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Dukes Optioned to Class AAA

The Washington Nationals sent Elijah Dukes to AAA Syracuse on Wednesday morning, saying Dukes was not a "finished product" and needed to play every day rather than sit on the bench in the majors.

The move came in response to the team's acquisition of middle reliever Sean Burnett and center fielder Nyjer Morgan in Tuesday's trade that sent Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I don't think we're going to be doing him any help by just sitting him here," Acta said before Wednesday's game against the Florida Marlins at Land Shark Stadium.

Acting General Manager Mike Rizzo called the demotion of Dukes "a pure baseball decision" designed to ensure Dukes would get enough at-bats and playing time to continue to develop, but the move also seemed to signal a loss of confidence in a player once considered among the organization's top prospects.

Dukes and Milledge had, as recently as this spring, been considered Washington's outfielders of the future.

"I didn't see the consistent at-bats I wanted Elijah to have," Rizzo said. "I think he understands this is a developmental process... He can use this time to right himself down there."

After a strong start to the season, Duke has been mired in a slump that sank his batting average to .244. He hit .198 in June. He is expected to play in right and center field in Syracuse.

Dukes, who packed his bags before the game, declined comment through a team spokesman.

Rizzo's decision to move Dukes also saved the organization the possible loss of a player through waivers. Other Nationals who seemed to be in line for a possible demotion -- such as Austin Kearns and Jesus Colome -- are out of options, meaning Washington could not send either player to the minor leagues without first allowing other teams the chance to claim him.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 1, 2009; 10:54 AM ET
 
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Comments

You wonder how Dukes will handle this mentally; I would say this is the biggest moment of his career as he could easily blow the rest of it. You also have to wonder if the Nats are asking too much of players too soon and ruining them, like asking the players they basnished to Pittsburgh to do things they clearly could not do.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

New posted - should've known

This is a good move. Give him sometime to get his swing back in order, not worry about "learning" to play CF, and he may yet be our piece for RF. Maybe work some on baserunning with hin while he is there as well :)
________________________________
Ladson reporting that Elijah Dukes has been sent down to Syracuse.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

There may be more to Dukes' demotion than his lousy numbers. Remember that an unnamed player was quoted a while back as saying that the clubhouse would be a better place if Dukes wasn't in it, or something to that effect.

Posted by: registration | July 1, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Rizzo's wrecking ball is knocking the house built by Jim Bowden to pieces.

Posted by: nattydread1 | July 1, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Short term, it's the right move. It's up to Dukes to make something of it, but he was clearly struggling at the ML level. It got to the point that we were yelling "take a pitch, Elijah".

Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | July 1, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if this was an attitude adjustment thing. That play where he threw the runner out at second last night only happened because he loafed his way to the ball (and the guy was actually safe).

Posted by: joebleux | July 1, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Let's just hope Dukes doesn't break a finger trying to bunt.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 1, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

>>I honestly believe we will see (traded) two out of Guzman, Johnson, Dunn, Willingham and Dukes go along with young pitcher. Posted by: soundbloke

Not so sure. We're hearing the same thing today that we heard about Bowden all those years--that the Nats want a kings ransom in return for any players. That's why Soriano was never traded. That's why the Nats in their short history have never traded anyone of any real value for anyone of any great value. It's getting old real fast.

Posted by: dovelevine

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm not reading a ton into this. They don't want to eat the Kearns money and Dukes is slumping. He'll be back soon with more trades and injuries on the horizon. Hope Elijah can be mature about it.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 1, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

does this mean MASN can give a rest to that inane "my man, elijah dukes" promo?

Posted by: surly_w | July 1, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"That's why the Nats in their short history have never traded anyone of any real value for anyone of any great value."

What about the trade on '06 that sent Wilkerson to Texas for Soriano in the first place? That was a pretty substantial value, since we got a 40-40-40 guy, at least for that year.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 1, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Dukes has been needing to feed on minor league hitting for awhile. The guy looks miserable right now, chasing everything -- the opposite of "my man, Elijah Dukes."

My 7 year old brother will be terribly disappointed though. For an utterly inexplicable reason he loves Elijah Dukes.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Good night, funny man.

Posted by: wahoo2x | July 1, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

How are the Nats -not- going to eat Kearn's salary? That money's spent, unless some team becomes desperate enough for a good field/no hit right fielder that they're willing to pick up a chunk of his salary (hint: not happening)

Posted by: joebleux | July 1, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I like what Rizzo is doing. He isn't kidding about wanting character guys. He emphazised it yesterday with the trade and this is further proof. Dukes is the next to go.

Can you imagine Bowden trading Milledge and sending down Dukes?

Posted by: raymitten | July 1, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Isn't having Kearns on the roster still "eating" his salary? I hope Dukes is back up soon.

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This move will prove Dukes to be one of three things:

1) full of the potential Bowden, Inc. saw.

2) not a MLB level player

3) trade bait

...hopefully #1 or #3, but in any case, quickly.

I still have hope for him. In that is my hope that a stadium of 41,000 fans all yelling "DOOOOOOOOOOOooooooouuuuuu...kes!" would be just awesome. If he works really hard in SYR, he can make that happen.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Does the guy who's supposed to keep an eye on Dukes go with him?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | July 1, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This has to be an issue of character for the most part.

Kearns' salary is not an issue because even if they trade him, they'll have to send most of his salary to the other club anyway. They're going to have to pay for him regardless. Plus, what are the chances of getting back something good for Kearns at this point?

Posted by: MikeP1 | July 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Dukes goes to SYR a couple of days after Dmitri - someone there to keep an eye on him.

This is the best short-term move...

Regarding trading something to get something - when have we had something to trade? Nick, Villone, and Biemel very well could be Type B FA, so why not ask for more - especially when there is a month left in the trade season.

Posted by: goexpos2 | July 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Isn't having Kearns on the roster still 'eating' his salary?"

In that case having him in the lineup is what?

(there's a terribly witty food/dining analogy in here if it can be worked out)

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

That's why Soriano was never traded. That's why the Nats in their short history have never traded anyone of any real value for anyone of any great value. It's getting old real fast.

Posted by: dovelevine

Well, essentially we got Zimmermann for Soriano. I'll take that any day.

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

According to Gammons and others they are asking for a lot for Willingham and Johnson. One GM was quoted as saying they are asking for 1.25 for $1 worth. They didn't have to trade Soriano because they got 2 compensation picks for him (one being Zimmermann) so they could ask for a lot. By not trading Willingham who is at a high right now is insane. He has no future here and should be sent packing. I don't think they should remove the "interim" from Rizzo just yet. So far he isn't proving to be that good at the wheeling and dealing.

Posted by: brothbart | July 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Are you guys kidding? It's time for Belliard to go given he's been well under the Mendoza line for the entire season. Especially given the need to get Gonzalez more at bats. Dukes has actually been hitting better the past few games and is still a needed power threat. Hopefully this demotion will help Dukes, but he really shouldn't be the one to go down at this point.

Posted by: Kolchak | July 1, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how James Williams is taking the demotion. They should give him a special assistant to help him cope during these trying times.

Posted by: rucks35 | July 1, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Does the guy who's supposed to keep an eye on Dukes go with him?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | July 1, 2009 11:24 AM
_____________________________________________

Ditto on that question. What becomes of the chaperone? Did he have options remaining? Will he accept being outrighted to the minors?

Posted by: Ted_Striker | July 1, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

nattydread1,

Respectfully I would like to say that Rizzo is not wrecking the house that JimBo built. The house is built within the financial parameters of the ownership. It's a small ranch style, 1 or 2 BR, with a concrete patio for a backyard. Respectable enough--or it can be with a little patience.

Sure Bowden had a little more flair and took risks, hoping for lightning to strike with some of his upside moves. Rizzo seems to prefer defense, a good attitude and reliability. But both GMs were and are severely hindered by the extraordinarily small budgets handed to them.

Just please notice that no big salary guys come over in trades. The Nats draft for signability--for guys who will take slot or under-slot money (except when they are trapped into drafting a Strasburg). The Nats have signed only one expensive free agent under the Lerners, and he is just a $20 million guy (most teams splurge for much more than that). No international guys are signing for 100K or more with the Nats.

You are definitely right that Rizzo is quite different than Bowden. But they build their house with bottom-of-MLB budgets. That limits (a lot) what you can accomplish as an architect.

I admit that with either Rizzo or Bowden you can get lucky with some of these fringe moves and find a gem, whether it's in the draft or a trade.

Posted by: EdDC | July 1, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Demoting Dukes represented a safer, short-term alternative to other debated moves involving more tenured players."

Chico, are you freaking on the Lerner pay roll? Last night the big, long Rizzo-bolstering of the trade now this claim that sending Dukes off to AAA is "safer" than other "debatable moves"??? Maybe if you had preferenced it with "The club believes . . ." or something, but that statement is out there.

and it is simply false. Kerans is without value. No debate about it.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 1, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I think you need to take what other GMs are saying about the Nats' offers with a grain of salt. If one GM says the Nats are asking for $1.25 in return for $1, it sounds like he's trying to drive down the price. I'd rather Rizzo take the time to forge trades that provide useful long-term pieces in lieu of quick trades as part of a fire sale. Willingham's on fire right now and is a proven MLB hitter. We fans need something to keep our interest up.

Posted by: BrantAlyea | July 1, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I think this was the right move in sending Dukes down. This will now allow him to play everyday in Syracuse, something he was not going to do here (especially with the way Willingham has been hitting lately). In order for Dukes to get out of his hitting funk, he needs to play everyday.

So, he goes to Syracuse for the month of July. Sometime in the next 31 days one of the following will happen:

1) Nick is traded. Dunn moves to 1st, Willingham to LF and Dukes comes back in RF.
2) Willingham is traded. Dukes comes back up in RF.
3) Kearns is traded. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Like anyone is stupid enough to take him. Wait, Bowden isn't back working in baseball is he? No, then yeah, this ain't happening.
4) Kearns is Pattersoned/LoDuca'd/FLop'ped/Estrada'd. Dukes comes back up and splits time with Willingham in RF.
5) some combination of #1-4.

Plus, he was the only outfielder with any options left, so it makes sense to send him down with the promise that he'll be back up by August 1.

Posted by: erocks33 | July 1, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Chico - is Dukes on a split contract (1 salary while in the Majors, a smaller salary in the Minors)?

And how does this effect his ability to pay his child support? Does he have to petition to have the payments lowered commensurate with his salary?

Posted by: comish4lif | July 1, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Broth
Asking $1.25 for $1 worth is how you get your $1 in a bargaining system. Asking $1 for $1 worth is how you get $0.75.

I don't see how Willingham is at a high right now. He's got a high upside, sure, but he's not having the season of his career (as some have argued with respect to Nyjer Morgan). And with Nick's contract coming up at the end of the year, other teams are looking at a 3-month rental. It's too early for that kind of deal; those deals get done right before the deadline.

Posted by: TomServo | July 1, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Regarding that 1 GM that was quoted as saying that the Nats wanted $1.25 of return for $1.00 worth of player. That same GM said that everyone he talked to was asking for the same.

Makes me think that he values his $1.00 player at $1.25 and he's the one out of touch with the market...

Posted by: comish4lif | July 1, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

IHW - you wouldn't happen to be a student or alumni from JMU would you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I still have hope for him. In that is my hope that a stadium of 41,000 fans all yelling "DOOOOOOOOOOOooooooouuuuuu...kes!" would be just awesome."

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 1, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Enough potential.

Rizzo is signalling that RESULTS have to start coming from players that have been given the requisite time to play and show what they can do.

Dukes is 24 years old and as indicated has talent but was batting .198 this month.

Dukes has more talent than Milledge and I would rather hold onto him for a while longer to see if this demotion motivates him to improve.

Milledge on the other hand was just overrated coming out as a high #1 draft pick. His 5 tool package turned out to be more like 2.5.

Austin Kearns needs to be released, plain and simple.

He is the poster child for underachievement on this club.

Bowden kept Lopez and Kearns in the lineup no matter what their batting averages in 2007 and 2008 and that was a major mistake.

Ultimately, you have to judge based on what players do on the field, not what you think they can do on paper.

Posted by: leopard09 | July 1, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Boy, I hate to be a spoil sport, but this move is the precise opposite of cleansing Bowden from the team. It preserves it. Cleansing Bowden would have meant DFAing someone, instead Rizzo picks the option that lets him keep everyone as is and add another toolsy outfielder.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Willingham's stats for the past two months (May and June):

114 AB
28 Runs
37 Hits
11 doubles
8 home runs
14 RBI
20 walks
26 strikeouts

.325 avg
.438 obp
.632 slg
1.070 ops

I'd be asking for at least $1.25 on the dollar for him right now too, if not more. Heck, I wouldn't have a problem with keeping him around for another year or so. With a true CF playing next to him, he's probably not going to be as bad as a fielder and he's proven that he can hit if given playing time.

Posted by: erocks33 | July 1, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see this move coming, as I suspect many of you didn't. It will be interesting to see what kind of w-l record will come out of this. So, I guess this is day one of A.D. This'll be a hard game to win today, even with Zimm throwing. Johnson is tough.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 1, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

TomServo:

Good point, and good nickname.

Posted by: Sec_319 | July 1, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

So just curious. Does Dukes mentor/life coach get sent down too? Does this reduce his income at all and thus complicate his financial issues?

And on a separate matter, to what extent are Willingham and Dunn practicing at 1B these days?

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 1, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The only way the Nats trade Kearns right now is if they agree to take on/keep the bulk of his salary (i.e. $6 million out of the $8 million).

Posted by: Juan-John | July 1, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Good luck Elijah I knew the Riz was coming after you! Well it looks like this starts the clock on the moves...Nick to Boston or the Mets, Villone to the Mets, Kearns and Beimel to whomever will take them, if not Kearns then maybe willingham to Cincy and egads....Dunn to the Yankees!!!??? Chico please tell us the Riz is not trading our #1 only cleanup hitter!?

Posted by: markfd | July 1, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Good move. I'd keep Josh,I think he's a good player for the Nats. One that has upside.

Posted by: ridgely1 | July 1, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

All this and then our new player doesn't lead off?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | July 1, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Austin Kearns is the Mark Brunell of the Nationals. He's super smart. He fights his guts out. He also sucks out loud.

Posted by: trezmartin | July 1, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

All together now in a sing-along: Lil Elijah, lil 'Lijah Dukes, lil Elija, lil 'Lijah Dukes. The best part of watching Nationals games was singing that everytime Mr. Dukes came to bat.

Posted by: shoveit | July 1, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that would be terrible if the club waived Kearns and some other team took his contract.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 1, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

EdDC, could you please supply one example of the Nats drafting significant "under slot" players beyond Storen? Where do people come up with their "facts" here? Do the names McGeary or Detweiler ring any bells? Whether they were smart signings or not remains to be seen, but they were certainly not cheap. Look, the Nats have failed to sign exactly one significant draft choice and did sign the second best power hitter on the free agent market last off season. I'm as unhappy with this team as anyone ever could be - I waited 33 years for this clinging to whatever slim hope of having our own team would come up - but there's plenty to trash in what they really have done such that you don't need to be making up "facts" along the way. This is the wrong move with Dukes. Kearns and Belliard should be gone and they should take Teflon Manny with them. But what this has to do with saving money or not saving money is way beyond me.

Posted by: truke | July 1, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

RicketyCricket-
Nope. Not me.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 1, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

To the Nats fans:

As a Rays fan who is all too familiar with Dukes, you have my condolences. It sounds like there are some short memories at work here. There is no question about his potential but he was a problem child here and we weren't too sad to see him go. As I recall, he had run-ins with a woman about child support, made threatening public statements, there were pot rumors and the rumor here [as it appears from a post here to be the same there] is that he was poison in the clubhouse. Although I hope he straightens himself out in the minors as that would be good for Dukes and I'm ever the optimist, I wouldn't hold your/my breath.

Posted by: tampalawyer | July 1, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Dunn to NYY? where'd you hear this stuff?
Nick rumors have been around, and Minaya is always in the market for ex-Nats, it seems, but are you sure your imagination isn't working harder than Bowden's?

*********
Good luck Elijah I knew the Riz was coming after you! Well it looks like this starts the clock on the moves...Nick to Boston or the Mets, Villone to the Mets, Kearns and Beimel to whomever will take them, if not Kearns then maybe willingham to Cincy and egads....Dunn to the Yankees!!!??? Chico please tell us the Riz is not trading our #1 only cleanup hitter!?

Posted by: markfd | July 1, 2009 11:50 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen this news, either...are lineups out?
*******
All this and then our new player doesn't lead off?
Posted by: GoNatsTerps | July 1, 2009 11:51 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Why are we keeping Kearns around? Who would pick him up off waivers anyway? He has had plenty of time to prove himself.

Posted by: Tom8 | July 1, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

>>That's why Soriano was never traded. That's why the Nats in their short history have never traded anyone of any real value for anyone of any great value. It's getting old real fast. Posted by: dovelevine

>>Well, essentially we got Zimmermann for Soriano. I'll take that any day.Posted by: FloresFan

Soriano was worth much more than two mystery draft picks who might or might not turn into something. He was a bonifide superstar who should have brought back at least 3 players and not just some possible projects.

If Zim turns out to be the real deal-- Great-- you stumbled and bumbled into something. It wasn't because you did what you were supposed to do. Who did the other draft pick turn into?

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

They're paying him $8MM, and he can play RF. Nobody would be likely to claim him, I suppose, but it's not like they've got Roberto Clemente at Syracuse to bring up in his place.

***********
Why are we keeping Kearns around? Who would pick him up off waivers anyway? He has had plenty of time to prove himself.
Posted by: Tom8 | July 1, 2009 12:05 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

that would be $3 for $1.

*******
Soriano was worth much more than two mystery draft picks who might or might not turn into something. He was a bonifide superstar who should have brought back at least 3 players and not just some possible projects.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 12:06 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The Nats signed Brandon King (HS rhp, 27th rounder) to $250,000 thats $50,000 more than the 3rd round pick Holder. The Nats aren't trying to be cheap, but smart. They are one the lower payroll teams in the league but they are still building. They gave Dunn more money than they should have and they offered more money to Tex than the yankees. Besides this isn't our money we are spend.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Friday is "Domestic Violence Awareness Night" at the park, so Dukes not being there solves that little PR conundrum.

WHY IS AUSTIN KEARNS STILL WEARING A NATS UNIFORM??!?!?!?!!?

Posted by: yobigc | July 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

and IIRC the other pick was Smoker.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

ASKED AND ANSWERED YOGIGC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Also, Sec3mysofa, lineups are assuredly out because the game has begun.

Willie Harris already led off with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a Guzman groundout to first.

Lineups are:

Washington

Harris - 8
Guzman - 6
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 7
Willingham - 9
Hernandez - 4
Nieves - 2
Zimmermann - 1

Florida

Coghlan - 7
Bonifacio - 5
Ramirez - 6
Gload - 3
Uggla - 4
Hermida - 9
Ross - 8
Baker - 2
Johnson - 1

Posted by: faNATic | July 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Again, we've all been asking for moves like this.

I remember seeing a WaPo video with Dukes talking about golf when he first arrived. He talked about how he wanted to be a man who could just walk onto the course, and club the ball without warming up, or preparing. I think it spoke volumes about him.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 1, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

They aren't going to get anything for Kearns. Sunk cost, money spent, water over the dam, horse has left the barn. There's not much point in bringing up Maxwell (a-gain) to watch Dunn-Morgan-Willingham and Nick Johnson play. Dukes is on the way out here, apparently, too, and not inflating his numbers up here, so Syracuse may be his last stop in Natstown.

They're going to lose a lot of games this year, and there isn't anything anyone can do to prevent it. If they trade someone like Nick or Dunn for a package of prospects, and one or two of them is worth time in right, then maybe Kearns is taking up a spot. But for now, they've got nothing.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh. Thank you faNATic. Serves me right for working.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

He also said that he knows he doesn't swing right, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Then he hit one of the ugliest shots I've ever seen and said, "That, my friend, is very broke."

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"EdDC, could you please supply one example of the Nats drafting significant "under slot" players beyond Storen?"

I'm not EdDC, but 3rd-round pick Trevor Holder comes immediately to mind.

"Look, the Nats have failed to sign exactly one significant draft choice..."

The Nats also failed to sign their 2nd-round pick, Sean Black, in 2006. Although that might have been a good thing in hindisght, Black was the highest unsigned pick that year for any team, and the Nats wasted this pick completely as there was no compensation system then.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Bonifacio thrown out at third with one out and Ramirez up -- where was he going?!? What was he thinking?!?

Posted by: joebleux | July 1, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Also, Willie Harris didn't steal 2nd base.

it was already his!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 1, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

By rule, MLB considers bases "complementary" to Willie Harris.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Brandon King's signing, this is a rather interesting statement reported to have been made by Nats area scout Alex Smith:

"Smith said the organization's inability to sign some players drafted ahead of King freed up some money to help in their negotiations with the Martinsburg star."

http://tinyurl.com/nzdu2w

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 1, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Our pitchers are now hitting better than Nick and Guz. JZ with the 2 out rbi.

Posted by: hoo93 | July 1, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Dunn possibly to the Yankees is a rumor at mlb.com, I heard it for the 1st time today but apprently there has been talk for a few weeks about moving Dunn because of his defensive flaws.

Posted by: markfd | July 1, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

truke says:

"EdDC, could you please supply one example of the Nats drafting significant "under slot" players beyond Storen? Where do people come up with their "facts" here? Do the names McGeary or Detweiler ring any bells? Whether they were smart signings or not remains to be seen, but they were certainly not cheap. ...you don't need to be making up "facts" along the way. "

When you say except for Storen, that dismisses a lot. Baseball America says this about Storen, as a late first or sandwich pick guy:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/?p=1182

BA says this about the guy he replaced, calling Crow the best RH pitcher in the draft:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267400.html

The rest of the BA article is instructive. Anyway the 3rd round guy in 2009 was an under-slot guy too, a surprise to go that high. Maybe he will turn out fine anyway.

McGeary was over-slot. The Nats should be extending themselves more like that. Detwiler was a slot guy, while a guy who cost the Tigers big bucks, Rick Porcello, dropped lower.

I'm glad you are a good fan of the Nats, someone who sees that the Nats are trying. I'm looking for more signs of that myself, and hope to find them someday.

Posted by: EdDC | July 1, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If this is a character issue, I'm worried. It indicates that the team in intentionally trying to cultivate an emotionless couldnt give a flying eff clubhouse.

Just keep losing guys and say things like:
"we have to keep at it"
"it will turn around"
"we had some bad breaks"
"we try hard"

I hate this team so much

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 1, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hope Dukes works hard to get back. Its interesting the commentary about who is trade bait). The Nats can't gut their team now just for the sake of trading and I don't believe any of the players mentioned will bring back starting OF's who are major league ready (maybe a trade of Dunn could accomplish that).

So, the question is: looking ahead to 2010, who do folk see as being in the Nats outfield?

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"Kearns is without value. No debate about it."

Kearns has value. Or, he WOULD have value, if the Nats could ever get themselves in a situation where they need a defensive substitution to help hold a lead in the late innings.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | July 1, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I hate this team so much

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 1, 2009 12:43 PM


Then stop following them! Whats so hard about that?

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Dunn would be a monster in the new yankee stadium. He could hit 70 home runs easy. LOL I don't think I would trade Dunn unless they could get Melky plus a couple other guys.

Posted by: brothbart | July 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Because Soriano was signed by the Cubs, coming off a year in which they were a bottom-15 team, the Nats got only one draft pick instead of two.

Still, many years of Jordan Zimmermann is worth far more than 2 months of Soriano.

Bowden did a lot of stupid things, and it's great to see Rizzo steadily purging the roster of the low character reclamation projects and toolsy garbage that JimBo loved. But taking the draft picks instead of trading Soriano turned out to be one of Bowden's smarter moves.

Posted by: laugh33 | July 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

So, Chico, is there any truth to the rumor that rookie pitchers Stammen and Zimmermann will be holding a clinic for Nats position players on hitting with runners in scoring position?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really sure what this "they don't want to eat Kearns' salary" argument is. Isn't that what they're doing anyway? It's not like he contributes a single thing towards the team getting wins. He might as well be DFAed. And please stop talking about trading him to whoever will take him. Absolutely no one will take him. He has a negative VORP and an 8M salary.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 1, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

laugh, iirc they got the Cubs' second-round pick AND a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Can someone help me? Why wouldn't we dump Kearns and let him clear waivers? Does his salary stay here if someon picks him up or does it travel with him. NOt saying I have a lot of confidence in Dukes developing, but I have zero confidence in Kearns being more than what he is and it's time to move on after the season anyway, right? Why not dump kearns and get Dukes the at-bats Rizzo claims he needs? I say do both and make room for the upcoming trades.

Posted by: GregHerrick | July 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm fine w/ getting bashed for asking this question, but I don't understand the mentality so I have to ask it. Why are people talking like they want to see ANY of our semi-productive players traded (Johnson, Willingham, etc)? Isn't it better to hold onto the people who produce, cut the ones that don't, and either buy (FA) or draft to fill the holes left over?

Or am I just forgetting who owns the team?

Posted by: cgriesba | July 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If we DFA'd Kearns, he'd pass thru waivers where anyone could claim him and his salary (which won't happen). After he passes thru waivers, he can decide to accept the assignment to SYR or opt to become a free agent. If another team picks him up, they pay him the league minimum (around $400K I think for the entire season, but it would be pro-rated for what's left of the season) and the Nats pay the rest of the pro-rated $8 mill so Kearns gets every penny of his deal. At least that's my understanding of how it would work.

I guess the thinking is if we're gonna pay him he may as well play for us, but I agree that he's dead weight. Let him hit soft come-backers to the pitcher for somebody else.

Posted by: sec307 | July 1, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I think the month of July will be a showcase for Dunn, Willingham, NJ, Guzman and Kearns to a certain extent.

Dukes is doing us no good by sitting on the bench and not getting AB's to get out of his slump. Send him down so he can straighten out and try to move Willingham/Dunn.

I think by August 1st, this team is going to look dramatically different.

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Sending Kearns down does not present a risk that he'd be picked up on waivers. It presents an opportunity that he might get picked up on waivers. But he wouldn't be.

Posted by: pondaz | July 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

The problem isn't that they're afraid that someone will pick up his waiver. The problem is that they don't want him to pull a PLoD from last year, where they DFAed him, nobody picked him up, he refused to report and was released. The next day he got picked up at the league minimum.

The Nats were responsible for all his salary and got nothing out of it. They'd like to get SOME value. I mean, really, who's he blocking? JMax? don't think so. Corey Patterson? Not. Dukes? Ok, you might have some argument here, but I accept that they think Dukes playing everyday in SYR is better than him platooning at the MLB team. Kearns is of some value right now in the field, and sometimes pinch hitting for pitchers. It's better than nothing. If they DFA him, they get NOTHING.

Posted by: swang30 | July 1, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

This is a good move if Dukes takes it a challenge and works hard. And keeps his nose clean.

I would've DFA'd either Belliard or Kearns, largely because I don't see another team putting either one on their 25-man roster. Kearns does play decent defense and that might get a few low prospects.

Willingham and Johnson will go, it's just a question of what the Nats get in return. I would not favor keeping either one because "you couldn't get enough" - get what you can, and move on.

Dunn, I would keep unless I got a plus-plus deal for him. His defense is suspect but he's a professional at the plate and in the clubhouse. Perhaps they are keeping Kearns to keep Dunn happy.

Posted by: kingrob76 | July 1, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Sending Kearns down does not present a risk that he'd be picked up on waivers. It presents an opportunity that he might get picked up on waivers. But he wouldn't be.

Posted by: pondaz | July 1, 2009 1:04 PM

Hey, if there's a team willing to TRADE for Hanrahan, then all things are possible....

Posted by: MikeH0714 | July 1, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clarifying hte waiver thing. Yeah, gotta keep Kearns and try to find a defensive opportunity late in the game. Maybe he could polish Willie's shoes too and we could get something for the money?

Posted by: GregHerrick | July 1, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

You have an asset, albeit of light value, but not zero. As of Dec. 1, it ceases to be yours. You can let that happen, and get only whatever the interim is worth, or you can leave it by the curb now and get nothing, or you can trade it in on something you'll have for a longer time, of at least approximately equivalent value (if you're a competent negotiator).

If any of these guys winds up the season as a Type B free agent, that changes a little, as they bring a draft pick when someone else signs them, but otherwise, that's the deal. Keep them while you lose 100+ games, and they become free agents, or DFA them and get bupkis, or trade them--hopefully for young players who will be good sometime in the next few years.

Nothing to do with who owns the team. You trade if you can get value.

***********
Why are people talking like they want to see ANY of our semi-productive players traded (Johnson, Willingham, etc)? Isn't it better to hold onto the people who produce, cut the ones that don't, and either buy (FA) or draft to fill the holes left over?

Or am I just forgetting who owns the team?

Posted by: cgriesba | July 1, 2009 1:01 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Why do the Nats pitch to Ramirez with runners on base. Stupid.

Posted by: hoo93 | July 1, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

bonifacio must go down and bonifacio must go down HARD! the phish can stand on top of the plate and hack because they aren't afraid of being backed off.

Posted by: surly_w | July 1, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

cgriesba

the last two seasons the marlins have owned the nats.

Posted by: surly_w | July 1, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Nope. We still got two picks for Soriano, just not in the first round. Josh Smoker, coming of surgery and currently in the GCL rookie team, was the compensatory pick (between rounds 1 & 2) and Zimmerman was the Cubs 3rd pick in the 2nd round (67th overall).

************
Because Soriano was signed by the Cubs, coming off a year in which they were a bottom-15 team, the Nats got only one draft pick instead of two.


Posted by: laugh33 | July 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

D'oh! I meant ZimmermanN, of course

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

laugh, iirc they got the Cubs' second-round pick AND a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:55 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

and IIRC the other pick was Smoker.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:11 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

hate this team so much

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 1, 2009 12:43 PM


Then stop following them! Whats so hard about that?

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 12:45 PM

I dont really and that is why I hate them. I used to like following a baseball team. It was fun. This isnt. It completely sucks. They have taken away my main source of summertime entertainment. Thus, I hate them. Unfortunately, there isnt another team I can turn my attention to 6 nights a week. I suppose I could check out the O's but they blow too

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 1, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It's like a bad slasher film

Get Your Red On II: The Morbid Fascination Continues

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

It Takes All Kinds: The Natstown Story

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I get it. Kearns isnt good. Hasnt been for a real long time. But on a Nats Journal level, does it ever get boring to continually post "Kearns sucks" or "DFA Kearns" or "Kearns has no value" on a daily basis? I know I become bored scrolling through all the repitition.

Besides, everyone is overlooking the most important note of Chico's post. Its no longer Joe Robbie stadium or Pro Player stadium or Dolphins stadium. Its Landshark stadium! Jimmy Buffett sponsors the Marlin's stadium. I for one find this incredibly amusing and just another reason to hate Buffett, horrible Landshark beer and the Marlins. I think I hate the Marlins more than makplan20002 hates the Nats, too.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | July 1, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

okay, sofa, you said it all first.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Dunn and Willingham should be kept IMO unless we are blown away.

Maybe keep Nick if he brings a Type B comp back.

Money recovered from Kearns (8), Meat (5), and Belli (5) should allow us to be buyers in the offseason.

Re: Soriano - you don't just "get 3 players" - evidently not much was offered.

Ramirez and Jones were signed over-slot last year.

Posted by: goexpos2 | July 1, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

You should be praying that another team takes Kearns off your hands.... Not protecting him.... Kearns should have been gone or even included in the trade if Pittsburgh would have him. Kearns stinks and he gets a free ride. Dukes gets the raw end of things here because of his past, but he hasn't done anything here..... that I can remember.

Posted by: punchdaclock | July 1, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

particularly in the last 2 months, punch

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sayin', I just said.
********
okay, sofa, you said it all first.
Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 1:48 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

As if -any- team would "claim" Austin Kearns. If Kearns were to be designated for assignment and another MLB team claimed him (and his monster contract) I would:
a.) dance around the room
b.) laugh hysterically
c.) make fun of the other team for the rest of my life

Posted by: banjax451 | July 1, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The Rizzerd is burning down the old house. Granted that old house was built mostly out of straw and balsa wood, and had a pool full of gasoline out front. But lets hope it works. Outfielders need 3 things; Speed, speed, speed.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 1, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I had expected Kearns to be DFA.

Posted by: jbartelloni | July 1, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if there's a team willing to TRADE for Hanrahan, then all things are possible....
Posted by: MikeH0714

Hey theres a sucker or Pirate born every minute......I mean cmon, the Pirates have been the Nats only longer.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"Rizzo's decision to move Dukes also saved the organization the possible loss of a player through waivers...such as Austin Kearns...[who is] out of options, meaning Washington could not send [him] to the minor leagues without first allowing other teams the chance to claim him."

Uhhhhh, wouldn't that be the best thing (and a freakin' miracle) if Kearns was claimed on waivers thus making his new team responsible for the remainder of his salary? Why was this statement even included in the article, since the likelihood of that happening is pretty much on par with Strasburg accepting slot value?

Posted by: harrypoopers | July 1, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse


I always knew she was a Nut, but now she's conversing with the furniture.

**************
okay, sofa, you said it all first.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 1:48 PM

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 1, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

A rain delay - it must be the seventh inning and the Marlins must have the lead. Hanley Ramirez strikes again.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Dibble and Carpenter have a great TV charm. Slightly lowbrow, largely inoffensive, and perfect for snoozing to. I hope this broadcast team sticks around.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

That's it 506, I'm cutting you out of the will.


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

I hope this broadcast team sticks around.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:20 PM

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 1, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if there's a team willing to TRADE for Hanrahan, then all things are possible....

Posted by: MikeH0714 | July 1, 2009 1:10 PM

Maybe that was a case of the Pirates offering Morgan and Burnett for Milledge and the Nationals responding, "It's only a deal if you take Hanrahan as well."

Posted by: SimonOliverLockwood | July 1, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing to me how certain Nationals players can be mired in a hitting slump, have their batting average drop, and make error upon error but still stay in the lineup, while certain other players get mired in a hitting slump and immediately get sent down to get their act together!

As for Kearns, he should be let go like Lopez was. He hasn't proven that he was anywhere near the player that he was made out to be.

Posted by: burnie4241 | July 1, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Well said, LDO. I would add that the endless repetition that, "The Nats should've traded SorianoI" (requiring retort: we got two compensatory picks: Jordan Zimmermann and Burgess ); the "Fire Manny" posts (most recently because he didn't play Josh Bard with a ripped groin); and Dunn and Willingham can't field! (they can, they do, and without them, we'd have about 2 wins.)

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie - I missed the word on the Bard, but figured something was wrong. What are they saying about his recovery?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

sofa, you wanna take this one? =)


***********
(requiring retort: we got two compensatory picks: Jordan Zimmermann and Burgess );

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:30 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

They're hoping that after the day off Bard will be available on Friday.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"That's it 506, I'm cutting you out of the will."

ARGH! I wanted that patio set! It's MINE!!! MINE!!!

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

If you didn't know...they're back....

Posted by: fischy | July 1, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 1a

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

2 on, nobody out, down 2-1, C'mon Nats!!! No GIDP!! Zimm'n pops out. 2 on in 2d and 3rd one out in 3rd, nobody scores. Same w. 2 on in 4th. Now failure to advance runner. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon don't get swept by the Fish! 2-2 to Dunn. 3-2. Pinto's gonna walk him. He did, but tried not to on a very close pitch. LOADED for Willingham! C'mon Josh! Make 'em pay for trading you! YESS! YESSSSSSSSSSS! 3-2 NATS!!!!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Willingham drives in two...

Nats lead...for now.

Posted by: fischy | July 1, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

and why are people so eager to get rid of Willingham?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Bard "tweaked" his groin against the O's. "Tweaking" is something that only happens to someone else's groin.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

As the guy on the commercial says, it's oooonnnn.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The trade brought me out of the woodwork.

So Bowden liked guys with high upsides -- but those guys tend to have only a limited chance of actually achieving those upsides. And he didn't give a rats arse about character or clubhouse composition, or where the toolsy guys might actually fit on the field. High risk, high reward, high possibility of a train wreck.

Rizzo is setting himself up as the anti-Bowden, he likes guys with lower ceilings but with greater chances of actually reaching them, and places a premium on character and chemistry. Lower risk, lower potential reward, lesser possibility of a train wreck.

Let's look at Rizzo's "safe" approach thus far: His first act was to jettison the young bullpen and to bring in Joe Beimel, Julian Tavarez, Kip Wells and later, Ron Villone and Mike McDougal, all veteran "sure things" by comparison. In the process he also DFA'd Steven Shell, in part on the grounds that he didn't like his "mindset on the mound and off the mound and the preparation for the game and just the whole aura behind him on the mound."

Then Lastings was "deleted," certainly for performance-related reasons but some of those were closely connected to discipline/character issues (doing things his own way as opposed to, say, the way that leadoff hitters and centerfielders are supposed to do things).

Then the Daniel Cabrera toolbox was emptied and discarded.

And now, Bowden's future closer and leadoff-hitting all-star CF have been traded for a 29-year old major league average CF and another middling bullpen arm.

Even the Zimmerman signing can be viewed as a cautious move -- agree to pay your young star a bit more now in order to avoid the risk that you have to pay him a lot more later (or risk losing him to free agency).

Somehow I have a feeling that the cappuccino machine in Bowden's office has been scrapped in favor of a Mr. Coffee and a can of Folgers.

And I'm OK with that. Before the season I said I was simply rooting for competence. So much for that, at least thus far. But that does seem to be Rizzo's modus operandi, and given the results achieved by the previous regime, it's hard to be opposed to that.

Posted by: BobLHead | July 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Because he kinda stinks with a glove...

Posted by: fischy | July 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"and why are people so eager to get rid of Willingham?"

Because we don't have anyone else to trade and we're down to just one promising young starting position player now.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

what are the nats going to do? This is a team that in my opinion has no direction. They advertise at the beginning of the year dukes and milledge being the future of that outfield. Well guess what neither are even in the outfield anymore!!! they sure do think the future as in the next 2 months. Video on comcast sportsnet predicting some of the moves the nationals will make scroll down to the baseball section:http://comcastsportsnet.tv/pages/videopagemain

Posted by: joshclearfield | July 1, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Lowcountry, I can't for the life of me figure that or the "we must trade Nick NOW!" or the "Let's trade Dunn!!!" We're not going to get anyone better. When they traded Rauch for Rizzo's second baseman for years to come, Bonifacio, they gave a long term deal to Guzman. Why not the same for Nick, Dunn,and Willingham. After they crush the ball and Manny has a lead, he can put in defensive replacements for Dunn and Willingham. But Nick is a by-God great 1st baseman and all three can change a game as we just saw. Goodness Gracious, give us sum reason to watch the team for the rest of the year!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if there's a team willing to TRADE for Hanrahan, then all things are possible....
Posted by: MikeH0714

But Hanrahan makes no money and is still young enough and showed enough last year to be considered a prospect. Kearns makes a fortune and is as unproductive as any player in the Bigs. If there's even a chance that someone would take Kearns for nothing, the Nats should try it. Because even if they can find someone willing to take a chance on him, they'll have to eat almost all his money and won't get much of a prospect back anyway.

Posted by: pondaz | July 1, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back to the unforgettable Bob L. Head!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey look, it is ex-Nats Brian Sanches on the mound. Yep, a 1.56 ERA, the Nats were right he is horrible! :(

Posted by: markfd | July 1, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"When they traded Rauch for Rizzo's second baseman for years to come, Bonifacio, they gave a long term deal to Guzman. "

It was just two years, right? And these were back in the days when Smiley was going to be playing at 19 and save us all.

And did we already have one of Hernandez or Gonzales?

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we have plenty of position players to trade - just be creative 506
_______________________
Because we don't have anyone else to trade and we're down to just one promising young starting position player now.

Posted by: Section506

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Sean Burnett's unauspicious beginning. A solo homer.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I see Burnett is fitting right in.......

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If no one will buy into the Plan anymore and believe in flipping established players for young talent, then the strongest argument for not signing Nick to a long term deal is that calling him "injury-prone" would be a malicious deception.

But when he only has a few months on his contract, a team would be willing to trade for that.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the Nationals, Sean

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Burnett gives up a homerun to Ross. Yup, he's gonna fit right in. ...(sigh)...

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 1, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, on the bright side, at least we don't have to listen to all the mindless venom spewing that would have followed Hanrahan giving up that homer.

Posted by: joebleux | July 1, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Flynnie -- good to return and see that you have as well! You were away too long.

Personally I grew tired of the incessant "Fire Manny" arguments and became a fan of my daughter's softball team for awhile instead. I've been following along, but at a greater distance than before. I'll come back if everyone plays nice (including the Nats).

Posted by: BobLHead | July 1, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Love this bullpen.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 1, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, we have plenty of position players to trade - just be creative 506"

Haha, good point, I forgot it was Nationals Journal. We should trade Austin Kearns for Hanley Ramirez and a first round draft pick!

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

What's with Ryan Zimmerman's defense the past few days. 4 errors in 2 games? Is he slumping for a reason?

Posted by: luv2bikva | July 1, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the bullpen Burnett. Thanks for keeping everything consistent over there.....

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, that one sounded like a home run on the radio. Attaboy, Josh.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 1, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

RAR RAR RAR, SEAN BURN-IT TO THE GROUND!!! RAR RAR RAR

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

makplan2002: "They have taken away my main source of summertime entertainment."

You should take up drinking.

Or sex. I hear good things about both of them.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 1, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good deal to me. You might mention to Rizzo that you acquired the rights to Reyes though (just in case Florida balks and wants a starting pitcher or something).
________________________________
"Oh, we have plenty of position players to trade - just be creative 506"

Haha, good point, I forgot it was Nationals Journal. We should trade Austin Kearns for Hanley Ramirez and a first round draft pick!

Posted by: Section506

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Soriano was worth much more than two mystery draft picks who might or might not turn into something. He was a bonifide superstar who should have brought back at least 3 players and not just some possible projects. "

Horsehockey!!! Soriano was a rent-a-player on the last 2 months of a contract. He was also a player learning a new position. No team in their right mind would give 3 good players for Soriano. Mark Texeira didn't even fetch that.

Posted by: ouvan59 | July 1, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Time for a Super Willy appearance.

Posted by: BobLHead | July 1, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse


Just checking ... is "my daughter's softball team" a code-word for the New York Mets?

Or is it too late to make a Milledge reference?

Glad to see you back, Bob L. ... and I appreciate the repainting the backdrop for this scene.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 1, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Does the guy who's supposed to keep an eye on Dukes go with him?"

Posted by: Cosmo06

Duke's does not have his chaperone this year. Either the Nats thought he didn't need one, or it was another Lerner cost-cutting move. Either way he has not been with him all year.

Posted by: alm1000 | July 1, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

man, burnett gives up a game-tying HR to the FIRST BATTER he faces as a nat. he makes the all-arson squad forever.

Posted by: surly_w | July 1, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Because he [Willingham]kinda stinks with a glove...

Posted by: fischy | July 1, 2009 2:45 PM |
************************************

This is why Bob L. Head, I and others have avoided this site. Nattering nabobs of negatavism have taken over. Willingham just saved a home run with his glove. Not a peep from fischy. Kearns, hitting only in the pinch, not getting regular looks, drives in a run last Saturday - not mentioned. Come on, let's shut 'em up with a win streak!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

FoF needs to stop pressing...

Posted by: swang30 | July 1, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Burnett&Nats. A match made in heaven.

Posted by: Tom8 | July 1, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Hanley Ramirez is up. Anyone wanna bet the score will be 4-3 in the next 10 minutes?

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Dunn I think is a worst disaster at 1st base. That is why they keep him in left field most of the time.

If Nick goes it will be to the Mets who could legitimately use a good fielding, good hitting 1st baseman.

If Dunn goes it will be to a team like Boston or NY who can always use a DH like Dunn in the lineup.

If Willingham goes it will probably be to a competitive team who needs a DH in the AL. Although Cincinnati is interested.

Hopefully they get rid of Tavarez, Villone, and Beimel. These guys are worst than NatsGuy's Tommy John's types. You keep Colome who is younger and has a 90+ average speed fastball. You already lost one in Hanrahan.

Posted by: periculum | July 1, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The age of Captain Morgan's Natty Pirats has arrived. Foot on barrel time. Pirats tastes better than Rum on a hot day.

Posted by: periculum | July 1, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

At least it wasn't Bonifacio.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 1, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I f-ing hate the Marlins.

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

**sigh** the fans need the off-day as much as the nats. it is freakin' un-be-li-vable how florida just seems to know to stay close in the late innings to beat the nats.

Posted by: surly_w | July 1, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

So tell me about this Bryce Harper kid....

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

...And another curly L is in the books!

Posted by: trezmartin | July 1, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Avast ye Natty Pirats 'ware the Hurricanes in FLA.

Cut Tarvarez, Beimel, and Villone. They do everything with smoke and mirrors and that has run its course.

Posted by: periculum | July 1, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"So tell me about this Bryce Harper kid....

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009"

He's a junior in High School. That is when he will graduate and get drafted by some team.

Junior in High School who thinks he is Babe Ruth. Sounds too much like Lastings Milledge.

Posted by: periculum | July 1, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Don't miss the other very large point that Rizzo is accomplishing by these moves: Namely to give Acta *something* to work with so the Nats can assess whether he actually has any managerial skills to offer.

If I was Manny Acta, I'd take this as a sign that I'd better show tangible improvement (a relative thing with the Nats, I understand) or else he's gonna be shipped out as well.

Posted by: SavedByZero | July 1, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

To-Do's for Chico:
- Compare offense before Flores went out to after Flores went out
- Create a stat profile for Dunn and Zimmerman for "pressure at-bats" - at bats in the 5th inning and beyond where the score is +/- 2 runs
- Be thankful (like me) for a day off from this wonderful fan experience

Posted by: natslifer | July 1, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It is almost laughable how terrible this team is. No one is even close in the standings.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 1, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Good to see BobL back.

The HR was unfortunate but I'm not ready to give our new reliever a derogatory nickname just yet. His first time pitching outside of the Pirates organization and he's just been uprooted from his team and home. I realize it's a lot to ask but maybe we could give the new guy more than one inning before judging him? As the commercial says, just a thought, not a sermon. Okay, maybe a little bit of a sermon. ;-)

In other news, our broadcast team might grow on you, 506. I don't mind lowbrow, not being terribly highbrow myself.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Junior in High School who thinks he is Babe Ruth. Sounds too much like Lastings Milledge.


Posted by: periculum | July 1, 2009 4:01 PM |

So the Nats should pass on him? I do hear they are scouting an altar boy from St. John's in Clinton who once hit a purse snatcher with a rock. Please, if Harper is evaluated to be the best, take him. Let the challenges of the minors humble him if he is as arrogant as you think.

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Also, I liked this:

By rule, MLB considers bases "complementary" to Willie Harris.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:30

Oh, and it feels just mahhvelous to see Bonifacio in the rear view mirror for the time being. I think it's funny as heck that Dibble doesn't like him either.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Who's our source on Harper, his ex-girlfriend or his history teacher? ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

except he spelled it wrong. he he

****************
Also, I liked this:

By rule, MLB considers bases "complementary" to Willie Harris.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 12:30

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"The HR was unfortunate but I'm not ready to give our new reliever a derogatory nickname just yet."

Yeah, I'm with you on this one, 1a. I think 506's comment was a little on the inflammatory side.

Posted by: joebleux | July 1, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

With editorial hat I'd say that "complementary" is correct if the intent is that bases are given to Willie automatically. (Okay, I'm taking that hat off now.)

Good one, joebleux. I don't want to flame him but maybe 506 was a bit hot under the collar at the time.

Also, just noticed that Zuckerman at the OP has a Dukes item in which he notes that Elijah reported late to the ballpark this a.m.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Biff Lobson's MLB Nats blog also mentions lateness as an issue.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Ladson and Zuckerman do have the unfair advantage of actually being at the game.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 1, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

sigh.

complimentary: given free as a courtesy or favor.

complementary: serving to fill out or complete.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

If I may weigh in from vacationland in sunny South Carolina, I agree wholeheartedly with Bob L. Head on Rizzo's recent moves, which changes the tenor of the organization. I'd much rather have guys like Morgan and Burnett (HR today or not) than to keep hoping that somehow Hanrahan and Milledge would figure out how to use their talents. If they fill out the roster with competent players and the stars-to-be live up to their billing (the Zimms, Strasburg), they could be on to something. Of course, emphasizing competence only works if you're consistent, which means it's time for Kearns and Belliard to go. I hope Rizzo hangs tough and gets what he can in whatever big trades he makes. Then let's see what they've got.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 1, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, emphasizing competence only works if you're consistent, which means it's time for Kearns and Belliard to go. I hope Rizzo hangs tough and gets what he can in whatever big trades he makes. Then let's see what they've got."

"Posted by: baltova1 | July 1, 2009"

That carries over to JD Martin and Jorge Padilla who have been pretty steady in proving their competence. Martin has the best record and hard stats of any pitcher in the minors or majors even if he is in AAA. Padilla continues to hit above .350 in AAA.

Where's the beef Rizzo?

Posted by: periculum | July 1, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

This is outrageous! I don't care if he's slumping right now, Dukes is our best RIGHT fielder, now and in the future. He's one of our best hitters. He shows power and patience at the plate beyond his years. Who cares if we have to subject Kearns or Colome to waivers- we shouldn't want either anymore. Especially Kearns- let somebody else take the last $4 mill of his deal! This is a terrible baseball decision. Dukes was one of the few good acquisitions made by Bowden. He's not a defensive liability in right field, his natural position. Give him steady at-bats, and his average, OBP and especially power will return. Let the kid play and dump one of the useless other pieces on this team, I promise the Nationals will not regret it!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 1, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Okay, NatsNut, I give. You're smarter than both of us.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

the scouts tried to find and interview bryce harper's girlfriend, but they were only told I met her in summer camp last year and she lives in canada so you don't know her.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | July 1, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 1, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why anyone would give a rat's azz what so called upper management does they ain't got a clue, you send a pitcher down with a winning record(Martis) and now Dukes a good player who like all young players needs mentoring on and off the field. Rizzo has just in my humble opinion eliminated himself from all consideration as the GM with the two recent moves(Martis & Dukes) why screw with them? they are young and on this team where the blind are leading the blind you turn these two kids into head cases, thank God Tim Foli is there in Syracuse because dumb azz Manny is the perverbial bump on the log.This franchise is as backward as they come yeah Stan let's see you turn on the magic like you claim you did in Atlanta. The fans of this franchise should be outraged at this circle jerk of a so called braintrust, thank God i'm here in Atlanta and not a season ticket holder in DC otherwise i'd be looking for a refund!

Posted by: dargregmag | July 1, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Good heavens what a spectacularly dim man Mike Rizzo turns out to be.

The trade with the Pirates was an embarrassment and the Dukes demotion utterly nonsensical. Could someone wring some twisted logic from these moves for me? Perhaps Nyjer Morgan is really a well-rounded starter cleverly disguised as a late-innings defensive replacement? And the burned-out arm of Sean Burnett is... worth more to a rebuilding team than Hanrahan's? And Dukes will learn... exactly what in AAA? I guess the lesson is "don't get injured because if you come back slow, you'll lose your job to a 29-year-old with 3 lifetime homers".

Does Rizzo really have no idea how many superstar outfielders once hit .198 for a month when they were 24?

This interim GM is 0-for-3 with 3 K's today. I can't believe some here are actually pleased with him.

Posted by: B2O2 | July 2, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Dukes is bad karma in the clubhouse.
With him gone the team will pull together and get some wins.
Praise the lord.

Posted by: esmcmurrer | July 7, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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