The Nationals wasted no time getting the trades started after the All-Star break: Bowden acquired OF Austin Kearns, SS Felipe Lopez and RHP Ryan Wagner from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for reliever Gary Majewski, LHP Bill Bray, and infielders Brendan Harris and Royce Clayton. Bowden signed CF Luis Matos of the Baltimore Orioles, and designated Marlon Byrd for assignment. There's more to come! All of the following players are on the block:
- Marlon Anderson, INF
- Tony Armas Jr., RHP
- Jose Guillen, RF
- Livan Hernandez, RHP
- Alfonso Soriano, LF
- Jose Vidro, 2B
- Daryle Ward, 1B/OF
Breaking it down: Bowden's been after Kearns all year. Of concern is Kearns' injury-riddled past. He'll start at CF tonight at PNC Park, but will likely be moved to RF after Guillen is traded. The Nats will continue to seek out a CF candidate.
Lopez's defense is in question, but he's shown good power at the plate and has exceptional speed on the bases. Soriano and Lopez could combine for a potent double steal threat. I know nothing about Wagner.
Majewsky had been a fairly reliable reliever, making up a strong part of the 2005 bullpen. Pitching is a problem area for the Nats but they knew they were going to have to make sacrifices to acquire players like Kearns and Lopez.
Similarly, Bill Bray has been touted as a potentially great pitcher but he has yet to live up to the hype. Of course, now we're hoping he doesn't!
Some feel Brendan Harris could become a ML star, but I'm not convinced he'll transform into anything more than a bench player.
Royce Clayton handled himself with class in his short time as a National, but veterans simply don't play a part in the Nationals plans for the future. I think we'll be better off with Lopez.
Luis Matos has had a season or two of brilliance, but like Kearns he is prone to injury. It appears he'll play a little CF off the bench. Matos was mentioned in Nationals trade rumors back in March so it looks like Bowden got his man.
As for the guys on the block, trade 'em all except Ward, and maybe keep Soriano around? I'm starting to think that building around Soriano might be a good move. It really depends on what he can fetch in the trade market. It's no longer a matter of unloading him; it's about getting enough value in return. Bowden remarked that the Nats match up well in trades with at least 11 clubs, including the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels and Blue Jays. We know the Nats covet Lastings Milledge and Mike Pelfrey of the Mets, Philip Hughes of the Yankees, Elijah Dukes of the Rays and Howie Kendrick of the Angels. The Rays Delmon Young might be easier to acquire than Dukes who has played a little better than Young this season. I've heard that Kendrick isn't going anywhere, even for Soriano. I'm not sure what the Toronto trade potential refers to, maybe the Jays want Soriano?