October 30, 2008

Cordero Orr Wagner? None of the Above

The once-promising Flat Hat era ends not with a "Bang! Zoom!" but with a whimper, as the Nats cut ties with former franchise closer Chad Cordero this afternoon. Cordero, along with reliever Ryan Wagner and IF Pete Orr were outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected to test the free agent waters rather than accept a bus ticket to Syracuse. Really, can you blame them?

The NTP crew will try to pull together a group retrospective and appreciation of the Brim Reaper in the days to come, but first a few brief thoughts on Wagner. I'm more than a little surprised to see Ryan given his outright walking papers. On the one hand, it suggests that Trader Jim isn't, or is not being allowed to, cling desperately to his toolsy former Red reclamation projects. That's a good thing. But man, that Kearns/Lopez/Wagner for Bray/Majewski/Harris/Clayton/Thompson deal, that I enthusiastically endorsed at the time, looks pretty bad as a Kearns for Bray/Thompson deal, don't it?

As far as I can tell our current bullpen consists of closer Joel "Wild Thing" Hanrahan, setup guy "Everyday" Saul Rivera (due for the patented Luis Ayala Spring Training elbow implosion c. March 2009), middle reliever Steve Shell and lefty Mike Hinckley. The team must be impressed with the work of young relievers like Zech Zinicola and Adam Carr, judging from the nearly-positive reviews from Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire, the man with the most job security in Washington.

What about Pete Orr, you say? What can I tell you. First Jamey Carroll, then Rick Short, Brendan Harris and Pistol Pete. DC's a tough town on scrappy utility types.

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