So, I guess Anderson Hernandez is going to be playing second in DC in 2009.
Emilio Bonifacio, acquired by the Nationals from Arizona before the Trade Deadline last July in return for the Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, closer Jon Rauch, and called at the time the second baseman of the future in Washington, is now the centerpiece of a package that reportedly also includes DC pitching prospect P.J. Dean and minor league infielder Jake Smolinski, a 7th Round pick and 2nd Round pick in '07, respectively, who go to Florida in return for Marlins' left-hander Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham.
The talk so far this fall had been that Washington was in the market for a middle-of-the-order bat who could provide much-needed power to one of the league's worst offensive lineups, and the kind of names mentioned, (Teixeira, Fielder, Holliday, Dunn) seemed to be a little out of the Nationals' league, but Josh Willingham, a career .266 hitter, who hit 25 doubles, 5 triples and 15 HR's last season, and collected 51 RBI's in 102 games, (missing time with a herniated disk), is more the type of player I expected...29-years old, with (acc. to baseball-reference.com) an average .266 batting average, with 32 doubles, 4 triples, 25 HR's and 85 RBI's per 162 games played.
But the point of this trade it would seem, is acquiring Scott Olsen, (and clearing up the second base drama), but mostly the acquisition of the 24-year old left-handed starter, who, 101 starts into his MLB career since being drafted by Florida in the 6th Round of the '02 Draft, has a 31-37 record and a 4.63 ERA. Olsen, like most new Nationals it would seem, comes with some baggage, however...(ed. note - "The drama is well-documented here on Scott Olsen's wikipedia.org page, which, yes, already includes the trade.")
Olsen was (8-11) last season, posting a 4.20 ERA in 33 starts and 202.1 IP, while allowing 94 ER, 30 HR's, 69 BB, and striking out 113, (down from 133 in '07 and 166 in '08), with a 1.31 WHIP and a .253 BAA. Olsen, who turns 25 in January, joins a DC rotation that could very well have 4 or 5 under-25 starters next season, including John Lannan, 23, Collin Balester, 22, and Shairon Martis, 21.
...The Emilio Bonifaco Experiment in DC comes to a rather abrupt end, but if you've been following along with the Dominican Winter League action, you'll know that Anderson Hernandez has continued to impress, (after hitting .333 with 27 hits in 81 at bats over 28 games in Washington in '08, in which he collected 4 doubles and 17 RBI's), by batting .404 as of today, with 9 doubles, 4 triples, 1 HR, 15 RBI's and 4 steals for the DWL's second place Tigres del Licey.
- Josh Willingham, Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge, Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina, Wily Mo Pena...Which of these players will not be Nationals come Opening Day?
- Can Willingham play first? He's played 2 games there, back in 2006, and has played first in the Minors...
- Any chance Willingham isn't staying in DC?
- Wasn't having Bonifacio fun? Would you trade Rauch for Olsen and Willingham? I think I would...I'd probably trade Rauch for Olsen...and I kinda like Willingham, I feel I can admit that now...
- Predict DC's '08 Rotation? Balester, Olsen, Lannan, Redding, Martis? How about Cory VanAllen, Ross Detwiler, Shawn Hill, Tyler Clippard or Jordan Zimmermann? That actually looks like a decent list of pitchers to choose from, or is it just me?
- How about, Zimmerman, Guzman, Hernandez and Willingham around the infield? Or the HAMMER, Milledge and Dukes left to right in outfield...Sorry, Kearnsie?