It's been about 48 hours since my last post, so I'll give you a recap of what's new:
See that blank space? It represents what has happened since Saturday evening. The Nats still suck, as they lost for the 5th straight game (including being swept in 4 games against Cincinnati). The Hokies haven't made any news lately (thank goodness) and the Caps are in that awkward 2 week stretch between Laich and Morrisonn accepting arbitration and the actual process. I could talk to you about the Caps' rookie camp (or developmental camp, whatever it's called) but Japers' Rink is really your source there.
So what is there to talk about?
C.C Sabathia was traded to the Brew Crew. My contending team, the Cubs, should be a little worried. Not too worried, as Sabathia will only pitch in 15 (regular season) games for the rest of the season. At the moment, Sabathia replaces Jeff Suppan, who was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday. Suppan's injury, called "persistant irritation" by MLB.com, is likely only going to keep him out for 1 or 2 starts. Over such a small sample size, it's hard to say whether or not Sabathia would have a large impact. I'll overestimate and say he'll be responsible for 1 more win over those 2 games. After that, I'm guessing Dave Bush is the odd man out (I'll double check with my roommate, a Brewers and Packers fan that I would feel sorry for...but he once liked New Found Glory, which negates my benefit of the doubt...check out his analysis of the C.C. move if you get a chance). Bush is 4-8...so he loses 2 of every 3 decisions. Even if C.C. wins 2 of every 3 decisions for the rest of the year, he's a 5-6 win improvement. And that's the best case scenario (although somebody might want to add in his value as a hitter as well). The thing is: the Brewers have 66 fewer runs scored than the Cubs. The addition of Sabathia might replace the 26 runs allowed disadvantage they have, but the Cubs are still a superior team from top-to-bottom. Especially when Alfonso Soriano returns from injury.
And I guess for your Nats fix, here are my answers to the mailbag:
Is shortstop Cristian Guzman going to be dealt at the July 31 Trade Deadline?
-- Will S., Reston, Va.
Yes. The Nats were supposed to have signed him by now. Now I'd say there's about a 50/50 chance he stays still, but if he's not signed 10 days after he was supposedly "very close to signing", I bet Guzman called JimBo's girlfriend "guapo" and JimBo misinterpreted it (mainly thanks to "El Guapo" who does not translate to "the beautiful one") and did something to offend him, like saying this: Su madre es un puerco gordo. I think that this scenario could potentially happen: Guzman traded somewhere as a rental (LA?) and resigns in the offseason. He would be a Type B (because of playing time) so he wouldn't cost us a pick like he did the first time around, despite playing better.
Do you take back your assessment of the trade that sent Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner from the Reds to the Nationals on July 13, 2006. You thought it was a steal for Washington?
-- Justin, C., Atlanta, Ga.
It WAS a steal for the Nats. The Nats traded two middle relievers, a crappy old shortstop, an unhappy infielder (sorry, can't find the link on Harris) and a so-so prospect (at the time) for an up-and-coming outfielder, a 26 year old all-star shortstop and an interesting reliever. The trade was incredibly lopsided in the Nats favor. 99% of the time this trade is made, the Nats make out like bandits. But for some reason, Felipe and Kearns left their bats in Cincy and the Nats only come out with two average players in return for their crap.
This is only semi-related, but in my search for stuff on that trade came up with this link, where the original rumor consisted of Kearns and Brandon Phillips to the Nats. Oh, how nice would that have been?
Knowing that Bowden likes Reds outfielder/first baseman Adam Dunn, what are the chances that Dunn could be in a Nationals uniform?
-- Joe B., New York, N.Y.
In a trade: 10% chance. As an FA after the season: 50% chance. Even with Dukes, Milledge, Kearns, Johnson and Da Meat Hook taking up all of the positions Dunn can play, he will be a National next year if Bowden is still GM (which is the 50% chance).
Don't you think this team needs some talent on the Major League level to generate interest. You can't possibly be forgetting the reason that they are in Washington in the first place, can you?
-- Jon A., Stony Brook, N.Y.
What's the point? The season's over. The Nats only need to go 7-65 for the rest of the year to end up with more wins than the (and that would require almost twice as bad of a pace as July's 1 win in 6 games). All potential interest is gone. The exciting youngsters are basically all on the DL (Zimmerman, Milledge, Dukes) and everyone who planned on seeing Nationals Park has seen it by now. Suck it up, let the kids play and grab San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg #1 overall next year.
Will Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young be traded before the Trade Deadline
-- Rob A., Washington D.C.
I'm going to say one of them gets traded. Both are hitting fairly well at the moment. Belliard is signed relatively cheap (Young really isn't). If Belliard is traded, it means either Pete Orr or Ray Olmedo or somebody equally bad as a replacement. I say Young goes and Bill Rhinehart is the starting 1B in September.
Now that Nick Johnson is out for the reminder of the season, what will be the approach with him for next season? Will he stay here in Washington?
-- Daniel O, Centreville, Va.
Just as I do every year, I assume he'll be out for the season and am surprised (sometimes even pleasantly surprised) for every single at bat he takes. Cherish those at bats, kids. You might not see many more out of Porcelain Man.
I am mostly frustrated that the team lacks basic fundamentals -- not moving the runner over to second or third with no outs, baserunning blunders, throwing to the wrong base or swinging at the first pitch after the pitcher throws four straight balls to the previous batter. What are your thoughts?
-- Tim R., Auburn, N.Y.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When you play for a team almost 20 games under .500 before the ASG, who is going to blame you (and for that matter, replace you) for not hustling, sucking at bunting or overthrowing the cutoff man? I'm pretty sure they're not going so far to start signing bloggers.
But for all the people clamoring, "Let the Kids Play!!," you're ignoring the fact that many of them are skipping fundamental training. It's a lot different learning to bunt against 75 mph fastballs in HS and 95 mph fastballs in the majors. John Lannan spent very little time in the high minors, where pitchers adjust to higher pitch speeds. As the linked article above says, Bergmann was predominantly a reliever in the minors, so he didn't hit at all. Bernadina and Dukes do miss their cutoff men, but it's because they're trying their absolute hardest to nab baserunners. I agree, the fundamentals need to be in place when the Nats are ready to compete. But for now, just sit back and let this ragtag group play as hard as they want to. I have a feeling "don't throw the ball home in that situation" could translate "don't try and throw out advancing runners" in the minds of youngsters like Bernadina. The funadmentals need work, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't make a difference anymore this year.