Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Is the Gomes trade solely about a comp pick?


The Nat acquired Gomes ... why? Photo unknown via

Yesterday, The Nationals acquired Jonny Gomes from the Cincinnati Reds for minor leaguers Bill Rhinehart, Christopher Manno and cash (i.e., the Reds are paying part of Gomes’ salary the rest of this year).


The teams needs, as far as I can tell:

  • reliable leadoff hitter
  • better centerfielder
  • a more offensively productive shortstop
  • An ace starting pitcher
  • 2-3 better starting pitchers.
  • incrementally better relievers, or relievers who don’t hit the backstop with fastballs.

No where in that list is there a need for “yet another backup outfielder” to go with the slew of them we already have.  Don’t get me wrong’ there is definitely some value in having Gomes on the bench as a right-handed pinch hitting option (since both Ankiel and Stairs are lefties).  And there’s some value in having Gomes platoon with his left-handed hitting doppleganger Laynce Nix.  But last place teams don’t generally spend time on such a small matter.  To make matters worse, quotes from Gomes clearly show he’s disappointed to be traded from the Reds to the Nats, and it may be interesting to see how his attitude plays out the rest of the year.

To me, this trade was solely about getting the supplemental first rounder that Gomes would net if he maintains his type-B FA status.  Rizzo said as much himself when asked about the trade.  And I’m ok with that.  The two prospects we gave up were marginal prospects in this team’s grand scheme; Rhinehart was a good-hitting first baseman, but is a 26yr old in AA and is blocked by the younger, more promising Chris Marrero.  Manno, while certainly a blogosphere favorite, was a 22-yr toiling and putting up dominant numbers in low-A, and his ceiling seemed to be as a matchup-left hander (loogy) at some point in the future.  I guess Rizzo thought a 2012 mid 30-s draft pick was worth those two prospects in the long run.

Last question; who makes way on the 25-man?  You have to think this is the end of the road for one Matt Stairs.

Written by Todd Boss

July 27th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

5 Responses to 'Is the Gomes trade solely about a comp pick?'

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  1. I’ve been trying (mostly in vain) to come up with good explanations behind this trade for the Nats. It’s pretty hard. If you go on the assumption that the Nats are building to compete in the 2012-2014 time frame, then it seems to make no sense because best case you get value in 2011 (60 games of Gomes) and in 2014-later (likely value of 2012 comp. pick). The best I’ve come up with are the following:

    1. Rizzo and the team believe that a few extra wins this year have long-term value. There’s something to be said that if Nats can finish above .500 and third in NL east this season (reachable) then the perception of “team on the rise” can help with signing free agents in the next year or two, making the team more likely to compete in the 2012-14 time frame. Swapping Gomes for Matt Stairs (and keeping Livan, Marquis, and Pudge) all contribute to this goal.

    2. Laynce Nix is just on the cusp of Type-B status.

    So perhaps keeping Nix in a strict platoon with Gomes, with Hairston off the bench, so Nix only faces righties (.289/.326/.531) is enough to get him over the hump and make this a two-for-one comp. pick deal. The lack of real RH options off the bench means Nix has had just enough ABs against lefties this year to drag his OPS down by 50 points. If you can flip Reinhart & Manno for 2 comp. picks, that’s a steal even if those picks can’t be expected to pay off until 2014 or later.


    27 Jul 11 at 2:47 pm

  2. omg, this is more information about the nats than I ever wanted to know. :o)


    27 Jul 11 at 2:52 pm

  3. (for my other readers, this is my sister). This is my secret life Melissa. I don’t actually work during the day, I just write down random thoughts on the Nationals and post them here.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 11 at 4:07 pm

  4. Agree. Comment on point 1: there may be value of finishing better in terms of FA signings in 2011 … but not in terms of draft position. And there’s not a big FA market this coming off season. There’s barely any worthwhile starting pitching. 2012 however … that’s the year to go wild in. Can’t disagree with anything in point 2.

    In order to get the comp picks, the player has to be offered and decline salary arbitration. Do we think either guy would accept arbitration? I think Gomes absolutely would not; his quotes seemed to be pissed to be leaving Cincy for a last place team. Nix though .. he signed here as minor league free agent and if he’s offered arbitration, that’s a guaranteed major league contract with much bigger money than this year’s “pittance” on a minor league deal. He may very well take it and we don’t get his comp pick; we get him. Not that that is a bad thing; i like Nix.

    Lots of guys here really liked Manno and will be bummed to see him go. But both guys flipped for 1/2 a season of Gomes and a supp-1st is a good deal, in the end.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 11 at 4:21 pm

  5. My gut reaction is that Rizzo needs to show he’s active in the trade market, to ward off criticism he’s doing little to improve the club while other GMs pull off deals. I’m likely wrong, but this trade doesn’t provide much of a net gain for a club that is slowly sinking as they move into the second half.


    29 Jul 11 at 10:39 pm

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