Monday, April 30, 2012

Not-So-Great Expectations

This offseason sprang hope for fans of the Curly W. Moves were made to make the Nationals pitching staff one of the best in baseball, from starters to relievers. Rookies and young players now had yet another year of experience under their belts. Things were looking way up for this ballclub. The boys were ready to shock the world. Through the first month of the season there is absolutely no question that they have done just that.

Prior to a 4-game losing streak (1 against the Padres and 3 against the Dodgers), the Nationals were the talk of baseball and one of the best teams in the league.

Things, however, haven't been as rosy since the Nationals were 14-4 just 4 games ago. There is really only one reason for that, though it goes a bit deeper than simply the one issue - of course I am referring to the Nationals seemingly abysmal offense.

The pitching staff can allow 1 or 2 runs over the course of a week's worth of games is fantastic, but when the offense can't scratch together 2 or 3 runs to steal the ballgame is where the Nats are running into trouble. In the last 11 games (in which the Nats are 6-5), the Nationals have scored more than 3 runs only twice and won only one of those games. Their total runs scored over those games? 29 runs - or 2.6 runs/game. Any team would struggle to win ballgames when the offense just can't drive in runs.

We know the offense is bad (and that Rick Eckstein deserves to be fired), but the reason why it has been so bad is because of the sheer volume of injuries. We talked about it last week in this post and it has exacerbated since with Ryan Zimmerman actually going to the DL (when he was day-to-day and was expecting to play two days later) and then Mark DeRosa going to the DL with a mysterious Oblique injury. More injuries to some key players is going to negatively affect the offense all the time but with Morse already down? It's just salt in the wound.

To get a sense of how drastic things have gotten for the Nationals I dug back into the Capitol Baseball archive and found this gem from February of this year which included my prediction of the Nats lineup. It went as follows:
Ian Desmond - 6
Jayson Werth - 9
Ryan Zimmerman - 5
Adam LaRoche - 3 (yep, I was ahead of the curve)
Michael Morse - 7
Rick Ankiel - 8
Danny Espinosa - 4
Wilson Ramos - 2

Now for comparison's sake, let's take a look at yesterday afternoon's lineup:
Ian Desmond - 6 (4 for his last 44)
Stephen Lombardozzi - 5 (1 for his last 17)
Danny Espinosa - 4 (Yes, that is a guy with a .213/.308/.280 slashline hitting 3rd)
Adam LaRoche - 3 (Nats MVP thus far)
Xavier Nady - 9 (The Nats 6 hitter has a .140/.173/.220 slashline and a -0.7 WAR which is the worst in the National League) [Oh, by the way, he didn't have a job before two weeks before the season cause he is so bad but he is now starting every game for the Nationals]
Tyler Moore - 7 (Just called up)
Bryce Harper - 8 (19 years old and has a better eye than probably anyone on the team)
Jesus Flores - 2 (Backup Catcher)

Honestly. I'm not kidding at all when I say this. This is a AAA baseball team with Adam LaRoche rehabbing an injury. Are any of these players good enough or ready to be on a major league roster right now?

The answer is no.

How many players did I get right? 2. With a 3rd that is still in the lineup. Werth - out. Zim - out. Morse - out. Ank - not in the lineup. Ramos - struggling. Espinosa hitting 3rd???

Strasburg can lead the NL in WAR all he wants, but if the Nationals are putting out a AAA lineup it isn't going to matter. He can throw a 10 inning No-Hitter but if he can't get any run support it really isn't going to matter.

Thing's aren't going to get any better until the team gets Morse and Zimmerman back healthy. Then, and only then, can we all witness what the Nationals are truly capable of. But for now, hope that the Nats can scratch out two runs before the other team does.

It will get better. It really will. Keep the faith.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Live Chat: Bryce Harper's MLB Debut with Nats Talk On The Go

Today is the biggest day for the Washington Nationals since Stephen Strasburg made his MLB debut on June 8, 2010. Baseball's top prospect, Bryce Harper, will debut in left field for the Nats tonight against Chad Billingsley and the Los Angeles Dodgers. To make it even better, Strasburg will start for the Nats tonight, too. It's going to be a DC baseball extravaganza, and we're going to cover it all live.

The game starts at 9:10 pm EDT, and the guys from the podcast Nats Talk On The Go will hop on with you about a half hour before that to start fielding your questions and chat with you about Harper, Strasburg, and everything Nats. Join us for some fun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Sky Is Falling

The Nationals history with injuries is brutal. I know it. You know it. Hopefully one day Lee Kuntz and his staff can know it too. If you are a listener to Nats Talk on the Go, you have heard Joe and I harp time and time again on the Nationals incredible proclivity for injuries. And now it seems as if the Nationals are bitten yet again by the injury bug.

So far this offseason/Spring we have seen a myriad of debilitating injuries that have been completely mis-managed:

- Sammy Solis: According to reports, Solis reported that he was feeling elbow pain near the end of his Arizona Fall League stint but it was decided by doctors that he would be fine with a "special throwing program". Later in the Winter it was announced that he was "doing well" in his recovery from elbow pain. Fast forward to Spring Training, after his first bullpen session it was discovered that he did indeed tear his UCL and needed Tommy John Surgery.

- Michael Morse: In early March Morse strained his Right Lat Muscle and was immediately listed as day-to-day - meaning that he might be ready soon. Not so much. When Morse was finally ready to start playing again, he actually wasn't and immediately re-injured his Lat. Rizzo himself admitted that "we tried to get him ready as quick as we could". Now the slugger and heart of the lineup is in the middle of a six-week no-baseball-activity shutdown.

- Drew Storen: This Spring, Drew Storen was pitching incredibly well until a bout of elbow injury hit him pretty good. Immediately after the soreness Nationals doctors decided that it was simply inflammation and prescribed rest for the closer. Once again, the Nationals training staff thought he was ready so they had him pitch on a mound. Days later, Storen was under the knife to remove bone chips in the fireballer's elbow. How a professional training staff can miss bone chips floating in an elbow baffles my mind.

- Ryan Zimmerman: What is there to say. The Nationals Face of the Franchise was scratched from Saturday's game at the last second (forcing customers to watch Mark DeRosa in the 3-hole) with right shoulder tightness - though this is not the same shoulder that hampered Zimmerman in 2008. The release during the game said that Zimmerman wasn't concerned and that he should be fine to play Tuesday. Well, last night was Tuesday and instead of Nationals fans watching Zimmerman man 3rd until the wee hours of the morning, everyone was waiting for the results of Zimmerman's MRI (while watching DeRosa hit 3rd again).

That's 4 players who went from simply day-to-day style injuries to 3 players missing significant time and 1 player waiting on the results of an MRI.

There have been serious miscalculations with all of these (and more) injuries from the Nationals training staff. Something has got to give.

How long do you think Zimmerman will be out? Sound off in the comments!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 17

This week's Nats Talk On The Go episode is full of positive stuff, including lots of wins, a continuously impressive pitching staff, and some surprisingly impressive offensive numbers from a few key players. Unfortunately, we also have to talk about the offensive reality of an inability to drive in runs and the continued effect of injuries on the team. If you can't stream it below, subscribe on iTunes or download it here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Fun With Pitching Prowess

As we have talked about on this blog last week and in the latest edition of Nats Talk on the Go (available on iTunes!), this Nationals pitching staff is really good at their jobs. And it doesn't just extend to starters, but more on that in a little bit.

Anyone that has been here for a while knows that I am a huge stat fiend, in that I love finding obscure stats that either tell a story or don't mean a hill of beans. It's fun. And this is one of those blog entries.

So sit tight and enjoy the ride.

Let's start with something that we discussed last week, Bill James Game Score. Everyone here knows Bill James (at least pretends to) as the stat guru behind Moneyball; the book, not the incredible Aaron Sorkin film.

Here is the basic formula:
  1. Start with 50 points.
  2. Add 1 point for every out recorded.
  3. Add 2 points for every inning completed after the 4th.
  4. Add 1 point for each strikeout.
  5. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
  6. Subtract 4 points for every earned run allowed.
  7. Subtract 2 points for every unearned run allowed.
  8. Subtract 1 point for every walk.
  9. Done.
That's it. Pretty simple stuff. All told, the highest possible (9 inning) game score would be a 114 - with Kerry Wood's 20 Strikeout game in 1998 being the closest for a 9 inning game at 105.

Now that all of that nonsense is out of the way, let's see how the Nationals Starters fare on the National League Leaderboard so far (Top 50 Performances - there are some ties):
#2 - Edwin Jackson - 4/14 vs. Reds - 87
#9 - Gio Gonzalez - 4/12 vs. Reds - 80
#10 - Gio Gonzalez - 4/17 vs. Astros - 79
#17 - Stephen Strasburg - 4/11 vs. Mets - 74
#31 - Ross Detwiler - 4/10 vs. Mets - 68
#31 - Jordan Zimmermann - 4/13 vs. Reds - 68
#31 - Jordan Zimmermann - 4/18 vs. Houston - 68
#35 - Stephen Strasburg - 4/5 vs. Cubs - 67

For those of you scoring at home, that is 8 Nationals performances on the Top 50 Pitching Performances so far. Eight. The next closest team is the Phillies, with 5 after Cliff Lee's 10 Inning masterpiece last night.

We aren't done yet though.

Let's take a look at WAR so far in 2012.

Your National League Leader in Pitching WAR? Gio Gonzalez with 0.8. So far that is a .267 WAR/start - averaged out to a full season? 8.5+

Who is second on the National League Pitchig WAR Leaderboard? Stephen Strasburg with 0.7.

Jordan Zimmermann, not to be outdone, spun a terrific start and now places 5th in the NL in WAR - right behind Gio and Strassy with a 0.6.

Not to be left out in the cold, there a few relievers that want to be invited to the party.

Craig Stammen is currently tied for 3rd in WAR (0.3) for National League Relievers, behind Aroldis Chapman and Bryan Shaw.

Tyler Clippard is right behind him, tied for 7th with a 0.2 WAR.

As a team? The Nationals Pitching WAR of 3.4 of twice that of the 2nd place teams (the Mets and Cardinals). While also leading handily in K/9, FIP, xFIP, HR/9, ERA, SIERA, and BAA (Batting Average Against).


Yes, I know that it is terribly early and it isn't very likely that Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg will post 8+ Wins Above Replacement throughout an entire season. But I have been feeling pessimistic about sports lately, due the fact that I have suffered losing for so long I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. So this is my attempt to break through that fog through Sample Size Alert stats.

Let's just enjoy the show while it lasts!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 16

This week, we talk about the Washington Nationals' prodigious pitching and their awful offense. Well, maybe it wasn't quite as awful as you may think. We spend a lot of time both praising and criticizing Ian Desmond, and we talk about about Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth, too.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Offensive Offense and Prodigious Pitching

The hometown Nationals are off to their best start since baseball arrived in DC at 5-2. There are a ton of reasons why the Nationals are getting the job done (the Pitching Staff, LaRoche, Desmond) but there is an alarming trend that should scare the pants off of Nats fans.

The sheer lack of hitting with Runners in Scoring Position. More commonly known as RISP.

Let's take a quick gander at the Nationals effectiveness game-by-game with RISP:
- Yesterday - 3-2 win vs. Reds - 2 for 7 - LaRoche and Desmond with the hits
- April 11 - 4-0 win vs. Mets - 1 for 14 - Flores with the hit
- April 10 - 6-2 win vs. Mets - 4 for 14 - Werth (2), Bernadina, and Ramos with the hits
- April 9 - 4-3 loss vs. Mets - 2 for 9 - LaRoche with both hits
- April 8 - 4-3 loss vs. Cubs - 2 for 5 - LaRoche and Desmond with the hits
- April 7 - 7-4 win vs. Cubs - 3 for 5 - Bernadina, Tracy, and Lombardozzi with the hits
- April 6 - 2-1 win vs. Cubs - 1 for 7 - Desmond with the hit

For those of you scoring that home, that's a whopping 15 for 61 since the season started and only 7 for 35 in the past three games.

To put it another way - the Nationals BRS% (Base Runner Scoring Percentage) is 3rd worst in all of baseball with 10%. Meaning only 10% of Nationals base runners are scoring.

And while the offense struggles to get runs across the plate, the Pitching Staff is showing exactly what they are made of.

The last three starting pitching lines for the Nationals are as follows:
- Gio - 7 IP. 2 H. 0 R. 0 ER. 0 BB. 7 K. Game Score - 80
- Strasburg - 6 IP. 3 H. 0 R. 0 ER. 3 BB. 9 K. Game Score - 74
- Detwiler - 5 IP. 2 H. 0 R. 0 ER. 1 BB. 6 K. Game Score - 68

This is absolutely a case of "anything you can do, I can do better". Detwiler pitches a gem, Strasburg ups the ante and Gio ups it again by posting the 7th best MLB pitching performance of the season thus far (per Game Score).

I know that it's still early in the season (Sample Size Alert!), but if the offensive and pitching trends continue, I think we are going to be looking at a lot of 2-1 games... Get the heart meds ready...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ozzie and Castro: An Odd Couple

Sorry, but I must step outside the Natosphere for just a moment and discuss the ongoing situation with Ozzie Guillen, the Miami Marlins and Major League Baseball. In case you've missed it, Ozzie has been suspended 5 games for remarks made in adoration of the former President of Cuba. Where do I begin?

In any other MLB city would this have been almost inconsequential. In Washington, maybe it puts the heat on President Obama over Cuba. In Philly they might boo for a few days, but hey, they are going to do that anyway. Maybe in Atlanta he is run out of town for professing love for an 86 year old man. But a suspension? Can Major League Baseball really let teams suspend players or managers who make comments that some of its citizens may disagree with? Will the Nats suspend a player who says he is against statehood?

Now the Marlins argument, that he represents their organization when he acts and speaks, is disingenuous at best, and a cheap ploy to bring in Cuban fans at its worst. You do not go get Ozzie to be your manager and expect him to be a role-model for your city and team. He skipped the White House for Hugo Chavez. He used an offensive slur while describing Jay Mariotti. There is no way the Marlins did not see this sort of thing coming. And to now cry foul, is both naive and hypocritical.

Fidel Castro is 86 years old. Yes, he once stood for the Cuban Missile Crisis and big red (Read: communism) right in our back yard. But his time as a villain has come and gone.

Were Ozzie's comments a mistake, probably. But a 5 game suspension for what amounts to sympathy is crazy. And while it is not against the law, it is contrary to how things should work in a free country.

What say you Natstown?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Remember That One Time...

So, if you follow me on Twitter (@CraigMac), then you probably know exactly what is coming.

I predicted last night's Nats loss. Last July.

That's right. Last July I was frustrated. Davey Johnson had come in and made some changes that weren't so much working. One of these issues was that he had such faith in his pitchers to get the job done that he wasn't using them to their strengths - he was setting them up to fail.

Last night was an exact repeat of the scenario that had plagued HRod so many times in the past. And once again he showed that he was unable to sit in the dugout and then come back out for another inning. Granted, he was squeezed by some incredibly questionable balls and strike calls, but with his stuff that shouldn't even be the slightest of an issue. It was an unacceptable mistake.

The Nationals are going to have some growing pains as they try to nudge their ways to the pantheon of MLB Contenders and last night they lost the game because of it.

Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 15

With this week's episode, the Washington Nationals regular season is officially underway, and there's quite a bit to talk about. At the top of the ledger is injuries and the issues with Drew Storen's elbow. We talk Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel, and Anthony Rendon's ankle, too. We spent a lot of time talking about Adam LaRoche's crazy start, and if you throw in some pitching talk, some offensive concerns, recaps of the first series, and some series previews, you have a full lid on this week's episode.

Question Of The Week: What were the three biggest surprises of the Nationals Opening Series vs. the Cubs? We read a few listener responses, too.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Number One With A Bullet

Opening Day had all the pomp and excitement that was to be expected after a flurry of offseason moves changed the landscape of the Nationals franchise. Even better, the Nationals were able to eek out a 2-1 victory despite an embarrassing performance by the team's offense.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights of yesterday's opening game.

- Highlight: Stephen Strasburg absolutely dominated the Cubs through 7 innings while only throwing 82 pitches (58 for strikes). He only gave up the 1 run and struck out 5 baby bears.

- Lowlight: Nationals bats were atrocious against Ryan Dempster. Dempster threw 7.2 innings and only allowed 2 hits. Ouch.

- Highlight: Ian Desmond. His offensive performance today was fantastic, flat out. He got 3 of the team's 4 hits, in addition to a reach on error. Oh yea, and he stole a base at a crucial moment to get in scoring position with two outs for Ryan Zimmerman.

- Lowlight: Defense. Though the official box score only lists the Nationals as having just one error, they suffered in the field far worse than that. In the early innings the infield decided to let a pop up fall instead of, you know, catching it. Desmond had a throw that pulled LaRoche off of 1st, but it was somehow ruled a hit. And then there was the Espinosa bobble in the late innings for the Nats only official error (though was, somehow, initially ruled a hit).

- Highlight: The Nationals, with two runs, have more runs than any other team in the NL East. And yes, the Marlins have played two games...

- Lowlight: LaRoche looked completely lost against the Left Handed Dempster, striking out 3 times in his 3 at-bats. Maybe Davey's platoon wasn't the worst idea in the world...

- Highlight: Ryan Zimmerman sure is hitting the ball on the screws right now. He had two bombs that would have been long gone on a warmer day that instead were long outs. Not to be outdone, Bernadina also got a piece of one that almost went out.

- Lowlight: 5 runners LOB (4 in scoring position) in the first three innings is completely unacceptable for the 3-4-5 hitters.

- Highlight: Brad Lidge getting the save with 2 strikeouts in his first appearance in a Nationals uniform.

- Lowlight: Mark DeRosa losing his batting eye, going 0 for 4 on just 13 pitches - a far cry from the .587 OBP he put up this spring.

- Highlight: Nats win 2-1.

What are your highlights and lowlights of the first game of the season? Post them in comments!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2012 Predictions

Its Opening Day. Feel free to say that out loud at frequent intervals with no provocation for a while. So that means predictions. Why? Because we just can't help ourselves.

Sean's Predictions:

Wins: 90 - A first half around .500 will give way to a torrid August and September and lead the Nats into a wild card spot.

Offensive MVP - Ryan Zimmerman. He plays over 150 games and hits close to .300 with over 30 HRs and over 100 RBI.

Pitching MVP - Jordan Zimmerman. Strassy, Gio and even Ejax may have gaudier stats, but Jzimm will make close to 35 starts and have a quality start % in the 70s.

Biggest Offensive Surprise - Ian Desmond. He will hit 20 HRs and score over 100 runs.

Biggest Pitching Surprise - Edwin Jackson. Minimize his starts at Citizen's Bank and he will be golden.

Biggest Offensive Disappointment
- Hate to say this, but Michael Morse. He will fall alittle further back to earth. But a healthy Zim, LaRoche and a bounce back year for Werth will help the offense along.

Biggest Pitching Disappointment - Chien Ming Wang. I firmly believe he is made of candy-glass and will never throw any substantial innings again.

Best Moment - I want to say when the Nats clinch a wild card spot. But really it will be the first time Wilson Ramos comes to bat in the home opener. I will not forget the shock and unease I felt during those days in winter.

Nationals All-Stars - Ryan Zimmerman, Steven Strasburg, Drew Storen

Teddy Wins - 0

Player Games lost to the DL - Lots

Prop-Bets - Davey Johnson ejections 2, Zim walkoffs 1, Ian Desmond errors 17, Jayson Werth beard alignments 7, Strassy's last start August 24

Craig's Predictions:
Wins - 86 - I think that injuries are going to be a huge concern throughout the year and that the offense struggles to catch up to the pitching staff.

Offensive MVP - Ryan Zimmerman. It's going to be a 90+ RBI season with a .300 average without a lot of support in the lineup.

Pitching MVP - Gio Gonzalez. He is going to win 15 games and completely dominate the NL.

Biggest Offensive Surprise - Adam LaRoche. He will bounce back from his injury filled 2011 and hit 20 bombs and drive in 70+ runs.

Biggest Pitching Surprise - Craig Stammen. He will have the best ERA and WHIP on the team.

Biggest Offensive Disappointment - Michael Morse. There is simply no way that he will be able to produce like he did last year.

Biggest Pitching Disappointment - Tyler Clippard. He will deal with some injuries due to over-use in the past two seasons, struggling whenever healthy.

Best Moment - Without a doubt Wilson Ramos. This is now Ramos playing with House Money and it will be fantastic to watch him soak in everything for the rest of his career.

Nationals All-Stars - Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez.

Teddy Wins - 0

Player games lost to the DL - Hundreds.

Prop Bets - Davey Johnson Ejections 3, Zimmerman Walk-offs 1, Ian Desmond Errors 21, Werth Beard Alignments 3, Strassy's Last Start August 11, Harper's 1st game June 17

Well, we are on the record. How about you join us and post your predictions in the comments section!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cold-Blooded Nationals

Yesterday the Nats optioned John Lannan to triple-A. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post used the phrase "cold-blooded". To me its far more than that.

This move is an important one for the Nationals organization. It signals an important shift in focus, from perennial underdog to consistent contender. Yes, the Nats are at a point in their existence where the personnel decisions are made strictly based on the on-the-field product. Gone are the days of "Mike Bascik, he's such a nice guy, great story, glad he's on our team" and in are the times where the most reliable Nats starter in history is optioned to Syracuse. It's encouraging to future fans of the team and means that the building of a rotation by cattle call is a thing of the past.

But none of that makes this alright with me. John Lannan is a wonderful person and very good pitcher. Let's look at the stats: 751 innings pitched in 128 starts, basically 6 innings per start, an ERA right at 4.00 and has a career WAR over 7 in 5 seasons, all the while costing a total just north of 3.5 million dollars (not a year...for his whole time in a Nats uni). He has been the stalwart of the rotation and endured the humiliation that was the Nats run-support and defense. To demote him to triple-A and tell him in the middle of the last exhibition game is so outside the realm of decent that there are no words.

This was an inevitable step in the progression towards being a keystone franchise. It makes the on-field product better, or at least gives it more potential. And Lannan at Syracuse is a nice insurance policy. That does not excuse this. John Lannan deserved better of the Nationals. Be it through trade or outright release, he is a Major League pitcher and the ignominy of being sent to triple-A is outrageous. The lack of decency and loyalty will not soon be forgotten by Lannan. Or me.

Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 14

In this week's episode, Joe and Craig have their first guest, Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation. Brett provides great insight on the state of the Chicago Cubs, who the Washington Nationals are playing on Opening Day, and is an all around cool guy. Besides that, a few other pretty interesting things happened for the Nationals in the past week: John Lannan was demoted, Ross Detwiler was added to the rotation, more injury stuff, the bullpen, and spring training surprises, followed by the official end to spring training.

Subscribe to and rate our podcast on iTunes! If you don't use iTunes, you can stream it below or download it here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Former Nats Greats: NL East Edition

That's right. We are bringing it back. Get ready for a whole new string of Former Nats Greats. This segment will run throughout the season, depending on when I find a specific player inspiring. If you are joining us for the first time, this is a place where we can celebrate the best of the worst that has graced the fields of DC baseball (Nationals-Era); think Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, etc.

Today we are jumping right in with a piece on the Former Nats Greats that will be suiting up for the Nationals NL East opponents against your Washington Nationals. Let us venture onward.

Philadelphia Phillies
Laynce Nix - Nix is a player that no one saw coming in 2011, us especially. It was a shock to learn that Nix was given a spot on the 2011 Opening Day roster, but he came in and did exactly what the team needed of him. He put up a solid .451 Slugging % while launching 16 HR in just 351 At-Bats. He signed a 2-year contract with the Phillies this offseason.

Pete Orr - Pete Orr was never very valuable in the Curly W, registering a -0.4 WAR over his two years with the ballclub (2008-09). A stereo-typical utility player, he was able to play 6 different positions in DC. Don't expect him to remain with the Phillies too long, as he will most likely be gone once injured players return.

Brian Schneider - The man that caught the first pitch of a United States President and the first pitch in Nationals history. He has been playing with Philly for a few years now, after a brief stop in New York. Schneider was one of the best Nationals in that magical 2005 season (2.9 WAR), but his value dropped precipitously after that (1.7 the next two years combined).

New York Mets
Jon Rauch - Rauch, one of the tallest players in MLB history, is terrifying. He has tattoos and everything. He was a National for 2005-08, only to be traded to the Diamondbacks for a young speedster named Emilo Bonifacio; who eventually turned into Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen - pretty good deal. The Nationals surely bought low and sold high, capitalizing on 135.2 IP in '07-'08 and a 2.5 WAR in a trade that changed the landscape of the organization. Rauch hasn't had a season even close to his 2007 campaign.

Miami Marlins
Emilio Bonifacio - One of the fastest players I have ever seen. He came in with a bang but left with a whimper. His speed never was able to transfer into OBP as he registered a .305 in his 41 games with the Nats. He was then traded to the Marlins where he flourished in 2011, notching a 3.3 WAR.

Austin Kearns - Wow. Where to begin with this guy. He came over to the Nationals with All-Star SS Felipe Lopez in a blockbuster trade that changed the face of two franchises. He put up a 2.1 WAR in his first 60+ games in DC only to be given a 3-year/$16.5 Million contract extension. The first year was a huge success (3.7 WAR) and it looked like the ballclub had hit a home run. The next two years (when he was making $5 and $8 Million, respectively), Kearns registered a combined WAR of just 1.1. Ouch.

Chad Gaudin - Chad Gaudin leveraged a solid 2011 Spring Training to make the Nationals Opening Day roster only to pitch terribly for a few weeks and get himself released after a shoulder injury. His 6.48 ERA is what some people would call "unsightly". A -0.1 WAR in less than 9 IP isn't too good.

Atlanta Braves
Livan Hernandez - Up until last week the Braves were going to be clear of the Former Nats Greats stigma - but then Livo got released by the Astros and immediately picked up by the Braves. What's to say about Livan that hasn't already been said. He was and is incredibly valuable to this Franchise and its' history - he threw the first pitch, was reliable, did what was told, and served as a mentor for the young pitchers when he knew his time in DC was numbered. Hats off to the guy.

Thus concludes our look at the Former Nats Greats of the NL East - be sad that we narrowly avoided JD Martin (-0.2 Nats WAR) earning a roster spot with the Miami Marlins.