Spring Training: Game 7 Game Thread: The Washington Nationals vs New York's Hated Mets.

Who Needs A New GM?

Don't think for a second that Stan Kasten couldn't do this all himself if he wanted to. I doubt he will for much longer, but as an AP story which was printed today in the Newark Star-Ledger's baseball "Notebook" column entitled, "A's set to sign SS Cabrera", reminded everyone, Mr. Kasten, "..at 27 became the youngest GM in NBA history," and, "...in 1999 simultaneously served as president of baseball's Atlanta Braves, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, and the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers." So it should come as no surprise that Mr. Kasten's taking calls on trades, negotiating with Ryan Zimmerman's agent and simultaneously searching for departed GM Jim Bowden's successor.

Washington Times' writer Ben Goessling reported, in a Chatter post entitled, "Talks resume on ZImmerman contract", on Ryan Zimmerman's agent Brodie Van Wagenen's arrival at the Nationals' Spring home to discuss signing the Face of the Franchise© to a long-term deal with Mr. Kasten, "...with the possibility of getting something done by Opening Day," as a goal, though Mr. Goessling just says, "I'm told," as far as the source of his story...(which must infuriate the Former Nationals' GM.)

The only surprising aspect of this for me, (since I think signing the player who is, (arguably? POLL?), the most popular player in franchise's history might be a good idea to counter all the bad press that's sullied the Nationals' Spring), is that the last I remember reading from Mr. Kasten about Zimmerman's agent was in Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's article entitled, "NatsFest, Over And Out", where Mr. Kasten, then with a single job title, told those in attendance at the NatsFest festivities that he believed Mr. Van Wagenen, "...didn't like to do long-term contracts before free agency."

When the Nationals and Zimmerman agreed on one-year, $3.325 million dollar deal back on February 20th, Mr. Van Wagenen was quoted in MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Nats' Zimmerman avoids arbitration", telling reporters:

"'The Nationals and Ryan have a good relationship,' Van Wagenen said. 'We are working hard to get a deal done. The Nationals made it clear that they want Ryan, and Ryan expressed he wants to be with the Nationals.'"

Before Opening Day would be great...Now about that new GM, Mr. Kasten? "Later this week", I know, I know...

I See A Direct Connection...

So I read MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article about Elijah Dukes offering hitting advice to Roger Bernadina in an article, (which is updated now), entitled, "Bernadina excels after Dukes' tips", and then several hours later I hear the MLB Homeplate Update about Bernadina's three-run walk-off home run to save the Nationals the embarrassment of losing to the lightly-regarded Italian entry in the upcoming WBC, after the Italians were able to take advantage of the struggling relievers Marco Estrada and Wilfredo Ledezma, who combined to allow 5 hits and 5 runs over 1.2 IP. (But seriously, OE Val Pascucci hit a HR? My brother and I talked to him when we went to Montreal and he was deep in left on the turf outfield. He actually responded politely to my Brother Scout's drunken Braves-talk.")

Dukes and Bernadina combined to avoid an international incident, (and if Washington lost, I would've demanded a best of three!), with Dukes 2 for 3 with a triple, a HR and 3 RBI's, and Bernadina, 3 for 5 with the 3-run dinger. (ed. note - "I wonder if Elijah Dukes gave Kory Casto advice too...Sorry, Mr. Ladson, at least it was a rental!") The most important line in today's box score, as I see it:

"2-out RBI: Milledge; Zimmerman, R; Dukes 2; Bernadina 3." 

As much because of the names, as it is because of the clutch hitting on display. Now I just want to see the headline, "Zimmermann, Shell, Hinckley and Mock combined on a shutout of the Mets on Wednesday!!!"(ed. note - "That's right, Lou!!!)...

THE HATED METS ARE COMING TO SPACE COAST!!! THE OFFICIAL GAME THREAD!!!!

Bring it Pelfrey!! The Nationals got Jordan Zimmermann!! With 2 N's!!! Maybe I shouldn't taunt Pelfrey, he reportedly threw heat by the Italian team when he pitched against them last week...Tomorrow in Space Coast, the 22-year-old Zimmermann faces the 25-year-old Pelfrey in the first meeting of the year between the NL East rivals (though the Mets' fans laugh thinking that DC fans might see it as a "rivalry"). 

Pelfrey held the '08 Nationals to a .242 AVG last season, posting a 2.36 ERA in 26.2 IP against DC in which he allowed 7 runs, 7 doubles, a HR and 11 walks, while going (1-2) in 4 starts...

Nationals vs Mike Pelfrey...

Ronnie Belliard - 3 for 15, .200 AVG, 4 K's, 1 2B.

Kory "Shattered Glass" Casto - 1 for 3, .333 AVG, 2 RBI's. 

Elijah Dukes - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Team USA's Adam Dunn - 2 for 7, .286 AVG, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI's.

Cristian Guzman - 5 for 14, .357 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB.

TAWH - 3 for 7, .429 AVG, 2 RBI's. 

Austin "Ringo Starr at the End of 'Helter Skelter" Kearns - 5 for 16, .313 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI's. 

Lastings Milledge - 3 for 10, .300 AVG, 1 2B.

Josh Willingham - 3 for 10, .300 AVG, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI's. 

Ryan Zimmerman - 5 for 24, .208 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's. 

Game time 1:05 pm EST from Space Coast. I'll be listening in if anyone's following the action...(Note: I actually don't see it listed on the radio or XM...so???)

?'s For The DC Faithful?

• Are you hearing any new names in the Nationals' GM Search? Are the Nationals in a media lockdown?

• Will Triple-A Syracuse with Leonard Davis, Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell in the outfield (presumably) be just as fun to watch as the Nationals? You Chiefs' fans are lucky!

• Do you consider the Hated Mets the Nationals' biggest rivals? The Orioles? The Phillies? 

• Should Kory Casto pay for Bill Ladson's rental's window? (ed. note - "I still think Gary Majewski owes me $300 for giving up a HR to Ryan Howard in Philly that set me on the way home late and into an accident that never would've happened if Majewski didn't hang that slider!")

• Is there anyone else out there who's become as big a Dukes' fan as me? If he takes over right field in '09, I'm getting a #34 name and # t-shirt! (Especially since Milledge had to go change his # to #85...now I have no accurate shirts...)

Who's Following Spring Training baseball between DC and NY??? 

(ed. note - "Phew, I made it through a post that discussed the Italian team without an Italian cooking joke!)

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