2012 Ex-Nats Roundup (Episode I: The National League)

Good evening, fellow Federal Baseball citizens!

Allow me to briefly introduce myself. I’m a long-time reader, first time poster. As you can maybe tell from my screen handle, I’m also a Twins fan; please don’t hold it against me (although I’ll understand if you do; you’ll be in good company, along with my barber and my special lady). If it makes a difference, I’ve more or less fully converted to a Nats fan since moving to the District back in 2007 (and, from a distance, I rooted for the 2005 team).

My love for the Twins is the starting point for this post, insofar as I am an avid reader of Twinkie Town here on the Nation. The guys over there have, from time to time, provided a rundown of what ex-Twins players are up to. In the wake of the soul-crushing disappointment that was Game 5 this year, I tried to console myself by seeing what ex-Nats players are up to, and that gave me the idea of trying my hand at a pale imitation of what I’ve seen over at Twinkie Town. So, credit where credit is due: this is not my own idea, but a shameless ripoff.

It turns out that there are a lot of ex-Nats who are active as players at some level of organized baseball. This should be no surprise in the era of free agency, but there is a particularly large cast of ex-Nats running around out there, perhaps because some of those early Nats teams were assembled almost entirely from spare parts. Accordingly, I’m going to divide this survey of ex-Nats into at least three (and probably four) posts. This post will cover ex-Nats who played in the NL this year. The second post will cover ex-Nats who played in the AL this year. One ex-Nat--Jason Marquis--managed to play in both leagues this year; I’ve put him in with the AL players because there are fewer ex-Nats in the AL. After that, I’ll do at least one post covering ex-Nats active in the minors (including, so far as is possible, Japan, Mexico, and the independent leagues). Due to the volume of ex-Nat minor leaguers, I will probably need two posts to cover that territory.

All of the following stats are taken from Note that I have not included ex-Nats who were released by the team this year but not picked up by any other team (i.e., Rick Ankiel, Cesar Izturis, and Brad Lidge). This list only deals with ex-Nats who made at least one pitching or plate appearance in the bigs in a Nats uniform--ex-Expos are not included, and I have made no effort to include players who were in the Nats system but never appeared in a Nats game. For each player, I’ve included the years they played for the Nats in parentheses, with some choice stats. Feel free to correct me if you notice mistakes. I hope you find this therapeutic--I certainly did, because I was reminded of just how far the 2012 Nats have come from some of those early incarnations. Which isn't to say I don't have a fondness for many of these guys--but let's face it, we didn't have many good players until recently.

And now, without further ado, here are your ex-Nats who played in the NL this season!

Livan Hernandez, Braves/Brewers (2005-2006, 2009-2011):

44 G, 67.1 IP, 6.42 ERA

Could there be a more appropriate place to begin? Everyone’s favorite soft-tossing inaugural opening day starter is still hawking his wares. For the first time in his career, however, he was used exclusively in the bullpen for both Atlanta and Milwaukee. Judging by his numbers, he’s not a particularly effective reliever. I can’t help but wonder if we’re near the end of the line for Livo--but then again, there are no shortage of teams who need pitching. Somebody will probably give him a look come the spring.

John Rauch, Mets (2005-2008):

73 G, 57.2 IP, 3.59 ERA

The first of two ex-Nats hurling for the Metropolitans, Rauch had a fine year, if not a particularly noteworthy one. He’s still one of the tallest guys in the league, and probably only Josh Hamilton can compete with him in terms of body art.

Miguel Batista, Mets/Braves (2010):

35 G, 52.2 IP, 4.61 ERA

Batista split time between the Mets and the Braves, but didn’t see a lot of action for either squad. A fairly meh season.

Austin Kearns, Marlins (2006-2009):

87 G, 175 PA, 4 HR, .245/.366/.367

A key part of the, er, blockbuster 2006 trade between the Nats and Reds involving seven players, Kearns is still hanging around. Fun fact: according to, he is most similar in batting to Vince DiMaggio.

Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins (2008):

64 G, 274 PA, .258/.330/.316

Despite playing in 23 fewer games than Kearns, Bonifacio had 99 more plate appearances.

Chad Gaudin, Marlins (2011):

46 G, 69.1 IP, 4.54 ERA

He had a much better year with the Fish than he did last year with the Nats (8.1 IP, 6.48 ERA).

Brian Schneider, Phillies (2005-2007):

34 G, 98 PA, .225/.289/.348

Proving there’s always work for a backup catcher, Schneider improved on his .176 batting average from last year.

Pete Orr, Phillies (2008-2009):

35 G, 57 PA, .315/.327/.444

His batting average was almost 100 points higher than last year. He also walked once while striking out 18 times.

Brian Sanches, Phillies (2008):

6 G, 6.1 IP, 9.95 ERA

Sanches was excellent for the Marlins in 2009 and 2010; his numbers waned in 2011 and, obviously, plummeted this year.

Laynce Nix, Phillies (2011):

70 G, 127 PA, .246/.315/.412, 42 K

A pretty Nix-ian year, on the whole.

Marco Estrada, Brewers (2008-2009):

29 G, 5-7, 138.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 143 K

Estrada spent most of last year in the bullpen; this year, the Brewers mostly used him as a starter, and he responded with a pretty good season.

Nyjer Moran, Brewers (2009-2010):

122 G, 322 PA, .239/.302/.308 12 SB

Easily Tony Plush’s worst season to date, but I don’t think he got any fines or yelled any obscenities on TV this year.

Alfonso Soriano, Cubs (2006):

151 G, 615 PA, 32 HR, .262/.322/.499

Were it not for the immovable contract, the Cubs would probably be pleased with Soriano’s numbers, his best since 2008.

Bill Bray, Reds (2006):

14 G, 8.2 IP, 5.19 ERA

Bray was an effective reliever last year, but he spent as much time in the minors as he did in the majors this year.

Willie Harris, Reds (2008-2010):

25 G, 48 PA, .114/.170/.205

Harris is not the reason the Reds won the NL Central this year.

Justin Maxwell, Astros (2007-2010):

124 G, 352 PA, 18 HR, .229/.304/.460

He probably would not have had the opportunity to hit 18 dingers had he played for any other team, but he showed he’s got some pop.

Brian Bixler, Astros (2011):

36 G, 96 PA, .193/.253/.330, 36 K

He clearly would not have had the opportunity to make 96 plate appearances had he played for any other team.

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates (2007-2009):

63 G, 59.2 IP, 5-2, 2.72 ERA, 36 SV

Hanrahan pretty clearly wins the award for most successful ex-Nat in the NL (in a sneak peek for the AL edition, he prettly clearly wins the award for most successful ex-Nat overall).

Doug Slaten, Pirates (2010-2011):

10 G, 13 IP, 2.77 ERA

Slaten is not the reason the Pirates collapsed after July.

Wil Nieves, Rockies/Diamondbacks (2008-2010):

32 G, 89 PA, .301/.330/.410

Who? Wil Nieves!

Kip Wells, Padres (2009):

7 G, 37.1 IP, 4.58 ERA

After a two-year hiatus, the two-time NL losses leader has resurfaced, albeit briefly--he’s already been granted free agency.

Mike MacDougal, Dodgers (2009):

7 G, 5.2 IP, 7.94 ERA

Some drunk ex-frat guy right next to me kept yelling “MacDooooogal! You can DO it!” over and over and over during a game I was at back in ’09. That wasn’t MacDougal’s fault, but the 7.94 ERA this year probably was.

Adam Kennedy, Dodgers (2010):

86 G, 201 PA, .262/.345/.357

The downward arc of Kennedy’s career trajectory arguably began with the Nats, and it has continued with the Mariners last year and the Dodgers this year.

Jerry Hairston, Dodgers (2011):

78 G, 267 PA, .273/.342/.387

Hairston’s numbers are eerily similar to what he posted last year, but with about 100 fewer plate appearances.

Todd Coffey, Dodgers (2011):

23 G, 19.1 IP, 4.66 ERA

The Nats got a decent year out of Coffey last year after he had a pretty bad 2010 with the Brewers. The Dodgers got something more closely resembling the 2010 Coffey.

Xavier Nady, SFG (2012):

19 G, 57 PA, .240/.333/.400

‘Twas a good year for teams with Nady on them, but not necessarily a good year for Nady on those teams. The Nats had their reasons for parting ways with him mid-season (a .157 batting average no doubt among them); he was a bit better for the Giants, and he’s on the postseason roster, although he hasn’t played since the NLDS.

That wraps things up for ex-Nats in the NL; stay tuned for ex-Nats in the AL, followed by ex-Nats in the minors!

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