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.