I was driving home from work yesterday while listening to MLB Network Radio's afternoon drive time show, Inside Pitch. Lately the show has been a motley crew of baseball personalities, including our very own color guy FP Santangelo - though today one of the main hosts returned. Jim Bowden.
Since his "resignation" from the Nationals, I have actually found myself agreeing with Bowden more and more on a whole host of baseball issues; from steroids, to coaching maneuvers, to certain players roles. I can definitely see how he had the smarts to become the youngest GM in baseball history when he was with the Reds.
Today, while diagnosing the Angels outfield logjam with Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout, and Vernon Wells, Bowden said something that made me laugh. But then I started thinking about it- maybe it wasn't the craziest ideas in the world.
The Trade: Ryan Zimmerman to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, Tyler Chatwood, and a 3rd player.
Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
- You know Zimmerman. You love Zimmerman. He is the Face of the Franchise and only under contract with the Nats for 3 more seasons (Ed. Note - The Case Against signing Zim to an extension was featured on MLBTradeRumors.com). I don't need to go into too much detail about the effect this would have on the public perception (in DC) of trading Zimmerman away - as well as the on-field ramifications.
Peter Bourjos - CF
- Bourjos is a 24 year-old CF with about a year and a half of Major League experience. He has proven to be one of the best fielders in the game - ranking 4th in the AL in each of the past 2 seasons in dWAR. At the dish, he sits as the prototypical lead-off hitter; speed, an improving OBP, and more speed - he led the AL in triples last year with 11. Having Bourjos in the system would mean that the Nats would have a team-controlled CF/Lead-off hitter for the next 4+ years - pushing Morse to 1B, Werth to LF, and Harper to RF.
Tyler Chatwood - RHP
- Chatwood was rated as Baseball America's 76th best prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2011 season - 3rd best in the Angels system. He was drafted in the 2nd Round (74th overall) in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft - and started his career shortly thereafter. The 6'0" righty is pretty small by pitching standards, but he still possesses a mid-90s fastball and a swing-and-miss curveball. His first year in the bigs was a mixed bag, but that's to be expected from a 21 year old pitcher - he could do with a little more seasoning but has potential to be a quality big league pitcher.
- This player would most-likely be an organizational piece; bullpen arm, utility player, free-swinging outfielder, etc.
Off the bat this sounds like it could be a stupid trade for the Nats, but is it? If Rendon can show the skills that put him at the top of pretty much all pre-2011 season draft boards while staying healthy, he could conceivably be ready for MLB action by September - providing the Nats a cheap alternative to Zimmerman. From the Angels, the Nats would receive a team-controlled, top notch CF/Lead-off hitter in Bourjos, a quality arm that could be a fit for the rotation or as a cog in the bullpen with Chatwood, and an organizational piece - at the expense of an oft-injured but potential Hall of Fame caliber player that is only under contract for 3 more years.
A September 2012 Lineup could look like this:
Bourjos - 8
Espinosa - 4
Harper - 9
Morse - 3
Rendon - 5
Werth - 7
Desmond - 6
Ramos - 2
Strasburg - 1
Would you make that trade?