Or at least it’ll make your GM not wanna trade you. Either way, 2 Grand Slams by Willingham go along with 1 by Dunn this weekend reminds everyone who are the most tradable players on the team. Other than the ones like Zimmerman who are not allowed to be traded. But with the power that they’ve displayed, going along with the third baseman, it’s almost a shame to get rid of either of them. The Nats have hit 8 HRs in the 4 games, 3 by Willingham, 3 by Zimmerman, and a grand slam by Dunn.
The thinking around these parts was that Dunn and Willingham aren’t complementary players – too similar. You’d love most of your players to hit like that, but stick each one at a corner outfield spot and you’re in trouble. If only there was a speedy, rangey center fielder to help them out… Oh, the Nats actually have that. I think Morgan does help it make it easier to play those 2 at the same time, as does their constant baseball mashing. There is, as usual, a problem with keeping both of them…
The farm system is still relatively empty. The team might be respectable as soon as next year if everything went right, but they won’t be GOOD. So if they stay and fulfill their contracts, they may still not be around for the team resurgance. I am more hopeful that 2011, even 2010, will see a change in direction and hope and even some wins. But being realistic, this may be a great opportunity to get some real talent. Suddenly, Willingham looks like a bargain starting OFer, not a 4th guy. Despite hitting with a practically negative batting average for the first month of the season, he’s now hitting .298/.410/.596 with 16 HRs.
As much as I’d like both he and Dunn in the lineup, it just makes sense to try to acquire some young talent for these players. Is Willingham a 35 HR kind of guy with .400+ OBP for real? I don’t know, I really don’t. He looks like it now, but if he’s not, his trade value will never be higher. And do the Nats care? Are they going to be able to take advantage, or will the 30 year old fade before they can really make use of him?
As for his feat, according to ESPN, he’s the 13th major leaguer to do this. Ever. This means that while it is something of a coincidence in timing and batting order, it is still to be admired for its sheer uniqueness. The perfect game that Mark Buehrle threw, you know, the 18th ever? Commonplace compared to Willingham’s double grand salami night. Of course, it won’t have the kind of coverage, and probably doesn’t deserve it. But maybe one of those contending teams will start thinking about which prospects are worth a guy on pace to hit about 37 HRs in a 600 AB season. I’m just saying, he may bring in something nice.
The Offense As a Whole
As of last night, the Nats now have three players with more than 14 HRs – Dunn, Zimmerman and Willingham. Why is the number 14 important? 2 guys on the team had 14 in 2008, and that lead the team. So it’s not yet August, and they have 3 guys with more than last year’s team leader. This is nice, but the power is really dependent on those three guys. In fact, the Nats have 91 HRs right now, on pace for about 149. That’s 32 more than last year. Better, but not insanely better. Other than the three, there aint much there.
But seriously, let’s check out some dingers!
Click on this picture for the link to Willingham’s double slam video:
Adam Dunn watching his Grand Slam:
Josh Willingham hitting his 2nd: