According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, the Nationals have apparently traded Kurt Suzuki back to the Oakland Athletics for a yet unknown pitching prospect. While, the Nationals catcher of the future is obviously Wilson Ramos, they held an $8.5 million dollar option on Suzuki for next year and the trade is the first significant indicator that the front office has accepted that this year is probably a lost cause for the Nationals. Trading Suzuki to the A’s is really the first white flag that Mike Rizzo has raised. While Suzuki, was most likely far too high-priced to bring back next year, given Wilson Ramos’ injury history and the Nationals lack of depth at catcher this could prove to be a move that comes back to bite them. Or maybe they’ve just been reading Thomas Boswell’s silly blog about catcher ERA based on small sample sizes, iffy calculations and fun with arbitrary end-points.
Putting all of that aside, perhaps Rizzo should learn to stop making trades with Billy Beane, I mean, he can’t trade you Gio Gonzalez again. While most trades involving prospects take years to evaluate, the Nats trade of Josh Willingham has reached a point where it can be evaluated and it was a bust for both sides. Willingham was disappointing in Oakland and Henry Rodriguez was excitingly awful in Washington. Corey Brown is pretty much a AAAA player, but Rizzo still traded something of value (Willingham) and got very little in return. The aforementioned trade for Gonzalez seems to have worked out for the Nats and the Michael Morse trade looks promising because it returned AJ Cole, but Billy Beane hasn’t built winners with the lowest payroll in baseball by losing a lot of trades. He’s kind of like a bookie, sure he’ll trade you Gio Gonzalez for a bunch of prospects that he somehow extracts value out of and once he’s gotten you used to winning he gets you to keep making bets with him until you’ve exhausted Jr.’s college fund and the house is in foreclosure. The next thing you know Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are in the luxury box talking about what else they can get from you or if the well’s run dry and it’s time to move on to another mark who can’t be bothered with fancy math.
In other Hot Stove news, rumors are circling that the Tampa Bay Rays have placed a claim on David DeJesus and the two teams are apparently trying to work out a deal. This is earth shattering news to all Nats bloggers on the interwebs as we watch a potentially endless supply of Big Lebowski jokes for next year possibly headed out of town. I mean seriously, let’s put aside the fact that DeJesus is the 3rd best outfielder on the Nationals for just second, his last name is basically Da Jesus. I mean David DeJesus could have been the rug that really tied the room together. I know that’s just like, my, opinion man, but still I’ve got to buck up, I cannot drag this negative energy into the tournament. Well, I guess sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.
Hopefully, that’s out of my system, but making trades with the Rays is also not usually a good idea because they’re really smart. Sure they’ll give you James Shields for that unproven prospect named Will Meyers. After all, he can’t be that good and Shields is a proven commodity without all the risk. What could go wrong? Somehow, I don’t see this ending well for the Nats and I’m always afraid of dealing an outfielder when Jeff Francoeur is without a job.
In the Suzuki deal, the Nationals apparently received right hander Dakota Bacus. Bacus has posted a 3.56 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Bacus should fit in well with the Nationals “pitch to contact” philosophy, as he doesn’t miss many bats. Perhaps, the Nationals have continued using some of Jim Bowden’s favorite stats like OPSBI’s instead of BABIP. Heading into the season, John Sickels didn’t rank Bacus as one of the A’s top 20 prospects. At age 22, Bacus is a bit old for A ball, which makes his stats even less impressive. His ceiling seems to be that of a #4 or #5 starter.
While it’s always good to amass as many arms as possible within an organizations minor league system, someone like Bacus is pretty much just org filler. For Nats fans, this pretty much means the organization has given up on this year, but was also concerned with dumping salary, to depressing developments for a team that many picked to win 100 games.