Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I don't know, Dei.....vi

God bless the internet. Rocket Bill gets the scoop on the Deivi Cruz trade, beating the print guys. Here's the Cruz trade "In a box":

WHO: Deivi Cruz, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, an infielder hitting .268/.301/.397.

WHAT: Acquired for minor league reliever Ben Cox. Nationals Farm Authority has the skinny on Cox, who looks to lack much in the way of a distinguishing feature except for substandard control.

WHEN: Cruz will join the team tomorrow and should be in Atlanta in time for the second game of the twin-bill.

WHERE: Cruz, who can play all infield positions, most likely will replace Cristian Guzman as the starting shortstop.

WHY: Because Guzman stinks (and the second- and third basemen---Vidro and Castilla, respectively---are both hobbling).

HOW: The Nats will have to send down a player for a day in order to fit in Cruz on the 25-man roster. The most likely candidate is reliever Jay Bergmann, who was impressive tonight in relief for John Patterson (see below) and probably wouldn't pitch tomorrow anyway. He'd likely be back on Thursday, when the roster expands.

A couple other notes, courtesy of Rocket Bill:

---> Cruz will be a free agent after the season; we're on the hook for $136,000 of his $800,000 salary.

---> Cruz is being brought in to "jumpstart the offense," which is laughable but sadly relevant from a certain point of view; he certainly packs more of a punch than Guzman or Jamey Carroll, not that we're breaking any news there.

Here's Bodes:

"I need to give [Robinson] some choices. Between this trade and our callups on Thursday, he has some more choices. We are going to have some fresh legs and some fresh bodies. Maybe they will spark the guys we have now. ... We are going to do what we can to jumpstart us and get some energy. It gives us some depth. It gives us protection."

Yeah, you're a real hero.

---> Brandon Watson, Kenny Kelly, Ty Godwin (toolsy outfielders: be fruitful and multiple!) and reliever Bill Bray likely will be recalled when rosters expand.

Finally, and most interestingly:

---> Rocket Bill reports that Ryan Zimmerman will be called up and take over as the regular third baseman.

Like all things Zimmerman, I'll believe it when I see it. As Brian notes, the acquisition of Cruz more than likely moots out the Zimmerman-to-shortstop switch, which looked dead in the water anyway when Zimmerman moved back to third at Harrisburg recently.

I saw no way the Zimmerman switch would come to big league fruition at the time---

My take is that this won't happen; Zimmerman won't start a single game at shortstop this season for the Washington Nationals. The whole story sounds like one of Jim Bowden's grandiose chimeras, if you ask me. It's little different than Brandon Watson representing that speed demon the team needs to turn the corner. That vision lasted all of four

---and I'm naturally skeptical that Zimmerman will supplant a veteran as the "regular" anything. But we'll see.


The Nats took (or, rather, stole) a big one tonight, one of those games they shouldn't have any right winning on the face of it and that could come in handy down the road in September. The bullpen was the key:

Rookie Jason Bergman [sic] earned his first major league win, leading a Washington bullpen that pitched 6 1-3 shutout innings in the Nationals' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves [. . .] After Washington starter John Patterson was limited to 2 2-3 innings by stomach cramps, Bergman pitched two shutout innings in his second major league appearance to lead a strong effort by the Washington bullpen. He also scored the tying run in the fifth.

Carrasco, Majewski, and Cordero followed to shut down the Bravos. In the ninth, The Chief battled through---if you believe MASN play-by-play guy Mel Proctor---the tightest squeeze since Joanie & Chachi. But it couldn't have been done without Bergmann, a 23 year-old rookie.

Back in early June, as part of my extraneous duties as Rueckel Report correspondent, I dished out some praise for Bergmann:

[A] 23 year-old converted starter. He split 2004 at High-A Savannah (ineffective starter) and Low-A Brevard County
(effective reliever). His numbers so far (30 IP, 23 H, 12 BB, 27) are very strong, though perhaps not indicative of an ERA in the low ones. But if a non-Rueckel from the Harrisburg pen is going to get the Nats' attention, I think it has to be Bergmann at this point. Baseball America rated Bergmann the No. 22 prospect in the system prior to the season. [. . .] Bergmann has been rather impressive so far and, if I had to guess, Bergmann will rank somewhere between No. 15-20 among the organization's prospects by season's end.

Maybe that's even an understatement, especially given the Nats' shallow farm system. Welcome to the big time, Jay Bergmann!

I'm waiting to see Deivi in uniform before I get excited. Guzman not playing is just one of those things I'll have to see to believe.

As long as Short and Harris get called up, I could care less what toolsy outfielders we see here.

Has anyone noticed Vinny has had a respectable August? (.262 .312/.476) Ok the OBP is a little low but do you think Dutch is going to match these numbers?
Just reading between the lines, I'd consider it likely that Guzman is just about done this season. Ladson, Bowden's mouthpiece, was very critical of him in the article---for the first time.

I didn't really notice Vinny's respectable month, actually. I knew he was holding the average fairly steady and that he was driving the ball a bit more, but I didn't really put it together until you showed the slugging percentage. Just another reason why Dutch won't be the regular; Robinson's not dropping a veteran from the lineup in a playoff race, no way.
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