There's a cadre of baseball writers who apparently believe that, unless your team is even money to make the playoffs, you should just keep trading veterans for prospects, year after year. I don't get it, other than the fact that many of these younger scribes grew up during the meteoric rise of fantasy baseball, and maybe think the real thing should work the same way.
The 2011 Nationals weren't built for the postseason, though they certainly wanted to win as many games as they could. Coming off of a 69-win season, It's exceptionally rare to have a 20-game swing in the other direction, not that even 89 wins would necessarily get you to the NLDS.
I received an e-mail from a fan who was somewhat worked up over something he read suggesting that the Nationals shop Michael Morse around while he's hot, since he'd be real attractive to a lot of contending teams due to his low salary and apparent offensive and defensive skills. Attractive? Shoot, he's Miss America.
(It's too bad Morse prefers "Michael," though some of the Seattle media said they call him "Mikey." "The Mickey (or Mikey) Morse Club" has some real marketing possibilities. T-shirts, a song, special caps - I can $ee it now.)
At 29, Morse is just entering his prime. He's figuring it out by the day, and in the next couple of years should really be something. Why move him now, unless the return is something truly exceptional?
It's these same guys who believe the Nationals should move Tyler Clippard, because, after all, the Nationals can get a lot for him. So what? Does he have a specific role on this team? Are Cole Kimball or Henry Rodriguez or Ryan Mattheus ready to assume that same role tomorrow?
The Nationals are trying to progress, from being a team that has so many moving parts every late July, to a team that looks to add depth at the deadline. They may not quite be there yet, but there's no in-between for some people.
Oh, and if you needed another reason to renew Jim Riggleman's deal, you got it last night in the ninth inning against the Mariners. If you're going to condemn a manager for losing, then you'd better be ready to praise him for keeping his team playing when most everyone else in the ballpark thought the game was over.