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Nationals trade LHP Abad for OF prospect John Wooten

Nov 25, 2013, 3:22 PM EDT

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The Nationals have made yet another trade with the Oakland Athletics, this time sending lefty reliever Fernando Abad to the A’s for outfield prospect John Wooten.

Wooten is a 22-year-old the Athletics took in the 37th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of East Carolina University. He hit .257 through 133 games with 20 home runs and 69 RBI playing with  the Single-A Beloit Snappers in 2013.

The year before Wooten spent most of the season with Vermont of the New York-Penn League where he held a .286 average with four homers and 38 RBI in 67 games. He is considered a mid-level prospect with good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and power potential.

Abad leaves the Nationals after just one year in the organization. The Nats signed him as a free agent on Nov. 19, 2012 and saw him play a much bigger role than first expected.

Abad appeared in 39 games with Washington in 2013 due to a lack of lefty relief pitchers in their system. He finished with a 3.35 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.

The 27-year-old Abad will move on looking for his third MLB team in three years. He pitched for the Houston Astros from 2010 to 2012. The Nationals designated him for assignment on Nov. 20, five days before the trade.

Wooten heads East as one of several players acquired by the Nats from the Athletics. In recent years they have orchestrated trades to bring in Gio Gonzalez, Kurt Suzuki, Henry Rodriguez, Corey Brown, Ian Krol, A.J. Cole and now Wooten.

MLB.com first reported the news.

  1. scnatsfan - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Any time you have the chance to add a Beloit Snapper I say you do it

  2. Doc - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I think that the Nats have caught up to Billy Beane since the short-end of the Hammer trade.

    With Krol and A.J. Cole we may have passed Beane. Hard for Rizzo to do on most days!

    This one with Abad probably doesn’t count for much, although he had a good initial run when he first came up. Pretty good heater for a lefty. He still might surprise a few people.

  3. DaveB - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Good to get something back, as he was gone no matter what. Still not sure whether they chose him as one of the DFAs because Rizzo is getting close to either signing or trading for a new lefty, or because they have decided to move Det to the pen, but with either of those he does seem extraneous.

  4. letswin3 - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Anyone with the name Wooten that shows up in Washington gets a big welcome from me. Plus the kid has shown some power. Good luck, kid.

  5. Section 222 - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Nice move. Based on past performance, Abad’s chances of making the team this year were slim.

    I’d like to hear what Heyman and others think a fair return for Desi would be. i find it hard to believe we’d trade him, even to get Price or Scherzer. (And the Tigers likely aren’t looking for a shortstop since they have Iglesias.) Hey, the Cards still need a shortstop. How many and which pitchers would the Cards have to give us? Wacha or Miller and Rosenthal? :-)

    • pdowdy83 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      I think the Peralta signing takes the Cards out of the shortstop derby.

      • Section 222 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        right you are. slipped my mind.

      • pdowdy83 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        It wouldn’t shock me though if they had “listened to offers on Desmond” from the Cardinals BEFORE the Peralta signing. That team has the talent to make the trade for Desmond like you referenced above. Not a lot of other teams have both the need and the available pieces.

    • Steady Eddie - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      I don’t get the talk about Desi either, unless it’s purely atmospherics around his extension negotiations. Other than Harper and arguably Ramos, it’s hard to see any other position player who’s a more central part of the Nats foundation for the future. How important of a hole would they be filling by trading Desi that wouldn’t result in a bigger and harder-to-fill hole at SS, at least relative to all of Desi’s assets in terms of performance, age, leadership, etc.?

      Whatever the Nats might be pursuing if Desi was actually in the mix, it can’t be as hard to fill as the hole that trading him would create.

      As to an extension, while Desi’s not going to give the Nats a hometown discount (not saying he should), he also doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would go to the absolute highest bidder regardless of who it was or what kind of situation he would be getting into. If the Nats are willing to pay fair market value, all his comments point to someone who’d like to stay here.

      Just doesn’t make a lot of sense unless it’s negotiation atmospherics.

      • pdowdy83 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        The flipside to what you said could be what if Desmond IS asking for a ton on an extension and the team is thinking it may be best to trade at his absolute highest value. I love Desmond but he will never have more value than he does right now. If they are able to get a James Shields type of return in a trade and then replace him someone like Stephen Drew for a fraction of the cost the team should listen to offers. I wouldn’t personally advocate it but he would be worth a truckload of talent in a trade in my opinion.

      • pdowdy83 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        I want to clarify one thing from my previous statement. By fraction of the cost I mean Elvis Andrus’ 8 year $118mm contract extension seems like it would be his contract comparison. They are different types of shortstops but their overall value has been almost identical over the last 3 years. That is A LOT of money when you know Strasburg, Harper and JZimm all need lots of money too. Someone like Stephen Drew would take about half of that commitment while still providing positive production out of the position. It is a big drop off but if you get a couple of elite prospects that are major league ready I would have to think about it.

      • Hiram Hover - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Ian’s signability long-term may indeed be a question, but there’s no way the Nats deal with that by giving up a draft pick (Drew got a QO) and paying Drew more than Ian will cost in 2014 to play the position worse.

  6. TimDz - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    I think they are just testing the waters, like they did with Span…Desi will be here next season and (IMO) for many years to come.

    In other news, the Royals say our old friend Aaron Crow is “very much available” in a trade. Wonder what the consensus is of the folks here…worth making a call to KC or no?

    • pdowdy83 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      I would rather have Tim Collins from the Royals. Hard throwing lefty set up men without a lot of mileage on their arms are hard to find.

    • Hiram Hover - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Agree – if this rumor about Desi isn’t pure BS (and I don’t discount that), then it’s just testing the waters on the Nats’ part.

      Nothing to see here, folks – keep moving….

  7. David Proctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Ian Desmond will be a National next year, no doubt about it. The cost to acquire him for some team would be so prohibitively high–as it should be. Desmond has been worth 10WAR over the past 2 seasons. The next highest SS? 6.8. It’s not even close.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Maybe it was Ian Krol not Ian Desmond when Law heard this rumor ;) . I put zero into that rumor. It’s Desi and Tulo and Simmons as the best shortstops in the NL.

      • jd - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        One thing I’ve learned over the years is never say never. Everyone’s logic here is sound but it’s also true that everyone has a price. Until you know all the parameters involved you categorically know anything.

      • Doc - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        Whether there is any truth to it or not, Desi is, and has been, since he arrived, the heart to this team!

        Law and/or Heyman must be suffering a slow day!

  8. David Proctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Everyone has a price, but sometimes the price is too high. The team most in need of a SS–The Cardinals–just filled their hole with an expensive FA signing. They also had the prospects and talent to give up. There’s really no other fit. I can’t think of a team with a hole at SS that would have the necessary pieces to acquire him.

    • jd - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      David,

      I am by know means advocating trading Desi but if the team decides that his value is higher now than it will ever be and if someone is ready to give them someone like say Will Meyers (just an example) then you never know.

  9. Section 222 - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Still, jd is right that anything is possible. Who could have predicted Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder? That’s what makes the Hot Stove fun. It sure does seem like there’s more happening earlier this year than last. I like it!

    • David Proctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      Well I’m not saying there’s a 0% chance Desi gets dealt. You never know. But I would say there’s less than a 5% chance.

      • Section 222 - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        Sure. And jd and I aren’t saying there’s any chance at all. Just recognizing that it could happen. Like you said, everyone has a price.

  10. David Proctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    The Pirates DFA’d Garrett Jones. I think he could make an interesting bench bat for the Nats. He had an OPS+ of 99 last year–exactly league average pretty much. But in 2012, he had an OPS+ of 126 and in 2011 an OPS+ of 110. He bats left handed. He’s played both RF and 1B.

    I wonder if he thinks he could get a starting job somewhere though.

    • David Proctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      He’s a poor defender though.

  11. nats128 - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Brian Kenney is doing a analysis on Bourjos. His defensive and speed stats are off the charts good. The Angels really blew that trade.

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Jones is a really, really bad defender. Anytime you can’t find a place in your lineup for a 25 or so HR guy he’s a really crummy defender.

  13. sunshinebobby - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Enough with the Desi trade talk. He’s not going anywhere. There’s a better chance of trading the FoF than Desi.

    • David Proctor - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      I don’t think anyone here thinks it will happen.

      • nats128 - Nov 25, 2013 at 10:00 PM

        I really hope Rizzo blasts this rumor as a bunch of bull. Theres a big diffference between shopping a player and another GM inquiring on a player.

        I flat out will say I dont believe this rumor.

  14. Sam - Nov 25, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    I don’t get this move…

    Abad has been good against lefties throughout his career. He is the subject of a high BABIP in one season, so he’s unfairly kicked out the door. We need LOOGYs – especially CHEAP LOOGYs. Fernando Abad was a cheap LOOGY. Whatever, I hope Rizzo has a plan to replace him without spending much money on the ‘pen.

    • trochlis318 - Nov 26, 2013 at 5:36 AM

      he wasn’t a loogy though, becuase he line vs lefies was worse than vs righties, we need a left handed specialist to specifaccally get out lefties. not a lefty who can’t do it.

      • jd - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        Trochlis318

        Abad’s Career:

        vs.lefties .269 .310 .417

        vs. righties ..290 .369 .481

        So your statement above is flat out wrong.

  15. David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    I was just doing some research this morning. I’d be very, very interested in knowing what internal budget the Lerners have set for the next few years. All indications are that they’re willing to let Rizzo spend.

    Without going into all the math, if the Lerners were willing to allow the budget to go to around $150 million for 2014, you could do a lot of things. You’d be able to extend both Desi and JZimm. Add a LOOGY like Boone Logan. Add two bench guys like Eric Chavez. Add a starting pitcher (would have to be a fairly cost-controlled young guy via trade though–I allocated 6 million here, which is what Gio got in his first few years). And add a backup catcher. That puts the team right around $150 million–similar to teams like Detroit and San Francisco.

    I was wondering about how that would affect payroll flexibility going forward, and really not much. Even factoring in arbitration estimates, I have 2015 and $126 million and 2016 at $130 million–which is about where you’d expect 2014 without any extensions to JZimm or Desi. Now in 2017, Stras would be a free agent and you’d want to start exploring an extension for Harper–but conveniently, that’s the last year of Werth’s contract.

    Now, if they didn’t want to spend 150 mil in 2014, they could wait to extend next year when some money falls off the books. And that would probably make the most sense, from a financial perspective. But of course you run the risk of 1) them becoming even more expensive or 2) them wanting to wait to test free agency.

    It’ll be interesting.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      I think some of that will depend on when the TV money gets decided, and for how much. Hard to believe it’s dragged on this long, but if it really does take years more, that will mess with their options.

      Also, this isn’t Miami, or Atlanta: they will draw well if they win. If they win big, they’ll probably draw more like Philadelphia than Atlanta, for as long as the winning lasts.

      • David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM

        Well keep in mind that there’s new TV money this year for all teams from the national TV deals. I think I read that each team gets around $50M. I’m not sure what impact that will have, but it shouldn’t be insignificant.

  16. edshelton2013 - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Re: the Abad trade, I’m reminded of a quote from the late Calvin Griffith on a trade involving marginal players:
    “It was an even trade–both teams were hurt”. Gotta love it.

    Re: Desi rumors, I’m intrigued by who we could get in a blockbuster-type deal–Price, Scherzer, SS??
    Don’t forget the Gio trade–in Rizzo we trust!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      They could probably get just as much for Strasburg, and not leave anywhere near the hole that trading Desmond would leave.

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