The trade of Chris Snelling for Ryan Langerhans is an interesting one. Langerhans hasn’t started out hot, but he can potentially be a good hitter for this team. Baseball Prospectus had him projected to hit .266/.363/.451 this season. That would be reduced with his home games at RFK, but it’s not bad. The question is… why? For his career he is a .242/.336/.378 hitter. What the sabermetricians at BP like about him is his walks. History has shown when a batter walks alot, and Ryan does, his natural ability to lay off bad pitches develops into a natural ability to hit more good pitches and his power will go up as he learns to hit better pitches. That doesn’t necessarily mean more HRs, it could easily mean more hits shot in the gaps. Langerhans strikes out a fair amount, but not at an alarming rate. What he does is give the Nats 4 legitimate major league OFers, which is important. Also, if Logan, who should be back this week, doesn’t play well, there is no excuse to start him. Church in CF, Langerhans in LF, and Kearns in RF is immediately their best OF, but we’ll probably see Church move to LF and Logan at CF for at least a bit. Additionally, Langerhans is a superb defensive player, while Snelling is not.
So what are they losing with Snelling? Well, at first reaction, Snelling has barely played in the majors, so he is much younger, right? Wrong. Langerhans is 27, Snelling is 25, not a big difference. Chris is projected by BP to hit .271/.359/.456, numbers that are strikingly similar. This so far has been considered a trade where the Nats are downgrading their offense a bit and upgrading their defense. Well, that is on potential alone, because Snelling’s offense has yet to be seen in the major leagues. The trade actually seems to benefit the Nats, they may be similar players but Chris has yet to prove he can stay healthy long enough to do anything which begs the question…
What’s wrong with Ryan Langerhans?
Probably nothing, as the Braves starting LF he was an atrocious 3 for 44 with 6 BBs. Yes, a bad start, but it seems odd for the Braves to dump a starter after a poor month. Then, the A’s ship him out after only a week, 2 ABs. Is Langerhans hurt? Is there something with his attitude? Not according to Jim Bowden. He said that he called Billy Beane as soon as Langerhans arrived and tried to arrange a trade, while at the same time praising Ryan’s makeup and character. Still while it seems that Washington got the better end of this deal, we’ll see how this plays out, but even the casual observer has to look at this with a skeptical eye. Most likely just trust Bowden that he has been interested in the guy for a long time (he’s seen him play enough on the other side) and convinced Beane that they were trading basically equivalent players. And frankly, the age difference of 2 years could be a big factor, because the A’s and their low payroll they can resign Snelling for cheaper. What is promising about Langerhans is that despite not hitting, he still has an OBP .100 points higher than his AVG. If he selectivity goes away, he’s worthless with that bat, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Something else mentioned on the Nats broadcast after the trade… he allegedly can play 1B well. He has never logged any time there in the majors so maybe that happened when he was slugging .518 in AAA. Ability to play 4 positions makes him a more valuable player and a possible relief for a slumping Dmitri Young. They also brought up the fact that maybe Bowden is stockpiling OFs because he has a trade waiting in the wings. If we had to venture a guess it would be Church, he’s hitting the best, and apparently is liked (personality-wise) the least. While losing him would do significant damage to the lineup, there will be no criticism of the idea until it’s seen who he’d be traded for. Of course, all of this is speculation anyway. What would be nice is if they realize with Langerhans out there they no longer need Logan’s stellar defense, and can sit him as a reserve.
A few other notes
Even when Hill gets roughed up, he still pitches well. Patterson is unsurprisingly back on the DL, it’s possible he’s been hurt all year so far, but we will probably never know. Cordero blew another save, he needs to get himself back into shape because this team is going to get most of its wins in save situations. If he can’t make it, Rauch has the makeup to be a closer. Don’t be fooled by his high ERA, he had 2 bad outings, other than that he’s been relatively lights out. If someone can be “relatively” lights out. This week we get to see the lineup with Guzman and Logan starting. What is really scary about this isn’t that their lineup will suffer offensively, but there is always a chance with .275/.300/.350 hitters that they have a 3 day hot streak. If either one does it as they get back, Acta and Bowden could be brainwashed into thinking a hot streak is a sign of improvement. Then fans may have to sit through months of the two proving why we never wanted them to start in the first place.
And now for something completely different
Last week through a bit of chance, a great website was stumbled upon by TNR. It is simply a collection of logos for all teams in every major sports. Sportslogo’s site is great, and of course baseball has some great ones. Included in this paragraph are some of TNR’s favorites from the past… a fat kegman swinging for the Brewers, a dancing Reds baseball head from 1960 (indicating that Mr. Met isn’t as original as we thought), and a ridiculous Phillies logo that somehow ended up being the official logo for 13 years. They have everything from official logos to cap designs, and even have stadium logos and anniversary logos and patches. Also something of note, according to sportslogos.net, the old Nationals logo, from when they played in another country actually DID have a purpose to the red “e” and the blue “b” letters in the cap. It stood for “Expos de Montreal Baseball” which seems about right. The other sports logos are complete as well, and seeing the old Capitals logo restored old feelings of how much better it is than the present debacle.
Or even better, a feeble attempt to eliminate the “elb” and replace it with “dc”. Moderately poor, but you get the idea:
Apologies for the crudeness of the logo, but our graphic designer was out this week. Because he doesn’t exist.