This weeks edition of Former Nats Greats will rankle the hearts an minds of all hardcore Nats fans. I would like to take you back to July of 2006. The Nats were struggling, unable to recreate their 2005 magic and it was time to make a change. Jim Bowden decided that he would try to fleece his former club by taking two of their budding stars for bullpen help and not much else. In doing so the Nationals traded away one of their 1st round picks from 2004 - the subject of today's Former Nats Great.
The lefty specialist was drafted 13th overall by the 2004 Expos and made the trip down to DC once the franchise moved. It would be until June 3rd of 2006 when Bill Bray made his MLB debut with the Nats against the Milwaukee Beer-Makers.
It is very rare that we find a Nats great that actually was a good ballplayer during his time in Washington, but Bray is that exception.
He appeared in 19 games and registered 23 innings, and his stats don't give him justice to just how good he was in DC. In those 19 games, only 4 times did Bray give up any runs (only 3 of them were ER games). His ERA in DC wasn't that solid for a reliever, a 3.91, but like I said if you take out 3 of those 19 games he would have a 0 ERA.
The 3 games in question were 6/14 against Colorado, 6/20 against Boston, and 6/29 against the Blue Jays - where he gave up 5, 3, an 2 ER respectively.
By no means was Bray the perfect reliever, but he was just 23 with great potential. So, when JimBo decided to make the blockbuster trade on July 13th, not everyone was thrilled.
Bray's career never took off in the end, so it looks like the Nats got the better end of the deal despite the fact that Kearns and FLop both are long gone. But simply for the sake of argument lets take a look at the value the Nats got vs. the value the Reds got - in terms of WAR-post trade.
Reds Received (Total Reds WAR) -
Bill Bray: 2.1
Gary Majewski: -0.1
Daryl Thompson: -0.3
Royce Clayton: -0.3
Brendan Harris: -0.1
TOTAL: 1.3 WAR
Nats Received (Total Nats WAR) -
Ryan Wagner: -0.3
Felipe Lopez: 0.2
Austin Kearns: 6.7
TOTAL: 6.6 WAR
So in the long run the Nats ended up winning in the long run based solely on Austin Kearns. Wow, that's a sentence that I never thought I would type.
Anyway, Bill Bray's career never really took off as it appeared back when he had just 1 month of MLB service time. Sometimes it's nice to write about someone who had a solid career in DC, or at least brought us something positive (a la Albaladejo).
Share your favorite memories of Bill Bray in the comments section!