I don't like it. That's not an overwhelming emotion. The word that keeps popping up in my head is "whatever." This isn't a huge deal, even if it is my favorite. So keep that in mind.
In terms of absolute talent, we lost. Snelling is still only 25, and with a little luck he could be an excellent hitter for years to come. Ryan Langerhans is 27, and in a couple of years he has the chance to be 29. He can't hit, he's out of options so we can't send him to the minors, and he doesn't even have the decency to be right-handed.
The counterpoint: Snelling makes Nick Johnson look like Cal Ripken. There's no reason to think he's going to play enough games to make an impact. Langerhans is apparently a great outfielder -- he'd have been playing center in Atlanta if Andruw Jones didn't already have it on lock. Jim Bowden's stated goal is give up offense to get defense, and that he did.
But that's dumb. Give up offense? We don't have any. We can't spare a hitter, especially if Manny Acta's serious about putting Guzman back in the lineup. Especially especially if he's also serious about giving Nook Logan a starting job. The only way this trade makes sense, in fact, is if it leads to Logan being jettisoned. The Nats are very worried about outfield defense, and that's a good thing to be worried about. But it's not worth it if you're letting Nook Logan bat four times a day. But if Langerhans is our everyday centerfielder, I could live with that. When I said he couldn't hit, I certainly didn't mean to suggest that he was as bad as Logan.
Even if that happens, it's quite possible that this trade makes us not a bit better. The A's, probably a more intelligently-run team than the Nats, like Snelling better than Langerhans. The Braves, certainly a more intelligently-run team than the Nats, liked "a player to be named later or cash considerations" better than Langerhans -- that's just the technical term for the proverbial bag of baseballs. Needham looks at the defense and concludes (or maybe summarizes someone else concluding) that "at worst, he's a league average performer." Well, no. At worst, he's a guy hitting .063 who's just been dumped by two good teams in the space of a week.
Apropos nothing, the worst-written subheadline I saw today came with this Michael Wilbon column.
Golden State is trying to disprove the NBA axiom that says the superior team always wins against regular-season juggernaut Dallas.Ah, yes. I remember Hubie Brown repeating that one ad nauseam. "Now Marv, the superior team always wins against regular-season juggernaut Dallas, a'ight." It's one of those things that you get tired of hearing no matter how true it is. Defense win championships, every team makes a run, the superior team always wins against regular-season juggernaut Dallas.