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Is Paul Lo Duca worth this much discussion?

Well, I got nothing else to discuss.

The latest: There may be another team involved on Lo Duca. Not sure who. Toronto's offer, as reported by Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail, won't exceed $4 million. We'll see.

Other tidbits:

The Nationals released LHPs Justin Jones and Billy Traber. They have 36 spots full on the 40-man roster. Jones went 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA at three minor league levels and had come a long way, Bowden said. But he blew out his knee playing basketball this winter. A shame, really.

We know what Traber offered. Moving on.

Bowden also says they're likely to take a player in tomorrow morning's Rule 5 draft, which basically closes the meetings.

And there are no new developments on a long-term contract for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Here's Bowden on that. "I've got him locked up. It's done. We'll go year-to-year and he's locked up. And it's a great system. If he gets injured, I'm protected. It's a fair system. I have control of him. Certainly we'll continue dialogue. At some point we'll sign him to a long-term contract. Now, if it's this year, next year, two years from now, three years from now, four years from now, I don't know. We'll keep the dialogue going. He's a very important part of our future. He knows how we feel about him. The business side of it is the business side of it."

I may have more later tonight. No guarantees, but some of this stuff feels fluid.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 5, 2007; 8:39 PM ET
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Next: Weapon of Mass Production: No extension yet


Barry- Thanks. This week will get us through the winter, and I can change to "two more months" next week.

LoDuca would have excited me immensely a few years ago. Remember how crazy it seemed when Los Angeles let him go in a trade(or did FL let him go)? Now, though, another poster hit exactly what I was thinking- Lo Duca was one of Milledge's tormentors. We don't need him for that, or his reduced skills, or for having to listen to even more bad character jokes before the season starts.

No catcher other than Flores excites me. I would prefer that the team concentrate on pitching, because no catching solution will satisfy our need.

Posted by: Three more months | December 5, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound to me like LoDuka would want to sign here, at this point, so it may be moot.
And if they take a Rule 5 guy, that's one roster spot all next year. Can you trade a rule 5 draftee without offering him back? Don't think so. Gotta be another catcher, a starting pitcher, or a middle infielder, no?

Posted by: CE | December 5, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

You can trade a Rule 5 guy, but the same requirements hold for the receiving team, they have to keep them on the 25-man.

Posted by: Brian | December 5, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Barry, have you had a decent meal yet?

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

How's the sushi in Opryland? Is it smoky and made of pig? Have you had deep fried anything?

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Boy, what a schlocky comment by Jimbo on Zim. "I have control of him." Hardly the kind of attitude you want to show to your franchise player. Keep up that attitude and see Zim walk the first chance he gets.

Posted by: Ashburn | December 5, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

And oh, by the way, Lo Duca is not worth this much discussion. But the mere possibility of him becoming a Nat has raised the ire of folks who collectively shout, "No!"

Posted by: Ashburn | December 5, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Agree re. Jimbo, Ashburn.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

either that or you're just reading too much into it. not everything that looks snarky in print is actually snarky in reality...

from espn, re wily mo...

9:12 p.m., from Enrique Rojas • The Nationals and outfielder Wily Mo Pena have reached a preliminary agreement for a two-year, $7 million contract extension, according to sources. Pena, 25, will get $2 million in 2008 and $5 million in 2009. He had the option of arbitration this year and could have become a free agent after the '08 season.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 5, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse


Good work! Only problem is that I now need to start reading ESPN Deportes to get all the latest news.

Posted by: Three more months | December 5, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"Washington has some strengths - good ownership and executive leadership, a strong manager in Manny Acta, and Jim Bowden's got some positive qualities, but in the end, they're still a Jim Bowden team, and he's never going to win anything with his ridiculous management style."

Get JimBow out of the South. Words like this have not been spoken since they closed the auction block in 1863. How angry must Ryan Zimmerman be when he sees this?

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Would Theo Epstein have said this about ANY of his players, with a gun to his head?

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Ew. Jim's comment is a 9.8 on the Cringe Scale. Bad, bad, bad. Barry, hurry up and post again so we can bury this thing before Zimm sees it.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

went to your link and found this gem:

"Barring a one season fluke where everything just breaks right, I'm not sure Baltimore makes the playoffs in the next 10-15 years. If you're raising a child near the nation's capital, make them a Nationals fan."

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I doubt Zim or his agent take comments like JimBow's as insulting. This is a business and they understand that giving multi million dollar deals of guaranteed money and risk having him get hurt, is NOT a good way to manage your business. Besides he'll get a lot more money in the long run by waiting....

Bad news on JJ, reminds you how fragile a career in sports or entertainment can be...

I don't mind the prospect of signing Lo Duca (though I hope we don't), but I am bothered that we don't seems (at least according to the rumor mill) to be going after Montero, who would be a much better LONGTERM addition to the club. The Snakes seem willing to deal him, but no word on what/if we are offering and what they want for him. I would love to have the youth, depth and talent at catcher that we now have in the outfield, and with 1 tenth the headache!

Final thought, if the report on WMP is accurate you get bet your ass he won't be riding the pine, so I think it's much more likely to see Dukes on the bench or platooning with Milledge in center (he would make a good defensive replacement for WMP late in games we are leading, in addition to a PH/PR role while he continues to develop and prove his moral stature.

Posted by: estuartj | December 5, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, NatsNut, that's a great one. Don Sutton owes you a case of his favorite vintage for the Incident in Pittsburgh, by the way. He's into wines. That snow on the diamond would make a great Christmas Card, no? I don't like ending sentences with no?, but just talked to a buddy in Argentina, so forgive me.

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the diamond tonite, I just want to go and make snow angels in the outfield. But it's very cold out there. brrrr. So I won't.

Sutton, grrrrr. Wonder how Slowes is doing.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

My daughter just bought a box of Crispix. I cannot get over how much the Indian's DH Travis Hafner looks like Shrek.

More from USS Mariner:

The Most Fun Trade Ever, Part Two
The Tigers are sending their entire farm system, along with the draft rights to every player they pick for the next 1,000 years, a partridge, and a pear tree to the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

It's the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. The Tigers instantly thrust themselves right back into the top tier of the American League superpowers, while the Marlins acquire a ridiculous haul of talent not seen since the Herschel Walker trade.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Crispix/Hafner=Shrek (really!)/Herschel Walker trade comment was mine.

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think that A-Rod's gloves as pictured on Wheaties boxes look like the Hamburger Helper mascot.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

1A, the snow on the diamond is beautiful and quiet, yet beneath it lie all the hopes of spring! What a Holiday Card!

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

True, flynnie, it's lovely!


1A, the snow on the diamond is beautiful and quiet, yet beneath it lie all the hopes of spring! What a Holiday Card!

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Good night, folks. Hope that Barry got something to eat, fried or unfried.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, you're right. I think I'll replace the pic of Griffith Stadium that is the desktop on my laptop.

Well, folks, we've just blown another chance at a veteran catcher. just announced that Joe Torre had knee surgery...and I was so hoping that we could talk him back onto the field and away from the Dodgers.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 5, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go get some Wheaties. Happy Holidays, all! Warmest wishes for a grateful and happy new year! Make sure the Nats Vet gets Elijah his rabies shots!

Posted by: flynnie | December 5, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

No, Lo Duca is not! Start Jesus!

Posted by: Section 320, mjwies11 | December 5, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Time for some perspective:

Johan Santana, for as great as he is, has to be projected as something like a 5 to 7 win addition to his new team (not accounting for the wins surrendered by giving up major league talent to acquire him). He's an incredible pitcher, but the irrational exuberance surrounding the "Get Johan Santana, pair him with Felix Hernandez, win World Series!" type of analysis is just not realistic.

Look at the 2006 Twins - they had peak Johan, Francisco Liriano putting up a performance that we can't even expect Felix to match, quality back-end starters in Brad Radke and Boof Bonser, the best bullpen in baseball, a legitimate MVP candidate in Joe Mauer, a non-legitimate MVP candidate who won anyway in Justin Morneau, solid role players in Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Bartlett, and useful years out of spare parts like Nick Punto, Luis Castillo, and Mike Redmond.

That team had a +120 run differential, won 96 games (squeeking out a division title by one game), and got swept out of the playoffs in the first round.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

This last was by me. Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Leave your shoes out tonight! Hope for something good from Sinterklaas and that you won't be taken off by Schwartze Pieter - to Spain!

Posted by: St. Nick | December 5, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

nats should focus on ramon hernanez from up the highway in baltimore, also look for some veterans to help like damin easley, hawkins, and possibly melvin mora.

Posted by: Jamerio | December 5, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Be careful about picking up o's, if we do too much of that our franchise might start looking like theirs. Probably cant be that bad though unless the put angelos on the block.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | December 5, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere Andy McPhail is sitting and wondering a way to do that...

put angelos on the block.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | December 5, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Laird is definitely trade bait with Salty and a prime prospect (Teagarden) behind him. A number of ways to get him. Must mention Arias as another guy on that team as a target.

Pudge - Detroit just exercised their option because they want him at $13 million. Also, they just traded Rabelo and only have Vance Wilson (old, coming off injury) as a back up on their roster. If anything, they may want a catcher backup and aren't looking to move a catcher.

If the Angels do not move one of their catchers in a Bedard and /or Tejada deal, perhaps Napoli or Mathis would be available. I don't see a position match, though.

Barajas is still out there as a FA with no compensation.

In the pure fantasy, it'd take an arm and a leg world, we'd want to take a run at Jeff Clement. He's a lefty bat and and might be the best catcher in the minors. I just don't see how we have enough talent to get him. He's #46 on MILB's list of the top 50 prospects, behind Detwiler (#37) and Marrero (#31) but ahead of Maxwell (#60 on the just missed list). I don't think we move either of the top 2, and I don't think Maxwell is what they are looking for. He is available because he is blocked by Johjima. He's the type of guy who is a trade chit for big starting pitcher.

Posted by: jon | December 5, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: vigilant | December 5, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo on Zimbo: Ryan Zimmerman (my 10-year old has nicknamed him Zimbo) is a potential Cal Ripken franchise player. It worries me to hear the GM speak like that.

Posted by: Mike | December 6, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Exactly,three more months, the catcher who excites me is Flores, although I like the idea of another young catcher like Montero.
I understand that it's just business, but Bowden's comment about Zimmerman is still unnecessary and stupid.
Speaking of Bowden's team, if Johnson isn't in the lineup, all the other projected starting eight have his stamp on them. And roughly 17 of the top twenty prospects. Pitchers at the big league level are another thing.

Posted by: natspo | December 6, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

That is one great baseball name, IMO. That is all...

Boof Bonser

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 6, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Seeing as how we're wishing happy holidays, a belated Happy Hanukah to all those who observe it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 6, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

whoops, Hanukkah. Knew that I should have double-checked first...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 6, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Might those be the remnants of the holiday lighting ceremony on the far left of the roof in front of the parking garage? The largest object looks like a Christmas tree to me but I can't get a clear resolution when I enlarge the picture (looking to the left of the scoreboard using the press box camera).

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 6, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 6, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe not. The team site says that the lighting ceremony was supposed to take place on the roof of the right field parking garage but was moved inside due to the weather.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 6, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

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