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King: I'll take my time; O'Connor will be long man in pen

I'll get you full reaction from King, Acta and Bowden, but the upshot of the move:

1. King has 72 hours to report to Columbus. He didn't completely rule it out, but he wants a major league job and will seek a trade.

2. Bowden said he is not averse to finding a trade if it makes the club better.

3. O'Connor will be here tonight, and he will serve as the long man out of the bullpen but remains a candidate for the rotation should someone else falter. "This is about Mike O'Connor," Bowden said.

4. Acta and Bowden said, given the makeup of the club and its performance, the team couldn't afford to have a lefty-one-out-guy becuase they need more innings out of the pen.

King was obviously shocked. I'll give you more in a bit, but here's his initial reaction:

"After 14, 15 years, you come in, [they] tell you you don't have a job, it's very surprsing," King said. "I guess when things go bad, we start looking for other avenues. I guess I was just that avenue that didn't fit today."

And thanks to Sheinin for posting the initial news while I was waiting to talk to people in the clubhouse.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 24, 2008; 5:35 PM ET
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Next: King and Bowden on the move


This is a good start.

Now.... FIRE BOWDEN!!!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 24, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

In all seriousness (not that we don't need to fire Bowden)... King was a Bowden draft choice in Cincy. Maybe he's backtracking on the ex-Reds obsession?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 24, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Bringing this over from the other thread ...

re: options ...When a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man Major League roster, he is on "optional assignment." One common misconception about the rules is that a player may only be "optioned out" three times. Actually, each player has three option years, and he can be sent up and down as many times as the club chooses within those three seasons. (Note: A fourth option is relatively rare but can happen when a player reaches the Majors quickly.)

I have done much digging into the specifics of Ray King, but my guess is that he was never optioned to the minors in three seasons thus the Nationals still had the ability to option him to the minors. (For example, Alex Rodriguez still has options left given the fact that he Mariners only used one; it's unlikely that it will ever be used but they are there)

Keep in mind that given King's service time, he has to OK it. If he doesn't then the Nationals would have to [trade him] or grant him free agency.
Quick scan of King's entry at Baseball Reference since I cannot transaction before 2001. He made the majors in 1999. I'm going to guess given the number of games, it was as a September call-up so no option would have been used. He pitched in 36 games in 2000, so I'll take a guess one was used there. From 2001 to 2007, he pitched in 67+ games, I guess there is a chance there were options used there but I doubt it.

Posted by: Brian | April 24, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Its hard to argue with the results. Why screw around w/ a journey man lefty who can't get any right handers/switch hittesr out, when you can bring up a far more versatile player in O'Connor. More innings, can start, pitching well in AAA and earned the callup.

Next: dump chico after he gets Tattooed on saturday and bring up Balester to fit into the rotation. The future is now.

Posted by: Sec131 | April 24, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, now everything will be better...

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I liked the King resigning, someone out there will need a LOOGY at some point, lets hope theyre willing to give up someone to get him. Keep in mind that we successfully traded mike stanton away multiple times so it cant be too hard to find a suitor for king.

This also gives the nationals the option of sending Chico to the bullpen as a lefty if he continues to struggle. O'Connor could then be moved into the rotation. This greatly adds to the versatility of this team. Best case, O'Connor pitches well, goes to the rotation, Chico pitches well out of the pen, they both get shipped off to a contender for useful pieces.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | April 24, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I guess that 8 inning W run performance by Chico is still carrying some weight, more than I would have guessed anyway.

I don't like taking O'Connor out of his SP routine for long relief/swing but then again he's a veteran not some 19 yo kid.

Posted by: estuartj | April 24, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

muahaha ... my Nats pitching diagram on my whiteboard at work gets more complex.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 25, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

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