Anyway, I have to admit that I, as a Jon Rauch partisan, was anti-Vargas. But I, Claudio acquitted himself well and Rauch took the loss, so what the hell do I know? Juan Rivera and his .229 batting average say, "Not a whole lot, chief."
Everyone enjoys a good baseless trade rumor, right? MLB.com favored us with a whole pile of 'em today.
Although the Nationals were second in the National League in hitting entering Tuesday's action, they are still looking for a power hitter, who could bat fifth in the order and protect Jose Guillen. According to two sources, the Nationals are targeting Rangers infielder Alfonso Soriano and center fielders Preston Wilson and Vernon Wells, who are with the Rockies and Blue Jays, respectively.
If Soriano is acquired, he would play left field. Soriano has hit over 30 home runs in a season twice and is currently hitting .291 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs.
The Nationals have been after Wilson for a few weeks. He is making $12 million and the Nationals would like the Rockies to pay most of his salary Wilson is coming off an injury-plagued season, but his best year occurred in 2003, when he led the league in RBIs with 141. Wilson is a free agent after this season.
Wells is off to a slow start with the Blue Jays, but is capable of driving in a lot of runs. He drove in over 100 runs in 2002 and '03.
If Wells or Wilson were on the Nationals, it would mean that Brad Wilkerson would switch to left field.
Let's take these one at a time.
- Soriano: everyone knows this guy because he was a Yankee. He's a free swinger with good power (39, 38, and 28 homers the last three years), but was afflicted by some sort of space-time continuum issue in the Dominican Republic which aged him two years overnight. Suddenly he's 29, which isn't exactly old, but Soriano isn't a prodigy anymore, either. I half like this idea for the Nats. I'm of the perhaps controversial opinion that Jose Vidro needs to be shipped out of town before he collapses on us. He's already slow and injured, and it seems pretty likely that the poor man's Roberto Alomar could follow his idol right off the cliff. So I Soriano would be a nice replacement at second, but putting him in left field is just silly. Soriano may not be a red-hot second-sacker, but at least he's familiar with it, and 30 homers are a much hotter commodity from second than they are from the outfield.
- Wilson: This just doesn't make any sense at all. He's 30, he's injury-prone, he can't hit outside of Coors, and he's about to be a free agent. So either he's a rental, for which we have no use, or we give him an extension, which is just silly. Look, the outfield isn't a problem. Guillen/Wilkerson/Church is pretty good, and Wilson doesn't improve it in any obvious way. So if you're get someone new to play out there, he'd better be good.
- Wells: Fuck yeah! This is the kind of player I'm talking about. Vernon Wells is a 26-year-old center fielder, an athelet with 30-homer power and an increasing walk rate. I was trying to come up with a list of current Nationals I wouldn't trade straight-up for Wells. Here's the list: 1. Livan Hernandez. That's it. He's younger and more athletic than Brad Wilkerson, and he's not a ticking time bomb like Nick Johnson. Unfortunately, I can't see this happening unless Toronto's offices have been affected by a severe and unrecognized carbon monoxide leak.