Posts Tagged ‘Josh Willingham’

Sports Chatter: Are Nick Johnson’s Days Numbered?

Subject: Nationals Talk
Date: March 5, 2009 1:59 PM EST
To: Frank J. Lattuca


Time to start the Nationals talk:

The Nats are 3-3 in Spring Training- could this be their best record all year?

The latest odds have them with the longest odds to win the World Series.

I’m looking at the current Nats depth chart and things look pretty much how I expected they will end up this April- but what’s Nick Johnson’s role going to be this season with Dunn now on 1st?

From: Frank J. Lattuca
Subject: RE: Nationals Talk
Date: March 5, 2009 2:49 PM EST

Spring Training: The Nationals are 3-3 right now, but that wouldn’t have been their best record last year. The Nationals started hot, winning their first 3 (including in dramatic fashion at National’s Park’s Inaugural game). They did lose their next 9 though-so their winning record (or .500) record didn’t last past the first week of baseball. They didn’t recover, and I don’t think this team will either. If they get above.500 it’ll be in April, and it will last about as long as the Cherry Blossoms.

Odds: Yeah, that article is great-and look what $10 can do for you! That said-D.C. needs economic stimulation too-so before you go lining Vegas’ pockets, think about plunking that $10 down on a ticket to a ball game or a beer and a half at the stadium. Not that the Lerners are actually hurting for money, but at least you’ll get something for your money other than a pipe dream.

Depth: Nick Johnson is the great question mark. He’s not a guy who is going to want to be in a back-up role, nor do the Nationals want to be paying him as much as they are at that position. I think Steve, our guest blogger earlier this week, hit it on the head-Johnson’s role will be trade bait. He’s not really athletic enough to play anywhere else and, barring injury, Dunn is going to be a better fit-that’s why they spent so much on him. I expect to see the two of them split time until Dunn secures the job. This will showcase Johnson a bit and then prep him for a trade.

The only real positive about the roster is a healthy Ryan Zimmerman and the fact that a lot of these guys are young. So hopefully as the next few years go by they’ll develop into nice players.

Subject: RE: RE: Nationals Talk
Date: March 5, 2009 4:21 PM EST
To: Frank J. Lattuca

Obviously records don’t mean shit when you are playing prospects against prospects, what I really hope to see is a contasnt pace of 10-15 games below 500, it’s really depressing to see a slide in the middle of July.

Talking about tickets- now that the new stadium has a year under it, is the is the year that attendence takes a dive? The Red Sox won’t be around every month. Are we going to be an away team park all season long?

Johnson prolly will be trade bait- I can’t wait to see that happen. You know who doesn’t have a real power hitting 1st Basemen? Los Angeles.

From: Frank J. Lattuca
Subject: RE: Nationals Talk
Date: March 5, 2009 10:32 PM EST

Actually I just read on that Dunn will “likely” start in Left Field since Johnson is healthy. Even still I stick to my guns that this arrangement will only last as long as a.) Johnson stays healthy or b.) someone wants to give something good for Johnson. Unless the Nationals somehow become an offensive juggernaut with Johnson, Zimmerman, Dunn and Guzman (who all could put decent numbers) I don’t see that arrangement lasting.

Between the recession, the Nationals being terrible and the stadium not being new you can count on a dip in attendance-but I think everyone will take a dip. I’ll tell you what though-the Nationals have made a great park for people to go to-including the non baseball fans. I’m not ashamed to admit that I spend most of the game up at the Red Porch drinking and watching the game from the deck, just chatting the game away. It really is built for a place to be social and my guess is that some aggressive promotion of the “fun” to going to park coupled with tourists, not raising the ticket prices, fans of other teams and the just plain old “I’d like to drink outside tonight” attitude of DC Happy Hour folk should send some people to the park.

But yeah-don’t expect Nats fans to out number Mets, Phillies, Cubs or Red Sox fans this year.

Especially Red Sox fans.

Interesting thought on the LAD-what would you want from them. I mean, you know, aside from anything.

Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Nationals Talk
Date: March 11, 2009 10:48 PM EST
To: Frank J. Lattuca

Check out this article on the Nationals crowded outfield.

I totally forgot we had Josh Willingham- I can’t believe our outfield is so crowded that we have no space for him, he’s a serviceable bat- in fact I think he’d be better than an Austin Kearns or something, I don’t know…

Regarding LAD- I have no idea, I’m not caught up yet on the teams to start shouting trades- however I totally see some random team getting Johnson for cheap- we’re going to get ripped off.

From: Frank J. Lattuca
Subject: RE: Nationals Talk
Date: March 12, 2009 9:32 AM EST

The really disappointing thing is we gave up Bonifacio to get him-who I thought was a great prospect. I’d never seen a guy that fast.

I agree-we are going to get hosed because we have a surplus and no one really needs one of these five guys. Good thing is he’s a bit like Dunn-he can play catcher and 1B, so if Johnson goes then that helps out the outfield as well.

Just like the Nationals to have a plethora of mediocre talent and be unable to decide among them.

Nationals Acquire Willingham and Olsen – Manny More To Come?

Courtesy of zjbell51

Courtesy of zjbell51

The Nationals made the first big splash of the offseason yesterday by trading second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and two minor leaguers to the Florida Marlins for outfielder Josh Willingham and pitcher Scott Olsen.

My first thought was that Willingham had been acquired as a catcher (he came up to the majors in that position and I had earlier mentioned that Jose Flores could be upgraded during the offseason). Jim Bowden was quick to point out that the Nats had “acquired him as an outfielder.” This means two things in my view. Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena need to either be demoted to the minor leagues or traded before spring training. Both guys want and need a full time job, and it will do a lot to help team chamistry if they are out of the way. By the way, why do the Nats have six outfielders?

Tim Dierkes ventured a guess that “maybe the Nats consider Josh Willingham their cleanup hitter acquisition and will back out of the Teixeira derby.” Newsflash: Josh Willingham is not a cleanup hitter, Jim Bowden. A good year will probably yield 30 homeruns and 100 RBI’s, but that is not showstopper material. As for Mark Teixeira, I have a really hard time imagining that the Nationals will be able to compete for his services, especially with the Yankees and Angels (among others) preparing to make offers that will likely make Teixeira a franchise player somewhere. While I would agree that with the bounty of outfielders in Washington this probably puts a damper on Adam Dunn rumors (darn), I would say that the Nationals need a headliner if they want to fill the seats and make a serious run in the NL East.

All in all this is a great trade for the Nationals. Olsen will fill the rotation hole that I had previously reserved for Mets free agent Oliver Perez and I am confident that both players have the similar upside. Willingham is a major upgrade to Kearns, Pena, and Willie Harris as well. At this point, I still want to see the Nationals sign an ace: looking at guys like Freddy Garcia, who are comebackers that can actually be wooed to DC, would be a great idea. Consensus says that the second base hole will be filled by Anderson Hernandez, who finished strong last season.

Where does the power bat fit then? First base is always a possibility, but aside from Teixeira, the only cleanup hitter in the market is Jason Giambi, who would bring nothing new or exciting to the table and is 38 years old. Not a great option for the Nats if you ask me, but if they can sign him for a very cheap two year contract he may be happy and the Nats would get 30 homeruns in return. Assuming that first base is out, that leaves the outfield. I want to see a guy like Adam Dunn or Manny Ramirez in DC. Badly. The Nats need to put themselves on the map with a big name, because let’s face it, the Nats are not the Rays yet and need the kind of boost only a superstar can offer.

More to come on the Nats.

UPDATE [9:04am]: Tim Brown over at Yahoo comments on the Nationals and Manny Ramirez- “After witnessing Manny Ramirez’s impact on the Dodgers and their fans, the Washington Nationals and GM Jim Bowden are promising everyone they’re going to be players in the Manny bidding. So either they will be or they want everyone to think they are.”

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