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Update: The Deal Is Official

The deal with the Marlins is complete and the players will be introduced at a 3:30 p.m. news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Park. Stay tuned...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  November 11, 2008; 12:05 PM ET
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Next: Update: Remarks from the Presser


Bottom line: We just got two major league regulars for three guys that are unlikely to become major league regulars. You can quibble with some things about this trade (e.g., it seems clear that we got zippo for Rauch, we have a glut of outfielders, two of whom are average-to-below-average fielders, etc.) but I don't think you can credibly argue that we didn't get the better of the deal.

The key question for us Planistas, though, is whether either of the new guys constitutes a piece of our 2012 contender. Willingham, maybe as a bench player. Olsen? It's possible. I'm optimistic.

And I don't think we're done dealing.

Posted by: BobLHead | November 11, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse


It doesn't matter whether Willingham is or is not a part of that team. What matters is that there was a net increase in talent for the Nats in the trade... and add to that their age and contract status, that makes him (them) even more valuable. If Willingham isn't a part of the longer-term future, it is because he was traded for someone else.

Posted by: wigi | November 11, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Wigi, stockpiling assets is a good thing, even if they are not contending pieces. But we still need more Zimmermans.

Posted by: BobLHead | November 11, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I think Kearns still has some value, his obp isn't terrible and he's a plus defender. In a small ballpark he might re-find his power so maybe someone like Texas or Philly (I'm suggesting ballparks, not teams). If we were willing to eat park of his salary he could be very movable, and don't laugh at that statement, even if the Lerner's ARE cheap would you rather pay 4.5 mil for Kearns to go away or 9.0 mil for his to ride the pine?

Posted by: estuartj | November 11, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

RayMitten: any chance you have a link to source this? The only thing I could find was this very general statement quoted from the LATimes on

"Teixeira, 28, is expected to draw heavy interest from the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals, and he will likely command a deal between five and 10 years in length for at least $20 million a year."


Fox reports that the Nats have offered $200 million for 10 years for Tex and are frontrunners to sign him. Just maybe.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 11, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Also... isn't 11/14 the 1st day FA's can sign with another team? Wouldn't an official offer to Tex from any team other than LAA be considered tampering at this point?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Austin Kearns, this is what Louis J. posted at NFA about some trade options;

Note #1: Keep Nick Johnson to alternate with Willingham AND trade Austin Kearns & cash to Rangers for Brandon McCarthy(RHP)

Posted by: estuartj | November 11, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

FYI... I eventually got to an original source from the previous thread. It says they seem ready to blow Tex out of the water and can go as high as 10/200. Not yet an offer.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 11, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

From the previous string -
The downside to the recent roster moves is that there may no longer be a roster spot available for another fan favorite, Willie Harris. With an OF already filled with Milledge-Dukes-Willingham-Kearns, and Bernadina-Maxwell-Casto-Pena in reserve, he wouldn't be an "everyday" player here, which is what he wants.
The possibility remains that they could convince him that he'd become our version of Chone Figgins (super-utility player with the Angels), but that's the best the Nationals may be able to offer.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 1:24 PM

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

BobL - We already have two Zimmerman(n)'s - How many more are there who can play baseball?

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I still don't think Tex will come to the Nats. No harm in wishful thinking I guess.

Posted by: swang30 | November 11, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

1) On Teixiera, a 10-yr, $200M offer would probably be the baseline offer for this particular Boras client. If the Nationals' make that offer official on 11/14, good for them. The Yankees will counter with 10-yrs, $240M (no-trade & vested incentives); end of story. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Teixiera in a Nationals' uni - I just don't think his agent will let it happen.
2) regarding Mr. Kearns - If he can show that he's healthy in ST, then he begins to regain value as either a player with the Nationals or as a trade commodity (same for Willingham). This one will take a few months to play out.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The Baseball Prospectus article (John Perotto) was the one with the actual reporting of numbers. Fox reported that the Nats officials believed they were on the verge of a 'breakthrough'.,-Atkins-questioned?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=49 now speculates that Willingham may mean the Nats back off of the Texiera sweepstakes. I don't agree -- I think they consider Josh Willingham a 'breakthrough'. I also note that the official email press release from the team states that Willingham is a corner outfielder who also can play first base and catch. Doesn't sound like he's ticketed for first base to me.

Posted by: raymitten | November 11, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Nats park may be the "coolest" place in town this summer due to all of the potential swingin' and missin' by the Half Street Hackmasters assembled by JimBow. Check out these 162-game average strikeout numbers of these guys....

150 - Wasteland of Missing Pitches
150 - Dukes (full-season projection)
134 - Austin Powerless
127 - Willingham
119 - Face of the Franschise
113 - Milledge

That's 793 strikeouts from six guys, or an average of 132 per player! That could add up to lots of runners left on the basepaths next summer. Granted all six aren't going play full-time, but I always thought "grip it and rip it" applied to golf and not baseball.

Posted by: leetee1955 | November 11, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

This may turn out, or not, but it looks mildly promising from here, as a minor upgrade overall. If Olsen gets himself and, umm, anyone else with a history of violent acting out thrown in jail, then maybe not so much.
The best part of this is moving a fast, no-hit 2nd baseman for someone who can hit some, play first competently, and catch in an emergency without making the manager cry. They needed that much more than a leadoff hitter who doesn't hit.
The other good thing here is that they did this early--leaving time to come up with an actual big move.
The Cubs might be looking to move Fukudome, for instance, and can probably afford Kearns hitting 8th from RF. Bowden might like him, he's like WMP without the Reds baggage. How do you say "toolsy" in Japanese?

Posted by: CEvansJr | November 11, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Trading Kearns for Fukodome would be like trading my chewed gum for yours. He hit 1.000 in March, .305 in April, .293 in May, .264 in June, .236 in July, .193 in August and .178 in September. See what I mean? Yuck!

Posted by: BobLHead | November 11, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

That's 793 strikeouts from six guys, or an average of 132 per player! That could add up to lots of runners left on the basepaths next summer. Granted all six aren't going play full-time, but I always thought "grip it and rip it" applied to golf and not baseball.

So, you're saying that what we should do is get a guy who struck out only 37 times in 668 at-bats in 2007. Cause you could have Juan Pierre for nothing . . . of course it would come along with the other 482 outs he made too.

Get over the strikeout. Its only moderately worse than any other out. And on the bright side, Josh Willingham has a career .361 OBP. That's a step in the right direction.

Posted by: traderkirk | November 11, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Why are people saying that Willingham can play first competantly?

He's made 2 appearances for 3 inning total in his 415 game MLB career.

As for his catching, he's made only 15 appearances behind the plate and none since 2006.

I'm not a scout and don't know if he can catch or play first. I'm just wondering how someone can determine he's competent at 1B, even if he hasn't really played there...

Posted by: comish4lif | November 11, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse


A one-out fly ball that scores a runner from third is more than "mderately" better than a strikeout that leaves the runner on base. A griound ball to the right side that scores a runner or moves runners up a base is more than "moderately" better than a strikeout. A strikeout is mostly an unproductive out..

Posted by: leetee1955 | November 11, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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

But think of all the Japanese-American butts he'd put in the seats. And wouldn't you really rather hear some cool Asian at-bat music instead of Kearns's country crap?

Posted by: nunof1 | November 11, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

comish - Willingham has played the positions at a ML level in the past; Based on his back problems in '08, I don't think he can be counted on for anything more than a corner outfield spot in 2009. The hampsters are just noting his prior versatility.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Bin M i think the Nats actually have one of the better chances of signing him for a couple reasons first Yankees really want C.C. and i dont think the would offer Tex 240 with the big contract they gave A-rod puls how much more money can they have thats around 400 million for two players i dont think even Hank would do that. And when they say we need more Zimmermans they are saying more young talent not the acutual last name Zimmerman.

Posted by: j-dog1 | November 11, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

With regard to Willingham postions, I still think of him as a LF. I'm skeptical of his ability to play RF at Nationals Park. Perhaps he has enough arm (I have not seen an appraisal) but my recollection is his range was average at best. I'm a big fan of the trade, but I think the notion that he will replace Kearns in RF is likely incorrect. We know Milledge does not have the arm for RF and that the Nats would like to shift Dukes to CF if no other CF is acquired. I also don't know about Willi's ability to play 1B. I am confident that he would play the position better than Da Meat, likely better than Belliard, and likely not as well as Nick.

I am not on the committee to bury Austin Kearns. I agree that he has been disappointing, but he played a stellar RF in 2007 (less so in 2008) and has fourth OF potential offensively. Should he be a starter? Well, um he hasn't shown the consistent productivity necessary to date. But he could be a valuable fourth OF.

Posted by: natbisquit | November 11, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Strikeouts - aren't as bas as they used to be....

Sure, a 1-out fly ball, if deep enough, will score a runner from third.

Conversely, a poorly struck roller to the right side can become a double play fairly quickly. The Nats were doubled up 153 times last year - certainly not all on infield rollers, but I wish that many of those had been whiffs instead.

Posted by: comish4lif | November 11, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"And when they say we need more Zimmermans they are saying more young talent not the acutual last name Zimmerman."

Phew, thanks for clearing that one up. I was having a horrible time finding possible Zimmerman's (Zimmermanz, Zimmermannn, etc.?) at baseballreference.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 11, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

leetee - Hopefully, the Nats will either assign WMP to extended ST to work at 1B in '09, or eat the salary & wave "buh-bye". That would take care of part of the problem, yes?
The problem isn't necessarily the number of strikeouts, but when they occur. The hitters need to work on 'situational hitting' - i.e. when do you need to put "a ball in the air / ground" (RISP-less than two out) versus "swinging away" (runners on - two out). Players who can adjust their strike-zone & swing according to the count thrive in these situations. Dukes, Hernandez, Johnson, & Kearns are good at this, while Flores, Milledge, & Zimmerman could use improvement - Guzman is a natural-born hacker (see the ball, hit the ball - hard, if possible) and falls outside the range. I haven't seen enough of Willingham to make a determination, but his numbers point to him being in the first group.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

j-dog: If that was the absolute truth (Yanks value SP over everyday player), I'd be overjoyed. Granted, their SP is currently in shambles, but the fact of the matter is that the 'spawn of Steinbrenner' could do anything, including tying up over $600M in salary for three players (A-Rod, Teixiera, & Sabathia). They're (1- the richest franchise in MLB, (2- opening a brand-new stadium in 2009, and (3- can't stand to be out of the spotlight for more than 10 days in the off-season. It's just my gut hunch that the Nats' don't end up with Mark T.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

This may have been answered already, but I count 41 names on the 40 man roster. Does some else get DFA'd? I see on the Nat's web site that Boone and Perez are still on the 40 man. Since they are free agents, do they not count.

Posted by: TimDz | November 11, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

a 'two-fer' response here -
@J-dog: I was yanking JohninMpls' chain; I think one of the few other players with the last name of Zimmerman was a catcher for the Minnesota Twins (Jerry).
@natsbisquit - Willingham needs to project as a RF. Of the current starting OF candidates:
Milledge (LF, CF)
Dukes (CF, RF, LF)
Kearns (RF, LF, CF)
Willingham (LF, RF)
Based on overall skills, your best OF would then be either (LF to RF) Willingham/Dukes, Milledge, Dukes/Kearns or Milledge, Dukes, Kearns/Willingham;
Pick your poison.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Ryan Church -- uh, I mean, welcome, Josh Willingham!

Age: Seasons G AB BA OBP SLG
29 5 Seasons 416 1422 .266 .361 .472
29 5 Seasons 437 1316 .272 .347 .457

Would anyone else rather have Church for his LH bat and better defense? But let's give Josh the nod on the better OF arm.

Posted by: VirginiaNatsNut | November 11, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Bowden has suggested that Dukes will be in center next year. That means 3 potential regulars for 2 corner OF positions - Lastings, Willingham, and AK. Willingham may be the 1st base insurance if there is no big 1st base signing, but this may open up using Lastings in a package with a pitcher for a high level starting pitcher from a team doing a salary dump.

Do not automatically assign Teixeira to the NYY. They have a potential DH / 1B log jam among Matsui, Damon, and Posada due to their injuries. Matsui cannot field anymore, Posada is a question mark as to ever catching, and Damon's arm is a liability in the OF. They need an RF more than a 1B.

Finally, I think I saw on ESPN a report that if the Braves deal for Peavy does not happen, the Cubs would look to a 3d team for pitching to ship to the Padres in a Peavy deal. Perhaps there is something we can get in on.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 11, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@TimD: Boone, Odalis Perez & I believe, Harris should not count against the current 40-man roster. The Nationals should be at 39 currently-occupied roster positions against the 40-man cap.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The 40 Man should be at 39, if my math is correct.

Odalis and Boone are technically free agents, and should not be on the 40 man roster.

For my money, I wouldn't mind if they gave Wily Mo Pena the Dmitri Young treatment and assign him to AAA and hope someone makes a waiver claim on him and takes his $2M salary of the Nats' books.

Posted by: comish4lif | November 11, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Sign Mark Teixiera and this post season will be A+.

Posted by: 6thandD | November 11, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@comish - I doubt anyone would bite on WMP until toward the end of SP, once he's proven he can swing a bat. Then maybe, the Nats' could float him to an AL team as a DH/OF/PH. I just don't think he's going to be ready to play by then.

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Phew, thanks for clearing that one up. I was having a horrible time finding possible Zimmerman's (Zimmermanz, Zimmermannn, etc.?) at baseballreference."

That would be ZimmerMEN. Don't you speak English? Zimmerwomen and Don Zimmer need not apply.

Posted by: nunof1 | November 11, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

JCA raises the issue I've been noodling over. If Dukes is in CF then we have two LFs in Milledge and Willingham, neither of whom has the arm to play RF. Does this mean a trade is in the offing though? It could, but I don't necessarily think that was the explicit plan when they acquired Willingham. More likely they just decided to stockpile assets without regard for how they fit on the 25-man roster -- hey, does that sound familiar? Not that it's necessarily wrong, particularly in the offseason. But I think Florida wanted us to take Willingham (they're set in the OF with Cameron Maybin coming up, so they don't need to pay Josh). And I think we agreed, on the grounds that we still don't know what we have at first or in the OF (Johnson and Young may be hurt, Dukes could implode, Kearns is coming off an injury and another down year, and we don't know where Milledge fits). If everyone is healthy and performing, that would be a high quality problem to have.

Posted by: BobLHead | November 11, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@BobL: Agreed, the Nats are acquiring assets that this point, but OF is becoming crowded. If there is a trade window to move one or more OF assets for say, a ML-ready 1B, or a true #1SP prospect and / or MI MiL, would you complain?

Posted by: BinM | November 11, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The oufield is crowded. With underperformers, retreads, utility men and garbage. There's only one guy, outside of Willingham, that will be with the team in two years - Dukes. Willingham instantly makes us better. It's amazing how some people can be so attached to a roster that only won 59 games.

Posted by: Brue | November 11, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

What about Andrew Zimmern?


That would be ZimmerMEN. Don't you speak English? Zimmerwomen and Don Zimmer need not apply.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 11, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I guarantee Bowden asked about Uggla. I am curius about what Bowden would say about that discussion. If we got him for Banifacio straight up or even with dean and smoliski I would really be loving it. Need a left handed bat still. GIAMBI or Sean Casey maybe? If nothing else platoon them. If NJ comes around then so be it.

Posted by: tlynch44 | November 11, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

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