• The Nats' and Cubs have crossed paths on the wire a couple times in the last two days, with Chicago Sun-Times' writer Gordon Wittenmyer the reporter responsible in both instances. After Chicago's rookie shortstop Starlin Castro committed his 26th error of 2010 in last night's game, Mr. Wittenmyer noted that the misplay, "puts him at second in the majors, regardless of position, behind only Washington Nationals rookie shortstop Ian Desmond (33)." After 147 games, the Nats trail only the Cubs in the sad race for the most total errors by a team in 2010 by a 120-116 4-E margin. One of the Nationals' goal this past offseason was to improve the team's defense (along with the pitching) after leading the Majors in E's in '09, and 23 fewer errors is, I suppose, some sort of achievement/improvement on a team that features a 33-E rookie shortstop, but Washington knew what they were getting in Ian Desmond before the season started and he's certainly shown signs of improvement defensively as the season's gone on. Desmond almost added to his error total last night, however, bouncing a throw to first that only a slick Adam Dunn scoop saved...Speaking of Dunn...(smooth transition executed)...
The Chicago Sun-Times' Mr. Wittenmyer made a quick mention of the Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat in an article on the Cubs win over the Cardinals earlier this week entitled, "Cubs sweep up against Cardinals", which quotes both (Nat-for-a-year) Alfonso Soriano and Cubbie third baseman Aramis Ramirez telling everyone in Chicago they're going to get it done whether or not the Cubs' ownership spends big this winter and succeeds in plugging what Mr. Wittenmyer writes is a, "gaping hole created by the departure of No. 3 hitter Derrek Lee." Mr. Wittenmyer's been stoking the Adam Dunn to Wrigley flames in recent weeks in hopes that he would fill that power-hole in the Cubs' lineup, but in the article the Chicago Sun Times' writer concedes that it might not be possible for the team to add Dunn, though the Cubs could still contend:
"Free-agent slugger Adam Dunn be damned - which could well be the case anyway if the Cubs' payroll budget shrinks by $15 million or $20 million as expected."
So if the Cubs are cutting instead of adding payroll, can Nats fans cross the name of one potential suitor of the list of possible destinations should their modern-era Hondo decided to depart D.C. via free agency? Not just yet, according to ESPNChicago writer Bruce Levine, who wrote earlier this week in an article entitled, "A Dunn deal could be what the Cubs need" that the Dunn to Wrigley rumors persist:
"One name that keeps coming up in scouting circles that won’t go away is Washington’s Adam Dunn who appears to be a perfect fit for what ails the Chicago Cubs."
Mr. Levine's article quotes the same Cubs, Soriano and Ramirez, praising the Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat, with Soriano saying, "'We don’t have a first baseman right now,'" and, "'Adam Dunn is a great home run hitter. He’d be a great guy to have on the team,'" while Aramis Ramirez simply expresses awe for what Dunn's able to do at the plate:
"'When he hits them, it doesn’t matter," Aramis Ramirez said. "Adam Dunn! I don’t think anybody has more power than this guy has. When the big boy hits it, the wind doesn’t matter.'"
(ed. note - "No subtlety in this recruiting effort, eh?")...oh and Mr. Levine also quotes Cubs' starter Ryan Dempster who says he's played with Dunn before and is impressed by the improvements the already impressive hitter has been able to make, and in Mr. Dempster's own words, (which I clarify for a reason), "'[Dunn] wants to go somewhere that wants to win. So I guess we’ll see what happens. But it’s nice to know people want to come here and play here.'" Hmm? Did Dunn say he wants to go "somewhere that wants to win"?
• Bryce Harper Begins Career: MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr chronicled Bryce Harper's first day at the Florida Instructional League, as the Nats' prospects began workouts yesterday, in an article entitled, "Harper: "This is the life...This is where I wanted to be", which quotes the 17-year-old, 6'3'', 215lb outfielder saying that he intends to be as aggressive in the outfield as he was behind the plate:
"'I am going to dive and scratch and claw. I will try to catch every ball out there. I am going to be a Kelly Leak kind of guy.'"
Harper and the rest of the Nats' prospects with play their first Instructional League game on Thursday at 1:00 pm EST in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium...I wonder if Harper saw the original Bad News Bears or the Richard Linklater remake?