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.

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