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A trade!! Nationals acquire Langerhans

The Nationals just announced that they have traded outfielder Chris Snelling to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Ryan Langerhans, the former Atlanta Brave that was dealt to Oakland last week.

This must be some sort of personal preference thing, because Langerhans, like Snelling, is a left-handed hitter, and this team could use a right-handed bat. Langerhans is 27, two years older than Snelling, who was aquired in the December trade that sent Jose Vidro to Seattle.

Snelling was hitting .204 with one homer and seven RBI in 49 at-bats for the Nationals.

Langerhans, who played in 131 games for the Braves last year, is a superior defensive outfielder who is a .242 career hitter. He is just 3 for 46 this season, and has a career on-base percentage of .336 and a career slugging percentage of .378.

More in the paper tomorrow. Have to go talk to Jim Bowden.

OK, here's a bit of Jim Bowden, in case anybody's still up:

Ryan Langerhans is one of the better defensive outfielders in the league .it's very important in our ballpark and with our young pitching staff to have good defense in the outfield. We want to be able to catch the ball. certainly Kearns and Logan are very good defensive players, and Ryan's another."

"We also think with the emergence of Kory Casto that we want to give Kory the opportunity up here to hit, and with that we felt Ryan Langerhans is a better fit for what we're trying to do right now and we really thought it would help both teams."

"Two different kind of players. Chris is a little better offensively. Ryan's a little bit better defnsively. They're two different kind of players."

I asked Bowden if this makes Ryan Church more available in a trade. He said: "Ryan's playing extremely well, and he's an important part of what we're doing with these young guys. We have a lot of young players that are developing here, and in development, there's also competition."

Anyway, the upshot is that it's kind of a minor deal that helps them defensively in the late innings. Snelling wasn't hitting (at .204) but there was lots to like about the potential in his offensive game. We'll see.

A couple of other minor points I forgot to mention initially and didn't make the $.35 edition, either. Langerhans is out of options as well, so neither he nor Snelling could have been sent to the minors without passing through waivers. Also, the deal's almost a financial wash, though the Nationals do save some money. Langerhans makes $410,000 this year, Snelling was at $450,000 plus $75,000 in incentives.

A programming note: I will be traveling to Chicago and may not post till late in the day tomorrow -- if at all. At the latest I'll touch base Friday morning from Wrigley. Hopefully I'll squeeze one in on Thursday.


By Barry Svrluga  |  May 2, 2007; 10:26 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Expanded minors report
Next: Catching up on the trade, Soriano, etc.


ummm... Gut feeling: Winner.

I guess we'll see.

Posted by: Wigi | May 2, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I can't say I disagree with this trade... From what I understand Langerhans is an amazing defensive outfielder... Now if only he could improve his hitting a little...

I guess he'll get his chance.

Posted by: SantanaClaus89 | May 2, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Natosphere is going to be devestated. For myself, I feel some semblance of, well, mild sadness? It's hard to say. I don't really understand why we keep trading for outfielders, when it seems we have a glut of them, but alas. Maybe this is just one more step toward compiling a team made up entirely of Ryans.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's because I have a soft spot for things Australian, but I'm going to miss Chris Snelling.

Please allow me one last chant of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie -- OI! OI! OI!" Or should that be, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie -- BYE! BYE! BYE!"

Posted by: Section 502 | May 2, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

awful trade- exactly what this team needs, more defense and less bat, and to get older in the process...

How is this "In the Plan"?

Posted by: Section 321 | May 2, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

let's go new guy.

Posted by: Section 406 | May 2, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

maybe play center and put church back in LF? How's langerhans' offensive ability compare to Logan's?

Posted by: could he? | May 2, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Another problem for Mitchell Page to fix. Or is this just another slumping Ryan. Good glove, no hit (another NOOK) just what the Dr. ordered. An ulterior motive must be in mind. Must be a Cincinatti connection in there somewhere.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 2, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, a team of Ryans...let's see - Howard?! Dempster? Freel? Garko? Shealy? Doumit? BJ Ryan?

Already have Church, Zimm, and Wagner. Kearns' middle name is Ryan too!

Alas, not a lot of middle infield help there! And we'd need a starting pitcher...Ryan Drese? UGH!

Posted by: DE | May 2, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't under rate defense. The team could not demote Snelling without losing him. The Nats probably had to consider sending him down at some point. Plus Snelling was a walking time bomb. Surgery number 8 will eventually happen. Does Langerhans have options? Can Logan stay healthy?
Wilson is getting traded next. I read keystrokes and I'm pretty sure Bowden was typing Josh Wilson over and over again at the game tonight.

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 2, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Bowden's really going to need to refer to players by their last name. Also, that Church thing makes me worried for him. I mean, Bowden's got to realize that, for whatever reason, Church has developed a pretty solid fan base, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Another good glove when I think our gloves are already decent in the outfield and give up offense when we aren't getting any. I'm not against this as it's low impact but I sure don't understand it. Maybe they're betting Snelling will get hurt again.

Did anyone else notice the fur on Bowden's girl? Game temp is 57 degrees, not sure why you need a fur except because there was a trade and you're next to the GM so there will be an interview....classy.

Barry, thanks for the great minor league update. I'll be watching for Lannan to move up to AA. I noticed Hanrahan, expect him to be in DC before summer is over.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | May 3, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, I miss that chant...

Posted by: Former 406 section member, BrianH | May 3, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Maybe you guys can relate but my boss gave me the day off tomorrow and one of my first thoughts was, "I can stay up at watch the game".

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | May 3, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Blame this loss on Acta:
* pulled Chico too late
* stuck with King too long

Posted by: BrianH | May 3, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

As soon as I heard about the trade, my first reaction was, "What's *really* wrong with Snelling, and how soon before Oakland finds that out?

And fer Pete's sakes, Fickie-Baby FINALLY gets a hit, and then later on decides to TAG UP before running on a fly ball deep to center field?!? I hope the run he DIDN'T wind up scoring doesn't come back to haunt the Nats this game...

Posted by: Juan-John | May 3, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

... And another thing: JimBow has kept talking about "pitching, pitching, pitching."

How does THIS trade help bring that about?!?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 3, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Another possible Ryan to add to the mix, if he's brought up:
Joel Ryan Hanrahan

Posted by: Another Ryan... | May 3, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Charlie and Dave on the radio were contemplating that this trade was made in order to have someone to send down when Guzman and Nook are restored to the roster. Snelling was out of options, they weren't sure about Ryan (The Mysterious Isles of) Langerhans.

Otherwise the deal is a little of this for a little of that.


Posted by: amb141 | May 3, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates as always Barry,

Besides building a team of ryans i dont really see much of a good or bad here. Sure we need more offense, but snelling wasnt giving it to us. Maybe somone in the organization knows more then the posters at the nats journal (couldnt be) and actually thinks they could turn this kid into something good.

Aside from that, im just gonna miss the chance to chant "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi" guess i could do it whenever i want while im still in austrlia

Posted by: Nats fan Down Under | May 3, 2007 2:22 AM | Report abuse

The Nats seem to have traded one package for another one, quite similar, except that the guy we received is two years older than the guy we sent. Perhaps Bowden needed to get into Billy Beane's good graces?

Another guess: After a couple games in San Diego, Snelling realized that if he plays for a West Coast team he'll be six hours closer to home?

Whatever. Chris, thanks for starting the year with us. Ryan, welcome aboard.

Posted by: Hendo | May 3, 2007 3:42 AM | Report abuse

There are few sure things in this world, but one of them has Jim Bowden someday overpaying for the services of Wily Mo Pena.

Posted by: Kevin Costello | May 3, 2007 5:02 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe it. All I've been hearing from my Braves family is how disgusted they've been with 'wankerhands'. 3 for 48??? Another left handed non-hitter??? I hope there's some other behind-the-scenes deal going on to explain this.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 3, 2007 7:19 AM | Report abuse

"Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Therefore I am pleased to announce a trade of OF Chris Snelling for OF Ryan Langerhans!" OR, better yet, "Since our Nationals can't hit the ball out of the infield, I'm pleased to announce that we traded a better hitter for a great fielder! Now we will only lose 4 to nothing instead of 7 to 1!" Anybody got Malox?

Posted by: 6th and D | May 3, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

To me, this looks like a pretty good -- if inconsequential deal. RL's OPS for 2005-2006 is about .750, not bad for a defense-minded OF. Below Snelling's .830 MLB mark, but I agree that he's a time-bomb injury-wise.

Barry, re: your earlier questions:
1) Living in NC, the podcast is my drive-time Nats fix -- keep it up!(once the sun goes down, 1500 reception is fair).
2) The only thing I have trouble finding are your chats -- could we link to them from the main Nats site?

Posted by: DUglow | May 3, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

... talk about a cup of coffee! Ryan Langerhans, of Oakland Athletics fame, becomes the third Ryan of DC. But as much as I know his glove will help, I hate to see the Aussie go. Nonetheless, I'm happy for Chris that he's going to a contender. (Everybody in the west is always a contender.)

... and on top of that Nickie J. is getting closer and closer to an eventual return to the diamond. So why do I still have this huge knot of trepidation in the back of my neck? It's because in spite of all the promise he's shown in his career, he's also shown a certain propensity for fragility. That's why the Yankees let him go.

Posted by: david f watts | May 3, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Seriously bad move (unless there's something wrong with Snelling, or Bowden's working on another deal).

Posted by: John | May 3, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Good piece today, Barry, in the $.35 edition - especially since you had to do two. But while I appreciate the digging on what this means for Church, the answer I'd like to see - Does this spell the end of the "Nook Logan, Switch Hitter" experiment? A CF platoon of Logan/Laangerhaans would definitely help the defense, and as bad as Logan is from the left side, probably help the offense, too. If they sit Church back down, then they deserve the 120+ losses they're heading for.

Posted by: Marc | May 3, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I know if I were Ryan Church right now, I'd be PO'd.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 3, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

This is an inconsequential deal, but as previous posters have noted, it reflects badly misplaced priorities. We don't need outfield defense; we need pitching and people who can hit the ball. Plus Langerhans is a disease:

We'll lead the majors in DL days again!

Posted by: Lindemann | May 3, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Yes, pitching is a priority -- could we see a list of the pitchers that Snelling would bring? Are they better than Joel Hanrahan or Winston Abreu?

The only commodity more rare than decent pitchers right now is shortstops -- as much grief as Bowden gets for Guzman, he perhaps should get some credit for seeing this coming. For the same reason -- as bad as it looks now following an inexplicable meltdown -- at the time, I think Josh Wilson was a nifty pickup...

Posted by: DUglow | May 3, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I am sure that Langerhans is a good defender... but his horrendous error last night basically cost the A's a chance to win over the Red Sox. Strange that he would be traded immediately after a game like that.

Posted by: Dice-K Roller | May 3, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I think he's the fourth at present (Church, Wagner, Zimmerman).


... talk about a cup of coffee! Ryan Langerhans, of Oakland Athletics fame, becomes the third Ryan of DC.

Posted by: Ryans | May 3, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The Nats now have four active Ryans -- Zimmerman, Langerhans, Church and Wagner -- plus Austin Ryan Kearns and don't forget about Ryan Drese (whereabouts unknown).

There are only 14 other active first-named Ryans in MLB and only the Cubs, Phillies and Royals have as many as 2.

This suggests Ryans are associated with bad baseball, even Nolan Ryan, whose lifetime winning pct was a mere .526

Posted by: Ira Allen | May 3, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, I think he's the fourth at present (Church, Wagner, Zimmerman).

... I noticed that just a bit too late. Damn that 'submit' button!

Posted by: david f watts | May 3, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I have that problem all the time!

... I noticed that just a bit too late. Damn that 'submit' button!

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 3, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

1970...millions of young teenage girls swoon over Ryan O'Neal in "Love Story"....and vow they will name their first-borns' "Ryan" , when that day finally arrives 10+ years later.

2007...shouldn't they all be hockey players?

Posted by: Hmmmm.... | May 3, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh come off it all! A guy hitting .204 for a guy with .242 lifetime batting average. Whoopie! I heard there was 60 grand in the pocket of that girls fur coat.

Posted by: Waittilnextyear | May 3, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Just looked at the A's roster. Piazza, Kielty & Kotsay all on the DL. So, no logical DH unless they use a current outfielder. From their perspective, taking a flyer on Snellings makes a lot of sense, although I wonder what Dmitri Young would have brought in return. This seems to suggest Billy Beane was a motivated buyer & also suggests that the Nats may have made a good deal, within the context of this is not going to put them in fourth place. Snellings wasn't going to play once Casto came back & having Langerhans is insurance if Nook can't play or hits worse than he does. No loss unless Snellings is super (which he wasn't showing with Nats despite opportunity); potential minor gain for Nats & big gain for A's if Snellings hits well until Piazza returns.

Posted by: Section 418 | May 3, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

To section 418:

I don't think that Dmitri Young is a moneyball kind of guy... whereas Snelling is... at leat moreso than Young...

I think there's a lot of other intangibles that you get with Langerhans that you don't get with Snelling... a bit more experience at the major league level, and with a team with a winning history... better health... the hitting is probably a wash, at least in the short term, and a change of scenery can often change that.

Posted by: Wigi | May 3, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Why would you trade a younger guy who can get on base for an older guy who can't? Like most of Jim's trades, makes no sense.

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | May 3, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

trade aside, since when is an OPS of ~.750 = "can't get on base"?

Posted by: cevans | May 4, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

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