Hacks With Haggs: gives us the transcript of an interview with Peter Gammons, in which the wag of Cooperstown says that the Nats and “The Nation” have had talks about a Nick Johnson for Manny Delcarmen swap. That’s not shocking news, nor is Gammons’ opinion that Nats acting GM Mike Rizzo would like to solve the club’s bullpen problems. The Nats can part with Johnson, shift Adam Dunn to first base (where he belongs), and give Josh Willingham some more playing time. And the Sox are one of the teams with a well-stocked bullpen. The question is: is Delcarmen — “the pride of Hyde Park” (gag)– the guy we need?
Delcarman is not a closer — he has been used mostly as a bridge to the ninth, recording 53, 44, and 74 innings of work in each of the last three years since 2006. But he’s incredibly effective. His current ERA is 0.95. Delcarmen has also been through the Tommy John point of his career, having the surgery back in May of 2003. He has a 95 mph fastball and a good 12-to-6 curve. He’s 27, doesn’t get rattled and he’s cheap, at $495,000. Which is something the Lerner’s love. What’s not to like?
I can think of a few things:
— Despite his history of injuries, Nick Johnson is a lot to give up and the Nats are not as desperate as Gammons or the rest of us might think. We’re not going to contend for the pennant with Delcarmen, he might not even lift us into fourth place. And the common notion that “you can always find relief pitching” happens to be true — despite the Nats’ failure to do so;
— Let’s not kid ourselves, Delcarmen in Washington will not be the same as Delcarmen in Boston. This is a guy who’s waited his whole life to play for “The Nation” and this trade could raise his ERA a couple of points (which, granted, would still place him at the head of the Nats bullpen class);
— As a fan said over at NationalsFanBoyLooser, Dunn “has shown that he is not an everyday first baseman.” Yeah. Of course, he’s also shown he’s not an everyday left fielder too. Still, I would rather have him at first base. He won’t need to hit the cut-off man.
Mikey Rizzo will decide, of course, but Nick’s contract is up at the end of the year and he’ll be looking to get out. And you never know when he’s going to go down. He’ll probably slip on the dugout step. The Bosox may need another week to convince themselves of what the rest of us in this part of the galaxy already know: Big Papi’s bat speed is gone and it isn’t coming back. We can get a better deal, maybe another-player-plus-Delcarmen, in early June. Or we pull the trigger now.
We’ve Studied Your Condition and We Think We Know Your Problem: spontaneous demonstrations broke out all over D.C. yesterday when Manny Acta told the press that he would only bring Danny Cabrera into a game when no one was on base. We have a better idea. We think he should only bring Danny in when the Nats have a 12 run lead. Or maybe he should bring Danny in when the Nats aren’t playing . . . there was a good match-up on “Extra Innings” last night, with Tim Lincecum facing off against “the most underrated player in baseball” — Adrian Gonzalez. It was the 6th inning of a tie ballgame. Lincecum worked him outside and inside — in-the-zone, in-the-zone, foul, foul, ball out, ball in, ball down and Gonzalez (15 home runs) was flailing, shaking his head. He just wasn’t catching up to the fastball. Lincecum read the frustration and threw him another heater — 95 mph. Gonzalez lined it past his left ear. Lincecum played self defense, with the ball ricocheting off his right wrist. Another six inches and Gonzalez would have buried the ball in his ear. The kid is lucky he’s alive. Standing at first, Gonzalez stared at Lincecum, who barely gave him a glance. You could have read Gonzalez’s thoughts: ‘hey stupid, do you really think I can’t hit your fastball?’ It’s worth watching . . . The Giants lost the game at “the dog bowl” in the ninth, but that’s no surprise. They’ve been swept there twice, losing six in a row . . .
And now from the Department of Redundancy Department: when the Friars faced the McCovey’s last night, one of the promos said — “Coming Up After the Game: the Post-Game.” I kid you not . . . Manny Acta has said that one of Danny C’s problems is that he has been improperly toeing the rubber, placing his spikes on top of it, instead of in front of it. Ohhhh, so that’s the problem. Now the Ministry of Truth has discovered there’s more to the story. After telling Danny he has been setting up wrong, Manny also told him that the object of being a starting pitcher is to throw strikes. Danny was shocked. “I had no idea,” he said. “I’ve been doing that [throwing balls] that way my whole life.” Whew, things’ll-be-okay-now . . . I know this sounds crazy, but my bet is that this guy is on his way out of Chicago …