Time to wrap up this mini-series. Today we'll be discussing what I'm exactly sure right off the bat was positive or negative. At the end of every different bit of analysis, I'll choose "Positive" or "Negative, because these aren't as cut-and-dried as the "What went right" and "What went wrong" parts of the recap were. These are meant to be semi-controversial and my opinion is not absolutely correct (just mostly correct), so feel free to debate in the comments.
1) Individual Performances
Jesus Flores is probably a surprise for most of you on the "Undecided" page. With Flores, you can basically arbitrarily pick any date in the season and his numbers will be good before that and bad after. The season just wore him out. He only ended up hitting .256/.296/.402...not bad, but not good enough for me to want to go out and buy a Flores jersey either. I'll declare Flores Positive, however, because his defense was solid and he excelled in high-leverage situations.
Ryan Zimmerman had an okay year. His injury was to blame for a lot of it, I'm sure. I was about to write Zim off as negative, just because he has regressed for two straight years. Then I looked at his month-by-month splits and see that he has hit .300/.355/.469 from May on. And since he returned from his shoulder issues, Zim has hit .304/.369/.452. Not perfect, but encouraging to see. Plus, he still plays awesome defense. Postive by a hair.
Wil Nieves had three straight 2-hit games in April and that won all of our hearts over. With Nieves, it's easy to go around expecting more than what you'll get: a .260/.300/.320 slash line and some good defense and some clubhouse tranquility. This year, Nieves outhit that slash line, going .264/.312/.345 in 08. When I was deciding who would fall under what category, I saw his numbers and went psh, BAD! But then I realized: I'll take that from my backup catcher any day. Positive.
Tim Redding was the tale of two halves. As you probably have seen somewhere else, he went 7-3 with a 3.85 ERA before the all-star break and 3-8 with a 6.82 ERA after. He's not a #1, we need to realize that, but if he's even going to be a 3 or 4, he needs to step it up in the second half. Negative.
Saul Rivera was originally put here because I think he's a completely neutral player. You know almost exactly what you're going to get (mid-to-high 3's ERA, lots of innings, decent amount of baserunners) and he delivers. Although his ERA numbers slipped for the second year in a row, I'll put him in Positive for now, mainly because I expect him to fall under "injured" next year and he deserves his due before that happens.
Collin Balester is a great prospect, but I'm not absolutely encouraged by his numbers this year. Sure, he's 23 and kept his ERA under 5 (and ended up better than Redding), but he almost had more runs allowed than K's. The first time around the lineup, opponents had a .510 OPS. The second time was .953. The third time was .980. He's got the stuff, let's see him put it together. Negative by a hair.
Jesus Colome-how the heck does he not end up in "what went wrong?" I'll tell you how-since his last BS or L (which happened June 30 and July 3, respectively), Colome has thrown 29 and 1/3 IP at a 2.45 ERA. But then look at his numbers a little closer: 12 BB/16 K in that span, 5 HR allowed...this IS the Colome of old, he was just getting lucky. NEGATIVE!
2) Mid-season trades
Rauch for Bonifacio
Ayala for Hernandez
Nunez for Gonzalez
It's nice to trade for middle infielders, but none of these guys are really that special. Gonzalez and Hernandez are proven no-hit all-glove guys and Bonifacio will probably be categorized as that in a few years. Rauch was our #1 tradable commodity and all we got for him was Bonifacio? I gave the Nats the benefit of the doubt at the time, but that's another Bowden Fail in my book. Ayala needed a change of scenery, so I can't really argue with that. And I doubt Nunez ever is a major leaguer. So we have a big lose in the Rauch deal and mini-wins in the other two. Still a lose overall, but it's close.
I don't really have anything else that falls under "undecided"...I'll come up with my 25 man roster now and post it and then you're all encouraged to do the same.