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Inventory. The word of the year.

Who knows if Brian Bruney will ever pan out as the Nats' closer. His track record warrants no certainties. Now mind you, Bruney hasn't closed games with any regularity since 2005, so these numbers might be of limited usefulness... but I present them anyway, more to force a comparison and a memory. Lifetime, Bruney is 13 for 22 in save opportunities. Lifetime, Joel Hanrahan is 14 for 23. And in a way, Bruney's addition is a savvy one because of the lessons left behind by Hanrahan's struggles in '09.

There's no need to rehash the ugly details of Washington's closer spot last year. The problem wasn't so much Hanrahan; it was that the Nats had no fall-back options -- a stunning oversight, given Hanrahan's thin track record.

I have a little file folder of old interviews, and after today's Bruney acquisition, I dug up something that Manny Acta, then the Nats manager, said on Feb. 15 of this year. He sounds like a weatherman, setting up on a beach that's several hours shy of getting hit by a hurricane.

"It was a luxury for this ballclub these last few years coming into camp having Cordero, Rauch and Ayala and the discovery of Saul a couple years ago, too. Despite our shortcomings, very few teams had a bullpen like we had. And now, three of those guys on the backend are gone and the kids that pitched well last year, it was their first time around and you still don't know. That will be the toughest challenge here to put together a quality bullpen."

And as for Hanrahan deserving the closer's job?

"Ready or not, he's getting it. We liked what we saw last year. Joel made big strides going back to two years ago, and we like him. He's got the stuff. He's gonna get that opportunity here. He is our closer right now."

And if Hanrahan fails?

"Well, you know, we'd have to mix and match. But you know what, right now, it's too premature."

So, Bruney is another option for this year's ballclub. He might be option 1A, or maybe 1B, or maybe 2. Maybe he's just an eighth inning guy. But either way, he's a better option for the final three outs than Ron Villone, Kip Wells or Julian Tavarez.

"Well, you know, the lessons from last year -- you have to go into spring training with a full complement, an inventory of pitching," Mike Rizzo said today. "You can never have enough pitching. You can never have enough good power arms."

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 9:20 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats sign free agent Ivan Rodriguez

Comments

"You can never have enough good power arms."

Frankly, I'd settle for a couple on this low-strikeout, pitch-to-contact and pray staff.

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 7, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

is anyone else getting these annoying cnn ads on the NJ page? if that's the best photo of christianne amanapour that could have been used, her publicist should sue.

Posted by: surly_w | December 7, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"can someone explain why da meat loaf's 2007 season is revered so much?"

Comeback Player of the Year. Okay, not as prestigious an award as MVP or Cy Young or Rookie of the Year, but still a one-of league-wide recognition of a Nats player who was bought basically off the scrap heap in spring training. Also an All Star, and the feel-good player of the year. Maybe in hindsight it was a bad idea for Bowden to give him that two-year extension, but it still doesn't obscure what a great story Dmitri's 2007 season was. You gotta love the guy for that.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | December 7, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"can someone explain why da meat loaf's 2007 season is revered so much?"

Agree. The game in '07 when Dmitri thought it was funny that he couldn't run down the line to catch an easy foul pop and ended up flopping on his fat gut instead was when it became clear to me that he viewed the whole thing as a joke. He never took care of, or responsibility for, himself, even in '07. That $10million was wasted even before the ink on the contract was dry.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 7, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

nats sign pudge...thank you yahoo and and mlbtr for covering baseball

Posted by: formerlylove1 | December 8, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

ladson thinks nieves is as good as Nontendered

Posted by: formerlylove1 | December 8, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

No. Thanks to AdBlock Plus.

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is anyone else getting these annoying cnn ads on the NJ page? if that's the best photo of christianne amanapour that could have been used, her publicist should sue.

Posted by: surly_w | December 7, 2009 10:05 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 8, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

NN (earlier post) and FromtheEclipse pretty much summed up my reasons for enjoying Dmitri's 2007 season (and I was not in the least enamored of him when he first joined the team).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 8, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

"ladson thinks." Well I guess there's a first time for everything.

Posted by: truke | December 8, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

He will be a nice addition to support MacDougal (who I think will be fine in a full time closer role). The nats (same for the orioles) should make a hard push to find an old pitcher to sit and watch and mentor the young arms. They should make a run at trying to pull Moyer away from the phillies.

Posted by: catalogbohemian | December 8, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Say, does anyone know what's become of Chad Cordero? Is he still pitching in the Major Leagues, and if so, for whom?

Posted by: SBrent | December 8, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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