Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats Trade Moves & Thoughts


Previously I posted that I thought the Nats should trade pretty much everyone they could, given their current spot in the standings.  How’d they do?

Here’s the moves.

  • Acquiring Jonny Gomes: reviewed here.   We picked up Gomes for two minor leaguers that were either blocked (Rhinehart) or long shots (Manno).
  • Trading Jerry Hairston for a decent AA outfielder in Erik Komatsu.  Honestly I was a bit surprised Hairston was moved, given his valuable multi-position coverage for this team this year.  Komatsu wasn’t a BA top10 prospect for Milwaukee, but they did rate him as being the Brewer’s best hitting-for-average prospect in the pre-season.  He has a good pedigree (Cal State Fullerton product) and is doing well in AA this year.  He seems to be another attempt to build the outfielder pipeline that has been pretty poor, and has left the team continually struggling for a quality center fielder.
  • Trading Jason Marquis for a low-minors shortstop in Zach Walters.  Walters was spoken well of by his former U  San Diego teammate Sammy Solis, and has been hitting well this season (albeit he’s playing in low-A as a college draftee).  Some advocated against trading Marquis; not I though, figuring that Marquis was going to draw a decent prospect from somewhere.

In my “what I’d like to see the Nats do” post a few days ago, I basically advocated trading everybody we could.  Clearly having Laynce Nix and Ivan Rodriguez on the DL (either current or recently) prevented them from being trade candidates, and moving Livan Hernandez probably would have left a massive veteran leadership hole in the pitching corps.  We DFA’d Matt Stairs (not that he was ever going to be a trade candidate), and I’d guess that both Rick Ankiel and Alex Cora could still be waiver-wire trades made closer to the post season.  The one move that remains a surprise is not trading Todd Coffey, a decent right hander out of the pen that surely could have shorn up someone’s bullpen for a low-level prospect.

In the “non-move” category, I’m glad we didn’t move Drew Storen for Denard Span as was frequently mentioned in trade rumors leading up to the 7/31 deadline.  Honestly i’d rather pursue BJ Upton in the off season for a higher-ceiling guy.  Clippard is valuable but is a reliever, and despite the tendency of fans to overvalue their own relievers, the return didn’t seem to be worth the disruption to the bullpen.

I’m guessing a few of these expiring contract guys may be post waiver-wire trade possibilities, but all in all I’m happy with the moves and non-moves.  I certainly don’t agree with the pundits who are labeling the team “losers” in the trade market.

3 Responses to 'Nats Trade Moves & Thoughts'

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  1. The unwritten story here is that nobody is reporting on the cash side of the two major transactions. The last 2 years under Rizzo the Nats were able to get better prospects because they picked up a lot of salary of the veterans traded.
    Not this year.
    Both times the Nats got lower ceiling prospects, especialy in Marquis’ case, because the acquiring team had to eat the entire salary.

    It’s a disgrace that nobody’s reporting on this.
    Ted Lerner is worth $3.4 Billion and the Nats were rated the most profitable franchise in baseball.

    Mark L

    2 Aug 11 at 9:20 pm

  2. FWIW, Komatsu was a top 10 prospect (OK, #10) according to John Sickels at minor league baseball:

    I think that Livan Hernandez and Todd Coffey were not moved because they’re not very good. You say that Coffey is “a decent right-hander out of the pen.” He hasn’t been that for two months. He was good in April (7 appearances, giving up a .182/.321/.273 split) and great in May (13 appearances, .150/.170/.269 – yep, a .439 OPS!). But in June he was bad (13 appearances, .333/.400/.476) and in July he was terrible (11 appearances, .376/.438/.488 – yep, a .926 OPS!). Can’t see anything being offered for that. Ankiel and Cora were in similar boats (Ankiel’s power run taking place too late to be taken into account) – I don’t believe that Rizzo had any chance of moving them, even for a bag of baseballs.

    John C.

    3 Aug 11 at 8:59 pm

  3. Yeah, on BA Komatsu wasn’t top 10 but he was listed as having two of their “best skills,” indicating to me he was probably in BA’s top 15. Works for me.

    Livan definitely is in the same grouping as Cora, Ankiel, and Stairs before we dumped him. I thought Coffey still had some value. There were rumors that Texas was sniffing around. No argument though that he’s tailed off; My thinking is that someone, somewhere will take him eventually. I mean, we got value for Cristian Guzman last year.

    Todd Boss

    4 Aug 11 at 10:29 am

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