't think any other team will be willing to meet the price.

Willingham as you mentioned is under team control for a year or two more, so they would surely rather trade Kearns than him. But even though they've given Kearns plenty of playing time to show that he's worthy of his contract, he hasn't stepped up. He's not hurt this year, yet he still can't hit much over .200 and he lacks the pop of Willingham. Unless he really begins to light it up soon, no team would be desperate enough to want him at the deadline. I suspect that at the end of the season you'll have all three of these guys still here. They should and I hope they will try to keep Nick, they'll keep Willingham, and Kearns will get his $1M player option and be allowed to walk.

Mama B said...

Hey Mike,
Know you've put it out there before, but where are you sitting tomorrow? Will look for you.

MikeHarris said...

Tomorrow I'm in section 216 - I upgraded as a favor to my wife. My normal seats are in 309.

DeezNats said...

We need to trade Nick ASAP before his leg falls off or some other freak injury. He's always been one of my favorite Nats, but we gotta trade high and it ain't gonna get better than this.