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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hits Keep On Coming: Nats Trade Rauch for Bonifacio

Here's the news:

The Washington Nationals today acquired second baseman Emilio Bonifacio from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch. Bonifacio was optioned to Triple-A Columbus of the International League. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.

The switch-hitting Bonifacio entered the 2008 season rated as Arizona's No. 6 prospect according to Baseball America. The same publication also cited Bonifacio as its 2008 Winter Player of the Year—an award encompassing the three Caribbean winter leagues (Dominican, Venezuelan and Mexican)—after he batted .300 and posted a .359 on-base percentage with Licey of the Dominican Winter League.

"This trade brings us a quality, young player, who has the potential to develop into a solid leadoff hitter and outstanding defensive second baseman," Bowden said. "He is a high-energy player with a lot of potential, and we anticipate he'll fit nicely into our long-term plan of drafting, acquiring and developing a solid nucleus that will lead our club in the near future."
Bottom(feeder) Line: I LOVE this deal. Bonifacio is legit. .302/.338/.360 in six minor league seasons. 229 total stolen bases with a 78% success rate. He plays a gold-glove caliber second base. And he's only 23. He immediately becomes the Nats best hitting prospect not onthe major league roster. Getting this kind of return for a run-of-the-mill set-up guy in Rauch is a coup.

Granted, Rauch pitched admirably this season in the closer's role, but closing is all about opportunity, and he's still the same guy that would have been setting up Cordero had Cordero not been injured. In fact, it's the same kind of deal Bowden SHOULD have made for Cordero last season!

And it's absolutely immaterial who closes the rest of the way out, unless they think Hanrahan can be the long-term solution. Closers grow on trees (see: Rauch, Jon) and someone will show an aptitude for it. As I said, it's all about opportunity. it will eb interesting to see who gets that first opportunity though, if it's one of the vets (Rivera, Ayala) or Hanny, who is best suited for it.



Sean Hogan said...

I just (finally) came across your blog here after clicking your name on the comments on Fire Jim Bowden. Just as Bonifacio's minor league numbers, I'd say your blog is pretty "legit."

I'll add it to my sidebar at DC Sports Plus.

Dave Nichols said...

thanks, appreciate it. i will, of course, reciprocate.