April 25, 2011
Before I dive into the questions from you, the readers, I wanted to thank you for your support. My readership is growing each week and I have only you to thank for that. Please continue to spread the word to others that might enjoy this website.
Also, I want to encourage you to continue to send me questions for my weekly “Questions from the Readers” column, normally published on Sundays. Please leave your questions for me on Twitter @NatsGMdotcom, email me at NationalsGM@gmail.com, or on Facebook at NatsGM. If I use one of your questions in my column, you will win a NatsGM prize to be named later. With that, on to this week’s mailbag…
Walt, Central Pennsylvania -> ”Does anyone still remain with the Nationals that were part of the Montreal Expos?”
This question was tougher to research than I thought… Great question! The only players that were part of the Montreal Expos that currently remain with the organization are:
- Roger Bernadina signed by Montreal as an Amateur Free Agent in 2001
- Collin Balester drafted in the 4th Round in 2004 by the Expos
- Ian Desmond drafted in the 3rd Round in 2004 also by Montreal
Also, Matt Stairs (1992-1993) and Livan Hernandez (2003-2006) both played for the Expos in the past and have returned to the organization.
Rather amazing the rapid turnover in just seven years….
Ed, Lancaster, PA-> Do you think the Nats will make any trades this season or do they have a need to make any trades?
Ed, thanks again for the great questions, please keep them coming. The easy answer would be, of course, as it is unlikely any team will go the duration of the season without making a deal. That said, here are the obvious targets for an in-season trade and why:
#1 RHP Jason Marquis -> I hope you are renting in Washington Mr. Marquis, not a homeowner… I kid, of course, but Marquis is the most likely player dealt during this season. He is in the last year of a 2-year $15 million dollar contract, the Nationals have starting pitchers in AAA Syracuse to replace him, and Marquis could be one of the better starting pitchers available this trade deadline. While he would not qualify as the “ace” type pitcher General Manager’s dream of acquiring for the postseason, Marquis is a solid #4 starter who takes the ball every 5th day and gives his club a chance to win. Marquis could net the Nationals a solid prospect come June or July.
#2 C Ivan Rodriguez -> A trade to the Red Sox, amongst others, has been rumored off and on since the spring training, and on the surface, it makes sense. The Nationals have Wilson Ramos emerging, along with Jesus Flores waiting idly in AAA Syracuse for his opportunity in Washington. Not to mention Derek Norris, the team’s catcher of the future, is currently playing in AA Harrisburg and likely ticketed to arrive in Washington late next season. The Nationals believe that Rodriguez has intrinsic value off the field, which makes them unlikely to move him unless receiving a quality prospect in return. Which then begs the question: Is there a team willing to give up a “quality prospect” for a 39 year old catcher? If so, he will likely be traded; if not, then he stays and continues to tutor Wilson Ramos the rest of this year.
#3 Relievers LHP Sean Burnett and/or RHP Tyler Clippard -> While I do not believe the chances of either player being dealt is particularly high, I think GM Mike Rizzo might find himself with a difficult decision come July. Relievers tend to return the most value mid-season, and both Clippard and Burnett are under contract next season, making each even more attractive to acquiring teams. Call it a hunch, but I think Rizzo might receive an offer that will be too good to turn down. Similar to the Matt Capps situation last season, the Nationals were not aggressively shopping Capps last summer, but Minnesota’s offer of Wilson Ramos and a pitching prospect was too much to turn down. Perhaps a similar scenario replays itself this summer.
#4 Rick Ankiel, Laynce Nix, Jerry Hairston Jr., Todd Coffey, etc. -> It is rather easy to lump these players in the same group, as each story is similar: Solid bench players or relievers on one-year contracts that could provide a small boost to other teams down the stretch. If you need someone to platoon in the outfield, Ankiel could fill that need. Need a lefty bat off the bench with some power, say hello to Laynce Nix. Want a super utility guy to round out the bench, let me introduce you to Jerry Hairston Jr. Want another arm to round out your bullpen, Todd Coffey come on down. These players likely would not yield elite prospects, but could net some organizational depth.
Jenny B from New York City -> How long before Drew Storen has the ninth inning all to himself?
This has the feel of a fantasy baseball question… But I think that day has arrived, and if not, it will any day now. I think Jim Riggleman and the Front Office feel as though the bullpen is positioned best with Drew Storen pitching the 9th inning (acting as the traditional “closer”), and Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett pitching the 7th and 8th innings. Sure, I can envision a scenario where in the 9th inning the opponent might have 2 or 3 lefty hitters scheduled to bat and the manager would call on Burnett to face them lefty vs. lefty rather than having Storen, the righty, pitch against them. But outside of a situation like that, I think Storen has the most talent and best pedigree to handle the closer role, not to mention the organization wants him to seize the position. He has the stuff and the temperament to be a solid closer and while he may experience some growing pains this season, he should take the closer role and run with it for 2011 and beyond.
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