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Catching up on the trade, Soriano, etc.

Hey, sorry for the late post. I'm sure most of you won't see this till Friday morning, etc. (Isn't it great when the team has a Thursday off? And when that Thursday coincides with a new episode of "The Office," well, then, pure bliss. (I felt the same way growing up when the Red Sox were off and I could use that valuable time to watch "Magnum, P.I.").)

Also: Have you folks been to Wrigley? Man, I recommend it. Very solid. In fact, this is one darn fine town. (I probably haven't mentioned that I was born in the suburb of Oak Park, which is where Ernest Hemingway was born (though it was known as Cicero at the time). (Insert you-couldn't-hold-Hemingway's-jock joke here.)

Anyway, some things to consider. First, you may have noticed I wrote about Nick Johnson this morning, which is a bit odd in a game story, considering he did not even play in -- nor, in fact, was he eligible for -- the game. I'd explain, but it would be more sausage-making discussion, which is boring.

The point is that not only did Johnson swing a bat, but there is a growing sense around the club that his return might be sooner than we originally thought. The club is understandably reluctant to put a date on it, because that hasn't ... um, well, it hasn't worked out very well in the past. But I've watched lots of Johnson's workouts, and they're getting more strenuous all the time. I said to him the other day, "You look like you've lost weight," and he said, "I know I have." And swinging a bat? Well, that simply made him smile.

Don't get me wrong. We're not talking about a week or two or three. But he's getting there.

Secondly, there seems to be much discussion about the Chris Snelling-for-Ryan Langerhans trade from last night. I talked to Susan Slusser, who covers the A's for the San Francisco Chronicle, today, and she said that Oakland GM Billy Beane said something that made quite a bit of sense: The A's had long coveted Snelling, but could never land him from the Mariners because they're in the same division; the Nationals had long coveted Langerhans, but could never land him from the Braves because they're in the same division.

So that makes some sense. Langerhans, however, is a mess right now. He made an error for the A's last night, which is something he can't afford to do. And there's that whole 3 hits in 48 at-bats thing. Woah.

Also: The Nationals called Oakland almost as soon as the Braves traded Langerhans there. The A's have a bunch of banged-up outfielders -- Swisher, Bradley, Buck, etc. -- so they needed bodies. But the whole "for a player to be named later" thing confused me. I was talking about it with a couple of Nationals, and one of them said, "I'm glad he's not in this league any more. He used to take away so many doubles." And that was long before the deal.

And with that, we bring you to Alfonso Soriano, we hardly knew ye. We'll get three heaping helping of day-game Soriano this weekend at Wrigley Field, which should be fun. Did you notice Soriano hit homers in each of his last two games? Do you remember -- keep in mind, it was only last year -- how scary he got when he was hot? Could he be heating up right as the Nationals come to town?

Not surprisingly (and some would say, predictably) I wrote about Soriano for Friday's $.35 edition. It'll be up on the Web site later tonight, I'm sure. But let's just use the time between now and tomorrow's game (or at least between now and when I get you some mid-day lineups) to discuss a couple things.

1. Were you in favor of the Brad Wilkerson-Terrmel Sledge-Armando Galarraga for Soriano trade in December 2005? No revisionist history now. Did you like it then?

2. What was your favorite memory of Soriano's one season in Washington?

3. Were you in favor of the club trading Soriano for prospects at the trade deadline? Do you think the 31st and 68th picks in the draft as compensation will be worth it?

4. If the cost for Soriano was eight years, $136 million (which is what it was), would you have endorsed the Nationals signing him, or would you prefer they spend their money elsewhere over the next several years -- say, on two pitchers and another hitter?

Discuss amongst yourselves. I'll talk to you on Friday.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 3, 2007; 6:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Lineups and notes from Wrigleyville

Comments

1) I personally liked the trade, and felt the fans & media blew the whole left field controversy out of proportion. Basically the LF idea was dumped on him, he made one comment, and everyone rode with that. He brought power and speed that the team at that time lacked. (heck, still lack)

2) His smile - 60+ games at RFK, and Soriano always had a smile on his face. He seemed to love (and respect) the game. Plus, you never knew what he was going to do offensively - a thrill.

3) I felt they should have dealt him at the deadline. Not knowing what Bowden COULD had gotten, tough to say if the two picks make up for it.

4) As a Nats fan, I miss Soriano, but agree with Kastowden - $136 is too much to outlay at this time for this team for one guy.

Posted by: GoNats | May 3, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

1) The trade for Soriano looks fine now (it made last summer much more enjoyable), and maybe even better once the draft picks mature in a few years. Wilkerson didn't exactly tear it up for the Rangers.

2) The excitement of watching Soriano struggle to catch the ball and then throw out runners who assumed he wouldn't get to it or that he'd drop it.

3) Time will tell, but at least the Nats will now get players they've actually selected rather than ones they've settled for.

4) Definitely use their money to develop younger players.

Posted by: Natsman | May 3, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

1. Yes.

2. His three homer game early in the season against ATL, I believe after a rain delay.

3. I hoped he would stay but expected a trade and would have been fine with it.

4. The Nationals did the right thing.

Posted by: Natsman + Zona = Mechanicsville | May 3, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

1. Were you in favor of the Brad Wilkerson-Terrmel Sledge-Armando Galarraga for Soriano trade in December 2005? No revisionist history now. Did you like it then?

Yes

2. What was your favorite memory of Soriano's one season in Washington?

Ehh ... not even worth thinking about now.

3. Were you in favor of the club trading Soriano for prospects at the trade deadline? Do you think the 31st and 68th picks in the draft as compensation will be worth it?

No. And no.

4. If the cost for Soriano was eight years, $136 million (which is what it was), would you have endorsed the Nationals signing him, or would you prefer they spend their money elsewhere over the next several years -- say, on two pitchers and another hitter?

Soriano and his agent would have played me like an accordion too. But I wouldn't have signed him AT THIS TIME for THAT kind of money. Not a prediction, exactly, but look for the Cubs to be trying to unload Soriano's contract -- even if they have to pay lots of it (ala the Rangers and Alex Rodriguez) by the time the concrete is completely dry in the new ballpark.

alan

Posted by: amb141 | May 3, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I always have buyers remorse about anything that costs more than $11, so I had some serious trepidation about the Wilkerson et al trade... and my opinion of Soriano before then was iffy, at best... most of my memories were of him with the Yankees, and I wasn't impressed, but it could have been the uniform as much as the performance.

My favorite memory of Soriano was just watching him every day... it was like playing slots... Every AB was either lemons or cherries.

I find it interesting that we couldn't get anything in trade for him... and it is easy to say that the Nats could have done better than draft picks, but you gotta admit, if there ever was someone that was going to make a BIG deal, it was Bowden, and he didn't... and he knew exactly what the alternative was going to be... so I would assume that we got the best available deal.

As for his price tag... I calculated his cost per ticket sold, assuming 2.5 million in attendance, and it was something like
$6.50 per ticket.

I'd rather have a free Italian Sausage every game... with the peppers and onions.

Posted by: Wigi | May 3, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure most of you won't see this till Friday morning, etc."

... I'm one Canadian who doesn't stop checking the 'net till long after ten.

1. Were you in favor ... Did you like it then?

... in a word, no. I wanted Brad Wilkerson to be around for a lot longer. But I gotta say, I took to the Sorry-man like a duck to water.

2. What was your favorite memory of Soriano's one season in Washington?

... when he showed some real (hu)manhood and listened to his wife. She told him to stop being a baby about left field. So he did; he stopped whining, and turned into a very credible outfielder.

3. Were you in favor of the club trading Soriano for prospects ... Do you think the ... compensation will be worth it?

... no ... and no.

4. ... would you have endorsed the Nationals signing him, or would you prefer they spend their money elsewhere

... since I agree with 'the plan' generally, I agree with letting him go. But as a fan, I would have wanted him to be the guy they built the team around.

Posted by: david f watts | May 3, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

1) Yes, I was glad to have him. Wilkerson was limited. If we had him and Sledge today we would still be bad.

2) I remember the homeruns and the steals. How do you boil it down to one thing. There were more than 80 things (40/40)

3) Wish we could have traded for something good, but I'm a Bowden Booster and if he did'nt like the trades, then the trades weren't good. Are the draft picks enough? No, but if one of them becomes a Zimm, Mauer, Gordon, Hughes, etc..... then it was a better deal. If they both suck? Oh well, you took a shot.

4) $136M? I don't think so. Really good player, had a career year. 8 years? He's no AROD. Had to let him go.

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 3, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

We're headed to Chicago on Saturday morning to catch the game. We have seats in the bleacher section. We'll be proudly wearing our Nats attire!

Posted by: Nats Fan | May 3, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

1) Wilky/Sledge trade. I was not in favor. I thought Wilkerson was a versatile defender w/ good OBP, for which I'm a sucker and thought Sledge had some pop and potential. Plus, I didn't think it made sense to bring a 2B when we already had one. In hindsight, clearly worth it and what a boost to Soriano!

2) memory. The first time he gunned someone down from the outfield w/ that crazy second baseman's throw he had. I thought it was a fluke and then he did it all summer. Great stuff.

3) trade at dealine. I would have like to see a few prospects but it didn't bother me. They knew they were renting him for a year and I liked that Bowden didn't cave when he couldn't get what he thought was value for him.

4) 8/$136. The only 31 year old I would give an 8 year deal plays 3rd for the Evil Empire. No way he is productive for 8 more years. Not at a level worth that kind of money. That deal will be just like Sammy and they'll be paying through the nose for Soriano to be mediocre on another team in 5-6 years. I hate to say that because I love Soriano but I don't think he can produce for that long. Would love to be proven wrong as my wife is from Osweego, in-laws live in Elmhurst and Cubs were my stop-gap team until the Nats moved.

Good questions and enjoyed everyone's answers. Let's hope for a series win this weekend!

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | May 3, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

1. Were you in favor of the Brad Wilkerson-Terrmel Sledge-Armando Galarraga for Soriano trade in December 2005? No revisionist history now. Did you like it then?

Wilky was my favorite Nat, and I figured he'd be around a long while. To hear they'd traded him for a gangly second baseman who I didn't think we'd need with Vidro around upset me greatly. At best, I was prepared to give the trade the benefit of the doubt, but didn't love it.

2. What was your favorite memory of Soriano's one season in Washington?

That he proved the Nats right by being a better left fielder than he ever was a second baseman, and actually came to admit it had been an okay idea.


3. Were you in favor of the club trading Soriano for prospects at the trade deadline? Do you think the 31st and 68th picks in the draft as compensation will be worth it?

I thought the upside of re-signing him was worth the downside of only getting the two picks, so I was against trading him for prospects (at least the prospects available). I don't think the picks will prove worth it in a 1 for 1 comparison with his abilities, but I think the picks will prove worth it against what we'd have had to pay for him.

4. If the cost for Soriano was eight years, $136 million (which is what it was), would you have endorsed the Nationals signing him, or would you prefer they spend their money elsewhere over the next several years -- say, on two pitchers and another hitter?

Absolutely not. No way. Nuh uh. Nyet. Nein. Fark no. I was very happy for him that he was able to milk that kind of money out of the Cubs. The Nats would have been total fools to mortgage their future for him. Hasn't anyone been paying attention to the dangers of sub-prime lending?

Posted by: Section 408 Row 1 | May 3, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

1. Initially no. I liked Wilky but probably 80% of that was because I called him Wilky. Sledge I wish we could have kept around at least another season. He was always a solid player. I don't know. Maybe that's just me. But now, taking it all into account, it was probably worth having a central guy like Soriano last season. For entertainment value if nothing else.

2. I skip this question because I can't think of anything.

3. I was in favor of the club getting the most bang for Soriano's buck. By the middle of the season when he was lighting up RFK (and other parks) on a regular basis it was clear that we wouldn't be able to re-sign him. Maybe I was the only one who viewed him as a stock. We bought him when he was underperforming and rode the wave as his value grew. But to get more out of him would have cost many times more than what we paid initially (or what we could afford). The only flaw in the strategy was not being able to really predict his performance all the way. If Bow Bow had been able to do that, he'd have signed him for two years at a hceap price. But I don't think many GM's would have taken that chance at the time we signed Soriano.

That being said, I think Bow Bow may have waited too long to trade Soriano. I know, it sounds counterintuitive but hear me out. By the time Bow Bow looked to trade Soriano, he was putting up insane numbers compared to his last few seasons. Most clubs would love to have that guy, but they knew he'd be too expensive. So they looked elsewhere for the same talent potential in a younger player, at a discounted price.

As a result, Bowden wasn't able to get fair value. Hence, he settled for the lower draft picks. That's just my uninformed theory. So yeah, all things considered, I think that may have been the best that could have been done. And now, the Cubs are on the chopping block and will probably off-load Soriano's contract at some point thanks to the sale of Tribune. See, it all boils down to business.

4. Definitely send him somewhere else. Even with Soriano this season, we'd be in the NL East cellar. Not worth blowing that kind of money for no real outcome effect. I am a firm believer in The Plan.

Posted by: CrazyIvan | May 3, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

1. The Trade: Trader Jim had gone soft in the head. He traded for a terrible defensive 2nd baseman who had worn out his welcome in NY and TEX. I'm glad I was wrong.

2. Favorite Moment: Soriano bunting. I don't remember the exact game. I do remember he was in a terrible slump. He tried to bunt for a base hit, but ended up with a sacrifice. Soriano did it on his own because Frank Robinson needed him to drive in the run. It showed his leadership and selflessness and gave the team a spark.

3. I have to take Bowden and Kasten's word that they did not receive a fair offer. Of course, the draft picks will take longer to develop than professional prospects.

4. I LUV Soriano, but I don't believe the Nats can win with him. He is not a clutch hitter with RISP.

Posted by: BrianH | May 3, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

1. Were you in favor of the Brad Wilkerson-Terrmel Sledge-Armando Galarraga for Soriano trade in December 2005? No revisionist history now. Did you like it then?

No, I HATED the trade the day it was made, and I hated it all throughout '06, and I still hate it. I was (and am) a huge Wilkerson fan. Soriano's numbers were of course far better, but Wilkerson did things to win games, and fit in with the team concept here better. Sledge was underrated (look at his hitting in the past series). I thought this trade set this team back three years.

2. What was your favorite memory of Soriano's one season in Washington?

I really do not have any fondness for Soriano's stay here. I enjoyed watching him play for that one season but its pretty clear in retrospect that he didn't want to be here and had no intention of dealing with the Nationals in good faith. I really dislike him for using the fans by repeatedly stating that he wanted to stay here and not be traded -- then, of course, auctioned himself out to the highest bidder. And he lost all credibility when he stated that he didn't sign with Chicago for the money, he did it "for the people of Chicago." Please.

3. Were you in favor of the club trading Soriano for prospects at the trade deadline? Do you think the 31st and 68th picks in the draft as compensation will be worth it?

The comp picks are a crap shoot. Anybody we would have gotten at the deadline wasn't as good as Wilkerson and Sledge anyway -- the loss was in November '05, not July 06. Soriano stated repeatedly he wanted to stay in DC in July 06 -- the team would have done more PR harm to trade him then than to have let his selfishness play out the string.

4. If the cost for Soriano was eight years, $136 million (which is what it was), would you have endorsed the Nationals signing him, or would you prefer they spend their money elsewhere over the next several years -- say, on two pitchers and another hitter?

No, Soriano is getting paid for past performance not future performance. He will never equal his 2006 numbers in my opinion. He was totally motivated by money last year. We'd be better off spending that kind of money on Andruw Jones next off season.

Posted by: Ray | May 3, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Good call on the questions Barry!

1) I was in support of it initially because I thought our team needed someone with name recognition, and everyone had an idea of who Soriano was. I was upset to lose Wilky, who I liked (although happy to see those Chevy Chase Bank commercials go), and Sledge, who I just loved his name.

2) My favorite memory of Sori was when, in the series against the Cubs, he shellacked Zambrano for a pair. It was especially glorious because his homer was one of the like three hits we had that game. And we won anyway.

3) I think that we could probably have gotten someone for him that could, and I stress could, fill more holes better than the draft picks. I mean what if we gave him to the Diamondbacks, Twins or A's? No matter what they offer, their system is so chalk full of talent that we would have a decent starting point to this whole rebuilding thing.

4)That money is for those in A-Rod's class. Or Johann Santana, etc. The elite player that is undominitable. Every time, in regards to Sori, I will take the money spent elsewhere.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 3, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

1. No, did not like the trade when it was made. Remembering seeing it on ESPN News that night and thinking that Bowden was making a trade just for the sake of doing something because his hands were tied in pursuing free agents. And I loved Wilkerson and wanted him to be the face of the franchise (this was pre-Zimmerman, of course).

2. Favorite memory of Soriano's season was his 3 HR game in April vs. Atlanta. Long rain delay that we waited through paid off with that. That was also the last good game that Patterson has pitched, I believe.

3. Yes, I would have liked for the Nats to have traded Soriano at the deadline but did understand them not wanting to dump him for what they felt was below market value. I keep thinking of the proposed trade with Detroit for Humberto Sanchez who developed elbow soreness just before the deadline, was traded to the Yankees in the Sheffield trade and ended up having elbow surgery a few weeks back. Bowden would not be a popular guy around here now if that trade had been made.

4. No, I would not have wanted them to sign Soriano at those terms. That's stupid money for him, who I believe is a very talented player but not a cornerstone player for a team.

Posted by: Dave | May 3, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

1. I definitely was in favor of the trade. I was worried Brad would have an awesome year in Texas but that didn't happen and probably won't happen this year... I'll miss his TV commercials though.

B. I would have to say the fact that he crushed the ball at RFK when the whole 1st season there all you heard was how RFK was killing Jose Guillen's power. Thanks for disproving that myth Alfonso.

3.14 I was absolutley in favor of trading him at the deadline. It was clear that we were not going to be able to afford him down the long stretch and we'd lose him after the season any way... why not get a few young prospects out of the deal? I still don't understand how that never went down.

2^2 Stick with the plan... no more mercenary bats with big contracts. Focus on the future. Guys over 30 need not apply.

Posted by: Dorf | May 3, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

1. I wasn't in favor. I think it was a little bit of a shock, for me, after having Brad Wilkerson, face of the franchise, shipped off. Yeah, Soriano was good, but we had a second basemen and I liked him! And with all the attitude issues. I couldn't believe what Bowden was thinking.

2. Game 2 of the series against the Yankees, when he stole second, stole third, made it home on an error. Though, really, any time he stole a base. He had legs like a Thoroughbread. And his smile!

3. I was glad when they kept Soriano. I'm still glad. So it might have cost us some in prospects, but, hey. Thanks for the memories, you know? To me, it was worth is to keep him around for the rest of the season.

4. I miss him, no lie, but I'm glad the Nationals didn't spend the money. I wish we'd done something tangible with the money, but, well. They have a plan!

Posted by: Atlanta | May 3, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

1. I didn't mind the trade. Wilkerson's slump at the end of 05 worried me, I never really got to see Sledge play, nor Galarraga. I liked it but couldn't figure out who Vidro and him would coexist.

2. I was at the game where he stole the base to go 40/40. Watching him steal bases and run was great. we don't have a base stealer now. It kills me watching NY's Reyes take all those bases on us.

3. No I didn't want them to trade him for prospects, but I had no idea of the firesale that was going to ensue. I thought with new owners we would be spending more money. Not an embarrassing small amount. Had I known, I would have been in favor.

4. I'm glad they didn't sign him for that money. I just wish they would have signed someone of value this offseason. It was kind of like watching the Capitals in the offseason. I kept hoping for something, and got nothing. The teams lack of spending was the #1 reason I didn't get a season ticket plan this year. I figure I can get tickets next year to the new park by going in the middle of the week against a low level team and pay scalpers rates and still save money then shell out money for this years lack of talent. I am having more fun going to Potomac this year and watching them in first place and shelling out much less cash.

Posted by: erichardman | May 3, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

1. Were you in favor of the Brad Wilkerson-Terrmel Sledge-Armando Galarraga for Soriano trade in December 2005?

At the time, I was against the trade. I still remember a guy sitting next to me at Jay's Saloon in North Arlington describing Sori as a "malcontent" during the Spring Training left field flap. I agreed with him 100%. Also, I was sorry to see Wilkerson go. He had heart and was a franchise guy.

I must admit, though, that by mid-season I had completely gotten over it. Go figure.


2. What was your favorite memory of Soriano's one season in Washington?

Obviously, there were quite a few! I think my favorite moment, however, happened right at the end of the season during Frank Robinson's last day. The Mets had already come out and congratulated our departing manager, and now it was the Nats turn. I still remember Soriano coming up and grabbing Frank's shoulders and bouncing up and down, trying to get the septuagenarian to join the boys in a little victory hop. Something about the look on Soriano's face reminded me so much of an excited little kid. You could tell that he was really happy to be there. Very endearing.


3. Were you in favor of the club trading Soriano for prospects at the trade deadline? Do you think the 31st and 68th picks in the draft as compensation will be worth it?

I was actually mostly in favor of keeping him, though I fully expected him to get dealt. The season was a wash statistically, and Sori was one of the three guys on the team that were actually worth watching (Zim and Johnson being the others). As others have said above, I think that if the deal had been there, Bowden would have made it. He didn't, so it probably wasn't. As far as prospects go, well, we'll just have to wait a few years and see, huh? (Might be a good future story, eh Barry?)


4. If the cost for Soriano was eight years, $136 million (which is what it was), would you have endorsed the Nationals signing him, or would you prefer they spend their money elsewhere over the next several years -- say, on two pitchers and another hitter?


Let's see, are we allowed to curse on this board? No? Ok, well then let's just go with, Oh *bleep* no! Soriano was a heck of a player and an all around good guy to have in the club house, but the Cubs waaaaay overpaid him, and for much too long a contract. Last year was a career year for the man. I have my doubts that he'll be able to reproduce those kinds of numbers again.

Let's just put it this way: for his sake, I'm glad that he got the kind of contract that he did, more power to him. And as much as I'd love to have him on the team again this year (Zim probably would too don'tcha think?) thank goodness it isn't us that's pickin' up that tab!

Posted by: Del Ray Nats Fan | May 3, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Soriano had a gorgeous swing -- kinda like Tiger Woods. When he did connect and blast a ball outta the park, it was great. When he fielded a ball in left field and gunned down an opposing base runner, it was great.

When he struck/flew/ground out in clutch situations (i.e. more than one out with runners in scoring position) extremely often, it was NOT so great.

The Cubbies can have him. I'd rather watch Zimmerman, Church and Logan develop into perennial all-stars.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 4, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

1. I was surprised and impressed at the time. I always liked Soriano, from the NY days. He is a legitimate top shelf player. In hindsight, I still like the trade.
2. FAVORITE memory is sitting in Phoenix, being apparently the only one yelling "al-FON-so ... SOR-i-AHHHHHH-no!" - in one-man call and response -- and my dad, one more time, pretending he isn't with me. Gotta love it. But of Soriano, his own self, I miss watching that sidearm whip throw from left. Who else does that?
3. I don't know who they could have gotten; I don't even know who was offered. But I would have taken some known quantity. Draft, schmaft. Zimmerman wasn't a 68th pick, but neither was Mike Piazza.
4. I never did understand why the Cubs didn't get him the day after Derrek Lee went down last year. And then, to get him now, by overpaying by about $60M or so I think, is why they ARE the Cubs. They should have made a credible offer, because there was never any real chance they'd actually have to pay it--he was going to get surreal money and everyone knew it.

Posted by: cevans | May 4, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

CLARIFICATION - "THEY should have made a credible offer" means the Nats, not the Cubs.

Posted by: cevans | May 4, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

one more thing about why I would have taken a trade over draft picks -- at the trade deadline, they still had no scouting operation to speak of. That came later. So to think draft picks were useful was, let's be generous and say "optimistic."

Posted by: cevans | May 4, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman was 4th overall; Piazza was drafted in the 63nd ROUND.

Posted by: cevans | May 4, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

1) I loved the trade w/Texas.
2) Favorite memory- the three homer game against Smoltz and the Braves.
3) It is hard to judge whether the trigger should have been pulled on a trade when we don't know the specifics on offers that were made.
4) I think that the Nats should have signed Soriano to a long-term, big dollar deal. Impact players are hard to find and while Soriano has some holes in his game, he's also the type of player who can carry a team on his back. He can change games with his power and with his speed, and the strides he made last year as a defensive player showed that he was a hard worker who took pride in every aspect of his game.

Posted by: Hondo Lives | May 4, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

1.I had mixed feelings about the trade. It depended on what would happened next and as I had suspected, the worst happened.
2.Didn't have a particular one. Too much controversy, too many negatives to offset the plusses.
3.Yes, trading for prospects would have made everything much more palatable. As I've stated ad-nauseam, I'm fairly certain the Nats could have obtained Erick Aybar from the Angels plus a lesser type. I would have taken Aybar even up, and been happy. The draft picks at that level are, in all probably, going to amount to nothing, a pig in the poke. And, excuse my draft ignorance, but why did the Nats not get the Cubs first round draft choice? It wouldn't be because the team went through the farce of pretending that they were actually trying to sign Soriano.
4.I would not have endorsed the Nationals signing a poor fielding, home run hitter who is comfortable only as a lead- off guy, not for 136 million.

Posted by: J. Campbell | May 4, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I was glad to see Wilkerson & Termel go.

I was willing to give Soriano the benefit of the doubt regarding all the switching of positions crap, and I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed watching him last year. I was at the game when he made the 40-40 record. That was awesome to see him pull up the base after he stole it. Very cool.

I am VERY glad we didn't waste the money to try and sign him though. His attitude towards the end of the season when we weren't winning and weren't in contention was horrible. He didn't even try to play and I saw that as a precurser to what he would have done for us in our "rebuilding" process.

I think we made the right choice in letting him go. It's still fun to watch him though!

Posted by: LKitz | May 4, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

3. re: trade at the deadline...For everyone who can't understand why we did not have a deal at the deadline last summer. Give a little credit to the GM's of the other teams who also understood that Sori was a FA at the end of the year and so why would anyone be offering prime prospects...to get a player for a couple of months.

And who knew he would wind up with a last place team...which automatically dropped the compensation we got from 1st round to 2nd.

Keeping him around was the best option. He was fun to watch.

Posted by: pk | May 4, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I thought the Soriano-Wilkerson deal was ok *if* the Nats got something worth while in trade at the deadline. I am on the fence about it now, we will see what they can get with the draft picks. Not knowing what Bowden was offered for him in trade, it is tough to say whether a deal should have been made or not.

Sorri left me with good and bad memories. The bad being stealing third base in situations when he should not have. And the good being obvious, his joy for the game, his power and speed.

Posted by: Rob | May 4, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

1. Hated the trade. Young for Old, Cheap for Expensive, Controlable for Noncontrolable, etc. But a funny thing happened - talent won out. It was fun being wrong.

2. The 3 homer game v. the Braves, and yes it was after a rain delay. The thought of a 3 HR game at RFK back then was akin to the Marlins relocating to the moon. Unimaginable.

3. Heart said keep Sori and try to sign him. Head said "Shut up, heart! We will win 70 games with him. Trade him now!" Impossible to assess value of trade v. picks until someone actually tells you what they offered Bodes for Sori.

4. The Cubs so far overpaid for Sori it is embarrassing. I know Jim hendy was in poor health, but that was ridiculous. No way on earth should the Nats have signed him to $136/8.

ps - Slider down & away x 3 x 12 = Sori goes 0 for 12 this weekend.

Never could understand why it took NL pitchers so long to figure that out.

Posted by: WebberDC | May 4, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

1. Hated the trade. Wilkerson, while he had his faults, was a great player for us. Good clubhouse guy, solid glove at several positions (he'd probably play SS if we needed it and still do alright!), batted anywhere, solid OBP. He'd surely be our starting 1B right now. And Sledge is now starting in LF for the Pads...could be doing that for us.

2. While I warmed up to Soriano more and more throughout the season, I can't forget the beginning debacle in the Spring over the position switch. Bracket that with the likely disingenuous expressions of his love for DC and how he wanted to stay here and I'd have to say I didn't really have a favorite Soriano moment.

3. I wholeheartedly was for the trading of Soriano for prospects and just about peed my pants when I heard we were getting Brandon McCarthy for him (only to find out that the rumor was bogus). And no, 31st and 68th picks is not compensation - I thought we were supposed to get a first rounder and a sandwich pick. What happened to that?

4. That said, I'd rather have the draft picks than signing Soriano to that huge contract. His 40-40 season didn't make our team much better last year so I don't think his future years would have made enough of an impact to be worth it.

Posted by: DE | May 4, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh - and by saying that Wilkie would be our starting 1B...I meant during Nicky J's absence! Once Nick returns, he could go back to being one of our starting OF. Or SS ;)

Posted by: DE | May 4, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Was not a fan of the trade, still not a fan. Even though it made last year more exciting (and Wilky had a horrible season), didn't get us ANYTHING in the long run (save some draft picks, which I think aren't even that high). He should have been traded in July if we weren't going to make a serious run at signing him. I suspect part of the reason we're not "renting" any players this year is because of the Soriano debacle last year. Best memory was the over/under of if he was going to hit a homer or strike out at every at bat.

And speaking of nothing, this Langerhans deal is like an addict needing just one more hit - Bowden needing the high of the trade deal. I'm skeptical.

Posted by: CJ | May 4, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,

Did you read the Ken Rosenthal 4 part article on the Nats yet? If so, whadaya think?

Posted by: Curli W | May 4, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I speak as a semi-motivated Nats fan. In other words, I need an incentive to drive 150+ miles round trip to see a game at RFK.

Right now, there's no incentive. Not worth the trip. Furthermore, "The Plan" promises no incentive in forthcoming seasons, either. I'm sorry, but having exciting players like Soriano helps get me motivated.

When I see Turner Field half empty for Braves/Phillies, I see the legacy of "The Plan" on Atlanta baseball. Very good teams playing before half-empty houses. Not even sell-outs for playoff games.

So, I think "The Plan" stinks as a fan motivator. Die-hard fans (Boswell) will be there, through rain or shine, but the casual fan will move on. The Bay beckons.

And who's to say that Bowden and Manny Acta can repeat what John Schuerholtz (sp?)and Bobby Cox did in Atlanta? I would not bet on it. Throw in the fact (per Rosenthal's articles) that the ownership and management seems to be playing games with personnel instead of being even-handed, and you have a better than 50-50 likelihood of an Angelos/Orioles outcome, IMHO.

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | May 4, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I was always in favor of the Soriano deal. I particularly liked how Bowden acted as if he had no idea Soriano would resist moving to lf because the Rangers wouldn't let them talk before the trade. Very smooth.

My favorite memory of Soriano was watching Nick Johnson pinch hitting after a day off. Soriano was in the on deck box and all the little kids were screaming "Soriaaaaaaano" while Johnson was the one hitting. I think Nick took it pretty well.

As a fan, I didn't want them to trade Soriano last year, I dreamed of them signing him, but knew they wouldn't. As far as trade value goes, whatever team had him at the end of the year was going to get two high picks. That has to figure in the trade, and I would have been incensed if we'd traded him for too little. If they weren't offered first round of the draft talent, it was nice to watch him finish the season.

Once he became a free agent, the Nats had no hope of signing him. I don't believe they ever actually intended to, and it was the right decision.

Posted by: SZ | May 4, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

>I see the legacy of "The Plan" on Atlanta
>baseball.

So the legacy of the plan was 14 straight playoff appearances?
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'd take that as a legacy.
The fact the people in Atlanta don't go to games is a reflection on the fans, not the Braves or "The Plan."

Posted by: JB | May 4, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

1) Yes, I thought it was a very good trade at the time. Sori brought star power to the Nats. Wilki was supposed to be the face of the franchise, but he was mostly just a strikeout king, very replicable.

2) No single memory, just the HRs and outfield assists.

3) Yes, he definitely should have been moved before the trade deadline. Any team trading for Sori would have received the same draft picks the Nats got if he left, so Bowden should have been able to receive the value of the two picks in addition to Sori's value to a contending team making a playoff run.

4) Best scenario, the Nats use the money to sign two pitchers and a hitter. Second best, the Nats sign Sori. Worst case, the Nats sign nobody and field a minor league team in 2007.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 4, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Barry,

Magnum P.I. on Sleuth at 7pm and then Earl and the Office at 8. That's a great night of TV when the Nats don't play. The Office is the funniest show I've ever watched.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 4, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Great point pk.... made sense for the other orgs not to trade away picks if he'd be available anyway unless you are a small revenue team that couldn't afford a bidding war in the offseason... the cubs kind of killed any bidding war there.

I don't usually watch Earl, but they did a Rudy parody last night with all the old actors from Rudy and it was hilarious. I'm a fan now.

Posted by: Dorf | May 4, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

best sori memory was sitting three rows back from the field right out in left field, with the giants in town right before the deadline. everyone cheering sori like it might be his last game or so, and booing the heck out of bonds. watching both of them soak it in. a nice night too....

Posted by: derek | May 4, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

1. Yes, I loved it then (and I still love it today). After seeing a few months of Wilkerson leading the league in strikeouts with only average power in '05 I was not upset to see him go.

2. Nothing specific, I just enjoyed the energy and enthusiasim he brought to the field, even when it was clear the team wasn't a contender.

3. I was in favor of trading Sori, but not for a bag of peanuts. I'm happy Bowden had a "too high" price tag on him, and I'm glad he didn't buckle and get robbed in a one-sided trade. The draft picks are nice to have, and it'll be years before we know if those picks wind up being more valuable than the best deal Bowden could have gotten.

4. Glad the Nats didn't try to offer a similar deal. In my (humble) opinion, that contract goes beyond Sori's actual worth to a team, and the money is better spent getting two or three guys down the road.

Thanks, as always, for great discussion topics, Barry!

Posted by: AT | May 4, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

1. I was against the trade, because we didn't need a second baseman and because He immediately started throwing temper tantrums. Wilkerson, meanwhile, was a big part of the '05 magic

2. His nice-guy comments. After he decided to go take the field, he always had something sweet and positive to say. And his work ethic made him a real role model.

3. He shouldn't have been traded. It has nothing to do with draft picks and everything to do with needing a reason to keep watching in a hopeless season. Sori gave us a reason to tune in and be excited and some days the only reason to do so.

4. We simply couldn't afford him. It would have been nice if they had offered something, but we couldn't have taken on that kind of offer.

Posted by: SP | May 4, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

1. Yes, absolutely. A superstar for 2 replicable parts.
2. Not a moment exactly but the evident mutual respect between Sori and Frank. I bet Frank respected his professionalism in making the statement re: LF in spring training then committing to making it work.
3. don't know the offers made.
4. The 8 years is more the problem than the cash - so no. But folks you gotta pay to win. Takes a few game changers to win a championship. But 8 years is too long for a guy his age, even if we're planning to be good in 3 years.

Posted by: geezer | May 4, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

1. I didn't like it then, because I had just come back to loving baseball as the Nats came to town. Wilkerson being a face of the team and having watched him hit a grand slam in RFK was tough to let go of. I had no idea at the time what kind of deal we were getting.

2. Favorite memory: sitting on the front row above left field the night he stole his 40th base. Watching him rip the base out of the ground and seeing his smile as he came back out to left for the top of the next inning.

3. I wanted a trade because I felt (feel) that players already in development from another team are more likely to pan out than draft picks, and in a shorter time frame. I don't think there was a good deal to be had so I'm satisfied with the picks.

4. I was hopeful but not optimistic that Soriano would stay, I wasn't surprised that we couldn't make a competitive offer and I didn't feel ripped off or used when he went to Chicago. I just hope the savings shows up back in the payroll in '08, '09, & '10

Posted by: i hate walks | May 4, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

1. I didn't like it at the time. Missed Wilky and didn't like Sori's attitude about playing left field. Did warm up to Sori later, though.
2a. Favorite memory: the 3-homer game against the Braves because of (a) the look on John Smoltz's face after the second homer (I kinda like Smoltz when he's not pitching against us but the look was just priceless), (b) shutting up the "RFK's too big to homer in" whiners. Honorable mention: the Yankee game where he stole second and third and came home on an error.
2b. Least favorite memory: his attitude and comments about wanting to win and having nothing to play for towards the end of the season (uh, how about the fans? or pride?). Runner up: waiting to say goodbye at the team parking lot gate with a bunch of kids on the last day of the season. Alfonso cruised right on by in his shiny Escalade, favoring the kids with a slight incline of his head and a raised index finger. His large diamond ear stud glinted merrily as he passed. I had a feeling then that we would not be seeing him in a Nats uni again. Who *did* stop to sign autographs for the kids that day? Mr. Felipe Lopez, that's who.
3. I don't know what trade offers were made so it's difficult to say. I hope that we'll get something good out of the draft but as far as worthwhile compensation I would think not.
4. No, the Cubs deal is wack. I'd rather see us spend the money elsewhere.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 4, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

1. Cautiously optimistc about it then. We didnt lose much, but we got a guy who could have been a hell of a player and he was. I thought there was an equal chance of him being a bust, but you gave up three replaceable players for a guy who could have been something special. Nothing lost, much to gain

2. In Person: I think it was his homer against the O's after fick's pinch hit single. On TV: 3HR's vs Braves, 492 footer at Cinci that awed the crowd. I dont know how many 185 pound guys can hit it 492...

3. Who knows? Dont know what was offered.

4. No.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

to follow up my last post

3. Does it really matter because we essentially got those picks for Sledge, Wilkerson, and Galaragga?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Yo, JB:

If you think the Lerner/Kasten/Bowden/Acta group will deliver 14 straight division top finishes (beginning, let's see, in 2012?), then I've got a bridge to sell you . . .

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | May 4, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

We traded home grown talent with potential to get better for a rental. Since when do teams that have no chance of contending, trade for rentals? It was inexplicable then, during the season and now and absolutely moronic. The only justification I can imagine for it is that Bowden either thought he could trade Soriano for better prospects with more upside than Wilkerson and Sledge and the like would have, or that even sandwich picks alone would be superior to that. I don't see how though.

So the answer to 1.) is obviously no.

The answer to #2 was the hysterical nonsense about wanting to resign with Washington. Absolute horse manure. And if anyone was ever inclined to believe anything anyone in the FO, or any player ever says about anything contract related, that should have forever finished it off. For a town that remembers Daryl Gardner talking about absolutely resigning with the redskins after a nice year at DT playing for Spurrier, and then bolting for a bigger pay day in Denver immediately after making said statements, we should have known better, and most did.

3. Yes and No.

I believe a trade for prospects would have gotten a lot more value. No one can tell me there wasn't a market for a very athletic, very talented OF having a career season on defense and hitting at the deadline? No one was willing to offer us much? Give me a break. I don't buy that for a second. As for the sandwich picks, they stink, and this draft is reportedly very weak on top of that. The only quality in the draft is supposedly high school pitching, which of course takes forever to develop, which means that instead of having a prospect or two 6 months to 18 months away, even if we get the best value, the value will probably be 3 years away minimum.

4. Resigning him-Depends on whether this franchise will actually use the $$$ not used in said deal entirely on new players in the future. I'm exceptionally skeptical. I've heard the cheap losers in Dolan claiming they'd spend on FA's the second cleveland was competitive and it was of course a load of b.s. Why should we believe the ownership here would? However, if they actually would, I'd rather spend it on some quality young pitching, and a nice young hitter, definitely. I'd also prefer it be spent on a scouting staff, particularly if anyone is still around from the bird brained Colon trade, or the turn around trade with the White Sox after the expos fell out of contention. Bad enough that baseball essentially rigged the league and turned the expos/future nationals into a Dollar store for contenders, and rebuilding teams, even worse if any of the idiots that signed off on said deals are still around.

Posted by: Stephen Smith | May 5, 2007 1:52 AM | Report abuse

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