Scott Olson and Josh Willingham are now Nationals. Emilio Bonifacio and some minor league gus are now Marlins. Who wins? It sure feels like the Nats, at least short term. Bonifacio is young, but he showed no power in the majors or minors, and his ceiling is probably a .280-.300 singles hitter with a .340 OBP and good defense. This probably means Dan Uggla either moves to first base, moves to third base, or moves to another team. Either way, this doesn’t feel like a trade where the Marlins got better in 2009.
The Nats get a league-average pitcher in Olsen and a slightly above average LF in Willingham. Willingham should be a 30 double/20 homer/.360 OBP guy for the Nats. His defense has also improved in each of the past three years, which will be important in the vast Nationals Park outfield. Olsen will give them an average starter, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you look at how bad the Nats’ starting pitching was last year, even an average starter will be an improvement.
The fun thing to follow here will be the Nats’ locker room; Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, and Scott Olsen are now all on the Nats. These guys have found interesting ways of making friends since entering the league. None are particularly fond of the Mets or their fans, either. Perhaps the Mets will no longer be the most hated team in the NL East? When the Nats don’t make the playoffs next year, Omar Minaya should tell the press it was because the Nats were so hated, everybody played them tough down the stretch.