Monday, January 21, 2008

What's Missing: Washington Nationals Edition

Washington Nationals - Trade away Dmitri Young and/or Nick Johnson, Find trade partners for Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch, Pray for John Patterson’s health.

The Nats were one of my favorite off season stories to watch, since they finally appear to have a sense of direction. They acquired Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes in trades that could both potentially end up as steals for the Nationals. With Austin Keans and Wily Mo Pena, they actually will have a decent, young outfield in 2008. I fully expect Ryan Zimmerman to have a bounce-back year, if not a brake out year. A few more young prospects and the Nats may actually be in business. They must know that they have no shot in the immediate future, and I love that they've begun to create something that could bear fruit in a few years.

With that in mind, I'm surprised that no one is yet to offer something that convinced Jim Bowden to trade away both Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch. Those two are prime candidates to used as bait to acquire some B-level young pitching. I also do wonder what the team intends on doing once Nick Johnson returns. Neither he nor Dmitri Young are really capable of playing elsewhere, so I assume at least one of them will have to go.

I also think that one issue that is getting overlooked is the health status of John Patterson, who was clearly not right the past two seasons. But back in 2005, he looked to be “top-of-the-rotation” material, sporting a 3.13 ERA along with a 8.7 K/9 IP over 198 1/3 innings. It’s most likely asking far too much to think he can immediate return to those numbers following surgery on his pitching arm back in September, but a glimpse of that former self should give hope to the future of Nationals pitching.