Jerry Hairston -- gone. Jason Marquis -- gone. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Todd Coffey, Roger Bernadina? Others??? By Sunday's 4:00 pm trade deadline we'll know for sure.
Saturday was a busy day for the Washington Nationals. Early in the day they shipped veteran utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr. to the Milwaukee Brewers for a Double-A outfielder. Then, about two hours before game time, it became apparent they were on the verge of dealing their scheduled starting pitcher, Jason Marquis, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a Single-A shortstop.
That deal didn't become official until just after six o'clock, as Marquis sat in his locker waiting for the official word, and Yunesky Maya, who started the day in Syracuse with the Triple-A Chiefs, sitting in the family room underneath the stadium waiting for word that yes, indeed, he would be needed to start against the Mets. Reporters described a surreal scene as the fates of the two right-handed pitchers were intertwined.
When the trade became official, Marquis was interviewed by those reporters while cleaning out his locker as Maya made his way to the right field bullpen to warm up for his tenth Major League start.
Once the game started, Maya was mostly terrific, allowing just five hits over 5 1/2 innings, walking no one, leading the Nationals to a 3-0 over the New York Mets win to break a six-game losing streak.
But it seems the Nats can't get any good news without some bad. After the game, manager Davey Johnson revealed Maya injured his back trying to avoid a tag running the bases and would probably have to be placed on the disabled list.
|Yunesky Maya leaves after straining his right oblique.|
Maya hurt himself in the bottom of the fifth, and according to his manager, Maya said he was good enough to continue. There was a discussion with the trainers, and Johnson even tried to visit Maya after his warmups. "We checked him again and he said: 'No, I'm OK,'" Johnson said. "And then [Wilson] Ramos kept saying he was OK. But obviously he wasn't OK."
But it was quickly apparent in the top of the sixth that Maya could not finish his breaking ball and was stretching between every pitch. He retired Justin Turner on a line drive to center, but after consecutive singles Johnson went out to retrieve his starter.
"I took him out because I didn't like the fact that he wanted to stay in the game and he probably was hurt. You don't pull something then miraculously you're okay. The pitch that gave him problems was the curveball."
Maya did hang on long enough to earn his first career MLB win though. Ross Detwiler and Tyler Clippard combined for 2 2/3 innings of one-hit ball, and Drew Storen worked out of trouble to notch his 26th save.
The Nationals got all the offense they needed in the first inning, courtesy of a three-run home run to the batter's eye in center field from Jayson Werth, his 12th of the season, off Mets starter R.A. Dickey (L, 5-9, 3.77).
|Jayson Werth celebrates his first inning three-run home run.|
According to several reports, Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors, most notably with the Minnesota Twins, in a potential deal for center fielder Denard Span and others. Storen, a fan favorite both for his play and geniality and accessability off the field, is one of the Nationals most valuable trade commodities as a young, cost-controlled closer.
After the game, Johnson addressed the trade rumors surrounding Storen. "I want him to stay here. I like what he's doing. I like his attitude. And he wants to stay here. So we'll just see what happens. It's part of baseball. I talked to him and said to him, 'As far as I'm concerned you ain't going nowhere, so don't even think about it.' And he said, "Well, I want to be here.' I'm glad he was here tonight."
A reporter followed up and asked if Johnson had that same conversation with Tyler Clippard, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors as well. Johnson repiled, "Tyler ain't going nowhere. Or I'm going with him. I don't know where we'd be without Tyler." Asked if he could be that definitive with Storen, Johnson was less than committal. "I don't know where we'd be without Drew. One thing I learned is you can't take anything for granted. And I don't. I didn't think Hairston was going anywhere."
We won't know until after four o'clock Sunday whether Storen, Clippard, or any of the other players or prospects will still be with the organization. All a fan can do is hope, and trust the general manager, that what he's doing is in the best interest of the baseball team, today and for the future. The trade deadline makes for nervous fans and nervous players. It's never easy. But the hardest decisions are usually the most important decisions.
|Drew Storen sealed the Nats 3-0 win over the Mets. Was it for the last time?|
THE GOOD: Jayson Werth. Credit where it's due. He went 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs and a walk. Wilson Ramos also went 3-for-3 on the night.
THE BAD: Jonny Gomes went 0-for-3 and is still hitless in his short Nationals career covering six at bats.
THE UGLY: Danny Espinosa went 0-for-3, lowering his average to .228. He now has three hits in his last 40 at bats over his last 10 games.
THE STATS: 10 hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. 1-for-6 with RISP, five LOB, three GIDPs. No errors.
NEXT GAME: Sunday at 1:35 pm against the Mets. Jordan Zimmermann (6-9, 3.27) hosts Jon Niese (10-8, 3.97).