Good morning, NatsTown. The beautiful thing about the length of the offseason is it allows room for newsier days (like yesterday) and lighter fare, like we'll have this morning.
(And no, this isn't me saying I have nothing to write about. In fact, opportunist that I am, I'm taking this occasion of news sparsity to peer back into the past.)
Anyway, just out of curiosity, I took a look at the MLBTradeRumors.com list of remaining free agents this morning, and one theme quickly emerged from it: If you're in the market for a player who used to make his living in Washington, you're in luck.
By my count, the free agent list still includes 37 position players and 40 pitchers, for a total of 77 who are still without work. Ten of those 77 players have put on the curly W, including seven of the 37 position players. And of those seven, six were Opening Day starters for the Nationals in either 2007 or 2008: Ronnie Belliard, Ryan Church, Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Felipe Lopez and Lastings Milledge.
In fact, let's look back at the 2008 Opening Day roster:
Paul Lo Duca
Now, John Lannan was called up a week later to become the fifth starter. But of the 25 players who were on the roster the night Nationals Park opened, only 13 played in the majors last year, and only 10 played more than five games in the majors in 2010.
There are a few points we can draw from this: First, baseball rosters in the 2000s change quickly, and player movement is inevitable. Second, it's striking to see how much Mike Rizzo has turned over the roster in the two years since he inherited the general manager's job from Jim Bowden; he was responsible for cutting ties with 15 of the 22 players on that roster who are no longer with the organization.
And the third, and perhaps most important point? That 2008 team was really, really, really bad.