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If I knew how to do the PhotoShop gimmick . . .


. . . then this guy
would have an
unruly beard and
be wearing one
of those neat
little green uniforms.

He'd also be standing next to Peter Angelos, but my GoogleImageFu is failing me right now, and I can't find the picture. And I don't know how to PhotoShop it. And that kind of thing has already been done. Let it go, Fed.

Anyway, this post is about Bernie Castro. What's the occasion? Oh, I don't know---a little something called "Nearing the Seven-Month Anniversary of the Last Time I Mentioned His Name"?

"Really?" you ask.

"Nah," I answer.

Actually, it's because a guy pseudonymously named "The Talented Mr. Roto" who's actually named "Tom Fickle" (which might also be a pseudonym, come to think of it) mentioned Castro in a fantasy column at SI.com.

Come on, people. This team is twenty games below .500, and trust me on this one: It's ALL been done. Soriano? Check. (A thousand times, yes.) Zimmerman? Sure. MASN/Comcast? Meh. Stan Kasten's love for the RFK brisket? Sort of creepy. Church? Allow us a few whiny rebellions here and there. Pitching, pitching, pitching? Cliche, cliche, cliche. We're down to the Bernie Castros of the world; I actually feel emboldened that the roto dude mentioned him.

Well, here's what Tom Fickle had to say about our speedy little Bolshevik:

The Nationals' second baseman might have value in NL-only leagues, now that he is playing more with Jose Vidro is on the mend. He's always been a light hitter but he's got great steal potential and good plate discipline. Manager Frank Robinson had him batting second in the order on Sunday.

Okay, so it's not much. Hey, it's the second page of an internet fantasy baseball advice column. That sounds like decent advice, but I'm the kind of guy who drafts a team and then benignly neglects it. For the whole season. Not making trades. Not even responding to the emails of people who want to make trades. Not even reading the emails of people who want to make trades.

So take my fantasy acumen for what it's worth. Instead, go to Fake Teams for that stuff. Great name.

Back to the real-world Castro, when the Baltimore Orioles let him go last fall (presumably because he didn't fit the Orioles' patented "Pasty White-Thighed Veteran Dude Who Can Sort of Play First Base and Left Field But Not Really Hit Enough to Occupy Either Position Very Competently, and At Any Rate Serves No Purpose For the Future of the Franchise Except to Remind People Symbolically of Its Failure to Progress," or "PWTVDWCSPFBLFBNRHEOEPVCAARSNPFFFERPSIFP" mold), the Nats jumped on that action. At the time, I believed that Castro potentially provided some answers to a few team needs, namely:

  • middle infield depth, particularly second base
  • on-base skills
  • speed
Thus far, Castro has not fulfilled these dimensions. Part of this is because he hasn't had the opportunity; the Nats recalled him from Triple-A News Orleans only a month ago. Part of this is because the Nats acquired other guys to attempt to fill those needs. But another part of it is because Castro wasn't doing a whole heck of a lot in Metairie, batting .284/.329/.347 (in the Pacific Coast League, mind you), doing nothing to dispel the perception that he's the type of guy from whose hands a good, strong inside heater can banish the bat. What is more, Castro is now 27 years-old. (Some sources still list a birthday in 1981, but he was an age-gate guy and consequently became more administratively mature overnight.) Castro is not a prospect.

But he's still rather intriguing, because he's fast and versatile. There might be a bench spot available to him next season, if he performs well for the last month of this campaign.

* * * *

The Nats kick off a home series with the Phillies, who are sudden contenders for the NL wild card (one game back), which is to say that they've progressed from pretty bad to pretty mediocre (65-65 on the season). And, speaking of PWTVDWCSPFBLFBNRHEOEPVCAARSNPFFFERPSIFPs, the Phils just acquired one: Jeff Conine, who is just biding his time until he makes his third run with the Orioles. Or with the Marlins. Or with the Royals. In which case, he'd no doubt have a fourth stint with the Orioles.

These guys never die; the Angelosian Warehouse merely recycles them, because they're low-maintenance and popular with the fanbase in a safe, largely non-competitive sense. It's a positive sign to see the O's dump their ties to one of this type (and I'm happy that Conine has another chance to hang out with a contender, or something currently resembling one), but when the O's are already talking up another tour, well:

"I think it is a good fit," said Duquette. "It is a good opportunity for him to go on. You don't have many opportunities to go on and play in the playoffs. As we said in the office, 'Next year, when we're in this thing, we'll try to trade for him back.'"

Presumably, the O's will contend next season because of all that MASN money. Or not. PWTVDWCSPFBLFBNRHEOEPVCAARSNPFFFERPSIFPs forever!