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This (Other) Side of Paradise

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Do you remember that feeling, back in November, when the Nats discarded an unwanted piece of ballast (Vinny Castilla) for otherwise useful freezer truck (Brian Lawrence)? At the time the deal was considered---at least when compared to some of Jim Bowden's other offseason moves---a masterstroke. That felt good, right? But then do you remember, in February, when Lawrence was lost for the season, about nine seconds into spring training, the victim of a torn labrum? Now, that---that felt bad, right?

Imagine what the polar opposite of that would feel like: The Nats trade away a welcomed guy for a not-as-welcomed guy, and the welcomed guy proceeds to be lost to his new team, a victim of a shoulder injury. Do we feel good about that?

To narrow the hypothetical into a potential storyline, I point to today's entry over at Lone Star Ball. The cause of the Texas turnabout, figuratively speaking, is Brad Wilkerson's bum right shoulder, which will be the subject of a second opinion and an MRI. It is certainly a malady with which we were familiar last year (see August entries). (In fact, Wilkerson was bothered by shoulder and forearm ailments in his only season in Washington.)

For now, the Rangers' general manager/friend of Thom Loverro, Jon Daniels, is "optimistic that [Wilkerson's shoulder] doesn't seem to be a significant problem." Previously, Rangers' manager Buck Showalter said he "fell [sic] pretty positive" about Wilkerson's status.

So, you know, expect the deathknell soon.

Just kidding, Ranger fans. Maybe; I don't know.

No doubt it helps that Wilkerson's right shoulder is his non-throwing shoulder, but it's also worth noting that he underwent shoulder surgery (which shoulder?) in the 2000-01 offseason. Perhaps Wilkerson's shoulder problems are chronic? I've no clue, of course.

But Wilkerson's health in Texas bears watching here in the Natosphere. In every trade, obviously, health must be a consideration---both past and prospective.

Update [2006-3-26 19:7:6 by Basil]: Lone Star Ball quotes Rangers' play-by-play man Josh Lewin's report that Wilkerson's MRI revealed "nothing crazy" and that Wilkerson is headed back to Rangers' camp.

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Speaking of Brian Lawrence, his putative replacement, Pedro Astacio, is one of three starters to make the rotation if for no other reason than Homer Simpson's favorite word: de-fault, default!

* * *

This is the time of year when baseball fans and observers iron out their final predictions, and Metstradamus is no exception. But his prediction of the Nats finishing fourth in the NL East is exceptional, in the sense that he says nice things about several Nats blogs, including this one. So thanks much to Metstradamus, who has a fine blog in his own right.

Concerning the Nats, Metstradamus:

  • likes The Chief, despite his funny hat-wearing stylings;
  • thinks Dutch Zimmerman is the bee's knees;
  • likens iLIVAN! to Tim Keefe (better than being compared to Jack Keefe);
  • considers John "Big Nasty" Patterson a hidden star; and
  • speaking of big and nasty, compares Nick Johnson's moustache to Adam Morrison's.
Ouch.

Speaking of preseason predictions, 15Sports picks Patterson to win the Cy Young award. Well, we'd certainly take that.