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2/2/08 Rauch Gets More Ink...

     Several weeks back on 1/18/08 mlb.com's Bill Ladson reported, in his article entitled, "Rauch, Lopez not far apart from Nats", that the Washington Nationals and The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, 6'11'', 230 lb., right-hander, Jon Rauch were not far apart on a contract that would avoid arbitration and keep Rauch setting up saves in DC for at least another season.

     Reportedly, Rauch requested $1.4 million for one-year while the team countered with a one-year $1.1 million dollar deal. But today, Bill Ladson reports at washington.nationals.mlb.com, in his article entitled, "Rauch, Nats agree to two-year deal", that the two sides have agreed upon a "two-year, $3.2 million" dollar contract that will keep Rauch pitching under the cursive white "W" through 2009.

     Rauch joined the Montreal Expos on July 18th, 2004, arriving in a trade from the White Sox along with Gary Majewski, in a deal that sent outfielder Carl Everett to Chicago. In Rauch's first full season in DC in 2006, the right-handed reliever pitched 91.1 innings during which he struck out 86 batters, walked 36, allowed 37 runs, converted 2 of 5 save opportunities, and posted a (4-5) record with a 3.35 ERA in 85 games.

     In 2007, Rauch led the Majors in appearances, pitching in 88 games and 87.1 innings, and allowing the same 37 runs, walking 21, striking out 71 batters, and converting 4 of the 10 save opportunities he was given, ending the season with an (8-4) record and 3.61 ERA.

     In Bill Ladson's article, "Rauch, Nats agree to two-year deal", the pitcher, who credits his success to his teammates is quoted from an email Mr. Ladson received, which reads in part:

          "[General manager Jim] Bowden gave me an opportunity to
          pitch here, along with [manager] Manny [Acta] giving me
          the ball in situations that I love to pitch in.

          "The catchers did an outstanding job, with [Jesus] Flores
          stepping up and filling in on days that [ex-Nat Brian]
          Schneider couldn't go. The game plans that [pitching coach
          Randy] St. Claire and Brian came up with [were] second to
          none..."

      As Nationals' fans know, Rauch won't be pitching to either Schneider or Flores this season, with Paul Lo Duca and his switch-hitting backup Johnny Estrada most likely to remain as the backstops on the big league roster, but Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire is still there and Chad Cordero's locked-up for at least one more season to nail down the saves that Rauch holds. Rauch and Cordero are joined by Luis Ayala, Saul Rivera, Ryan Wagner, Chris Schroder, Mike Bacsik and Ray King forming one imposing bullpen for the upcoming season.

*Jon Rauch Links*

Jon Rauch's career stats at baseball-reference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/rauchjo01.shtml

Jon Rauch's career stats at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/stats/individual_stats_player.jsp?playerID=400010&statType=2

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Rauch, Lopez not far apart from Nats", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080118&content_id=2350874&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Rauch, Nats agree to two-year deal", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080202&content_id=2362526&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was