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Thread: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    I posted this column from Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell over on the Peanut Gallery while Redszone was down. It's a fair assessment of the trade from the Nationals perspective, weighing the plusses and the minuses. Note the aim for the new stadium line early in the article.

    By Thomas Boswell
    Friday, July 14, 2006; Page E01

    In every major personnel decision, the Nationals' goal is to build a coherently constructed pennant contender in three or four years. Sooner is luck. Later is behind schedule. Judge their many moves by that measure and they'll make more sense.

    Yesterday, in what may be the first of a cascade of interlocking trades, the Nats unleashed a surprise eight-player deal that sent promising relievers Bill Bray and Gary Majewski to Cincinnati. Few expected either of them, much less both, to leave town for years. In return, the Nats got two proven young veterans from the Reds. Look ahead to 2010. Slugger Austin Kearns and swift Felipe Lopez will be 30 then, in their primes. And they will probably be playing right field and shortstop in Southeast.

    Just one day ago, the Washington lineup of the future contained only three near-certain names -- Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson and Brian Schneider. Now, add Kearns and Lopez to the list. If Alfonso Soriano re-signs by July 31, or returns as a free agent in the offseason, Washington might suddenly have six of its eight everyday players in place for its new ballpark era.

    So, what happened to all those demands by new ownership for Washington fans to have infinite patience as everyday players were developed? In a blink, two more spots in the everyday lineup are now under the team's control through '08 -- and at an increase in payroll, not a cut. In Lopez, the Nationals have added an '05 N.L. all-star who hit 23 homers with 85 RBI last season and is on pace for 42 steals this year. In Kearns, they have a heart-of-the-order hitter currently on track for 29 homers and 91 RBI whose career OPS is .826 -- one point lower than Soriano's career mark, one point higher than Jose Vidro's.

    "The calculus is that we're getting two young guys who will play regularly for us while giving up two pitchers who are in middle relief right now," team president Stan Kasten said. "Yes, we believe in developing pitching and focusing on the draft. But most of all, we believe in taking advantage of opportunity. When it's there, grab it.

    "We're going to take our time, but we are not going to waste time."

    Everyone must now wait for the next Nats shoe to fall. Washington's bullpen has been frayed from overwork all season. The third new Nat, reliever Ryan Wagner, was the Reds' No. 1 draft pick in '03 but is back in Class AAA and will be of no immediate help. So, which member of the Nats' now-crowded outfield will be traded for pitching before July 21: Soriano or Jose Guillen? Until the next trade -- which must add pitching -- is completed, you can't completely judge this blockbuster.

    Having Kearns adds to the Nats' flexibility in trades. But the current Nats bullpen is untenable. Never fear, Jim Bowden's next six trades will make the grand plan clear. This eight-human transaction, which had him talking to Reds GM Wayne Krizsky "nine, 10 or 11 times a day," probably didn't even dent Bowden's July cellphone minutes.

    The fun and fascination of this trade for Washington is obvious. The Nats saw a chance to snap up two front-line regulars from a Reds franchise that is desperate to reward its long-suffering fans with a visit to the playoffs. Cincinnati's bullpen absolutely reeks. Now, after trading for closer Eddie Guardado last week and adding the two ex-Nats, Cincinnati looks legit. Smooth old Royce Clayton will actually upgrade their defense.

    For this radical improvement in pitching and defense, the Reds gave up the two players who lead their team in at-bats. How could Washington resist snapping up a shortstop with some offensive pop who may steal 30 bases, plus a 245-pound power-hitting outfielder who (any stat freak would attest) probably has another level of offensive improvement somewhere in his future.

    However, there's risk for the Nats. Hitters often claim Majewski has the best stuff in the Nats' pen. His command can be erratic; he gets flustered at times, but he could be a top setup man for years. Bray, 23, a William & Mary grad, may become a stellar southpaw at the back end of a bullpen for a decade. Those make hen's teeth look common. That's a lot of present value and high-end future potential to sacrifice. Bowden claims pitching is next to godliness, but has seldom practiced his gospel.

    Now, Bowden has added two players he acquired for Cincinnati when he ran the Reds. Both are known for their bats. Ken Griffey Jr. swears by Kearns as an upbeat low-maintenance teammate.

    However, both new Nats also have clear flaws. Lopez, who'll bat No. 2 and add speed to the top of the attack, has made 31 errors the last two seasons, compared with 22 for the steady Clayton. As for Kearns, in five seasons he's averaged 99 RBI, 93 runs, 27 homers and 78 walks -- per 600 at bats. The problem: He's never even batted 400 times and has been on the disabled list once in each of the last four seasons. Like the Nats' Nick Johnson, his frequent injuries are not chronic. But you worry. This trade has more spin than a tight slider. If Soriano is traded this month, the Nats' offense will not be left utterly destitute with Lopez and Vidro at the top of the order, followed by Zimmerman, Johnson, Kearns and, perhaps, Guillen. If Soriano is dealt, he'd presumably fetch more in pitching talent than Bray and Majewski. So, netted out, the Nats would have, in a sense, traded for Kearns and Lopez while losing the 30-year-old Soriano -- a player they could try to re-sign as a free agent.

    If the Nats are willing to trade Bray and Majewski, two pitchers who were usually considered "keepers" by scouts, then who, aside from Zimmerman, is outside the Nats' trade discussions? Questions beget questions. Is Vidro now safer because Brandon Harris left in this trade? With Kearns aboard, would Guillen be enough to partially restock the bullpen?

    What's most delightful is that, at the All-Star Game this week, everybody in baseball gathered in Pittsburgh with possible Washington trades a central topic. A half-dozen Nats names were tossed around constantly. But perhaps not one person ever mentioned Bray, Majewski, Clayton, Harris or minor leaguer Darryl Thompson in any trade rumor. Now, all five are gone.

    "Don't try to predict what we'll do. We won't fit in any box," said Kasten, who made Bowden his choice as GM when few expected a quick long-term decision. "Did anybody predict our [$2 million] Dominican signing [of 16-year-old Esmailyn Gonzalez]? Did anybody predict this trade? The only thing predictable is that in the end we intend to accomplish all the things we said we'd do."

    Next Friday, the Nats' new owners hold their reopening of RFK. Let's predict: Not all the current Nats will return to see it.

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  3. #2
    He sure could hit HalMorrisRules's Avatar
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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Well written article that didnt sugarcoat Kearns and Lopez's deficiencies. Raise your hand if you didnt hold your breath, just a little bit, every time Lopez threw to first. I didnt think I would see too many.

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Cincinnati's bullpen absolutely reeks.
    Like a corpse in the basement with not enough lime.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    The Nats better trade someone soon. We all know how Guillen gets when he doesn't play every day.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    QUOTE=HalMorrisRules]Well written article that didnt sugarcoat Kearns and Lopez's deficiencies. Raise your hand if you didnt hold your breath, just a little bit, every time Lopez threw to first. I didnt think I would see too many.[/QUOTE]


    I always held my breathe when he threw to first. Along with EdE too. Watching the Reds nearly every day you can see what a player is really like. Lopez makes way too many mental lapses fielding the ball and running the bases. Add to the fact that he his a Boras client, his fate was written. If Bray and Majewski helps us make the playoffs this season then this trade will be viewed as a success. Very risky trading two everyday starters but sometimes a GM has to do it. I also think this ownership has proven beyond a doubt that it will do whatever it takes to win. Very refreshing!
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    I like the saying "makes hen's teeth look common." I've never heard that before. It's going to be my new thing. I'll insert that saying in anywhere I can from now on.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    OMG...I love the fact that in a Narron-free world, Kearns and Lopez are referred to as "proven veterans"

    Good article.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Not exactly a glowing endorsement of the trade is it?

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Handofdeath
    Not exactly a glowing endorsement of the trade is it?
    I'm not sure this is a trade which lends itself to endorsing. I think it's not a trade made for an instant gratification world, although the hope is that it gives the Reds some immediate boost in their woeful bullpen.

    It's a trade that begs for the other shoe (or shoes) to fall. Clayton plays this year, who's the SS next? Can Denorfia or Denorfia/Freel meet the potential their supporters have talked about all season? What is the timetable for some of the other parts coming up from the minors (2007? 2008?)? And on and on it goes.

    I'm not sure Boswell was looking to endorse the trade one way or the other. I think it was a frank assessment of both teams trying to meet both immediate and long term needs. Candid is the word I would use.

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    My feeling on Lopez and Kearns was that they were two players that just stuckout at me who were just going through the motions of playing.Neither showed emotion or to me acted as if they cared. Thats just how I saw them.Lopez seemed to be off in lala land at times and made to many pysical errors along with about as many mental errors.Kearns was beginning to look like a complete strikeout machine.I really don't know if this trade will make the Reds a contender this year or not.I'm not sold on Denorfia as the everyday rightfielder yet and I do believe Freel needs to be in there at the top of the order to make this thing work.As for the two relievers they aquired along with the steady progression of Coffey and Belisle the Reds may have themselves a quality bullpen for the next 5 or 6 years.Lets hope.Right now I like the trade.
    just an opinion.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Does anyone think the Nat's really have a chance to resign Soriano? Boswell kept bringing that up.

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Quote Originally Posted by aodaniel
    Does anyone think the Nat's really have a chance to resign Soriano? Boswell kept bringing that up.
    About a week ago for the first time Soriano said he would like to stay in DC. Whether he was blowing smoke or not is the question. I doubt that he stays though.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Attn, Nats Fans:

    Bowden claims pitching is next to godliness, but has seldom practiced his gospel.
    Learn it, live it, love it. Get used to it.

    Signed,
    A Reds Fan
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Quote Originally Posted by zombie-a-go-go
    Attn, Nats Fans:



    Learn it, live it, love it. Get used to it.

    Signed,
    A Reds Fan

    Sounds like a quote from Judge Reinhold's character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Can't remember the character's name.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Tom Boswell Column on Trade - Wash. Post

    Quote Originally Posted by CincyReds2003
    Sounds like a quote from Judge Reinhold's character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Can't remember the character's name.
    Brad Hamilton



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