Marlins Trade Olsen, Willingham to Nats
According to several reports, the Florida Marlins have traded righthander Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals in exchange for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and A-ballers P.J. Dean and Jake Smolinksi.
Strange deal, as you would think the Marlins would get more in return for the 24-year-old Olsen, and how exactly do the Nationals expect to benefit?
The Marlins’ acquisition of Bonifacio means that incumbent iron-handed second baseman Dan Uggla will either be dealt or moved to the outfield. For those who don’t know Bonifacio from a hole in the wall, he projects to be Eric Young with a better glove.
Smolinksi and Dean are both 19-year-olds with some upside but at least 2-3 years away from MLB. Neither is a “sure fire” prospect, with Dean probably slightly ahead after a strong season in the NY-Penn League. Smolinksi is a young version of Daniel Murphy — a kid who can hit for average, showing good patience at the plate and solid strike zone judgment, with questionable power potential, and without a position — playing both the outfield and 2B. A lot of projection here.
Since they’ve already made one deal with an NL East rival, perhaps the Marlins would be open to another one — moving Uggla to the Mets. I’d take his horrendous defense and .514 slugging percentage in a heartbeat.
As for the Nats, they get a sorely needed starting pitcher who can step in and anchor the front end of the rotation for the next five years. Personally I can’t stand Olsen but there aren’t many 24-year-olds with his experience and skillset. He fits right into that “bad boy” (read: spoiled rotten brats) collective under Manny Acta. I’m predicting a fistfight between Olsen and Elijah Dukes during spring training, with Lastings Milledge kicking Olsen in the ribs once Dukes wrestles him down.