Revenge of Lance Cormier
I woke up this morning to find out that our resident one-legged third baseman was traded last night. And all the bloggers beat me to the punch. That's what I get for going to bed at a reasonable hour.
P.T. Bowden actually pulled a good one out of his hat, sending Vin to San Diego for starting pitcher Brian Lawrence and cash, reportedly the difference in the two contracts. Just about all the Natosphere likes it, and I will join in on the "groupthink".
First, let's look at what we get in return. Brian Lawrence had a horrible year in 2005, but he has shown over his career that he's quite capable of being an adequate starter at the back of the rotation. Check out Chris' post for an excellent breakdown. Livan and Patterson will anchor the front of the rotation, while we now have Lawrence in the back end. If we can resign Loaiza, which I think we can, then he will fit in at #3. You then have Rauch, Drese or even Carrasco working for the #5 spot. I can think of much worse options for the 2006 Nationals rotation.
More importantly, in acquiring Lawrence, Bowden was able to dump a 38 year-old one-legged third baseman who's not willing to be a backup. That clears the way for the man of the future Ryan Zimmerman to start at third in 2006. Interestingly enough, it may open up an opportunity for Brendan Harris or Rick Short to make the big club as a backup infielder. All of these are good things.
Despite the appeal of this trade, I will miss Vinny. The guy helped make for a very memorable season, especially on opening night. With a double, triple and homer in his first three at-bats, we all know what happened when Vinny came to the plate in the eighth inning, needing only a single for the cycle. The entire park, including myself in Section 517, was standing. And then pansy-ass Lance Cormier drilled him. The booing lasted for the remainder of the entire inning. That was one of the neatest things I'd ever seen.
Castilla was also in the middle of the play that made me fall hard for the Nats. I detailed that moment here and here. Two days after opening night, I was sitting in the upper deck at RFK, jumping up and down as Castilla and Guillen motored around the bases, literally about three feet apart. They slid into home to score the tying runs and popped up into a bear hug.
EDIT: That's way too corny of a closing line, plus I have a few things to add.
- As mentioned, it looks like Ryan "Dutch" Zimmerman is first in line to start at third base next year. I know some Nat fans, mostly the mouth-breathers at BPG, hate the nickname Dutch. Some have started to call him "Z-Man the He-Man". Fine, don't call him Dutch. But Z-Man is just idiotic. If you don't want to call him Dutch, then don't. But Z-Man is moronic.
- Ryan's "Nat of the Day" sidebar at Distinguished Senators still cracks me up. JimBo did pull a fast one on Kevin Towers with the Castilla trade. Maybe I really do love the leader!