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July 31, 2011 / Nat Anacostia

Nats trades that did and didn’t happen

First, I’m not that concerned about the big trade that didn’t happen—the one for the center fielder. July 31 really wasn’t the Nats’ deadline for getting this one done, and there may be some advantages to waiting. For example, I’m guessing that the Angels may be willing to shop Peter Bourjos this winter. I’ll give Mike Rizzo the benefit of the doubt and see if he can fill the center field hole over the winter.

Todd Coffey is the player I thought might be dealt, but wasn’t. I guess the market for a middle reliever with an ERA+ of 98 just isn’t that strong.

Turning to the trades that did happen, here are a few thoughts:

Unlike other commenters, I don’t think the trade for Jonny Gomes was mostly about the Type B free agent draft pick—after all, in order to get the draft pick, the Nats will have to offer Gomes arbitration and he’d have to turn them down. I’d guess that if the Nats do offer arbitration, there’s a good chance that he’ll accept it. Instead, I interpret the trade as a signal by Rizzo to Davey Johnson that he was listening and willing to support him when he said the team needed a right-handed pinch hitter. The minor leaguers the Nats gave up were marginal, so overall that was a pretty cheap and inconsequential trade.

Jerry Hairston, Jr. was traded to the Brewers for 23-year old Class AA outfielder Erik Komatsu. John Sickels of Minor League Ball rated Komatsu as a C+/C prospect and says

He has excellent strike zone judgment and is a very polished hitter, but as a tweener-type who lacks big power, he’ll likely fit best as a reserve outfielder.

Overall, that seems like a nice return for Hairston.

Jason Marquis was traded to the Diamondbacks for Class A infielder Zach Walters. John Sickels rated Walters as a C prospect, but says “an upgrade to C+ is plausible”:

A 21-year-old switch-hitter, Walters has an average throwing arm and average range, and has spent time at second base, third base, and shortstop this year. Second is his best position, but his versatility would make him an attractive roster option if he continues to hit at higher levels. He’s got doubles power and decent plate discipline, but his strikeout rate is rather high, which warns some adjustments may be needed.

While Walters seems like a decent prospect, I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed that the Nats refused to negotiate partial or full payment of Marquis’ remaining salary. The Mets were able to get top prospect Zack Wheeler in exchange for Carlos Beltrán by offering to pay part of his remaining salary. While Marquis is obviously no Carlos Beltrán, I do think the Nats might have gotten a better prospect if they’d been willing to absorb some of Marquis’ salary. One of my biggest on-going concerns about the organization is whether (Jayson Werth‘s contract notwithstanding) they will be willing to spend enough on salaries to compete with the Phillies, Mets, and Braves.    

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