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An enjoyable win before an anxious Sunday

Jul 31, 2011, 4:26 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
The Nationals got to celebrate after snapping a six-game losing streak.

They spent all of Saturday trading away veterans and wondering who else might get dealt before Sunday’s 4 p.m. deadline, then went out and played their best ballgame in a week to snap a six-game losing streak.

The Nationals’ 3-0 victory over the Mets — with emergency starter Yunesky Maya tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings, Jayson Werth clubbing a three-run homer on his bobblehead night and Drew Storen escaping a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning — was impressive on its own merits.

Throw in the drama unfolding in the clubhouse and in the general manager’s office, and it was downright remarkable.

“That’s part of baseball,” manager Davey Johnson said. “It’s never easy on a ballclub, because you have all these attachments. Having to talk to talk to two guys and telling them they’re going somewhere else is not easy for the manager. But the players responded. They went out there and played hard. It was a great game.”

At the end of the night, though, there was still some question where the Nationals currently stand and what they plan to do before Sunday’s deadline passes.

Jason Marquis and Jerry Hairston were gone, traded away for minor-leaguers who won’t be helping the big-league club for some time. But Storen, Tyler Clippard and plenty of others remained in the clubhouse
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  1. Depot Master - Jul 31, 2011 at 4:47 AM

    Mark – good article – wish I could have read all of it without the jump to CSN :). I could understand one of the relievers plus Shark for Span, but to include Lombardozzi? Ridiculous. How about straight up Lombardozzi for Span? Can someone reach out to Rizzo and point out to him that Texas gave up banger Chris Davis AND Tommy Hunter for a middle reliever? Don't trade away the farm for a guy with a concussion.

  2. natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Which reminds me of the breaking news that FP revealed after Teddy lost yet another race. FP reported having seen on Twitter that a trade had just gone down: Teddy and Tom (IIRC) for FDR and James Monroe. Santangelo went on to opine that he thought it was a good trade, because Teddy had never won a race. He did give him props for being a good influence on the other presidents, however.No matter what happens, the Nationals will still gather in the clubhouse Sunday morning. Surely they'll be keeping an eye on the TVs spread throughout the room, not to mention on their smartphones as the latest rumors spread across Twitter.

  3. Anonymous - Jul 31, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Play Harper in CF, and bring him up next year — regardless. The future could very well be: Morse, Harper and Werth. Trade Morse for a big bat at the end of next year, or sign Fielder! Also, why wasn't Lombo promoted yesterday? Trade Desmond today and put Danny back at SS.

  4. JaneB - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Harper isn't ready and to bring him up "regardless" won't help him or the team. That kid needs to come up when HE is 100% ready, but not before. Imagine how ugly things will get if he comes up hitterish and not fielderish, too.Hoping the end the day with Clip and Storen still wearing the W, and no big pieces missing for players of marginal improvement (Upton) or uncertain physical capacity (Span). Wonder who goes in the rotation to take up Marquis's spot, if they continue playing Wang and Gorzo together.GYFNG! take the series from the Mets!

  5. dale - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Harper will be up in 2012. So the outfield will be Harper, Morse, Werth. Trading Storen or Clippard for a potential center fielder will be utterly stupid and short sighted. Going for Ubaldo Jimenez would be smart and far-sighted.

  6. natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Ubaldo Jimenez is going to Cleveland.

  7. sunderland - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Harper and FDR, neither of them are ready. Harper definitely needs work in the outfield, and needs a lot more time seeing guys who can throw breaking pitches for strikes. Also, it's unlikely Harper will ever be a legitimate MLB CF. It takes more than speed. He's not (yet anyway) the most graceful outfielder. And trading Teddy for FDR??? We have so much invested in Teddy, and FDR is in a wheelchair! FP still has a way to go before he can be a GM in the Mascot Major Leagues.

  8. Richard - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    I disagree with anon @ 6:39. Trade Morse for a "big bat"?! Morse IS a BIG BAT — as big or bigger than anything in the league short of Pujols, and he's a great defensive firstbaseman. A winning and/or sane org would plant at 1B for 2012, at least. On the other hand, I'd like to see Lombardozzi at 2B, too, and Espi at SS and Desmond gone. Desmond can't seem to get it together. Too many mistakes and a not enough bat. For example, he singles in the 8th last night but he attempts a steal but doesn't touch 2B with his lead foot on his slide and is tagged out, which costs the Nats a run when Zimm and BIG BAT Morse single, the latter off the RF wall! It reminded me of Morgan's habit of oversliding the bag. On another note, I'm trying to understand rumor re trading Storen for either Span or Upton. Span's stats look like Komatsu's, who the media says must be a 4th outfielder b/c he doesn't have power, and Span's apparently is trying to recover from a concussion; and Upton's stats this year aren't good, and his career stats aren't that good, either. Is

  9. dale - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Thanks, natsfan1a.I missed that one. Sigh. I still think that the priority should be on finding one more ace pitcher and using our meagre assets for that goal.Meahwhile the Phillies get Hunter Pence–ouch!

  10. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    This is tough because lots of people love what Storen brings – Not to show off my cut and paste skills, but because I didn't want to mis-quote. Here is what one report says that is impartial.This from a report from Bleacher Report on Denard Span "……Denard Span is highly regarded defensively and is a solid hitter. He doesn't hit many home runs, but he has had double digit triples the last two seasons and is very patient at the plate. Span has consistently kept his walk total fairly even with his strikeout total. Span's greatest asset is his ability to get on base because it unlocks his incredible skill set. Span is incredibly fast, so the more he is on first with a walk or single, the more he can take second and get in the pitcher's head. If the Nationals want Span, it's going to be very difficult. Denard is on year two of a very team-friendly five year $16.5 million deal, which would behoove the Twins to keep him. The Nationals would have to give up a lot for Span, but it would great for the franchise because Span is a great player and a DC native." I think if we get Span its a plus for us, if we keep Storen, its also a plus. Guess I just won't worry one way or the other. I would make a point that I have always wanted to keep Desmond and Espinosa together for the entire year. It looks as if Rendon will be our 2b of the future so Lombardozzi is not that big a piece to me.Go Nats

  11. sunderland - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    dale, regarding getting an ace, it's much more likley to happen for us in the offseason during free agency. Either way, today via trade or offseason via FA, you are going to pay a lot. But what we would have to pay now is prospects, and we're not loaded with prospects. And what we will have to pay during free agenccy is cash, and the Nats are loaded with cash.So I want the ace as much as anyone, but the tie to get the ace is this winter, not this weekend.

  12. sunderland - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    So I want the ace as much as anyone, but the *time* to get the ace is this winter, not this weekend.

  13. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    sunderland, you are right on about the ace, and carrying that further, all the CF FA's are old and nowhere near as good as this crop that has been discussed in trades. Hell, Ankiel is probably one of the better ones that will be a FA next year and we know what he can do. We can not wait to sign a FA centerfielder because the reality is, none of them will help. If we want a CF and don't make a trade we have to either 1. Hope Bernadina continues to develop or 2. Make the switch with Harper (again) to start his development in CF. #1 doesn't look like it will work and #2 could prove risky as well. I like an outfield of Harper, Span and Werth – Morse will probably move to lf when LaRoche gets back and this will allow them to keep Harper down until June. At that time maybe LaRoche will have shown he is tradable and we move Morse back to first.Thats all I got. Oh, Rendon signs, catches fire during spring training and he moves up in June along with Harper. I will now put my rose colored glasses away.Go Nats

  14. Anonymous - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Rizzo scares me. He is obsessed with picking up another centerfielder and every GM in both leagues knows it. I fear he will give up way too much.

  15. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Well one thing is for sure. No matter what happens Rizzo will come out a loser on this. Get the CF for the next 5 years and he gets skewered for giving up too much. Hold on and do nothing and he gets skewered for not "fixing" one of our glaring issues for our playoff run next year. Not sure I would want to be in his shoes but it sure is fun for baseball fans.The more I think about it, the more I am convinced we will go after an Ace in the off season and that should be fun as well. At least its never boring here in natstown (or NI either)

  16. dale - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Sunderland, I agree completely with picking up the ace pitcher in the offseason, hopefully from free agency. I just dont want to see trades made for a centerfielder (either Upton or Span) that costs us valuable young assets.Losing Marquis, Hairston, Rogrigues, Hernandez, Coffee or even Nix costs us little. Hairston and Marquis have actually had decent seasons and made them objects of desire. If only we could put some lipstick on Livan and Coffee now.

  17. Wally - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    From previous thread:Sunshine – I agree with NatsJack. They aren't in a power struggle. Rizzo has a huge amount of respect for Davey and is modifying the course he is on to acomodate Davey's views. And like I said last night, I think that is a good thing.I know some people have said that they think the game has passed Davey by, but I disagree (although I acknowledge that the team has played disjointedly lately). Davey is an extremely intelligent baseball guy who came up in a low scoring era. He knows what he is doing and what kind of players he wants, and if we give it time, I think we'll like it.

  18. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    http://twitter.com/#!/jonmorosi/status/97511009396330496Smith and Rizzo in a staredown. Rizzo needs to stay firm and let whatever he offered stand. My fear is Rizzo was 'exposed' by Buster Olney a few days ago when the quote was "Rizzo is acting desperate according to rival GMs" on his search for a centerfielder. He sounds like the new guy at the poker table that everyone knows they can take advantage of and guess what, in the last year he has botched both large Free Agent deals and most of the trades, so yes, it appears true. His desperation for a frontline starter last year caused him to lose his mind after his public proclamation that his #1 priority was to get a frontline starter and put together that trade package for Greinke that would have decimated the Nats and guess what, Storen was in that package!Mike, please, step back from the ledge. This team doesn't need Denard Span that desperately.By the way, Zach Walters trade for Marquis was a ridiculous trade. Walters is an error machine that makes Desmond look Gold Glove. I am still scratching my head on why he would give Marquis away for a player that won't be a MLB shortstop so they will have to also re-tool him in another position.This is our Nats GM. This is the man that will allow a Chien-Ming Wang to recuperate on the Nationals mound when he is essentially a Free Agent in 2 months and nobody knows if he can pitch as a starter and go 7 innings. If you are about winning, who gives you a better chance, Wang or Marquis? Obviously Rizzo thinks it is Wang. Marquis was shipped out because he was going to be a Free Agent, so why is Wang here again? To prove a point to the Lerner's after he spent $2 million last year and $1 million this year plus $4 in incentives this year on Wang. Wang's attendence was 30,000 yet 35,000 showed up last night to see Marquis who was pulled from the game.

  19. Anonymous - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Give the Twins Desmond. No hit shortstops are a dime a dozen. Keep Lombardozzi, he can hit.

  20. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    The Nats always have great attendance on Saturday night, had nothing to do with who is pitching. I don't think I've been there when it was less than 30K. I think it's more to do with the party that has apparently moved to Nats Park– lots of young people.

  21. CapPeterson - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Don't know whether Harper might be played in CF to accommodate both Morse and Werth in the OF, but is there anyone who doesn't think Harper will be a better RF than Werth in a year or two? Anybody see the Bowie game on Monday? One one play, Harper in LF crashes into the fence to catch a flyball, then almost doubles the runner off 1B with an unbelievable throw. On another, shows good speed in running down a foul ball and making the catch while going into a slide to avoid the wall(and the "bullpen" mound). If neither is playing CF, Werth plays LF and Harper RF.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Bet they have 21K in the heat this afternoon — if that.I couldn't get off work until 5:30 so I had no shot at a bobblehead. Asked several Mets fans, finally, on my way out of the park, a girl in a Mets jersey sold me one for $20. So I'm happy, it was a great night, and even the Mets fans didn't seem too bummed, they were all in front of the TV booth shouting "86 86 86" and having a blast.

  23. HHover - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    One other positive for me about Sat's game – for the first time, the Nats used Detwiler out of the BP less than 4-5 days after his last appearance. The plan of trying to keep him on a regular starter's schedule was going to make him a drag on the BP, so I'm glad to see the change.

  24. LLS - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    KEEP DREW STOREN!!

  25. sunderland - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    CapPete, I was at that Bowie game Monday night. The throw from the LF wall to 1B on 1 hop was amazing. I agree that Harper should eventually be in RF and Werth in LF, but the MLB way is to respect the veterans, so I'm betting Harper is in LF and Werth in RF for a while.

  26. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    The Orioles made one of the steals of the year yesterday. Koji Uehara who isn't close to Storen or Clippard and only has an option for next year was traded to Texas for not only 1B Chris Davis but also starter Tommy Hunter.

  27. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    HHover said… One other positive for me about Sat's game – for the first time, the Nats used Detwiler out of the BP less than 4-5 days after his last appearance. The plan of trying to keep him on a regular starter's schedule was going to make him a drag on the BP, so I'm glad to see the change. July 31, 2011 9:28 AM I agree and about time. How nice was it not to see Burnett and HenRod in a game and see Davey Johnson go from Detwiler to Clip to Storen.Finally, this is what we should have seen all season.

  28. Scott from Burke - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Davey saying "Tyler isn't going anywhere..I'll go with him" is interesting…that's flexing some managerial muscle…what if Rizzo does trade him? That would either cause bad blood or, perhaps, Davey walks? If the GM blatantly disregards what the manager says, especially a manager with such a successful track record, what would happen? I remember Frank Robinson saying the same thing in the Nats first year about Jamey Carroll.

  29. CapPeterson - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Sunderland,Agree RF is Werth's for 2012, at least. After that…

  30. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    sunderland said… CapPete, I was at that Bowie game Monday night. The throw from the LF wall to 1B on 1 hop was amazing. I agree that Harper should eventually be in RF and Werth in LF, but the MLB way is to respect the veterans, so I'm betting Harper is in LF and Werth in RF for a while. July 31, 2011 9:32 AM I am thinking -if- Rendon can hit like everyone says he can that he becomes a LF. It doesn't mean that is his permanent position but it gets him immediately into the lineup. I think in the short-term Bryce Harper is the CF and Werth stays in RF.I see this a season or 2 as Bryce isn't a natural Centerfielder but he is good enough to be as good as Ankiel out there. I hope Rizzo sees he has alternatives so he doesn't blow up this team this afternoon.

  31. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Scott from Burke said… Davey saying "Tyler isn't going anywhere..I'll go with him" is interesting…that's flexing some managerial muscle…what if Rizzo does trade him? That would either cause bad blood or, perhaps, Davey walks? If the GM blatantly disregards what the manager says, especially a manager with such a successful track record, what would happen? I remember Frank Robinson saying the same thing in the Nats first year about Jamey Carroll. July 31, 2011 9:43 AM Well put. This team just keeps making poor trades. The "plan" was to build this team from the farm system up through the Draft and adding key parts through Free Agency.Rizzo is horrible at trading. Not much better at picking high level Free Agents and maybe worse at communicating with his Manager.He needs to listen to Davey Johnson!

  32. Anonymous - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Bourn went to Braves for four prospects. He's better than Span. I would not give up Storen plus others for Span but that is what Rizzo is going to do. That destroys what is left of the bullpen. Get rid of automatic out Desmond.

  33. Anonymous - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    With Bourn off the board, Span just got more expensive. Rizzo should pass and bring Bernie back.

  34. Mark'd - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    @SteveM, I was smiling last night when Davey went back to back to back with Detwiler to Clippard to Storen. I fear yesterday may be the last time we see that combo if Trader Rizzard has his way!

  35. Another_Sam - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Regarding Storen, Clip, et al. I'm reminded of Earl Weaver's comment when asked about the start of a season. "What's the start of a sesaon? Five games? Twenty five games? Fifty Games/" The analog here is that I ask when does trading away the contributing few — no matter how many unproven prospects you get — end and the assembling a group of mostly contributers begin? Enough super cool deep thinking moves. I say keep the contributers and groom the farmhands. In a few years, if you need one more piece, pull the blockbuster. Some of these guys may be marginal but they're our guys.

  36. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    I don't follow the O's that closely but that does appear to be a good deal for both clubs actually. We do not need a firstbaseman and I am not sold on Hunter but the Orioles needed both positions and they are both 25 so you have to like dealing a 36 year old relief pitcher for that – also agree strongly that both our guys are way way better. The more I read on here, the more confused I get. I thought one reason for drafting and building players as "assets" was so you could use them in situations like this. We obviously do not have a prospect for CF that has projected he can play in the majors yet. I realize there are still a couple of young men in A and AA. I also realize Harper is one in a million and probably can do a better job than Ankiel but I think Span and Bourn and maybe even Upton have shown on the major league level that they are solid and just what we need (again, maybe not so much with Upton). You have to deal strength to get strength. So if our relievers stay we will hopefully be a 75 win team this year. If we get the CF for the next 5 years we have a shot at the playoffs. One thing I do know, thanks to Rizzo, we DO have arms in the minor league system. Nice thing about the posts here are that most make excellent sense on both sides of the argument with the exception of anon slams on Davey, Rizzo, Werth, Desmond etc etc

  37. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    The Braves had to match what the Phillies did with Pence so they overpaid for Bourn. Smith may think he is in the driver's seat on Span but Rizzo has to think he is in the driver's seat on Storen.Span could be damaged goods. We don't know if he will be ok. Is it worth the gamble?Here's the difference. The Nats aren't a playoff team. They didn't need to do anything. Rizzo felt he needed to make trades. His Marquis for Zach Walter deal shouldn't have been made.Rizzo, make the Nats respectable by WINNING, then you won't have to overpay for a Jayson Werth the next time you want a Free Agent.

  38. HHover - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Bourn better than Span? Not exactly.Bourn is a better defender (career UZR/150 in CF 8.9 vs 2.8 for Span) and a better base stealer (212 career SBs, vs 71 for Span).But Span is a better career hitter (.289/.366/.391 vs .271/.338/.359 for Bourn), younger (27 vs 28), and under team control for longer–Bourn is a FA before the 2013 season, Span is signed thru 2014 at $16M, with a team option for 2015.I'm not saying you bet the farm on Span, and his concussion is a legit concern. But he has a lot of positives, and over a longer term.

  39. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    http://twitter.com/#!/Ken_Rosenthal/statuses/97652315716206592Rosenthal said Storen in for Span. Smith wants Lombo and Bernadina too. JUST SAY NO

  40. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    HHover, that was then, this is now! We don't know what a post-concussion Span will be. That is the problem.If you know he is fine then you can do Storen + Bernadina.

  41. Mark'd - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    The playoff teams won't touch Span as he is essentially done for 2011.

  42. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Another_Sam said… Regarding Storen, Clip, et al. I'm reminded of Earl Weaver's comment when asked about the start of a season. "What's the start of a sesaon? Five games? Twenty five games? Fifty Games/" The analog here is that I ask when does trading away the contributing few — no matter how many unproven prospects you get — end and the assembling a group of mostly contributers begin? Enough super cool deep thinking moves. I say keep the contributers and groom the farmhands. In a few years, if you need one more piece, pull the blockbuster. Some of these guys may be marginal but they're our guys. July 31, 2011 10:05 AM I feel the same way. The Nats aren't a playoff team now. Rizzo is trading like he needs someone NOW. Still a head scratcher on this Marquis trade. Finish the season strong. As we saw for a brief timeframe, it is about pitching pitching pitching not CF.

  43. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    There is no head scratcher about the Marquis trade. 1) He is not a good second half pitcher; he was lucky to get the W/L record he had, but he was already going downhill in July. His stats are not good (WHIP, etc.)2) He MIGHT, I repeat MIGHT, have won 2 more games for us. So we would be 4 games under .500 instead of 6 games under. Big deal.3) He is a free agent, and not a type B free agent, so he was walking at the end of the season and we get NOTHING in return.4) We dumped $2.5 million in salary that can be used for signing prospects.There was absolutely NO reason to keep Marquis. If we got a prospect for him, even a marginal prospect, that's a plus. Someone has to play on Oppo-Boppo's teams.

  44. Wally - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    2013 is our realistic year for contending, mostly because of pitching. 2012 sees Strasburg on an innings limit, and it is too soon to expect the crop of pitchers like Solis, Cole, Ray, Alex Meyer and Purke to be ready to contribute. And even Milone, Peacock, Brad Meyers will only be rookies, which usually take some time to adjust. And there is not a great group of free agent starting pitching available this offseason. Things could happen more quickly, it is possible, but not likely (imo). Span – the concussion thing is a real concern, and mostly why I think the trade should wait until the offseason. but if you get past that, I don't honestly know what else people would want in a CF. And, since he isn't in our system or a free agent, you have to trade quality players to get someone like him. Because GMs aren't, you know, stupid or looking to get fired. If theytraded for Span (and he is healthy), and signed Reyes and a good bullpen guy in the offseason, would people really be unhappier than just maintaining the status quo and waiting for Goodwin or Perez to develop?The trade for Uejara? Davis couldn't hold a regular big league job after numerous shots at it. AAAA player. And they tried everyone else but the SP in the rotation. Good trade for Balt but they are taking fliers on another teams retreads. That isn't Span.

  45. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    NatsLady, you make good points except #4 and your #2 where 2 games could make a big difference in the standings. Marquis is a .400 W/L guy for Aug/Sept over his career. Still, he gives the team a better chance to win as has been shown. Who gives the Nats a better chance to win? Marquis or Wang?

  46. Richard - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Natslady, #4 on your list maybe should be #1 …

  47. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    @Steve M: a big difference in the standings????? Thanks for that laugh!! Going to the game today, it'll be hot. See you all in the afterglow…GO NATS!!!

  48. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Wally, sorry about your view of Tommy Hunter. He was a front of the rotation guy in 2010 going 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA. He had an injury and supposedly is doing well. To get him for an aging Uehara is 36 years old and doesn't have much time left on his arm. Hunter straight up for Hunter would have been enough to make that trade. On top of that they throw in Chris Davis who is probably a DH or 1st baseman for them.I can't stand the Orioles so when I see them do something like this I cringe.

  49. Steve M. - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    NatsLady, if it makes the difference in 4th vs. 5th place then it is a big difference. There was no reason to make that trade for an A ball guy. This is exactly what I expected Rizzo to do. Make a bunch of noise and move "assets" like he has to make things happen.Zach Walters is an error machine. If you can't see this as a bad trade, sorry you can't see it.

  50. Mark'd - Jul 31, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    SteveM, you shouldn't argue with a Lady especially with NatsLady except you are correct. Just a ridiculous trade. Another one on Rizzo resume'.

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