They were never playoff contenders. OK.
Never. Get over that nonsense now.
They out performed their fundamental state for two months. Teams do that some times. Some keep it up for six months, some do it for a weekend (that's you Baltimore)
But most of the time, teams find their true level. And this one has. It always was and still is a .425 team. 68-70 wins roughly. That's better than '08 and '09.
It's not time to panic, it's not time to say "what went wrong?" Or make foolish and rash short-term decisions based on a fluky couple of months.
The 2010 season was never about the 2010 season. All the at-bats, all the innings pitched, all the fielding chances needed to be used as much as possible as training tools for future performances. Young players getting reps and getting comfortable as major leaguers. Older players creating trade value. And whatever the hell Willy Tavares was doing.
Now that the bubble has burst, let's get back to this model. As such, please keep Desmond here and in the starting lineup. I know, 19 errors. Many of the gut busting type like last night. Keep in mind two things. First, his range and arm make up for these brain fart errors. Second, it's a lot easier to get rid of mental errors than develop physical tools.
July 2nd is fast approaching. How many international players are the Nats going to sign? Any of note? Going to get any of the top draft picks signed anytime soon? If not, why not? Why are you burning a year of development time? How much will you save a couple of hundred thousand maybe. I don't think the Lerner's will miss it.
Finally, be creative. Ted Leonsis hasn't been running the Wiz for more than a couple of weeks and he's already figured out how to leverage his below cap payroll to get future assets. You can do the same. What would the Cubs do to get rid of Carlos Zambrano and his albatross of a contract? What would they throw in just to be rid of that commitment? The Bulls gave up a first round draft pick to be rid of Kirk Heinrich and his onerous contract. Z's deal is far worse. I know there is no cap in baseball but $20m is still $20m. The Cubs would have to listen if you offered to take on Zambrano and most of his financial liability ifthe Cubs gave you say Josh Vitters?
Some other things: the All Star game is an exhibition. It's theater. What the public wants to see are the best players or more properly, the most popular players. Think a inning of Stras against the AL all stars wouldn't generate interest? Damn straight it would. Does he deserve a spot? Of course not. It won't happen either mostly because we consider an all star game invite on the short list of player accomplishments (Former AL All-star Robert Fick for example)
Trading Dunn -- I hate to say it but if you can you must. There are a couple of differences between the last time Dunn got traded and this one. The first is: the Nats WOULD offer arbitration and hence get the draft picks. No doubt about that. Second, Dunn has proven he COULD play the field in a way so as to not destroy the massive value of his bat. Not that an AL team would need that but it's nice to have. I wouldn't trade him just to trade him however. Dunn would change the dynamics of the AL race tremendously. He'd be worth 2-3 wins all by himself for the rest of the season. Maybe more if he replaces some really bad DH combos. Think the Sox or the Yankees want to face Dunn in the post season or Andruw Jones? I think I know the answer to that one.