By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The Washington Nationals yesterday traded left-handed reliever Ray King, the most veteran member of their pitching staff, to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named, a move that General Manager Jim Bowden hopes will infuse the club's farm system with another prospect. King is a free agent at the end of this season, and because the deal was made after Saturday's deadline to set playoff rosters, King will be ineligible for the postseason if the Brewers qualify.
"For us, it makes sense when you can trade a 33-year-old pitcher for a prospect," Bowden said, "and the player's a free agent in three weeks anyway."
King went 1-1 with a 4.54 ERA in 55 appearances for the Nationals, but as a left-handed specialist he analyzes his season in different ways. He held left-handed hitters to a .161 average and allowed 27.3 percent of inherited runners to score.
Even though King is headed to a pennant race -- and returning to the team for which he played from 2000 to '02, when he established himself in the majors -- he said he knew it was "not a good thing" when Bowden's executive assistant called him yesterday.
"Would I love to come back and put the Nat uniform on next year?" King said. "Like I told Bowden, 'Hey, I'm a free agent.' . . . I'd love to come back here. It's a great situation."Called Up to the Bigs
The Nationals' newest call-ups -- left-handers Ross Detwiler and Arnie Mu?oz, right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo, and outfielders Justin Maxwell and Ryan Langerhans -- were available to play last night against the Florida Marlins. But Detwiler, a first-round pick this year, and Maxwell, an outfielder who began the year with low-Class A Hagerstown, were realistic about their opportunities for playing time.
"I'm not expecting too much," Detwiler said. "Just try to get my feet wet up here."
Technically, Detwiler will be in the Washington bullpen, but he pitched for Class A Potomac on Monday and was told he'd immediately have four or five days off. The interesting aspect of Maxwell's call-up: The Nationals' most significant offseason need might be a center fielder. Asked his best position, Maxwell said, "I like center field."