July 26, 2011

Jonny Gomes Isn't Jackie Robinson Either

So... the Washington Nationals organization didn't exactly cover itself in glory tonight, did it? The big boys got whipped by Florida (of course), AAA Syracuse found itself on the wrong end of a perfect game, and Nats director of player development Doug Harris felt the need to compare Bryce Harper to Jackie Robinson for reasons passing understanding.

As it happens I was in Bowie tonight watching Harper and his Harrisburg Senators 'mates take on the Baysox, so I can personally attest to the lack of racial slurs and spitting that attended Bryce's four at-bats. Given that the Prince George's County Stadium crowd was roughly 40% Nationals partisans, Harper was received with a mix of applause and good-natured heckling. He wasn't persecuted for the sins of middle class white teenagers, and the microscope he's under is largely of his own construction. Baseball's top prospect responded to the unparalleled pressure by going 0-3 with a walk, made a few routine plays in left field and generally looked like an 18-year old in his first tour of AA.

While all this was going on the Nats sent erstwhile Harrisburg OF Bill Rhinehart and Hagerstown closer Chris Manno to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Jonny Gomes, kicking off the 2011 trade deadline in earnest. Now Gomes isn't much of a fielder, but he has the instant distinction of being the only Nats outfielder who can hit left-handed pitching at all. (Did you know that Jayson Werth has a .636 OPS versus lefties this season? True story!)

Jonny also projects as a Type B free agent and, as has been noted elsewhere, he could end up netting the Nats a supplemental 1st round draft pick in 2o12. In essence, the Nats traded Rhinehart and Manno for a draft pick, and so we wouldn't have to see Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel attempt to hit left-handed pitching any more. There's also a non-zero chance that Gomes' arrival spells the end of the Matt Stairs experiment. All in all, hard to be too upset about that.

1 comment:

Krystal said...

I'm the Sports editor at Before It's News. Our site is a People Powered news platform with over 3,000,000 visits a month and growing fast.
We would be honored if we could republish your blog RSS feed in our Sports category. We could really use some more Nationals Baseball coverage.
Please email me at KMiller@beforeitsnews.com so our readers can start looking at Nats Triple Play.