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Pena: Season-ending surgery

Nats OF Wily Mo Pena had successful surgery performed in Cincinnati this morning by Dr. Tim Kremchek. The Nats are saying that Pena will be out four to six months; he'll be ready for spring training. According to the release, Kremchek repaired a "significant" tear of Pena's rotator cuff, as well as the tear and fraying of his posterior labrum.

In non-medical jargon, Pena's season is over -- finalized as a massive disappointment. Never did Pena nor team management use Pena's injury, which he tried to play through, stand as an excuse for his underperformance. But the severity of this injury, in retrospect, makes it at least somewhat dubious to dismiss Pena as a lost cause.

His final stat line for 2008:

AB - 195
H - 40
HR - 2
RBI - 10
AVG - .205

Among players with at least 150 at bats this season, Pena has the fifth-lowest slugging percentage (.267) in baseball. San Francisco's Omar Vizquel, if you're curious, has the lowest - an astonishing .191 slugging percentage in 157 ABs.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 1:01 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Light Travels at the Speed of Willie Harris
Next: Breaking news: Rauch traded, Guzman re-signed

Comments

now he won't be around to suck up at-bats dukes will need when he comes off the disabled list. wmp = wasted monetary performance. i can't see on the nats roster next year.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Sad to hear, but just think if those 195 bats had gone to... Willie Harris.

Posted by: Section 222 | July 22, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

May the Weapon of Mass Production return healed and better than ever next spring.

Posted by: PB | July 22, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"a significant partial tear" is like saying Willie Harris has abnormal, God-like powers. Of course, in his case, it is true.

Rest up Wily Mo....and change your name to Willie and we too will soon recite the countless amazing things you can do.

Posted by: Chuck Norris | July 22, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

PB

may a gps system be installed in his glove as well.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

How quickly they move on to the next flavor of the month . . .

293/352/504 ops+ 124 in 133 AB's (somewhat lucky in September with a .369 babip though)

Not an unreasonable gamble, nor would it be unreasonable to have WMP as the top PH on the bench next season (if his shoulder is in one piece)

Kill them on PLOD or Mackowiak (remember him). . . signing with no upside when they were made.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | July 22, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to bag on WMP, but his acquisition shows that JimBow needs to adjust his thinking about how this roster shoukl be put together. When WMP and the Meat Loaf are in the lineup together, it means that Manny has to shorten his bench by two players for defensive purposes at the end of games. When you carry 12 pitchers on your roster, a National League manger needs as much personnel flexibility as possible. In theory because of the defensive substitutions the Nats are playing with a 23-man roster most nights because two players have to burned for defense. More of the athletic types like Milledge and Dukes in the lineup means not having to alter the outfield defense, making the bench stronger. Get more two-way players on the roster rather than one-dimensional vets.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

There is an article on espn.com's page 2 where the columnist interviewed fans about ballpark appropriate attire, in response to the shirtless male incident from last month. Interesting read.

http://tinyurl.com/62528j

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 22, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Can we all now stop dumping on Nats decisions. SF is still playing Vizquel (noted in the blog) ahead of our own Emmanuel Burriss.

Posted by: Catcher50 | July 22, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Gal

been saying since wmp came to dc that it was a bad move. breaking balls give him fits and he has never worked on the defensive part of his game since coming to the majors.he's better suited to be a DH, with spot work in the OF than as an everyday two-way player. may jimbow find him a home in the american league.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

So, who has the Nats winning 25 of their next 30? They're only 15 games behind the Mets and Phillies for the division. 25 of the next 30 would give them a 63-66 record, so we really need 28 to get to .500 and beyond. Boswell says that even the worst teams have a long win streak coming to them, and 28 out of 30 is a long win streak.

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Catcher 50

From today's SF Chronicle about Vizquel...

Shortstop Omar Vizquel poses a sticky wicket for the Giants.

On one hand, they surely want to see prospects such as Emmanuel Burriss and Ivan Ochoa at shortstop for the rest of the season. But with Vizquel hitting .166, he might be difficult to trade.

In similar cases, the Giants simply released struggling older players, but they are loath to embarrass a player of Vizquel's stature that way.

If a contending team needs a backup defensive shortstop and a strong clubhouse presence for a playoff push, regardless of his hitting, Vizquel would be a great choice. Vizquel said Sunday he prefers to stay in San Francisco for the rest of the season. He will be watching and waiting ahead of the July 31 trade deadline like everyone else.


Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Re: the possibility of trading Rauch, this excerpt is taken from Buster Olney's blog on ESPN.com:
Jon Rauch, Nationals, RHP: He is under contract for $2 million for next year (plus an affordable $2.9 million for 2010), and the asking price is said to be very, very high. Rauch has the kind of strikeout/walk ratio (44/7) that generates visions of set-up glory, but time will tell if that will be enough to lure the kind of offers Jim Bowden is looking for.

Posted by: Jimbo | July 22, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chico, can we get some talk about who the Nats might be looking to move/get at the deadline? It would have to be more interesting than endless jokes about one (1) Nat who had one (1) good week.

Posted by: Section 319 | July 22, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Wily Mo was glorious to watch at RFK and made an immediate impact in how teams pitched to those around him. I knew something physical was wrong with him. I've been pulling for him to bust loose all season, and wish him a speedy and full recovery. Return to the Nats next year to strike fear in the opposition, Wily Mo!

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

WMP will certainly be back next year -- his 09 contract includes a $5 m team option that will not be exercised and a $2 m player option that WMP will certainly exercise. I doubt the Lerners swallow that kind of money and release him.

Posted by: Red Loft | July 22, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Do tell, 319.

Posted by: willieharrisfanandproudofit | July 22, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

WMP hit great last season after he got here. I don't get why they let him go on so long. The shut down Zimm when it was obvious he was hurt. Maybe Willie could have played this season if he hadn't continued playing with an injury that is now very serious. So, if there are delays in his rehab then might even miss some of ST.

When you invest millions in a guy, why do you let him play through an injury in a write off year?? Really lost on this one.

Tough call on him. $5m team opt w/ $2m buy-out. Not sure he's worth risking $5m but hate to give him $2m and see him hit well for someone else. Bowden will get ripped on that one either way. I say pay the option and give him the first half to see what he can do, if he doesn't get it done, release him. Someone else will pick him up at a lower salary.

Posted by: Avar | July 22, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Willie Mo also worked hard both in the cage and in the field. He made some great catches in his last month of play, one against the wall that I remember which is all the more impressive because he was playing in pain.

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it time, Chico, to ask the question of WHY so many Nats are getting hurt and also why it took so long in a few cases, such as Pena's, to realize he was hurt.
Could there be something they can do differently in their training regimen to help prevent all these torn labra? Seems to me it's at least worth asking if the Nats are asking the question.

Posted by: John DC | July 22, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Avar:

I don't think you have to worry about WMP walking. No one is even going to give him $2 m for next season, so he will simply accept the player option his current contract has. If he lights it up next year, then Kasten and company will have a dilemma on their hands.

Posted by: Red Loft | July 22, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

When healthy, this guy hit a home run every 20 at bats over 1500 major league plate appearances. There is no reason to think that this season is any indication of his real level of performance. Part of the problem with this team has been there have been too many "gamers" who played when hurt, like WMP, AK, and Hill. In baseball, it really is better to feel good.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 22, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Remember Cristian Guzman in 2005?

Don't judge Wily Mo too fast, guys.

Posted by: hopefully yours | July 22, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I think WMP has a TEAM option so either the Nats renew him at $2m or he's a free agent. I don't think he has the choice to shop it. The team decides, not WMP.

Anyone?

Posted by: Avar | July 22, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Unlike Guzman, who's 2005 was not typical of his lifetime output, Pena's 2008 production was typical of his entire career.

Is WMP under contract for next year? Can we please cut bait on this guy? He was horrible for Cincinnati, horrible for Boston and has been horrible for us.

Posted by: Ray | July 22, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Point taken, hopefully yours. Let's hope you're right. GO NATS!

Posted by: bryan2369 | July 22, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the WMP contract info Avar....

Please let WMP go.

Posted by: Ray | July 22, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

We should have taken a collection and had the doc do LASIK on his eyes while he was under. The should tear wouldn't cause him to swing at so many spinners in the dirt.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | July 22, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

As for the 'don't judge WMP too fast' line of thinking -- I was a Reds fan from '72 until '05. I've seen him play daily for three years, and he still can't field, can't throw and can't hit a curve ball. He came up the same year as Adam Dunn.

How many years does this guy get?

Posted by: Ray | July 22, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

WMP has a $5mil team option that will be declined and a $2mil player option that will be. I assume WMP can decline the $2m and walk, but that would be suicide coming off an injury...

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

wily mo will be back next year in the same capacity he was with the redsox before he got here. he will however get more at bats pinch hitting for pitchers in our effort to trade him. dukes, milledge, kearns opening day outfield. same as this year. now find a 1b.

Posted by: longterm | July 22, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Trade Guzman for Vizquel, Burriss and ... who?

Posted by: Capitol Hill | July 22, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

flynnie,

do you actually BELIEVE some of the comments you posted? win 25 of 30? the starting pitching could make that possible, but the hitting and the bullpen don't make it probable. wmp striking fear into the opposition next year? not if he keeps swinging in pitches out of the strike zone and in the dirt. i'll grant you he worked hard in the batting cage but to call him an indifferent fielder would be kind. but optimism is the opium of the sports fan.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

More fun news: Wil Nieves has been named to the All-Nice Guy team by Ken Davidoff.
"No, this is the team of people who come off as extraordinarily nice, even if they don't necessarily offer up pearls of wisdom _ or aren't as high-profile.

Catcher: Wil Nieves. I warned you that not everyone would be high-profile. I never saw this guy not smiling."

Alfonso Soriano is the left fielder.

http://blogs.trb.com/sports/baseball/blog/2008/07/the_allnice_guy_team.html

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

to add further clarification... there are basically 3 things that can happen with his contract for next year (and I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong):

1- Nationals decide $5m is an acceptable price for 1 year of WMP and pick up the option, making him a free agent after the '09 season.

2- Nationals decline the $5m option, and WMP can't get more than the minimum from any other team, so he takes the $2m player option for next year, making him a free agent after '09.

3- Nationals decline the $5m option, thinking it's not worth it, WMP finds another team to pay him more than $2m, and declines his $2m player option, making him a free agent, and able to sign with that insane hypothetical team.

Posted by: Matt | July 22, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

What does this even mean? Because a guy might be able to turn things around down the road, it is wrong to *judge* him when he stinks? Why would that be the case? Guzman stunk in 2005; if he had just played up to his career norms the Nats might have been a playoff team that season. Players get paid to play well and up to expectations, so what's wrong with *judging* them when they play at a sub-par level? Are we supposed to give Guzman a pass retroactively because he is hitting well in 2008?
* * * * *
Remember Cristian Guzman in 2005?

Don't judge Wily Mo too fast, guys.

Posted by: hopefully yours | July 22, 2008 2:19 PM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 22, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Matt,
i vote for no. 3. goodbye, stranger it's been nice. hope you find your paradise (elsewhere).

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Me too, but the point is that no other team is going to give him $2m+ next year after the year he just had, so he will almost certainly end up exercising his $2m player option.

Posted by: Matt | July 22, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Coverage is lacking,

I think his point was that cutting bait on WMP might be pre-mature. A lot of people on this blog were calling for Guzman to be released back in '06. "eat the 8 mil and go get...." was a common refrain.

If WMP comes back healthy and can be as productive as he was for us last year he would certainly be worth $2mil. If he can't step it up, then what is $2mil here or there?

I would hope the team isn't holding a spot for him (and I'm sure they aren't with Milledge and Dukes) so it's not like he's killing us by seeing what he can do in ST next year. Either way we don't have a choice left after declining his $5mil option so why not just hope for the best?

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Trying to submit again...

Best wishes to Wily Mo for a full recovery.

Also, thanks for Flynnie for the good guy piece. As for the other side of the coin, here's a piece on MLB's biggest jerks of the first half (I've had Brett Myers on my list since the Boston incident):

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8355922/

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Flynnie, rather.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Can we all now stop dumping on Nats decisions. SF is still playing Vizquel (noted in the blog) ahead of our own Emmanuel Burriss.

Posted by: Catcher50 | July 22, 2008 1:39 PM

===

I agree. Manny B is a stud!

Posted by: Section 111 (Formerly 223 @ RFK Stadium) | July 22, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Or to put it another way...

If WMP were to have a similair "revival" in '09 to what Guzman did between 2005 and 2007/8, what would his numbers look like?

For what we gave up to get him and what he's been (and will be) paid I think it was/is a decent calculated risk.

I hate to sound like the WMP appolgist, but we also have no idea how an injury like this can affect a player preparation and psyche. What happens when a pure power hitter doesn't have his power anymore because his shoulder hurts? You get frustrated, sullen, depressed and desperate - none of which helps with your original problem either!

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the tone towards WMP changed awful fast on this blog.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Good luck finding someone to pay him more than $2MM.
************************************
Matt,
i vote for no. 3. goodbye, stranger it's been nice. hope you find your paradise (elsewhere).

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 2:51 PM

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

As for the 'don't judge WMP too fast' line of thinking -- I was a Reds fan from '72 until '05. I've seen him play daily for three years, and he still can't field, can't throw and can't hit a curve ball. He came up the same year as Adam Dunn.

How many years does this guy get?

Posted by: Ray | July 22, 2008 2:29 PM

Adam Dunn b. 11/9/79
WMP b. 9/10/82

Which means WMP was almost THREE years younger than Dunn when they broke in to the Bigs.

Age matters. WMP will be 26 in September. He CAN get better. Someone who breaks in at 24 and scuffles for five years isn't going to suddenly put it all together at 29. But someone who breaks in at 20 scuffles for 5 years CAN and is in fact somewhat likely to become a productive regular.

WMP's numbers
age 22 season 110 g 336ab's 259/316/527 ops+115
age 23 season 99g 311 abs 254/304/492 ops+105
age 24 season 84g 276abs 301/349/489 ops+110

He's already an above average producer. Kory Casto will never have a single ML season this productive.

Through Age 25, here's WMP's comp list:
1. Cory Snyder (969)
2. Austin Kearns (961)
3. Phil Plantier (957)
4. Albert Belle (955)
5. Mike Marshall (953)
6. Jermaine Dye (952)
7. Frank Thomas (951)
8. Preston Wilson (951)
9. George Bell (951)
10. Willie Stargell (950) *

If you tell me the Nats traded the rotting corpse of Jose Vidro (and saved $12m) for a player who has a 50/50 shot of turnig out like the Bell(e)'s, the Big Hurt, Dye or Stargell . . . well sign me up.

That's why it was a good gamble and remains a good gamble no matter how badly it turned out. That happens. His awful 2008 may be entirely related to his shoulder too and his 2009 could be a breakout. It is worth 2m to find out.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | July 22, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Unlike Ray, I'll actually post a sampling of WMP's lifetime output vs 08
At bats per HR:
02 15
03 33
04 13
05 16
06 25
07 22
08 97

Gee, can anyone see why Ray's wrong here? Can anyone pick out why WMP's 08 was not typical of his whole career? Ray obviously has an agenda here.
*****************************************
Unlike Guzman, who's 2005 was not typical of his lifetime output, Pena's 2008 production was typical of his entire career.
Posted by: Ray | July 22, 2008 2:25 PM

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Section 138, clearly, based on your data, WMP's 02 - 07 was atypical of his career numbers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

To Gal's point, the loss of Vidro's salary netted us Langerhans and Pena - net gain.

Now, you get one year in a career to play the "didn't know I was injured" card - Wily, this is yours - hope you come back strong...

Posted by: expo_ram | July 22, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Well researched, GRiP! Although I am hesitant to accept any calculation that gives Wily Mo a decent chance to become Willie Stargell...

Also, I love how a couple wins in a row can put us in a mood where we're willing to defend vigilantly even our most disappointing player of the year. Keep those glasses half full, NJ!

Posted by: abc | July 22, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, Wily Mo has been blessed with a lifetime of high BABIP.

year: OPS+ (BABIP)

2004: 115 (.302)
2005: 105 (.341)
2006: 110 (.411)
2007: 96 (.330)
2008: 35 (.262)

I would guess (although I don't know enough about these things to be particularly reliable) that the horrendous drop this year indicates a lot more pop ups/weak ground balls and a lot fewer jacks to the warning track.

All told, this is just another list of numbers telling you that this year was a fluke for WMP.

Posted by: abc | July 22, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of glasses half full, it strikes me that the Nats, at 38-61, are not that far off from where they were at this point in 2007, at 42-57, or in 2006, at 43-56. Expectations were higher for this year, but given the biblical plague of injuries, I'm impressed that they aren't that far off the pace (what was that quote somebody once cited about pace being for race horses rather than ballclubs?).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It's been great to see all of the nats fan having a good time for a couple of days -- a great game on Sunday, Willie Harris' honor -- I find myself being glad that the game is on so late tonite so that I can extend the giddy feeling we've been riding for a few more hours - rare this season. We're so grateful for just a little good news that we go a bit crazy. Are we pathetic? - it takes so little to give us hope.............

Posted by: masnstinks | July 22, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

No, that would be us.

"Are we pathetic? - it takes so little to give us hope............."

Posted by: Redskins fans | July 22, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Does BABIP include home runs? Because if it does, Wily Mo's BABIP is less fortuitous and more indicative.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Does BABIP include home runs? Because if it does, Wily Mo's BABIP is less fortuitous and more indicative.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 4:06 PM

Includes home runs but does not include K's!!!

Don't know enough about BABIP to know if there are any statistical anomalies with hitters. (I've read that knuckleballers BABIP's are consistently lower).

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | July 22, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Does BABIP include home runs? Because if it does, Wily Mo's BABIP is less fortuitous and more indicative.

-----------------------

Nope. Excludes home runs. Sorry :(

http://tinyurl.com/5htkjg

Posted by: abc | July 22, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Babip doesn't count homers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average_on_balls_in_play

Posted by: Wikipedia tells no lies | July 22, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

To clarify, I got those numbers from fangraphs.com. The admin there says his formula for batters' BABIP is (H-HR) / (AB-HR-SO). So this doesn't account for home runs or strikeouts.

For more info: http://tinyurl.com/6e3sov

Posted by: abc | July 22, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

for all you clowns supporting wily mo. regardless of how many home runs he can hypothetically hit (and honestly his production in this area has NOT been overwhelming...)he CANNOT hit for an average, has not done so over his entire career, and he is a total joke in the field. My 10 year old daughter would make a more competent defensive MLB outfielder than him. WMP is not even remotely acceptable as a corner outfielder for an MLB team, especially in the National League, at least not for any team that has any aspirations of contending.

Posted by: wish him a speedy recovery, but.... | July 22, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I've said this before.

Who is the conditioning coach for this bunch, and why is he still on the payroll?

Posted by: rg019571 | July 22, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

[quote]3- Nationals decline the $5m option, thinking it's not worth it, WMP finds another team to pay him more than $2m, and declines his $2m player option, making him a free agent, and able to sign with that insane hypothetical team.[/quote]

nope, i don't believe this is accurate. generally player (and team) options rarely go beyond into free agency. they're almost always required to be optioned within XX days of the end of the world series. there's very little chance WMP will be able to go shop his services on the open market and then, based on what he finds, come back and exercise his option. he'll have to make his decision before he can *legally* check with other teams.

Posted by: 231 | July 22, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

On Manny Burriss, I assumed (without doing any checking or research) that the reason the Giants were willing to trade Ray Durham to the Brewers was because Manny was going to play a lot at second base as well as spelling Vizquel at shortstop. Anybody know what the real story is?

Posted by: happytobeafan | July 22, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

BABIP? I see a row of numbers, but I don't know a good BABIp vs a bad BABIP? Are all of Wily Mo's pre-2008 BABIPs better than league average? Or Worse? What about his 2008 number? Worse than average? Who are the comparables?

One thought on Wily Mo... he's always struck out a lot and hit enough homers to tease you into keeping him around. Which eventually, the Reds and Red Sox did not do. But this year, he was worse accross the board. No power, no contact, lots of Whiffs.

So, all of you that are hoping for a rebound - I hope so too. But I am alarmed at how bad he was. BABIP is usually used to try and factor in luck. Well, Wily Mo wasn't unlucky this year - he wasn't plagued by hard hit outs right at people. He swung at terrible pitches and got himself out. I don't know how shoulder surgery will change that. Now, if you'd consider a new batting coach, we can discuss that.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | July 22, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, BABIP specifically EXcludes homeruns - that's why it's Batting Average on Balls IN Play - HRs are out-of-play, so they don't count, and neither do strikeouts - if WMP could walk a little more, he'd be useful as a three-true-outcomes (K-BB-HR) guy.

The high BABIP is a really good find - it suggests to me that throughout his career, when he's made contact, he's tended to hit it hard, which may explain in part why he strikes out so much - he's swinging for the fences every time.

I'm only willing to let WMP come back next year if we're going to get him ABs - I think Dukes and Milledge have solidified themselves as 2/3 of the outfield, and so that means it depends on what you do with Kearns. WMP as a fourth outfielder is a waste - part of the reason he was lousy in Boston and part of the reason for bringing him here was to see how he did with regular playing time. He's not going to work as a 4th OF, but I think Dukes has got the LF job until Kearns leaves.

On a related topic, I'm surprised this year by the lack of buzz surrounding the Nats as trading partners near the deadline - maybe that means we'll see a lot of activity, rather than the last two years where there was a lot of buzz ("my phone is ON FIRE") and no action.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | July 22, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Nats will at least look at Pena in Spring09 before eating $2M. At the very least they can 15-day DL him at season's start so he doesn't take a roster spot that should go to the likes of Bernadina, Maxwell or (gasp!) Burgess after he lights up spring training next year.

Anyone trying to compare GM capabilities against SF's need only look at one contract: Barry Zito. 7years, $126M and he has the worst whip of any qualifying pitcher right now in the majors. You guys are quibbling about the $1.5M we blew on Mackowiak? That's nothing. That's not even 2% of the money SF is wasting.

Posted by: Sec131 | July 22, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/chatter/2008/Jul/22/nats-trade-rauch-dbacks/

Posted by: DBKAlum | July 22, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I think that the thinking, 114, is that WMP's shoulder kept him from hitting the ball mechanically in the same way as before. BABIP would be a useful measure of that, because it would neutralize strike outs and only judge him on pitches he made contact with. You're right that that doesn't factor out bad pitches he made contact with, but the difference is large enough that the hopeful ones may have a point.

Regardless, he's ours next year per the above contract discussion. So let's hope with the optimists, shall we?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Rauch traded!

Posted by: phillip | July 22, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Uhm, someone explain this:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bonifem01.shtml

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

NATIONALS ACQUIRE SECOND BASEMAN EMILIO BONIFACIO FROM ARIZONA IN EXCHANGE FOR PITCHER JON RAUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!


NATIONALS AGREE TO TERMS WITH SHORTSTOP CRISTIAN GUZMAN ON TWO-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: John Jr | July 22, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is more flattering:

http://diamondbacks.scout.com/a.z?s=247&p=8&c=1&nid=2516205

Felipe Lopez, watch your back...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Who is Emilio Bonifacio? ARI 2Bman born 4/23/85 from he D.R.

Only 19 games in the majors...

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Joel Hanrahan now as acting closer? I would assume so, since I doubt there's anyone else who can handle the job.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

From the scout report;

"Bonifacio is the best pure lead off hitter in the Diamondbacks organization, and he appears to be getting better."

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Bowden actually pulled the trigger??

Please tell me Flop or PLod is next...

Also, is this re-signing of Guzie just to make him more appealing in a trade?

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 22, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

In my panic, I lost track of B-R's many forms. Here's his minor stats

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=1478

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

And call of the day to Highway 295 revisited.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm really going to miss the Wookie.

Jon -- good luck to you in AZ.

Do you all think that Bonifacio will be placed on the 25-man roster and start at 2nd right away? Or does he go down to Columbus for a little while?

If he stays, he should be given every opportunity to play every day. Let's see what this guy's got.

Also, if he stays, what happens when Milledge comes back? Does Willie "Superman" Harris move to left?

Posted by: e | July 22, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Nats press release with more on Bonifacio.

http://tinyurl.com/6pzzjk

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

***The Nats website is reporting that Jon Rauch has been fraded to Arizona for some infielder named Emilio Bonifacio. Story's also on D-backs site! Has the purge begun?***

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Baseball America rates him as the number 6 prospect in the Diamondbacks system, and as their fastest baserunner and best defensive infield. Start him at short with Guzzie at second?

Baseball Prospectus has him at number 8 with this:

8. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B/SS
DOB: 4/23/85
Height/Weight: 5-11/180
Bats/Throws: S/R
Acquired: NDFA, 2001, Dominican Republic
2007 Stats: .285/.333/.352 at Double-A (132 G); .217/.333/.261 at MLB (11 G)

Year In Review: The system's top speedster led the Southern League in stolen bases and finished second in runs on the way to earning a late-season look in the big leagues.
The Good: Bonifacio is an absolute burner who is a threat to steal a base every time he reaches, and is capable of going from first to third in the blink of an eye. He's a fine defensive player with excellent range, he turns the double play well, and he played a decent shortstop when pressed into the role for the first time in his career last season.
The Bad: Bonifacio still needs to develop some secondary skills to develop into a top-of-the-order hitter. He has no power and projects for none down the road, so he'll need to develop better plate discipline in order to avoid being cast solely as a bench player. His only weakness on the left side of the infield is an arm that is average at best.
Fun Fact: Bonifacio hit .350 in the first three innings of Double-A games, but just .236 thereafter.
Perfect World Projection: A leadoff man with slightly above-average offensive value, and well above-average defense.
Timetable: Bonifacio will being 2008 at Triple-A, and the progress he makes with his approach will determine his 2009 role.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah, there's a Licey connection according to the release. Was wondering whether there might be.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I'll also miss Wookie. Farewell, Big Jon.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 22, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

My initial reaction to this is bad: Nook Logan. Is this really all we could get for the Wookie?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

A horrible trade. We trade our best chip and one of the best closers in baseball for a speedster who strikes out a lot and has no power. Nice going. Horrible.

Posted by: No Thanks | July 22, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The Nats' press release calls Bonifacio a "building block" for the future. Is it really fair to throw that label on a 23-year-old kid who's hasn't played a full season in the bigs yet?

Posted by: res21 | July 22, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but Rauch is not one of the best closers in baseball. I like him just as much as everybody else....but getting a position player (much less a middle infielder) with potential is a pretty good 1-for-1 for a aging bullpen arm.

Kudos to Jimmy on this one...I hope it pans out.

Now onto trimming the rest of the fat.

Posted by: Corey | July 22, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Rizzo had a lot to do with this trade.

On the surface, it seems we should have gotten more for a quality reliever who has proven himself at the ML level and is under team control for 2 more years, than a AAA 2B with no power and bad plate discipline.

I hope that Rizzo knows something we don't.

We'll miss you big Jon!

Posted by: NatsWin! | July 22, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Corey on this one. I think Jon has been used too much the past two years, watch his arm blow out (labrum perhaps?) early next year.

His BA inspires more than "Nook Logan" from me. I agree with the overall assessment though, which I think is essentially "Yeah, you can't teach speed, but we can't teach hitting either."

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 22, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Corey.

I'm a big Rauch fan, but to call him one of the best closers is a little crazy if you ask me.

Bonifacio brings some much needed help in the infield and he's a switch hitter with speed. I honestly think its a fair trade. Good luck to Rauch and welcome Emilio.

Posted by: Pablo | July 22, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Good trade. I like this. 23 YO Top prospect.

Has had lead his league in Hits and SB, and 2nd in runs. Above-average defensively. And oh yea, he's just 23.

Well done, lets get FLop out of here for a bag of balls next. If someone falls for that, then we just made the biggest steal of a trade since the trade we made to get him...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 22, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"one of the best closers in baseball" Really? Seriously? Jon won't even close for Arizona. Don't get me wrong, I love the Wookie, and he did fantastic filling in for Chad, but you're over valuing him (as most home fans do). I haven't checked the forums yet, but there are sure to be some Diamondbacks fans upset, as well.
****************************************
A horrible trade. We trade our best chip and one of the best closers in baseball for a speedster who strikes out a lot and has no power. Nice going. Horrible.

Posted by: No Thanks | July 22, 2008 5:32 PM

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, Rizzo would have drafted him. And the Diamondbacks do wear red now...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow, as well.

I am still pondering Hanrahan as closer. I suppose we will find out real soon how that works out. I am truly going to miss Rauch. On the other hand we are so desperate for middle infield prospects that every trade in the future should be for middle infielders as well.

I am so glad Guzman was signed for an extension. We can all agree that he has exceeded all expectations for this year.
Perhaps Bowden does not have to seek as much value for Flop now.

And the next roster move will be a bullpen move by necessity.


Posted by: Dale | July 22, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

D-backs now have 2 of the top 3 tallest players in MLB history...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 22, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Ah, he is one of the best closers on one of the worst teams. But the point is, he was available. Not asking for JimBo to ask for the world, but to get a 23 year old who like I said strikes out a lot, is a big risk.

And res21, as a Milledge supporter, try telling that to this crowd. A lot are ready to get rid of him (even though he was second on the team in homers, rbis and still leads in stolen bases).

I am all for youngsters, but there are better prospects out there.

Posted by: No Thanks | July 22, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Chico-

I like you a bunch so far, but WaPost should be the one breaking this. Instead, WaPost is the last to report on it.

I still blame E R-D for this.

Posted by: NatsWin! | July 22, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

beep, beep, beep

that' the sound of the truck backing up for flop.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Is this really all we could get for the Wookie?"
Seconded. Seems like he's worth more than a light-hitting middle-infield prospect.

Posted by: John | July 22, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a guy Bowden would lust after. We'll see, I guess. Don't think middle infielder, no power, strikes out a lot. Think Jose Reyes.

Posted by: 756* | July 22, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Rauch for Bonifacio is an example of trading a reliver when he is at the height of his value. Rauch increased his value by handling the role of closer for the Nats this year, and the Nats cashed in by getting a highly rated MI prospect and potential lead off hitter -- something they are years from developing on their own.

Posted by: L Street | July 22, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Granted, it has to be viewed in the context of the season...but even then: Look at it from their shoes too. The majority of fans can't even begin to propose trades because we value our guys too much and their's too little. We got a top-10 prospect from one of the best farm's in the game.

Now if someone offered us a 29-year old guy who had been the most-used pitcher in all of baseball the past few years and doesn't have the "stuff" to be a quality in a pennant race.....how many of you would've given up this list:
1. Chris Marrero, of/1b
2. Ross Detwiler, lhp
3. Collin Balester, rhp
4. Michael Burgess, of
5. Jack McGeary, lhp
6. Josh Smoker, lhp
7. Jordan Zimmerman, rhp
8. Glenn Gibson, lhp
9. Justin Maxwell, of
10. Colton Willems, rhp

Just saying, a fair trade.

Posted by: Corey | July 22, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I must keep repeating to myself that I can not get too attached to players from our team. Still, I'm upset about this trade. I think we could have gotten more, and I think Rauch could have been useful to us. Plus, I *liked* the guy.

Well, I guess Arizona can now have the tallest pitching line-up (Big Unit for 8 innings, then Tiny/Wookie to close). There is 13 feet, 8 inches on the pitching staff just between the two of them!

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | July 22, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

come on over ...

Posted by: new post | July 22, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe JimBow is realizing his trade a pound of hamburger hoping to get a pound of sirloin in return trade antics of the past didn't work and decided to be more reasonable in his dealings with the D-Backs. Probably also helped that Rizzo is very familiar with the players in Arizona's system.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Bowden managed to pull the trigger on a trade after he failed to do so last year at the deadline. This shows that he is capable of having realistic views of a player's value.

That being said, i too am a little disappointed in the score for Rauch. I liked him and now we leave the team even more shorthanded in the bullpen. I was hoping maybe he could be packaged with Guzman and sent to the Dodgers or another club looking for infield and relief help. Now we're stuck with Guzman's defense at short for another two years... gotta love it.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

It will definitely be nice to have a guy out there who can catch and throw the ball though. I hope we keep the moves coming and ship out everyone over the age of 25 for young guys who can play defense and have a chance to hit the ball in the future.

Think about it... our whole team is "light hitting" so what is one more light hitting guy gonna hurt... especially if he turns into Jose Reyes (although reyes probably has a ton more pop then this kid ever will)

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | July 22, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

First time I saw him play was at PNC Park during his rookie year. He had an impressive swing hinting at ENORMOUS power. In fact, I was so impressed that I reverted to my childhood hobby and bought a ton of Wily Mo baseball cards, some of them very rare. I expected that Wily Mo would be the next Willie Mays, or at least be a star. He wasn't. Now those cards aren't even worth the cardboard they're printed on. It was one injury after another. He got progressively worse til the Reds dumped him. The rest is history. But maybe, just maybe, his rotator cuff problem was holding him back. Maybe he will have a bright future after all. Willy Mays has nothing to worry about, but Wily Mo might turn out to be formidable. Rest up, Wily Mo!

Posted by: Gypsy Davy | August 2, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

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