Window Shopping: Nationals
In our latest edition of Window Shopping, we look at the Washington Nationals. Since they’re on a pace to threaten the ’62 Mets record for losing — and win the Bryce Harper sweepstakes — they should be sellers. Problem is, you have to actually offer something of value in order to make a sale. And not unexpectedly, the Nats strongly resemble a dollar store.
The Nats insist that Dunn isn’t available, and you can kind of understand why — there are plenty of people who pay money to see the big donkey hit the ball over the fence, and many more willing to buy a Nationals jersey with “Dunn” embroidered on the back. Yes, they probably sell more Ryan Zimmerman jerseys, but there’s another reason to keep Dunn around — to protect their #1 asset and face of the organization. Without Dunn in the lineup, no one pitches to Zimmerman.
That argumented presented, the Nats will require a package full of prospects to pry away Dunn. He is a difference-maker, in the same vein as Carlos Delgado, but I don’t see the Mets paying the price of Jon Niese, Dan Murphy, etc., etc. And never mind the nonsense that Dunn’s fielding is what’s preventing the Mets from making an offer — he’s no worse than Delgado at first and only a tick below Gary Sheffield in left.
The Mets won’t part with Bobby Parnell, so the conversation is over. And they probably shouldn’t, considering Johnson’s injury history and his expiring contract. If healthy, he’s a nice player to have, but the Mets can’t part with one of the few young electric arms left in the organization — not while wallowing in fourth place. That would be like trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano when you’re in fourth place and seven games behind at the end of July.
In only 61 games, he more homers than any Met other than Gary Sheffield, and he sports a .405 OBP. He hits from the right side, which would make him sort of redundant to Sheff, but he can also catch in an emergency. If he had more than three innings of experience at 1B, he’d be more intriguing, particularly at the right price. But the cost would likely be Nick Evans, and he might not be that much better than Evans when it’s all said and done.
Kearns’ $8M salary is weighing heavily on the Nats, particularly since he’s hitting way below his weight (.191 AVG. vs. 234 lbs.). At one time, he was a homerun threat, but injuries have severely curtailed his career. If nothing else, he is a strong defender with a cannon of an arm — not unlike that of Ryan Church. And news flash: the Mets could use some defensive skills their big park. Kearns should come ultra-cheap — probably for the cost of taking on the remainder of his contract, which is up at the end of the year. Is it worth taking a flyer on him and hoping for the best?
No thanks. Next!
Willie Harris, Corey Patterson
Diminutive, speedy, pesky outfielders who hit from the left side and have big holes in their swings. How and why did the Nats manage to find two of them? (And now they have another in Nyjer Morgan.) I like the way Harris plays the game, but I’d rather wait for Angel Pagan to come off the DL than trade something of value for him. Same goes for Patterson, who was once a rising star, but now a fizzling journeyman.
If the Mets wanted Beimel, they could have signed him in the offseason for the same price they paid for Tim Redding (ouch). At this point, I don’t see them giving up a decent / mid-range prospect for a LOOGY — not with more pressing needs to address.
This guy throws gas — serious, triple-digit gas — but he could’ve been had for the price of a minor league contract back in May. His 3.60 ERA belies his performance — he’s walked 18 and struck out only 10 in 20 innings. No thanks.
Saul Rivera, Julian Tavarez, Ron Villone
No, no, and no. I’ll take my chances with Ken Takahashi, Lance Broadway, and Jon Switzer, thank you.
I’m not too fond of browsing this store. It reminds me of a bad Marshall’s, where there are a few items that were considered decent a few years ago but are no longer interesting and now overpriced. If Nick Evans hadn’t turned his season around and made his way back, I’d inquire on Willingham and Kearns, but now I’d rather see what Evans can do in a similar role. Johnson would be nice, but the Nats’ price is too high and both fans and the Mets front office are holding on to the pipe dream that Dan Murphy is the first baseman of the future — so there’s no popular way to displace him, unless it’s with Carlos Delgado or Evans.
If Evans falls back into a funk, and the Mets are still desperate for bodies, maybe it’s worth making a play for Willingham or plucking Kearns in August — after the Nats release him outright and he costs nothing.