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11/13/07 Washington Nationals Free Agent and Trade Talk...Andruw Jones? Chad Cordero Again?

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     I know it probably doesn't mean much to most baseball fans, but then again most baseball fans don't consistently see their team's name followed by a derisive quip whenever it appears in print in the local newspapers, so I'm not sure if anyone would understand the joy I experienced when I opened up the local Newark Star-Ledger's Sports section this morning and found the following on the front page in baseball writer Dan Graziano's "Ready, set...spend" free agency overview, under a column designated "BUYER BEWARE":

          "ANDRUW JONES, CF.

          Horrendous year at the plate likely cost him milllions, but
          he's not far removed from 50-homer season, and he's still
          slick with the glove as anyone.

           BEST GUESS: Dodgers.
           SLEEPER: Nationals."

     That's right, so okay, the column was titled "Buyer Beware" but it appears that the Nationals are being taken seriously in the free agent action this offseason...

      ...If the Nationals are indeed intending to trade The Flat-Brimmed Closer Chad Cordero, it might be interesting to see what the Astros got from the Phillies in return for Brad Lidge and infielder Eric Bruntlett.(Which might, in my opinion, be a step below what the Nationals could offer in Cordero/Felipe Lopez)...

     The Phillies sent:

     1) Michael Bourn -24- OF

          Originally drafted by Houston in '00, not signed, drafted
          again in '03 by the Phillies in the 4th Round(115th).
          Moved from Low-A ball through the Phillies system in 4
          seasons, debuted July 30, 2006.
          2007 stats- .277 BA, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 1 HR, 6 RBI's 8
          stolen bases in 105 games.

     2) Geoff Geary -30- RP

          Drafted by Philadelphia in the 15th Round of the '98
          Amateur Draft. Debuted on August 27, 2003. (13-4) with
          a 3.94 ERA in 216 games, 267.1 IP, 173K's in 5 seasons.

     3) Mike Costanzo -23- 3B

          Philly's 1st Pick in the 2nd Round of the '05 Draft, 65th
          overrall. 2007 stats-Double-AA Reading- .270 AVG, 27  
          HR's, 86 RBI's, 29 doubles, 137 hits.

     Baseball America's writer Chris Klein, in an article entitled, "Top Ten Prospects: Philadelphia Phillies" at baseballamerica.com listed Bourn as the #1 OF prospect in the Phillies organization last January, and listed Mike Costanzo as the "Best Power Hitter" in the organization.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/263074.html

     If the Astros were able to bring in two top prospects and a serviceable middle reliever in return for Brad Lidge, a 1st Round pick, 17th overall in '98, whose '07 stats...(age 31, 66 games, 19 saves, 4.39 ERA) are mediocre at best, and infielder Eric Bruntlett, a 9th Round pick in '00, who hit...(age 29, .246 AVG, with 5 doubles, 14 RBI's 34 hits in 138 at bats) in '07, what should the Nationals expect in return for...

          Chad Cordero -25- '07 stats- (3-3) in 75 innings, 62 K's  
          37 saves, 3.36 ERA.

           and

          Felipe Lopez -27- '07 stats- .245 AVG, 9 HR's, 25
          doubles, 6 triples, 50 RBI's, 24 stolen bases.

     Barry Svrluga, in his washingtonpost.com article, "Prospects Remain Dialed In Under Sun" writes that Nationals GM Jim Bowden has his Scouts out west watching the Arizona Fall League, where they can get a look at prospects like:

           "Boston closer Craig Hansen, Seattle catcher Jeff Clement,
           Detroit outfielder Cameron Maybin and Tampa Bay
           infielder Evan Longoria..."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/08/AR2007110801984.html

     Detroit just resigned closer Todd Jones...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071112&content_id=2298992&vkey=hotstove2007&fe xt=.jsp

     And the Tigers also traded for SS Edgar Renteria...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/10/29/renteria.trade.ap/index.html

     Which pretty much eliminates the need for a closer or shortstop in Rock City, Seattle must be crazy if they're looking for closers with right-hander J.J. Putz (40 saves, (6-1) 1.38 ERA in '07) on their roster, and what does Tampa Bay need with a twenty-five year old closer? Cordero a Ray?

      Which once again turns Nationals fans down a familiar road...The Boston Red Sox have perhaps the best closer in the game, but they are also the kind of free-spending franchise that could afford to have a Chad Cordero-type pitcher as a set-up man for Jonathan Papelbon.

      This isn't first time the Nationals and Red Sox have discussed Cordero either. A January '07 rumor at mlbtraderumors.com reported that:

           "The Nats are fond of pitchers Craig Hansen and Michael
           Bowden, but favor 22 year-old righty Clay Buchholz."

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/01/nats_demand_red.html

      ...but the article also stated the Red Sox thought Nationals GM Jim Bowden wanted too much in return for Cordero. The rumors persisted however, reappearing at the Trade Deadline in Barry Svrluga's washingtonpost.com article, "Trade Cordero? It's an Issue of Getting Value" in which he quotes an unnamed "National League executive" who states:

          "They(the Nationals) should ask for a closer's value for  
          him...But I'm not sure other teams will be willing to pay
          that price for him."

     While Mr Svrluga again mentions the Red Sox interest, he also brings up another disturbing possibility which I've managed to avoid thus far:

          "Mets General Manager Omar Minaya drafted Cordero
          when he held the same position with the Montreal Expos,
          the Nationals' predecessors."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902591.html

      ...and those nasty Mets rumors resurfaced and were talked about here at federalbaseball.com just last week...

http://federalbaseball.com/story/2007/11/9/03525/2289#commenttop

Red Sox

Craig Hansen -23- -Closer- 1st Round pick, 26th overall in '05out of St. John's University where he (3-2) with 1.68 ERA and 14 saves in his third year. (2-2) with a 6.59 ERA in 41.0 innings in Majors.

Michael Bowden -20- -Starter- 1st Round pick, 47th overall in '05. (20-12) with a 3.45 ERA in 54 starts throughout Rookie and Double-AA ball. 259 K's to 77 walks in 261 IP.

     ...and the Mets are offering Mike Pelfrey and Carlos Gomez? If the Nationals HAVE TO TRADE CORDERO, at least these are the kind of names being talked about. But really...

Trade the Flat-Brimmed Closer? Why again?...

*GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS?

The GOOD NEWS first...

SBN Baseball Writer Award Season Record now 3 for 3, as the baseball writers of the SB Nation once again chose the same as the Baseball Writers of America in naming C.C. Sabathia the winner of the AL Cy Young Award today.

The BAD NEWS...

Ryan Zimmerman underwent the second surgery in a week on a broken bone in his wrist after having numbness and swelling after the first procedure was performed last week...still expected to be ready for Spring Training though...*

Read about Zimmerman here...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071113&content_id=2299932&vkey=news_mlb&fext=. jsp&c_id=mlb