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Englund signs, Bowden stays, D-Rays Bays

New, comments provided a perfectly acceptable "Have a nice holiday weekend" message, issuing a press release to announce:

The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with outfielder Stephen Englund, the club's second-round selection (70th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden and Scouting Director Dana Brown made the joint announcement. . . .

The Nationals have now agreed to terms with 22 players from their 2006 First-Year Player Draft, including three of their top four selections, outfielder Chris Marrero (first round, 15th overall), right-handed pitcher Colton Willems (first round, 22nd overall) and Englund (second round, 70th overall).

That fourth selection is Sean Black---the high school pitcher out of New Jersey who, of course, is still mulling whether to follow through with a commitment to Seton Hall.

No word yet on the money Englund agreed to, and whether that dough fit MLB's slot for the pick.

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The BPGers are conveying that Stan Kasten has announced Jim Bowden will remain GM of the Nats . . . for how long, I can't really discern. One poster said "now and forever," whereas Rocket commented that Kasten remarked (as interpreted by Bret Haber) Bowden would be the GM for the "foreseeable future."

My inclination is to presume that Kasten was referring to this season; say what you will about Bowden (Please! Do!), but it doesn't make much sense to replace him during the middle of the season, only to fill the position on an interim basis with one of Bowden's underlings---or, worse yet, Bob Boone.

However, I obviously didn't hear what Kasten had to say.

Update [2006-6-30 18:55:42 by Basil]: Well, what do you know? The Yudites are saying Charlie Slowes just announced it on the radio pregame. (I suppose I should be listening.) Apparently, Bowden has been retained on a permanent basis, contract terms undisclosed, Kasten "delighted." Film at eleven.

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The Nats kick off a three-game set at The Bobby (Does anyone call it that anymore?) against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and SBN site D-Rays Bay is on the scene. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read a blogger devoted to the opposing team to do a thorough scouting report? If so, wonder no more; just scoot on over here where Patrick Kennedy provides a pretty in-depth look at our Nats:

. . . But hey, at least they have a new owner and a new stadium! Theodore Lerner was finally selected as the new owner of the Washington franchise in early May, ending a four year reign of terror under MLB ownership. Former Braves president Stan Katsen was selected to be the ballclub's CEO. It has not been announced whether the Nats' disgrace of a General Manager Jim Bowden will be allowed to continue once the season is over, but it appears manager Frank Robinson will be shown the door after season's end. . . .

And just to tell you how much of a trainwreck that organization is, they optioned Ryan Church to Double A Harrisburg earlier this season. He must have been hitting poorly, you say? Nope, he had an .823 OPS!!!!! This from the same person who was screwed out of a job coming out of spring training. What a mess of an organization. . . .

And, oh yeah, I have not even gotten to the pitchers. Washington's pitching staff is among the worst in the NL, only .18 off from the NL cellar in ERA. They are also second in the league in walks, and their performance is particularly pathetic considering they play in the most pitcher-friendly park in the league in RFK Stadium.

However, one of the pleasant surprises found this season on the Nats pitching staff is tonight's starter, Michael O'Connor, who has led the Washington rotation in posting a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts for Washington. He has struggled a bit with control, but right now, Washington will take what they can get.

Those are just excerpts, selected by me to maximize reaction. But, as a general principle, man, I wish I had time to scout the opposition like that. Instead, I'm too busy copying gimme baseball brain-teasers.

For a short scouting report of the Rays, though, I will get right to the point: Their TV play-by-play guy is the best in the business.

At any rate, Patrick sees Tampa winning two of three, although he's a bit uncertain about the rubber match. It's a good thing he hasn't seen this team play recently!

Just kidding. I'm sure the Nats will take at least one. Maybe.