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Update: Remarks from the Presser

Marc Carig will have a story in the Wednesday paper -- Chico really IS on vacation now -- on Tuesday afternoon's news conference with Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen. We'll get that online tonight ASAP, but here are a few quotes to whet your appetites:

Probably the most significant remarks concerned Willingham and the outfield:

GM Jim Bowden: "We acquired him as an outfielder, not a first baseman."

Willingham: "I'm a left fielder as far as i know. The past three years it's where I've played exclusively. I can play other positions but that's something I haven't discussed with anybody."

(Moment of silence here to remember the Soriano Experiment.)

Scott Olsen on adding a changeup: "It kind of turned things around for me. It worked well for me. I finally found a gripping that I liked."

Bowden: "These are two players that can fit in the longterm plan here."

By Tracee Hamilton  |  November 11, 2008; 5:03 PM ET
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Next: A Little More on the Trade


that's a significant comment by Bowden about Willingham.

leads me to believe that we definitely aren't done making moves this offseason.

Posted by: MrMadison | November 11, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, based on the presser, I retract my previously stated opion that Willingham is a RF. New outfield of Willingham-Milledge-Dukes, with Kearns as 4th until further notice. Yeesch...

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how much of JimBow's comments about Willingham are either;

1. Avoiding embarrasing Nick Johnson

2. Keeping our stake in the Texiera sweepstakes alive

3. Keeping pressure on Dukes (to behave), Kearns (to stop sucking) and Milledge (both of those things)

Posted by: estuartj | November 11, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

As Bowden states this is part of the Nats long term plan. Yea right just as Bonifacio was . More BS from Bowden. An okay trade but these guys (Nats FO) are just playing at trying to get better.

With the retailing sector in the tank, real estate will be hurting big time. The Lerners will be cutting back significantly. Therfore do not expect a big FA signing. Also do not expect the Nats to draft Strasburg.

This you can take to the bank.

Posted by: mjames0 | November 11, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for being captain grumpy mjames0.

I think they were high on Boni's athleticism, but when they saw his bat up close they weren't so thrilled - that happens, scouting and coaching are worlds apart - and once they had and saw Hernandez they had the option to move Boni for power and pitching. I have no problem with that!

I still think this trade was for Olsen and Willingham got added in to even the deal, FLA wanted to dump salary (to keep their better arb eligible players) and make roster space for prospects. Smart move for FLA in the long run, great move for us in the short AND long run.

I still think we have assets to move, Redding, Kearns, Belliard all could go to bring in some more "parts". I also believe Kearns still has some value on the open market because his obp isn't too bad and he's a plus defender. If were willing to eat part of his salary he's very movable (and no laughing at picking up part of his salary all you Lerners are Cheap fans, would you rather pay 4.5mil to get rid of Kearns or pay 9mil to have him ride the pine, Young going to AAA show the organization is willing to "eat" some salary for the good of the team.)

Posted by: estuartj | November 11, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

This trade is pretty much universally determined by all involved as a good deal for the Nats. And yet some still complain. If they take positive steps to improve the team, and the fan base still keeps whining, what's the ownership incentive to improve the team?

They just traded a prospect calls as no more than a pinch runner for a front line starting pitcher and a major league power hitting outfielder. Give them some props.

Posted by: raymitten | November 11, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

By the way, in case you missed it, today's post of the day occurred in the last thread.

Congrats, Bob.


Trading Kearns for Fukodome would be like trading my chewed gum for yours.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 11, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't get athletes today trying to put off a herniated disc op. I had it done and the relief was immediate and it didn't come back. With a herniated disc you can only manage it, it will not go back to its old shape, ever. The recovery wouldn't be long for an athlete in shape, especially if done right at end of season. If done laproscopically it would be even quicker. Do it and be done. Can't wait for him to mash em out of the park.

Posted by: johnnybaconbitz | November 11, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Holy crap mjames0... did Santa Claus become JCPenny at age 3 in your house? 60 minutes on tumble dry high will dry out that wet blanket of yours.

I don't understand the LAC crowd who keep spouting the "don't expect them to draft Strasburg" nonsense. Things can certainly change between now and the draft, like he could have an awful year next season or blow out his shoulder, but as it stands right now not drafting Strasburg is organizational suicide.

Think attendance was dissapointing this year? Watch next year after the all-star break when the die hards quit showing up if they pass on Strasburg should he be the obvious consensus #1 on draft day.


Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 11, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

So let's say we go to spring training with Milledge, Dukes, Willingham, Kearns, WMP, Johnson, and Young and all seven play up to their potential. That would be just terrible, right (dripping sarcasm trying to make its way into cyberspace)? If only five looked like everyday major leaguers, that wouldn't be a bad thing. Dumping Bonifacio and two low level minor leaguers for two players with the big league experience of Willingham and Olsen is a no-brainer and only flops if we make no further moves, five of my aforementioned list tank, and Olsen goes Brian Lawrence on us (for three years--not likely). And we haven't signed anyone else or flipped these new pieces in a future trade. How anyone digs out pessimism about this trade is pretty remarkable.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | November 11, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I know Jim Bowden said that Josh Willingham is a OF but mabey first is still an option, plus on mlb trade rumors Tim said the Nats our eyeing Carlos Gonzalas who Rockies just got for Holliday but they all ready have a young CF named Dexter Fawley im not to sure how to spell it but they REALLY like him. You might rember him from when we tried to get him from Arizona for Chad Cordero a year or two ago. He is a CF and could move Milledge to left and Dukes can stay in right. We would have to trade atleast 2 or three prospects but mabey we can trade Kearns to them he would play right move Brad Hawpe to left which they want to do, but anyways Kearns money and M. Burgess we wont need him with the young outfield we would have plus Stephen King 2B thats a fair trade for both sides what do you guys think?

Posted by: j-dog1 | November 11, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Now that i think of it that might be to much but W/E.

Posted by: j-dog1 | November 11, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse


You need to put down the red bull before you type...your brain and fingers aren't meshing...

Posted by: TimDz | November 11, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

So now I'm all hyped up and wanting more.

Posted by: natbisquit | November 11, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

mjames, if you are still up there in your balcony, don't fret about the Lerners. The federal bailout will bring many new government/Treasury Dept employees and their ancilliary contractors to open office space in DC. Add in a new administration with their subsequent turnover plus the silver line running through Tysons Corner and the Lerner's billions will remain billions.

If the team chooses to hold on to their cash, it won't be due to the Lerner's primary holdings.

I'd love to bet you on Strasburg. If the pride of SDSU remains the consensus #1, I say the Nats will draft him. If they don't, I'll pick up your beer tab at a home game in 2009.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 11, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I do like the trade...the only pause for concern I have is that the Marlins have seemingly been able to come out on the better end of these type deals. There scouting and research has always been impressive for a bareboned franchise. They have two titles already.

Posted by: cokedispatch | November 11, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

>I do like the trade...the only pause for concern I have is that the Marlins have seemingly been able to come out on the better end of these type deals. There scouting and research has always been impressive for a bareboned franchise. They have two titles already<

This is precisely the type of team you deal with because they have young talent to trade. It's a straight salary dump at positions they have replacements for. It's an even bigger bonus because we only had to trade 3 to get 2. Beinfest probably could have gotten a handful of players, but didn't want to clog up his minor league system with the Nats prospects, since he's just unloading salary anyway.
Worry about something real, like whether we're in the running to sign Tex or Man-ny. Man-ny Man-ny Man-ny

Posted by: Brue | November 12, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey, how you doing, Crick? We're gonna hunt you....

The general consensus on other blogs is that the Marlins must know something bad about these two players, otherwise they're Omar Minaya dumb.

Posted by: Section506 | November 12, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Can we call this Post of the Evening?



You need to put down the red bull before you type...your brain and fingers aren't meshing...

Posted by: TimDz | November 11, 2008 8:30 PM

Posted by: Section506 | November 12, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Last comment, then I'll go to work:

The one big bonus of this trade is we won't have to face these guys anymore, sheesh. Olsen ate us up pretty good. We should have traded for Amezaga, too, just to avoid that killer hit he gets in every single game against us.

Posted by: Section506 | November 12, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Those who knock this trade have no clue. You're DREAMING if you think a top shelf FA is going to sign with this team. Matter of fact you know nothing about sports. What the plan is here is to simply make the team better than the prior year. Keep doing that and eventually you get competetive both on and off (i.e. playes will want to play for you) the field. It's not gonna happen overnight.

Posted by: bundy44 | November 12, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

On the Teixeira front, Tony Massarotti from the Boston Globe had an online chat yesterday. He speculates that the bidding for Teixeira will go over $22.5 million a year. Mazz has been really pushing the "Sox need Tex" line this winter, saying it is their #1 priority (even ahead of a catcher, which is nuts, I/M/O). Here are few clips from the chat linked below:

"patsFan573: Can the Sox pry Teixeira for 22.5 mil over 8 years"

"Tony Massarotti: you make it sound like a bargain - that's a lot of cake!"
"celtriotsox: If Teixeira gets an 8 year contract, will he still be earning his paycheck come the end of the contract?"

"Tony Massarotti: my best guess is yes. he's young, a switch-hitter, good defensive player - and he could always become the DH, if necessary"
"GETEXERIA: If you were Theo, how much would you offer Teixeira"

"Tony Massarotti: eight years, $200 million ... but i think the yankees can still offer more..."


Interesting to me that he says the Sox would be interested in a RH hitting 4th OF if they trade Crisp. I've said this before, but this sounds like a landing spot for Kearns. Perhaps some sort of weird 3 way deal with the Sox sending Lugo to Detroit, Detroit sending Iorg or some sort prospect to the Nats, and the Nats swapping a Kearns for a Red Sox ptichign prospect. Clears salary for the Nats for propsects, gets the Tigers a SS, and gives the Sox a backup for all three OF positions.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 12, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

>You're DREAMING if you think a top shelf FA is going to sign with this team. Matter of fact you know nothing about sports.Notes: After witnessing Manny Ramirez’s impact on the Dodgers and their fans, the Washington Nationals and GM Jim Bowden are promising everyone they’re going to be players in the Manny bidding. So either they will be or they want everyone to think they are.<

I'd like to think they are.

Posted by: Brue | November 12, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Link to above comments about Man-ny

Posted by: Brue | November 12, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Reading the drivel here about Kearns reminds me of all the Guzman-bashing that went on before he had his Lasik. Austin was banged up. He had elbow surgery and he still tried to come back this past year. He's only 28 years old. He has a good attitude, and plays good defense as well. One year does not make a trend. The "potential" meter may be heading towards empty but there is still plenty of upside. Dukes is unproven, and Milledge is still an experiment. Willingham is a nice addition - that GW crusher off Rausch last year was a mammoth shot. No more of that!

I see the OF as:
Willingham - LF
Dukes - CF
Kearns - RF
Milledge - 4th OF

Getting Scotty Olson is awesome. Great snag! He'll be fun to watch next year.

And let's hope Nick Johnson can put it back together next year. Our team is far better with him than without him.

Man, is this fun or what?

Posted by: dand187 | November 12, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Please - No Manny!

We have a clubhouse that is probably a bit unstable with Dukes, Milledge, Olsen and others. Dukes and Olsen bothed behaved last year, but they don't need the influence of Manny in the clubhouse. That is just not going to help. Remember the difference in the team after they released Estrada, FLop and PLD? IT was a very big positive. Manny would revert the clubhouse to that level.

As for Kearns, it wasn't just last year, he wasn't very good the year before either. His swing is just way too long and somehow, even when he hits one, it doesn't seem to jump off his bat. I can't remember a single shot that I said "WOW, he really got a hold of that one!" And that is even with his over swinging. What really gets me angry about him is 2 things: He doesn't shorten up with 2 strikes and he hits into WAY TOO MANY double plays.

I like the trade a lot. I think Olsen could really be great if he continues to learn from St. Claire. Willingham makes us better right away. But I hope we find a way to move Kearns and keep Willie Harris. He can do almost everything Kearns can do, but can fill more positions. Eating a portion of Kearns salary seems prudent.

I really like the trade scenarios of jca-CrystalCity. If we just got Iorg, without and Boston Pitching, we would do well. I don't think Kearns is worth both Iorg and pitching.

Posted by: NatsWin | November 12, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Okay NatsWin - please define "not very good". If you mean his batting average of .266, if he had just 10 more hits he would have hit .282. Here's the rest of Austin's 2007 stats.

Games: 161
Runs: 84
Hits: 156
35 2B, 16 HR
RBI: 74
BB: 71
HBP: 12
OBP: .355
Errors: 2
Assists: 9
Fld Pct: .995

Sorry - he was good in 2007. Quantify for me please what was not good about that year? It's not superstar, but there aren't many of those types of players out there. That's a steady year from a guy who has no protection in a lineup.

You guys do amaze me sometimes - so willing to throw everyone/anyone under the bus for one off year. Had mgt listened to the naysayers, Guzman would be playing for someone else.

Posted by: dand187 | November 12, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

DanD, as a frequent critic of Kearns, I'll take you up on it just a bit. Below are the stats from your post and stats from Willingham 2007 (in parens).

Games: 161 (144)
Runs: 84 (75)
Hits: 156 (138)
35 2B, 16 HR (32,21)
RBI: 74 (89)
BB: 71 (66)
HBP: 12
OBP: .355 (.364)
Errors: 2 (3)
Assists: 9 (9)
Fld Pct: .995 (.987)

I'm not saying the Nats should just go ahead and release Kearns now. But I don't think anyone should think any of our five outfielders should have a leg up going into spring training. Ideally, your corner outfielders shouldn't need protection in the lineup; they should provide it. On Opening Day 2009, we should put the three guys who earn it in spring training on the field.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | November 12, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Look I hope the Nats do well. I just wish they would rid themselves of Bowden as he does not help their cause. He is a liar and a disingenuous person. The Nats do not need him.

It would be great if we could peddle Kearns to someone. He might a good player someplace but not with us. Look he never wanted to play here. He wanted to play in Cincy.

Posted by: mjames0 | November 12, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

For the fun of it, here's Hardball Times's take on the trade from a fantasy baseball perspective:

Thinks Willingham starts, figures .250 BA and 20+ HR, with other OF squeezed for playing time. Thinks Olsen is below average and pounds on SoCH's point about declining K/BB rate.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 12, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I still love this trade, but we do need to be realistic about how much value we have added to the team. Hopefully the Nats Brain Trust feels the same way.

I like Willingham as a replacement for Kearns and potential replacement for Johnson if/when he goes down.

I like Olsen as a replacement for Chico/Martis/O'Connor et al as the #4 pitcher. Teamed with Lannan we have two solid lefty pitchers.

I think we hold onto Redding until the trade deadline when (God willing) we'll have other options for the #1 slot. Balester looks like a good #3 pitcher with some growth potential and I'm betting Jordan Zimmermann is the #5/swing man out of ST with Clippard and Martis on standby in AAA.

The outstanding issue is still another lefty bat to augment/replace Nick Johnson. Without Nick we have absolutely NO lefties in the line-up and only slap hittings from that side at all.

We have pieces to trade, and without getting into our blue chip prospects like Marrero, Burgess, Gonzales, etc. I see Belliard as a sure bet to be traded, Redding is possible (though as I mentioned above next year is better if he can have another good first half, plus he's a good mentor and provides some stability and insurance). I believe Kearns still has some value if healthy, his OBP is pretty good, he's a plus defender and he might regain his power stroke in a favorable park, say Philly or Texas among others. What might Redding and Kearns (and $5mil) return from the Rangers?

Posted by: estuartj | November 12, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

It may be fun to compare Willingham and Kearns' stats, but there are a couple of fundamental differences - one f.o. guy was saying that Willy has quality at-bats and makes the pitcher work, which always counts for more. Called professional at-bats. Kearns, on the other hand, was getting pounded in the exact same spot for months, and couldn't adjust. Low-and-in or high-and-in with hard stuff and he's out. The whole world knew it was coming, Sutton would even sit there and say it was coming, but Austin was always the most surprised person in the stadium. I think it's more like Austin didn't really give a damn enough to make a simple adjustment.

Posted by: Brue | November 12, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

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