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Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Long toss: Will Maxwell trade haunt the Nationals?

By Washington Post editors

Yesterday the Nationals traded outfielder Justin Maxwell to the Yankees for right-handed pitcher Adam Olbrychowski.

Commenter mjames0 thinks the Nationals shouldn't have given up on Maxwell so soon:

I have always been a fan of Maxwell. Even with hsi abysmal hiting I believe he is a better centerfielder that either Morgan or Bernadina. I know his hitting has been MIA but I really do not think he was given sufficent time to prove himself. I know he was given several chances but he was never given enough time to get comfortable. If he was given the same amount time as say Morgan we may have seen a different player.

I really think Max is going to turns some heads for the Yankees. This was mistake on our part. I know I will get a push back on this but I think the Nat's made a mistake.

What do you think? Will the Nationals regret trading Maxwell?

By Washington Post editors  | February 3, 2011; 12:14 PM ET
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Next: Nationals agree to terms with Laynce Nix


I don't think this will be an issue. The Yankees probably picked up Maxwell to fill out their AAA team. From their point of view, trade an expendable AA pitcher for a guy who makes their top minor league product a bit better. Not much chance Maxwell will see substantial major league time in New York.

Posted by: rmark1 | February 3, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. This will never haunt the Nationals. Justin Maxwell never had a chance to catch on here and probably won't catch on anywhere else. Of course I could be wrong but Maxwell wasn't going anywhere in Washington

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | February 3, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

It would have been great if things would have worked out for Maxwell, but letting him leave was the right thing for the Nats to do. I suppose that there's a slim chance that he could suddenly figure out how to hit Major League pitching, but it seemed clear that he wasn't going to do so in DC.

Posted by: VaNat | February 3, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

How about will the Yankees regret this deal?

There is a better chance of the pitcher pitching in DC than Maxwell getting much playing time for Yankees.

Posted by: Pensfans | February 3, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell is not 20 years old. He's been in the system for 5 years out of college so he's 27 or 28. He's a "toolsy" guy that has a career minor league average of about .250 and has never proven that he could consistently put the ball in play. He's had chances to stick in the majors since 2007. How can you say he's never had a chance? I think Rizzo's evaluation carries a little more weight than anyone here on NJ.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | February 3, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats end up regretting this deal, then so many other things will have gone wrong that this will pale in comparison.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | February 3, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DCPowerGator | February 3, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell is 27 years old and out of options. He has had extended periods in the major leagues and the upper minors to demonstrate a consistent ability to hit. Hasn't done it. By definition he can not haunt the Nats.

Is it possible that he'll suddenly learn to hit? Sure, miracles happen. But on this record you can not reasonably second guess the decision.

Posted by: advocate2 | February 3, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Man you know you're scraping the bottom of the barrel for posts when 3 times in a week you use the posts from Natinal fans as blog entries.

Of course, who can blame WaPo? Who would want to consistently write about how bad the Natinals are. It'd be like "Groundhogs Day."

And of course the Natinals will regret this trade. Maxwell will be surrounded by winning players in a winning organization and that'll rub off on him.

I bet he's counting his lucky stars that the Natinals got him out of the DC/Metro area, which ain't all that special to begin with. Hence, why the Natinals play there.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 3, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

A yawner deal that can't possibly hurt unless Justin suddenly turns into Amos Otis. Meanwhile we get a younger player to try and develop. Good luck to a nice guy with a good glove and arm. Welcome Mr. Olbrychowski.

Posted by: Natstoyou | February 3, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ah, so we're playing punt again, huh?

Wondering if this means that Rizzo sees Corey Brown in AAA rather than AA. Hoping so. If he plans on playing Brown in CF in Syracuse, then JMax is just in the way, like an extra couch when you have no available floor space (only a better fielder).
This is good for JMax, although the likelihood of him playing in the Bronx is slim. And very good that Rizzo was at least able to get something for the guy.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 3, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I think they should have given him one more year. I know the family. He got laser eye surgery in the off season and from what I understand he has been seeing the ball much better. Quality kid too.

Posted by: nwirth1 | February 3, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy this question, because it will give us plenty of opportunity to eat our words later. I think we will not regret this trade. I believe Maxwell has shown he is not going to be a regular in the major leagues.

That said, we should never forget the context in which the trade occurred. The trade shows that other teams did have some interest in Maxwell. Therefore, since he was out of options, the Nats would have lost him to another team without recompense if they did not trade him.

Alternatively, we have to ask whether we would rather keep Maxwell on the 25-man roster instead of Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse, or Nyjer Morgan. The best argument I can think of would be the possibility of replacing Morgan, but Nyjer had some stretches that Maxwell has not matched to this point.

I think it was the right move.


Posted by: kevincostello | February 3, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

When you have Bryce Harper to talk about in 12 months, no one will remember/regret this transaction ...

Posted by: justaguy43 | February 3, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

No, they should not regret it. Maybe the guy finds his stride in NY (where they need a glove first OF on the roster and in that lineup and that silly little park maybe he has some hits drop in or), but that was not going to happen in DC. he was not getting on the field in DC barring several injuries.

Seller's remourse is for fools. You made the decision based on factors in play to move the guy, someone bought the guy hoping for the upside and needing his skills more than you do, so you should hope that he plays well for them and you should be more concerned on what you got in return than you are about what you may have given away.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 3, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect nwirth1, Maxwell's problems aren't related to his vision. He has not had a problem with strikezone recognition, but he is constantly fooled by almost any pitch, movement or location. He is a quality fielder and appears to be a quality individual. He just isn't a MLB hitter nor will he ever be one. Best of Luck JM, I will bee rooting for you (not the Yankees).

Posted by: smirkman | February 3, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Would have loved to see the MoCo product succeed, but no, the Nats will not regret the trade. The evidence has been right in front of us.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | February 3, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Nationals will regret it, glad they got something for him rather than losing him for nothing.

Posted by: tcostant | February 3, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals did the only thing they could do. If, against the odds, he figures things out and becomes a decent hitter, good for him. I wish him well, but I would not blame the Nationals any more than I blamed the Mets for getting rid of then-injury-prone and unreliable Nolan Ryan.

In a related matter, I see Andy Pettite has decided to retire, leaving the Yankees with a VERY shaky rotation. If with all their money the Yankees have been unable to assemble a decent rotation, maybe we can cut Rizzo some slack for the challenge he faced this off-season trying to find a front-line SP.

Pettite story at

Posted by: Meridian1 | February 3, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

How about turning this into a positive question? For example, "did the Yankees get the rotten end of this deal?" or "did the Yankees just get fleeced by the Nationals?" Why does everything in this town have to be so dam negative! No sane baseball analyst thinks the Yankees got the better end of this deal. I believe this question should reflect the popular analysis of the trade.

Posted by: destewar | February 3, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I hope JMaxx surprises all of us and becomes a solid reserve outfielder(or better). But as others have noted, I think it might turn out to be a nice move for him. He can certainly help the Yankees (can't believe I'm saying this as a Yankee hater) as a defensive replacement in center late in games. Good luck Justin! I'll always remember the grand salami he hit against K-Rod a couple of years ago to win the last home game of the year.

Posted by: JpJp | February 3, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Justin needed a change in scenery. I pray he fullfills all his potential and that's that. Whoever the Nats got in return is just a bonus. Justin needed to get out to go up.

Posted by: Berndaddy | February 3, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

This post is about Justin Maxwell, but some of the debate about Espinoza on the previous thread made me think that people see him as Justin Maxwell redux, just at middle infield instead of the outfield. Maxwell was 27 in November, and was brought up for 15 games in 2007. Espinoza will be 24 in April, and was brought up in late 2010. I guess we'll know for sure in three years.

Posted by: bertbkatz | February 3, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Nook Logan?

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Lastings Milledge?

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Wily Mo Pena?

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Brandon Watson? (Does anyone even remember Brandon Watson?)

Posted by: raymitten | February 3, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Sure, Maxwell could prove to be a late-bloomer and end up having a decent career. But even if that's the case, I don't see that the Nats will regret this move. He's out of options and he wasn't really in the club's future plans. Better to get a decent pitcher for him and move on.

All the best to Maxwell. I hope he has a good spring and makes it as the Yankees' 5th OF. He could be a decent late-inning defensive replacement. But that's about as far as it goes.

Posted by: js_edit | February 3, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Blastings Milledge, the White Sox just picked him up. Go figure.

Posted by: twinbrook | February 3, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Clearly the Yankees needed someone to push Brett Gardner this year, like the Nats needed someone to push Nyjer last year. Good luck with that.

Posted by: FeelWood | February 3, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Early projections for JMax never panned out. As much as I liked his make up, he just wasn't progressing enough to warrant further waiting on his arrival. If he ever realizes his 'potential', maybe. I hope he does as he was a likeable soul.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 3, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

They'll regret it only if he is willing - and able - to completely change his approach to hitting and his swing. If he shortened up his swing and focused more on contact than killing every ball he sees the rest of his skills make him a valuable bench player. He has all the other skills.

But I don't see this guy making changes at 27.

Posted by: kingrob76 | February 3, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

twinbrook -- Lastings still has a chance to become an every day MLB player. Long shot, but the guy is still very young (25 I think).

If people are thinking Maxwell might put it tother at 27, after never really hitting well in the bigs (only about .260 in the minors), they have to think that Lastings has a shot too. Lastings is 2 years younger, was not that long ago a first round draft pick and a top 10 prospect in all of baseball and he's grown up some since his antics of a couple of years ago. Why not take a flyer on the guy on some cheap minor league deal? Chi Sox made a smart move.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 3, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that they will regret it, but I'm one of the very very few who thinks Maxwell will be an adequate major league hitter--that to go along with his other fine tools. I feel he was mishandled last year. However, considering he is out of options, I'm not sure what other choice the Nats had.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | February 3, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Nook Logan?

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Lastings Milledge?

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Wily Mo Pena?

Did the Nats regret getting rid of Brandon Watson? (Does anyone even remember Brandon Watson?)
Posted by: raymitten
This is a little below the belt.
Lastings was a clubhouse cancer. Wily Mo couldn't chew gum and walk at the same time, Nook took steroids, and unlike Watgson, Justin will be remembered.

Posted by: bosco3 | February 3, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Justin Maxwell is 27 & has had 2038 pro plate appearances: 1778 in the minors (.261 BA) & 260 in the majors (.201). Like many Nats, he overswings. I've seen him miss pitches by 6" & more. He has fine physical ability; so does Elijah Dukes. That's not enough. Maxwell reminds me very much of Ryan Langerhans (.228): Both are excellent defensively, but have low batting averages with some power. There have been many such OFers: Mantle had 2 "caddies," Jack Reed (.233) & Ross Moschitto (.167). Carroll Hardy (.225) was Ted Williams' caddy. As Cardinals' former coach Mike Gonzalez telegraphed about all such players: "Good field, no hit." IMO, Nats might regret cutting ties with Austin Kearns before they would with Maxwell.

Posted by: 1952dad | February 3, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

How can you miss someone with the record Maxwell has? He had his chance and blew it. Oftentimes, a change of scenery can be a cure for what ails you.

Posted by: crimsonmac | February 3, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Will it haunt the Nats? What haunted me was seeing him reach and badly miss so many breaking balls last year. I'm sure if it was as simple as getting him some glasses he'd still be on the team. Wouldn't have minded him at Syracuse but he wasn't good enough for the big league squad, which means we are improved because he was the starting RF last year.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 3, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to continue these posts seeking reader opinions that provide no new information, well, ok. We will vote or not with our clicks. But you should put a name to the question - if you think JMax will succeed, then sign it with a name, not WaPo Editors - then we readers can have a dialog with a person.

If you're going for relationships instead of reporting, then you have to develop a personality on your side. I like reading AK's blog - some chats would be nice - and TH's chat, and even cheese boy at times. Getting to know them helps me come back. I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from WaPo Editors.

No we won't regret losing Maxwell. Maybe at best he'll turn out to be a serviceable outfielder, but we've got plenty of sort of serviceable outfielders already.

Posted by: utec | February 3, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Let's assume for a moment that Maxwell will finally figure it out and become a servicable--perhaps even good--outfielder. The team has waited long enough to see what he can do and they had to make the move. A team can't wait indefinately for every prospect to mature. A time comes when the team must move on. Sometimes, players mature late and Maxwell might be one of them.

That said, the Nats did the right thing this week--he was no longer in the team's plan and so they moved on.

Posted by: rushfari | February 3, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Throughout his career, Justin Maxwell has made Nick Johnson look like Cal Ripkin.

Tommy John surgery? Are you kidding? Not only couldn't Justin hit, he couldn't even get on the field regularly.

Posted by: Section314 | February 3, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I understand that, going on available evidence, almost everyone is saying "no". Still, I say "probably, yes."

Posted by: fischy | February 4, 2011 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Fischy, I thought you were leaving the Natinals Journal?

Good to see you didn't.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 4, 2011 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Maxwell is an excellent fielder who occasionally showed flashes of being a good hitter, but apparently was hampered in the last year by physical issues. I suspect and hope that a change of scenery and perhaps a batting coach who can influence his hitting would transform him into the exceptional player that he potentially could be. But the Nats made the best deal they could under the circumstances and shouldn't have to look back with any regrets.

Posted by: kenkeller48 | February 4, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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