Wednesday, Aug. 1, 1 p.m. ET

The Washington Nationals

Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 1, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post staff writer Barry Svrluga was online Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about the 2007 Nationals.

The transcript follows.

Svrluga covers the Nationals beat for The Post and writes the Nationals Journal blog for He's also the author of "National Pastime: Sports, Politics, and the Return of Baseball to Washington, D.C."

Full Coverage: Washington Nationals

Discussion Archive


Barry Svrluga: Greetings, folks. Checking in a day after the (non-)trade deadline. Interested in thoughts on the Nationals not only holding onto Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch, but in extending the contracts of Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young.

And for those who are interested in history, keep in mind - as we pointed out in today's $.35 edition -- that tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of Walter Johnson's debut in a Washington uniform. The Nationals will mark the occasion a RFK.

With that, let's chat.


Greater Green Bay: Reading these chats I'm a bit surprised at the "we stink, we'll never win" attitude of the Nationals fans who write in. I hope they have some perspective -- they were a team that was on starvation rations for the past 10-plus years and only now is getting the care it will need to turn around. Watch for improvement after the new ballpark opens. Remember, D.C. has a World Series winner fewer years ago than the Cubs!

Barry Svrluga: We'll start, then, with some optimism. And that might be a good jumping off point: Who will win a World Series sooner -- the Cubs or the Nationals?

1924 was that Senators' championship. Ah, the memories.


Silver Spring, Md.: Barry -- Give me a reason to root for this team! Bowden just signed two fat players in the decline phase of their careers to 2-year deals. A SECOND trading deadline has passed without a single move -- and it's not like the team didn't have some chips to offer. And the Braves, Mets and Phillies are going to be significantly better than the Gnats for the next two seasons.

The team's best hitter is going to be 34 next year and he's got a history of domestic violence and drug abuse. The team's best pitcher -- Chico -- has an ERA 13 percent worse than the league average and he doesn't strike anyone out.

Really, until Bowden is gone, why are the fans still here?

Barry Svrluga: That is certainly one perspective. In talking to people around the league in the past week about the trade deadline, there were lots of people who understood why they would be reluctant to trade Rauch and Cordero. They're both under club control (not free agents) through 2009 (Cordero) and 2010 (Rauch). They should get something good in return.

People also understood Belliard, to a degree, at $3.5 million for two years. He's a relative bargain even if he's a bench player.

The one that got most people wondering was the Dmitri Young signing. I think, in the back of their minds, it has to reflect on how little faith they have that Nick Johnson will ever be Nick Johnson again. Publicly and privately, they're not saying that, but it could be a factor.

I had one person who would know tell me that Young wouldn't have received two years, $10 million had he hit the free agent market this winter.


Mt. Rainier, Md.: Frankly, I'm glad GM Jim Bowden stood firm on not making trades unless the other team meets our needs too. Why make trades just to say "I made a couple of trades"?

Your thoughts?

Barry Svrluga: And then, the other perspective. As I just said, I think lots of people in baseball believed the Nationals would hold onto Cordero and Rauch, and lots of people thought that made sense. Bowden's quote in my trade deadline story this morning makes his case: He would rather be accused of asking for too much than of giving away stuff for too little.


D.C.: I am so pleased that Dmitri Young is sticking around. Please thank him for not being my "Soriano" for this season.

Secondly, my friend's 2-year old went to his first baseball game a couple of weeks ago. He is big into T-ball in his front yard, so it was a big deal. He ended up being handed a signed baseball by Matt Chico prior to the game. I just wanted Chico to know that there is a 2-year-old boy out there sleeping with the baseball he signed, every single night. This is why baseball is the best.

Barry Svrluga: And now, the final perspective: Yes, Dmitri Young brings some short-term good vibes to those hard-core fans who have enjoyed watching him. I know lots of fans were relieved he's staying. (Just imagine this year's lineup without him.)

And that's a great story about Chico. In general, the Nationals are very good about signing autographs -- just not when they're working, during batting practice.


National Cathedral: So I am sure you have been somewhat avoiding the questions like this, but, who are the big bats out there that are free agents after the season, now that the trading deadline has passed? Also this might be like that ESPN commercial were the dude's butt talks, but Schilling will be the opening day pitcher for the NATS in the new stadium. Boston didn't extend him, he loves history and he wants to run for office! Just watch...

Barry Svrluga: Wow, Schilling here? Um, I'm thinking no.

Big bats: Andruw Jones (though his bat seems a lot smaller this year), Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand. The Nationals' chief offseason need, even more than starting pitching, is a center fielder who can hit. Any of those guys qualify.


Silver Spring, Md.: Could you explain Manny Acta's reasoning for his defensive strategy in the late innings? He usually inserts Fick and Langerhans for Young and Church, burning two players from his bench and making the lineup even more anemic. I can understand Young having a caddy, but why does he remove Church, who is a decent defensive outfielder?

Barry Svrluga: I asked him about this a couple weeks ago. He said he wants the best possible defensive team out there, even with a one-run lead with two innings to go, because he is such an optimist he doesn't even consider that his bullpen would blow the lead and he'd need more runs. Of course this can work against him on occasion, but in general, the bullpen has been so solid it probably makes sense -- certainly in the case of Fick for Young. No, Church isn't a poor defensive outfielder, but with Logan and Langerhans out there, that's like having two center fielders.


Twinbrook, Md: Barry, Here's what I think the optimal starting 8 would be for 2008.

Guzman - ss

Belliard - 2b

Zimmerman - 3b

Young - lf

Johnson - 1b

Escobar - cf

Kearns - rf

Schneider - c

If they were all healthy, wouldn't you stack these guys up against most other position players in the league?

Barry Svrluga: Who's this Escobar character you're talking about?

I think the optimal starting eight will include at least one player who is not with the team this year. Maybe two. And though Dmitri Young said he's willing to play left field, that doesn't mean Acta will put him there. As Jim Bowden said yesterday, "I like him at first base." I think these Young-to-the-outfield theories are mostly pipe dreams. If there's a healthy Dmitri and a healthy Nick Johnson, that's a healthy log jam at first base.


"brings some short-term good vibes to those hard-core fans who have enjoyed watching him": Would hard-core fans not go to see the team regardless of whether Young was here or not?

Barry Svrluga: A good point, no question.


Silver Spring, Md.:"And the Braves, Mets and Phillies are going to be significantly better than the Gnats for the next two seasons."

The Gnats? I don't think this guy wants a reason to root for this team.

Barry Svrluga: The best nickname I've heard for this bunch on Nats blogs (and I can't remember who I'm stealing this from, so my apologies) is the NAAAts (like a Triple-A team).


Solla Sollew, Va.: Before the season, I made a "buck sez" with a friend that the Nats would win 70 games this season.

Am I going to win?

Barry Svrluga: I had 62-100 before the season, for the record.

I don't think you're going to win. I think you'll fall just short. Buck sez.


Washington, D.C.: Barry,

Just wanted to interject a quick Hall of Fame question. Were Stan Musial and Henry Aaron at the induction? I watched the whole thing on ESPN Classic-- at least I think I did -- but didn't see them when all the Hall of Famers were introduced. Thanks.

Barry Svrluga: No, neither Musial nor Aaron were there. I was told both Musial and his wife were not in good health (though I don't know how serious), and Aaron is likely keeping out of the spotlight with Bonds on his doorstep.


Chantilly, Va.: I'm surprised that a great Web site like, famous for its chats (and if it's not famous for its chats, then it certainly should be!), had no chat yesterday covering the trade deadline! Especially when a Nats trade was fairly likely (even though it ended up not happening). If we're going to take Washington seriously as a baseball town, The Post needs to step up... Sorry about that -- Dave Sheinin was scheduled to chat yesterday, but had to reschedule for Thursday, because it conflicted with his flight to the West Coast. Tom Boswell is on a much-deserved vacation, and we knew we would have Barry on today to handle any post-deadline Nats questions. So yes, we would have liked to have had a baseball discussion yesterday, but it couldn't be avoided, and we hope we have you covered for the rest of the week.

Barry Svrluga: Also in our defense, I was adding lots of trade deadline updates on my blog, Nationals Journal, which is available on the Nationals' section of the site. Bookmark it. There was lots of good info on there yesterday. A fun, hectic day.

_______________________ Nationals Journal


Logan Circle: I've been reading quite a few bloggers' comments expressing disappointment over the Nats' lack of trades. I disagree. They really don't have anybody that good to trade for good prospects.

By the way, had you ever heard a third base coach get boo-urnsed like Tim Tollman last night?

Barry Svrluga: Wow, did Tim Tolman get booed. Schneider would've scored on that play, particularly with Griffey throwing behind the runners. That's a tough spot, third base coach, and Tolman's had a rough week -- also getting Jason Bergmann thrown out at the plate in Philly last week.

Lack of trades: Someone told me early in the month that the Nationals wouldn't be able to get really high-end prospects because they don't have good enough players to offer in return.


Pittsburgh: In the short term, what makes this team any different than the Pirates?

They'll have the same lousy offense next year that they have this year, while convincing their fans that their group of hustlers are going to keep them in the game and gosh darn it, watching any baseball is better than watching no baseball, especially in this beautiful new stadium! Losses are irrelevant to the sideshow at the fringes.

Barry Svrluga: Manny Acta said it yesterday and he's said it before, and Kasten hints at it (because he never says anything straight out before it happens), but the difference fans should expect next year is increased payroll. If this team bumps the payroll to $70 million (and I know, Stan, I shouldn't use any hard numbers because that might set expectations), then that means they'll have $30 million or so to play with this winter. That can fundamentally change a team -- if it's spent wisely.


Minneapolis: As a member of the sports media, how great would it be to have Torii Hunter on this team? The guy is a media darling here.

Barry Svrluga: I have spoken with Hunter only a couple of times but found him to be an absolute delight -- insightful, frank, funny, accommodating. He is a great fit in Minnesota, and it'll be interesting to see if the Twins are able to keep him.


Section 422: I'm so glad to see Chad still here.

I hope they know -- there are a lot of us out here who see Brian Schneider, Chad Cordero, and Ryan Zimmerman as the core of our team. These are the guys that are OURS, much as Cal was Baltimore's. I hope Bowden can understand -- fan buy-in is a big component of a team's success. Keep our guys here.

Barry Svrluga: I think the club understands that perspective -- to a degree. But I think the driving force is whether sending any of those guys away would help build a championship-level team here. One part of the evaluation in keeping Cordero and Rauch is that if this team is good in a couple years, they'd just have to trade to get back-end bullpen guys anyway.


Arlington, Va.: I don't mind keeping Cordero, who at 25 is ideal to grow with this young team even though he is not the prototypical flamethrower that is desired for a closer. However, keeping Young, an All-Star having a terrific year, doesn't make as much sense. He is an aging player could have netted some young prospects.

Barry Svrluga: There are many people in baseball who think like you. There are even some members of the organization who are scratching their head about the Young signing.


Mr. probably bitter because the Nats stole their logo... real bitter...

Barry Svrluga: Yes, those logos look alike. I'm just glad it's not CVS.


"Spent wisely": Like $5 million dollars for a DH.

Barry Svrluga: You get my drift.


Mount Vernon, Va.: This has to do with Bowden's "treading water" comment with regards to the player development improvements.

The Nats have improved their farm system, but from what I understand it still has a ways to go to reach middle of the road within MLB. With that in mind, how are the Nationals going to keep the ball rolling in player development with only their normally allotted picks?

They had 5 of the top 100 in 2006 and 6 of the top 100 in 2007. At this point, the Nats will only have 3 of the top 100 in 2008. It's tough to rebuild without the premium picks given the uncertainty of the draft and the international market is just as much a crapshoot. (This does not take into account any picks they'd lose signing a Type A free agent like Andruw Jones this offseason). How do the Nationals see a continuation of the rebuilding effort?

Barry Svrluga: A very good question. The club feels like it has made tremendous strides in improving the depth of pitching in the minors, and if they sign supplemental pick Josh Smoker -- a lefty from high school in Georgia -- that'll be another step. The pitching staff at short-season Class A Vermont is off to a ridiculously good start,and as those kids (Glenn Gibson, Adrian Alaniz, Colton Willems, Jordan Zimmermann and Hassan Pena) rise through the ranks, they'll sort themselves out as studs and also-rans.

The hitting depth in the minors is non-existent and must be improved. But don't discount the international market as a crapshoot. The Nationals have two teams of teenagers playing in the Dominican Summer League, one of which has a ridiculously good record. Jose Rijo, who keeps tabs on these things for the Nats, is extremely excited about the talent down there.

The draft is important, but it's not the only way to procure talent.


Bratislava, Slovakia: Why is Ryan Langerhans still (a) a Washington National, and (b) a major league ballplayer?

Barry Svrluga: Someone with the club was telling me a couple weeks ago after reading one of these chats: "You know, I hope the fans don't think that our long-term solutions at a lot of these positions are the guys we have here now." Langerhans is a good defensive replacement/LH-hitting bench guy, but he's not likely to be a starter here for long.


West Alexandria, I guess: Do you sense any short term issues with John Lannan after last week's interesting debut?

Barry Svrluga: No, he seems like a confident kid. He said the next day he wants to prove he belongs even though he rose all the way from Class A Potomac at the start of the year. It'll be interesting how he does tonight in his first start at RFK.


Fairfax. Va.: Which Nat pitcher will give up Bonds record tying and record breaking home runs? I've got Cordero in the 9th in the second game next week.

Barry Svrluga: We'll start a pool on this at Nationals Journal, but it does seem Bonds and the Nats are on a collision course. Bonds needs one to tie and two to break, and I can't imagine he's going to do it on the road. Talking to Dave Sheinin, who's out there covering all this for us, and he's convinced Bonds CAN'T break it on the road because his ABs are so inconsistent right now. Plus, the Giants want an orchestrated, happy moment -- and the only way that happens is in SF.

I'd love to be there for history, I'll tell you that much.


Annandale, Va., by way of Cooperstown, N.Y.: Barry, This is not a question, but a statement. For all of you that have never been to a HoF induction, do yourself a favor and go. It is well worth it. I went this past weekend thinking it would be my only induction. I now know why so many people I spoke to say they go year after year.

Barry Svrluga: I'm happy to pass this on. I have been to Cooperstown many times, but this was my first induction weekend, and I can't tell you how much fun it was. Had the opportunity to go to a reception the previous night with all the Hall of Famers which was held in the Hall, and it was an absolute thrill to be there.


Washington, D.C.: So how fast, exactly, do people theorize Walter Johnson must have thrown to earn the distinction of being "conceded to be the fastest ball pitcher in history of game?"

Barry Svrluga: An interesting question. He had to throw in the upper-90s, don't you think? I love the little film I've seen of him slinging the ball from behind his back. I wish we could talk to ol' Ty Cobb about it, or put a radar gun on him.


Nats Future: This line came from Schuerholz. Is this what we hope to expect from Bowden in a few years? I guess that's why we couldn't pull off a Meat Hook trade.

"The good news is, we have the depth of talent in our minor league system that's so valued by other teams, we're able to make these deals," Schuerholz added.

Barry Svrluga: Yes, that's precisely the idea. Bowden was adamant yesterday that the Braves were the big winners of the day because they are so stocked with young talent that they were able to make the deal for Teixera (and the one for Dotel) because they have three prospects sent to Texas that were blocked in their own system. As good as Saltalamacchia seems like he'll be (and man, I saw him last month or six weeks ago, and he's going to be good), he can't beat out Brian McCann, who's locked up to a long-term deal.

The Nats would like their farm system to be that stacked -- both to supply the big club with star players, but also to trade for them.


Someone with the club was telling me a couple weeks ago after reading one of these chats....: Club officials read these chats? Then why does RFK still serve cold hot dogs?

Barry Svrluga: Yes, they read them. Speak to me, cold hot dog-hating fans. I will pass along your words.

And seriously, are you still getting cold hot dogs? Gross.

Also: Aramark, I'm told, is out as concessionaire next year. Not sure who's going to win.


Fredericksburg:"One part of the evaluation in keeping Cordero and Rauch is that if this team is good in a couple years, they'd just have to trade to get back-end bullpen guys anyway" - Why do people assume this? Rauch (and Majewski) were acquired for the dinosaur-ridden remains of Carl Everett. Relievers come, and relievers go. You can get lucky with relievers pretty regularly, and unless absolutely nothing was offered for Rauch, trading wouldn't have been a bad idea.

Barry Svrluga: I agree that Rauch could've been a good piece to trade, and ask the Orioles if they think middle relief is a volatile commodity. Closers, I would argue, are different. They're special. It takes a mentality, and while Cordero's stuff isn't the most dominant, he has the right demeanor that has been developed over a few years. I know he frustrates fans here sometimes with his wild saves. But his numbers are quite good -- the only NL relievers with more saves in the last two years are Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner. Those two guys play for division champions. Cordero's team has been in last place every season.


Section 424: Thanks for the Walter Johnson article. It's great that someone in the media to recognizes that Walter Johnson is to Washington baseball as Babe Ruth is to the Yankees and Ted Williams is to the Red Sox. I hope Mrs. Thomas gets a chance to meet "her boys" in person tomorrow night.

Barry Svrluga: Thanks very much. I had a great time doing that story, and Mrs. Thomas and her son Hank are wonderful people who I've known for a couple years. I think the Thomases will have a wonderful time tomorrow night.


Section 422: Club types here?

Okay, first WHEN is the water fountain behind my section going to be fixed?

Second, can we talk about that Nat Pack guy?

Barry Svrluga: Just passin' on the info, Stan. Stepping back and letting the people talk.

(And by "that Nat Pack guy," I think they mean Clint.)

(I am sitting at my desk pumping my fist, throwing T-shirts around the office. Oh, darn. I couldn't get that one over the next cubicle.)


someone named Dave: Hot dogs? How about a cup of bleeping coffee! Any coffee! Anywhere in RFK!

Barry Svrluga: And we appear to have come to a bit of a theme.


Cold Hot Dogs:"Aramark, I'm told, is out as concessionaire next year. Not sure who's going to win."

I think that just answered the question why the hot dogs are still cold. No incentive for quality control.

Barry Svrluga: Or maybe they're those fun, summer treats "Iced Hot Dogs."


From the line at the concession stand:"Aramark, I'm told, is out as concessionaire next year. Not sure who's going to win."

Is that the heavenly chorus I hear singing?

Barry Svrluga: Angels, we hear thee.


Fredericksburg, Va.: That's good to hear about Jose Rijo being excited. I'd love to see an article on the Dominican players they have on the teams and who they have/will sign this summer.

I hope McGeary is signed as well as Smoker.

Barry Svrluga: McGeary is the high school pitcher from the Boston area who the Nationals took as a gamble in the sixth round of the draft. He's very committed to going to Stanford at this point, and people who know seem to think it's unlikely he'll sign by the Aug. 15 deadline. But watch over the next two weeks the deals that fall into place for first-round picks. If they aren't crazy deals, it's possible McGeary could get signed. He'll want, though, somewhere near what first-round pick Ross Detwiler got ($2.15 million). Not sure the Lerners will do that.


Also: Aramark, I'm told, is out as concessionaire next year. Not sure who's going to win. : Answer: The Fans.

Barry Svrluga: Another perspective.


Arlington, Va.: Barry,

What's the Nats' rationale for keeping Tolman as their 3B coach? It seems like every game I've gone to he makes at least one egregious error.

Last night, it was putting the brakes on Schneider on a double to RF with 2 outs that Griffey lobbed back into 2B. Schneider had rounded 3B and would have scored easily. On deck was Chico. Was a 0-0 game at that point.

I've never heard 20,000 people boo so loudly. I was in the stands in Section 221 behind 3B (just to the LF side of the bag).

How many more runs does Tolman need to cost the Nats before they replace him? It's 4 months into the season, so the excuse of "on the job training" can no longer be used. His instincts just flat out stink.

Can't Corrales coach 3B? Didn't he do so in Atlanta or elsewhere in the majors?

Barry Svrluga: Tolman is one of Acta's closest friends/mentors from his days with the Astros organization. There was a time in spring training when the Nationals thought about tinkering with the staff, maybe moving Jerry Morales to third base. Corrales is there to be a wise sage with Acta in the dugout, and his knees are not in good enough shape for him to do the moving around that coaching third requires.

Acta believes as Tolman as a baseball man. He really thinks he has a ton of knowledge. But he has been off the field for a few years, working in the Cleveland organization in the minor leagues, and it's certainly taking some adjustments to coaching third in the majors. Acta went through a similar transition early in his years as a 3B coach with the Mets, when he was accused of making poor decisions.


He's got a swift: Re: Walter Johnson. One of my favorite baseball quotes of all time, from Sam Crawford in the indispensable book, "The Glory of Their Times": "Anyway, before the game, Joe (Big Joe Cantillon, Senators manager) came over to the Detroit bench and said, 'Well boys. I've got a great big apple-knocker I'm going to pitch against you guys today. Better watch out, he's plenty fast. He's got a swift.'" How much would you have paid to have been there that day?

Barry Svrluga: I almost used that in today's story. Chose a Ty Cobb quote instead.


Washington, D.C.:"Also: Aramark, I'm told, is out as concessionaire next year. Not sure who's going to win."

This is better news than if we had signed Teixera yesterday . . .

Barry Svrluga: I forgot to mention that.


McGeary won't sign: Especially after he gets a phone call from Moose, who has had a pretty successful post-Stanford career.

Is Mussina the best pitcher to never win 20 games?? Discuss.

Barry Svrluga: That's a good question on Mussina. Not sure, to be honest.

Stanford has a very good program, and lots of guys get drafted from there. This kid could well go to college for three years and be a first-round pick later on.


Potomac, Md.: Why wouldn't the Lerners do that?

Haven't they been saving up money all year making us watch Robert Fick flail so that they could sign their draft picks?

They're willing to let a top pick walk over $1 million? After signing a DH for $5 million?

Barry Svrluga: It's interesting, isn't it? I do find it fascinating that teams haggle over $50,000 for a draft pick but will dole out millions to free agents. Of course, draft picks are unproven commodities. And the Commissioner's office gets upset if you pay "above slot" for draft picks. (Not that the Yankees or Red Sox care much.)


Chantilly: Hello Barry,

Thank you for taking my question. I really enjoyed The Walter Johnson article and as I read it I discovered that the Nats plan to have three statues in or around their new ballpark (Gibson, Howard and Johnson). That was the first time I heard about it. Do you have any idea where each one will be placed? Or even what they will look like? Thanks

Barry Svrluga: No, this is still in the planning stages. It's not a done deal (though I sure would expect them to be there). I will do some checking to see whether they've been commissioned, etc.


San Diego: Don't compare Cordero's raw save numbers to Hoffman's. They don't belong in the same sentence.

Cordero has the same number of saves because he plays for a lousy team. Lousy teams win close games, which require saves, but lose blowouts.

Cordero has been a solid closer and is certainly much better than the average Nats fan probably views him, but he's not Trevor Hoffman no matter what one counting stat says.

Barry Svrluga: Whoa whoa whoa. Easy, Trevor's mom. I'm not comparing Cordero to Hoffman. I'm saying that only two guys have more saves than Cordero since 2005. Hoffman's change up is devastating. Cordero doesn't have that kind of pitch.

Just saying Cordero's done well considering how shaky he sometimes seems. Career ERA of 2.6something is rather good.


Washington, DC: How do the farm teams look for future president races? My understanding is that Reagan looks really good out in Columbus. Maybe Bowden can trade Teddy to Milwaukee for the Bratwurst. This would solve two problems. It would get rid of a poor performer and actually get us some decent food at RFK.

Barry Svrluga: You know, Teddy's contract makes him nearly untradable. The Nats are reluctant to reveal the actual numbers, but I've heard he's making well into the seven figures.

Of these races, I think the sausage race in Milwaukee is the best, followed by the Prezzes.


Hyattsville, Md.: How realistic is Young playing left field next year? Is Johnson's return next year that in doubt or is $5 million a year a reasonable amount to pay a back-up first baseman?

Barry Svrluga: Bowden said yesterday that Young is "insurance" if Johnson's healthy (also said "depth") and pointed out that the Nationals have no one in the minors ready to come up and play first base if those guys aren't around. (Sorry, Larry Broadway.)

If Johnson actually gets healthy, then we're on a collision course for a logjam. If not, then maybe Bowden did the only thing he could do.


Washington, D.C.: Barry,

1. Tell us something about your Cooperstown trip that didn't make the .35 print edition.

2. I guess Kasten will be making a trip to Chicago to see Glavine's 2nd attempt at 300 on Sunday. It was a tough no decision for him last night.

Love all that you do for us. Keep up the good work.

Barry Svrluga: 1. Was at the reception the night before the ceremony, and Don Sutton said to me, "I don't believe in ghosts, but I do here." He said when he came to see where his plaque would be the spring before he was inducted, he felt someone brush up against him, turned, and no one was around. Said it was eerie. He loves going there. "My goosebumps get bigger every year," he said.

2. There's a good chance of that. He did the same with Maddux.


Washington, D.C.: What is the story with Brandon Watson, is he coming up in September and is he in the running to start at CF for the Nats next year?

Barry Svrluga: I really don't think so. The Nationals will look to make a major upgrade in center field, not a stop-gap, slap-hitter type. Not sure they'll be able to land one of the studs (oh, Grady Sizemore, where are thee?), but they'll try.


Section 213, Row 12: Minaya wouldn't part with Milledge and Pelfrey?

Has he no conscience? He still owes us for Sizemore and Lee.

Barry Svrluga: A very interesting way to look at it.

Cliff Lee, by the way, sent to the minors last week. Think he might be available?


Section 213, Row 12: Trades that didn't happen...

Bar - do you have any solid information about offers to the Nats that were rejected?

I'm happy that we stood pat on Rauch and Cordero, but curious as to what was out there.

Barry Svrluga: Had some information in the paper this morning. Nats were definitely after Pelfrey and/or Milledge from Mets, were offered only minor league pitcher Philip Humber. They had targeted Carlos Gonzalez with Arizona, but the D'backs wouldn't give him up. Not sure what Ariz offered in return.


Woodbridge, Va.: Barry, I've seen all the baseball teams in the area play this year, major and minor. But the best money I spent had to be to see the Washington Glory play. This is a women's professional fast-pitch softball team that plays over at George Mason University. This team is amazing, nearly 20 games over .500 and made me appreciate the finer things in the game of baseball such as fundamentals, these girls have them! Just dropping this in as a little distraction from the misery that is local baseball right now. They have a four-game series starting Thursday to close out the season, I'll be there to live in the success of a Washington pro sports team!

Barry Svrluga: And we'll close with this -- an alternative to pro ball if there ever was one. I've also been to the college baseball games at Povich Field, where the Bethesda Big Train plays. That's fun, too. A nice facility.


Barry Svrluga: All right, folks. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the rest of the homestand. Keep in mind: Walter Johnson Night on Thursday, Negro Leagues Night on Friday, when the Nats will where the old Homestead Grays uniforms. Two fun, historical occasions.

I'll chat with you again next week from San Francisco. Which Nationals pitcher will be part of history? Tune in to find out.


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