Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marlins-Nationals deal official

The deal is done. I think Florida probably could have gotten more from that package of Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen. But, then again I know nothing about the two minor leaguers they got in return.

With Emilio Bonifacio going to Florida, does that mean Dan Uggla could be moved? Plus there is now a huge logjam in the outfield in Washington.

Anyway here is the release:


The Washington Nationals today acquired left-handed starting pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham from the Florida Marlins in exchange for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, minor-league second baseman Jake Smolinski and minor-league right-handed pitcher P.J. Dean. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.

The 24 year-old Olsen—who stands 6-foot-5—teams with southpaw John Lannan (3.91 ERA in 31 starts in first full big league campaign) to give the Nationals a pair of left-handed starting pitchers currently 24 years-old or younger. Among pitchers currently under the age of 25, Olsen’s 31 wins rank fifth behind only Scott Kazmir (47), Felix Hernandez (39), Cole Hamels (38) and Chad Billingsley (35).

In the last three seasons (2006-08), Olsen’s 30 wins rank second in baseball among pitchers 24 or younger, as only Kazmir (35) has more. In the same three-season span, Olsen ranks among NL left-handed pitchers in wins (tied for fifth, 30), starts (first, 97), innings (second, 559.0), strikeouts (fourth, 412), quality starts (tied for fifth, 46), ground-ball double plays induced (seventh, 45) and batting average against (eighth, .269) despite being burdened by a big league-leading 45 unearned runs. He has eclipsed the 30-start plateau each of the last three seasons and Olsen’s quality-start percentage of 47.4 percent in that span ranks 11th in baseball among left-handed pitchers (minimum 90 starts).

A two-time double-digit winner (12 wins in 2006, 10 in ‘07), Olsen finished 8-11 with a 4.20 ERA in 33 starts for Florida last season, when he walked a career-low 69 in a career-best 201.2 innings. He was one of just 18 National League pitchers to reach the 200-inning plateau in 2008. Olsen’s average of 15.4 pitches per inning—which was a career-best effort—would have paced the 2008 Nationals by nearly one pitch per inning (Lannan, team-leading 16.2 pitches per inning). For his career, Olsen is 31-37 with a 4.63 ERA in 102 games (101 starts) for Florida from 2005-08. Originally Florida’s sixth-round selection in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Olsen has never been placed on the Disabled List.

Sporting a career big league on-base percentage of .361, Willingham is known for his power and patience during his three seasons as an everyday player with the Marlins, during which he blasted 62 home runs—one every 22.2 at-bats—and saw 4.03 pitches per plate appearance to rank among the NL’s top 15 in that span. Willingham has never posted a sub-.350 on-base percentage during his nine-year professional career.

After posting consecutive 20-homer seasons (26 in 2006, 21 in ‘07), Willingham hit 15 long balls in 102 games last season, averaging a home run every 23.4 at-bats.

By joining the Nationals, Willingham will play his home games at Nationals Park—where he blasted three long balls in just five games in 2008—as opposed to pitcher-friendly Dolphin Stadium. Willingham is a career .266 (374-for-1422) hitter with 82 doubles, 11 triples, 63 home runs and 219 RBI in 416 big league games. He was drafted by Florida in the 17th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of North Alabama.

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