Free Agent Watch...The Washington Nationals' Relatively Insignificant Signing.

AFL UPDATE...

Only one of the DC's prospects started for the Peoria Saguaros tonight in their Arizona Fall League matchup with the Scottsdale Scorpions, but by the end of the game two of the potential future-Nationals would end up instrumental in the Saguaros' come from behind win. 

Bill Rhinehart, a first baseman in the DC system, got the start at the same spot for the Saguaros tonight and finished the game 1 for 3 with a run scored, a walk and a K, but the one hit by Rhinehart came in the bottom of the ninth with Peoria trailing Scottsdale 4-2, and Leonard Davis, who started the inning with a pinch hit single, already on base. Davis moved to second on Rhinehart's hit and Cards' '08 1st Round pick Brett Wallace drove Davis in with the third straight single off Scottsdale reliever (and Red Sox' farmhand) T.J. Large, who gave up two more singles, to Padres' IF/OF prospect Sean Kazmar, and St. Louis' Shane Robinson, who capped off the comeback with the walk-off winner. Peoria prevails, 5-4 final. 

Anderson Hernandez, Wants To Play Second In DC...

The Tigres del Licey game was rained out Saturday night, so Anderson Hernandez's .408 AVG remains intact after 22 games and 98 at bats. Having collected 10 doubles, 4 triples, 1 HR and 16 RBI's with 5 walks, 4 steals, a .433 OBP, .622 SLG, and 1.055 OPS, Hernandez is making a case for himself as the Nationals' starting second baseman next season, as the former Mets' prospect attempts to finally live up to the hype that accompanied his rise through New York's system. 

The Nationals Still Like Matt Whitney...

Washington selected Cleveland first base prospect Matt Whitney, (an '02 1st Round pick, 33rd overall), with their 1st pick in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft, but the Nationals were forced to return him to the Indians the following March after a lackluster Spring performance resulted in the 24-year old infielder's being cut from the DC roster. Today the Nationals signed the 6'4'' 190 lb, right-handed hitting and throwing first baseman to a Minor League deal according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Nats, Whitney agree to deal", which noted that the contract included an invitation to Spring Training. 

Whitney played the '08 season with Cleveland's Double-A affiliate in Akron, Ohio, where he managed to hit .268 in 129 games and 463 AB's, over which he collected 124 hits, 29 doubles, 2 triples, 10 HR's and 58 RBI's. 

This Day In Washington Nationals' History...

11/16/04 -- Though they were still technically the Montreal Expos at the time, the soon-to-be Washington Nationals signed third baseman Vinny Castilla and shortstop Cristian Guzman on November 16, 2004, locking Castilla, then 37, up for two years and giving Guzman, who would turn 25 that March, a four-year deal which he just completed this season before reupping with Washington to the tune of $16 million over two years. 

Vinny Castilla's name was in the news recently, when it was announced that he would manage Team Mexico's entry in the '09 World Baseball Classic, which begins on March 5th. For any remaining Castilla fans in DC, check out the link to MLB.com writer Barry M. Bloom's article entitled, "Castilla named Manager of Mexico", to see just how good the only other resident of the Nationals' hot corner is doing...

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