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Trade Candidates, Johnson and Good Vibes

Based on everything I'm hearing, the Nats' asking prices for Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham remain high -- to the point where it seems the team is inclined to keep them. But say this much about Washington's trade pieces (and not just the marquee guys mentioned above): They're all playing well. Really well.

I'll fit it into a nutshell.

  • Since May 1, Willingham has a .326 average, a .658 slugging percentage (second in MLB) and 15 homers -- one every 12.9 at-bats. Give him 550 at-bats, and that's 42 homers.
  • In July, Dunn is hitting .338, roughly a .100-point jump from his May and June numbers.
  • Since June 1, Joe Beimel has a 1.89 ERA.
  • And Nick Johnson -- though the trade market has gone a bit dry for him, with San Francisco and Boston both trading for first basemen in the last week -- has rebounded from a rotten June (.222/.340/.344) with a solid July (.295/.421/.372).

A few other notes:

Johnson, if you're wondering, is just getting the night off. Interim manager Jim Riggleman said he plans to give each of his regulars an occasional break in the next few weeks. The Nationals have played every day since the end of the all-star break, and don't have a day off until Aug. 10.

The Nats go for their fourth win in a row, which would tie their season-high.

Today, Beimel told me, "It's been fun coming to the field the last couple weeks. Since Riggleman took over, I think you've seen an attitude change in the clubhouse. Guys recognize they have to come in early and do work to get better, and they've been doing that. It's been actually pretty fun. It's been fun to come here, be in every game, and even win a few."

I followed up with a question about the attitude change.

"It's hard to explain," he said. "I don't know if people just got used to losing, and maybe we had that attitude where you just come in and expect to lose. I think with Riggs taking over he's been super-positive, and he's told everybody that without a doubt we're going to turn it around."

"Yeah," I told him, "but Manny was positive, too."

"Right," Beimel said, "but he wasn't a big talker. He talked to us once in a while, but maybe this is what the team needed. We have a short little meeting after every game now whether we win or lose, and maybe guys at first didn't really get it or didn't want to do it. But now I think it's been a pretty positive thing."

By Chico Harlan  |  July 28, 2009; 7:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats 8, Brewers 3

Comments

"and faster? granted belliard isn't rickey henderson but he's outstolen morse 38-4 in the big leagues. have you actually seen morse play? he's 6'4" 230 has been found lacking in the middle infield (12E's in 52 games at short) and has been moved to the OF.
:Posted by: surly_w | July 28, 2009"

Gee surly? Looks like you can't get YOUR facts straight?

First Morse is listed as an infielder on all the rosters. Second HE IS PLAYING third base TONIGHT?
Finally, he has ZERO errors in 24 games with Syracuse? Finally, gee Morse hasn't spent that much time in the majors or at least as much as Belliard has now has he?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Gee surly? Looks like you can't get YOUR facts straight?

First Morse is listed as an infielder on all the rosters. Second HE IS PLAYING third base TONIGHT?
Finally, he has ZERO errors in 24 games with Syracuse? Finally, gee Morse hasn't spent that much time in the majors or at least as much as Belliard has now has he?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 7:55 PM

*******************************************

what he does in syrabuse compared to what he's done on the major league level doesn't mean SQUAT. there are a lot of journeymen, has beens and never weres on triple-a rosters filling a variety of positions because of need. casto is the chiefs primary 3B but may be getting a night off.

Posted by: surly_w | July 28, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

"what he does in syrabuse compared to what he's done on the major league level doesn't mean SQUAT. there are a lot of journeymen, has beens and never weres on triple-a rosters filling a variety of positions because of need. casto is the chiefs primary 3B but may be getting a night off."

Casto hasn't been hitting. So, I guess that's why he hasn't been playing. Morse is pretty much a starter but they move him around ... 3rd, 2b, the outfield.

He's only had 9 at bats in the majors with Mariners. Casto has had many, many more than that and he is a lot older. I think Casto fits that definition ... Morse still hasn't really been judged against major league competition.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Haha! There's a good start to tonight's game! Go Nyger!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 28, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Previous to tonight's game Morse played 1B the last 3 games.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Lead off homer! 2 hits in a row ... the feasting continues!

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

In honor of Nyjer's leadoff Bingo-Bango, the bourbon and Maalox are being broken open early. Ladies and gents, cheers and drink up...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 28, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Called K: You can suck on it and you can like it, FLop.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 28, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Feast on Brewer's pitching ... feast boys!

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna have a poster tonite that says sign strasburg... this stadiums pretty awesome

Posted by: theredskin | July 28, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

==================================================================
Okay, theredskin - we're seeing you. Smile for the camera.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 28, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

TWO SO's!

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"He's only had 9 at bats in the majors with Mariners. Casto has had many, many more than that and he is a lot older."

*******************************************

you're a little stat-challenged, my friend. morse has 300 major league ABs with the mariners and has 90 hits for a .300 avg, with 18 2Bs, 1 3B, 3HR and 37 RBI. casto has played 67 games with the nats and has 165 career ABs with 36 hits for a .215 avg. with 12 2Bs, 2HR and 19 RBI. morse was born in march 1982 and casto was born in december 1981, not that "lot older."

Posted by: surly_w | July 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

From the Brewers "fans" tonight:

bones76» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:07 PM
great start...

3full_count2» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:07 PM
unbelievable!

kingwiththeax» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
Holy cow that didn't take long.....Man this team is frustrating to watch.

JPre223» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
Wow...prepare for a long night. Probably the worst way to start for the Brewers and Villanueva.

John in Bay View» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
wow, way to go Villa...way to go...

helmet» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
Game Over.!

imscott72» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
here we go!! Bombs away! Wow..

tliebbs» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
Unbelievable! WOW

OhioGBFan» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
Lead off Homer... NICE.... Villy is aweful

FireDMelvin» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:08 PM
that how it starts!!!!!!!!!!

FDR» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:09 PM
We suck

BlairKielisNo1» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:09 PM
No hitter is shot ... I jinxed it.

oak creek» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 7:09 PM
WOW!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 28, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody else see the sign that said "Sign Strasburg" in really big, plain letters just to the left of home plate? I don't see it anymore, but I got a laugh out of that!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 28, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand trading Beimel. All year they keep moving out guys in the bullpen in order to get a decent pen in order, and now they are talking about trading the best left hander down there? Does this make any sense?

Why not extend Beimel? We aren't exactly swimming in relievers here.

Posted by: raymitten | July 28, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

They yanked Estrada after 4 innings 76 pitches. Looks like shutting down the young arms.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

1 to 1.

C'mon guys!

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

HOLEEEE, SHAMOLEEE, DIDJA SEE THAT???

(one driver to another as the baseball bounces across the highway)

*ahem* nice hit, dunnkey.

Posted by: HotNats | July 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

If I can use some technical baseball language here...he hit the crap out of that ball.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

That was a Long Ranger. It looked like a Titleist going out.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Can our 7 and 8 hitters please stop trying to hit the ball like Dunn and Willingham? It is getting ridiculous.

Just hit singles fellas

Posted by: curz | July 28, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Um, not my Titleists, leetee...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Wil Nieves, that's who. Wil Nieves.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 28, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh and by the way BG, thanks for that Milwaukee "fan" comment list, it definitely sounds familiar for some odd reason...

GREAT 1/2 inning!

Posted by: HotNats | July 28, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

To quote that eminent baseball mind, Crash Davis: "Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don't you think?"

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

baltova1

Tiger's Titleists, maybe.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 28, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

They made me take the sign down ... What's up with free speech?!

Posted by: theredskin | July 28, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Willingham is tearing 'em up.

Posted by: bigmook | July 28, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice work homie, you got a shot at sportscenter. Fight the Power!

Posted by: sec307 | July 28, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Good eye and patience at the plate Willie.

Posted by: bigmook | July 28, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

So can Gonzo break out of his slump?

Posted by: bigmook | July 28, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I guess not.

Posted by: bigmook | July 28, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Here are some more good ones:

Melvinstinks» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 8:10 PM
They just announced it's free grocery bag night tomorrow. The first 20,000 in get a free paper bag courtesy of Piggly Wiggly.

DrewFromWausau» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 8:10 PM
Can't believe we are, AT BEST, going to split a 4 game series with the worst team in baseball at home. Anyone who thinks this team can still contend for the division is completely delusional.

Ronco» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 8:10 PM
If they get swept by the nats, I feel sorry for the sales department. How do you spin that?

Oh wait, I got it. MORE BOBBLE HEAD NIGHTS!

Folks, just added...Grounds keeper bobble head.

BillHall» Report abuse Tuesday Jul 28, 2009 8:10 PM
Who else agrees with this idea:

Trade Bill Hall for an autographed Adam Dunn bat?

Posted by: BGinVA | July 28, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna have a poster tonite that says sign strasburg... this stadiums pretty awesome

Posted by: theredskin | July 28,
++++++++++++++++
Great job theredskin! Unfold the sing again.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 28, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Mark Buehrle is on fire right now. Any chance for two in a row???

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | July 28, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Allright, to all you amateur GM's (myself included) out there. Rizzo (& Kasten & B.Boone, for that matter) have to be a busy men right now, between reviewing contract offers to '09 draft picks, the upcoming open trade deadline, and possible waiver moves in August.
Given the teams' record to-date, I can't see where ANYBODY is "off the board" in terms of trades, but Rizzo (& Associates) are being careful regarding offers vs returns, imo.
The team has no need to dump salary (and could absorb some, if needed), and seems to believe that the teams' "high-value" players (Dunn, NJohnson, RZimm, Willingham, Flores, et al) or pitchers (Lannan, JZimm, or Beimel) deserve better offers than the team has recieved to date. Good for them; There's no reason to take 50 cents (or less) on the dollar just to move a player.
I personally think that Rizzo recognizes a good deal when he sees one; If one is presented, I think he'll jump on it.

Rant off; Back to your normally scheduled programming.

Posted by: BinM | July 28, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Haha, Carpenter just mentioned the SIGN STRASBURG sign. Well done!

Posted by: curz | July 28, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

theredskin gets a plug from Carpenter on the broadcast. Well done.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

From the ESPN box score game notes tonight:

THE NATIONALS ADAM DUNN BECAME THE FIRST PLAYER TO HIT A HOME RUN OUT OF MILLER PARK IN A REGULAR SEASON GAME WHEN HE HOMERED TO RIGHT CENTER IN THE FOURTH INNING.

I know he hit it far, but I didn't realize it was THAT far. Wow!

Posted by: cdstej | July 28, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Braun does like to hit against the Nats.

Posted by: bigmook | July 28, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

>From the ESPN box score game notes tonight:

THE NATIONALS ADAM DUNN BECAME THE FIRST PLAYER TO HIT A HOME RUN OUT OF MILLER PARK IN A REGULAR SEASON GAME WHEN HE HOMERED TO RIGHT CENTER IN THE FOURTH INNING.

I know he hit it far, but I didn't realize it was THAT far. Wow!

Posted by: cdstej

They had the windows open in the outfield! That thing went completely out into the parking lot.

Posted by: Brue | July 28, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm blogging live behind home plate.... Go nats

Posted by: theredskin | July 28, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are no longer anyone else's farm club. No trades unless they really benefit the team both now and in the future.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Been nice to see Willingham crush the daylights out of another one ...

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

In other news Syracuse loses 7 zippy to Charlotte. Morse and Padilla both got hits. Dukes played right field and went 0-4 ... average drops to .250. Former AA pitchers Zinicola and Wilkie got hammered in relief. They don't look ready.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I thought he hit it out but I couldn't tell.

!!!!!!!

Hoping to ctach baseball tonight's replay, hope I didn't miss it. Why isn't Debbie Taylor doing a report standing where it landed?

Posted by: nattaboy | July 28, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Switching channels; Gen.Colin Powell being interviewed by Larry King tells Larry toward the end of the Q&A that he is a Nationals fan,yeah i had forgotten that Powell was part of a group that tried to buy the Nats, to bad it didn't work out.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 28, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

theredskin - love the live posting but doesn't that sign help Boras more than us?

The park is indeed sweet. Surprised by how many boos we've heard this series. Thoughts?

Posted by: nattaboy | July 28, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Interesting they haven't put in Clippard in today's game considering it's still kinda close. I wonder if they're saving him just in case Mock doesn't pitch well and possibly he would take Mock's spot if that happens.

Posted by: rxs85 | July 28, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Guzzie!!!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 28, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

nattaboy:

u didn't miss the replay. i'm waiting for it as well.

Posted by: nami322 | July 28, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

SHJ&T! What's with all the power strokes? The Nats are suddenly the bash bunch!!

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Looks like it might be safe enough to put in Villone?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Why are the Brewers' fans booing their team? It's not as if losing to the Washington baseball team (won't call them the Ns) is out of the realm of possibility. I mean, if anybody thought we have a bad team, they were just wrong. We can beat anybody. This season has been hard to explain, except for bad relief pitching and men left on base.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | July 28, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

thanks nami. I agree about Clippard this game rxs, he has been used a lot recently but he's had some time off too. Bergy did well...

Posted by: nattaboy | July 28, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

theredskin, time for your closeup. Good job not scratching anything....

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the bats may be getting hot ...

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

theredskin, if you're looking for a drinking fountian, they're called "bubblers" in Milwaukee.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 28, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

McDougal? Or Villone?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Is it me, or does Dibble get giddy sounding when the Nats are winning?

Posted by: twinbrook | July 28, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Dibble has been sounding almost 'school-girlish' at time tonite, hasn't he. Well we are winning again and playing pretty well again tonite. You can't say that often this season. But maybe that is changing. We shall see.

Posted by: bigmook | July 28, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Could we please end the Gonzales "experiiment" !!!!!!!

Posted by: 8andeight | July 28, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

>McDougal? Or Villone?

Posted by: periculum

That's always a good question.

Posted by: Brue | July 28, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Hah! Villone!

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Villone: triple figures.

Okay I can see people wanting Beimel a lefty but what in the heck do they want with Villone?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Villone : loses game Riggleman fired.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Four in a row! But two tough pitchers against the Nats the next two days. Hey, you never know!

Posted by: nats24 | July 28, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

That's a winner!!! Wow, 4 in a row...is this what winning feels like? :) Glad to see the Nats look like they're having some fun out there.

Posted by: NatsPhan123 | July 28, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

------------------------------
Today, Beimel told me, "It's been fun coming to the field the last couple weeks. Since Riggleman took over, I think you've seen an attitude change in the clubhouse. Guys recognize they have to come in early and do work to get better, and they've been doing that. It's been actually pretty fun. It's been fun to come here, be in every game, and even win a few."

I followed up with a question about the attitude change.

"It's hard to explain," he said. "I don't know if people just got used to losing, and maybe we had that attitude where you just come in and expect to lose. I think with Riggs taking over he's been super-positive, and he's told everybody that without a doubt we're going to turn it around."

"Yeah," I told him, "but Manny was positive, too."

"Right," Beimel said, "but he wasn't a big talker. He talked to us once in a while, but maybe this is what the team needed. We have a short little meeting after every game now whether we win or lose, and maybe guys at first didn't really get it or didn't want to do it. But now I think it's been a pretty positive thing."
----------------------

Interesting Comments from Beimel. especially considering the well-documented(on NJ), undeniable(on NJ) fact that the Manager of the team has absolutely zero effect on the players in any way, shape, or form.

thoughts?

Posted by: MrMadison | July 28, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Thats gittin r' done. We'll worry about tomorrow......tomorrow.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 28, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

thoughts? just win baby. just win, keep on keepin' on. Win.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Totally loved Nyjer tonight, and best of all, another game with no errors.

Posted by: Traveler8 | July 28, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

With a record as bad as the Nats, odds are any change would be for the better. if the players see it that way, that's great. It still doesn't change the overall conclusion about managers (and it's still too small a sample)

Posted by: nats24 | July 28, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Nattaboy and rx,

I am assuming they are giving Clippard a few days off after pitching 4 innings the other day. I was wondering why we hadn't seen him in a while as well.

Posted by: curz | July 28, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Who is that masked man?

33 strike outs, 0 walks in 19 innings ...
Strasburg?


No, just "ordinary" Drew Storen.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

theredskin makes it to the SportsBog:

Ok, an online petition is one thing, but showing up in the front row of Miller Park with a "Sign Strasburg" sign is something else altogether. Good show, Wisconsin Nats Fans. Just please, keep the "DFA Kearns" sign in your bag.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I predicted a mighty feast tonight! I am not greedy- 3 out of 4 would be just dandy. 55 wins--the tragic number (see NFA) be damned.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: ehardwick | July 28, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh next. Mebbe they can put together a little streak before they hit FLA and the franchise's in the hunt in August.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

>thoughts?

Posted by: MrMadison

Communication is key, JMad. Without that, no learning can occur. Even if you're not overtly teaching, you can still influence a player. Manny was bankrupt in personality, experience.


Posted by: Brue | July 29, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Yay! It's constructive to talk about Manny again!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 29, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see that Biemel is not afarid to speak the truth, Manny was not a vocal leader, Riggleman is...fight on NATS!!

Posted by: markfd | July 30, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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