It appears Nick Johnson will be surfing while Joe Beimel will be skiing as the trade deadline has passed and reports have the two former Nats in new uniforms.
As rumored here, Johnson was traded to the Marlins for former first round pitching prospect Aaron Thompson.
Thompson has been extremely successful through high A ball but in the last two years he has been stuck in AA. This isn’t too uncalled for as a high school talent, but it is a slight sign of concern. So far in 20 starts in AA this season, Thompson is 5-9 with a 4.11 ERA. He has struck out 75 in 114 innings and has walked 43.
The conditions of the Beimel trade at this moment are unknown.
The question now arises, who will play first base for the Nationals with Nick Johnson shipped to Florida.
Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn both have experience playing first but either are hardly plus defenders at the position. Ronnie Belliard has been known to fill in at first here and there, but his bat and size leave much to be desired.
In the minors, one of the clubs top hitting prospects, Chris Marrero, is currently having a great year in high class A Potomac. The former first round draft pick is batting .302/.372/.485 with 14 homers and 175 total bases, however he is still at least one more full year away from contributing.
Could it be that we may see the rise of Syracuse first-basemen Bradley Ross Eldred!?!?
To refresh your memories Eldred is the enormous first basemen we spotted in spring training this year launching game winning homers.
To quote Poppa Yoder:
“Brad Eldred is a non-roster invitee to Nats camp, who hit 35 homers with 100 RBI in the International League last year. The Nats signed the 6'5", 290 pound right-handed hitter as a minor league free agent in December. Unfortunately Eldred is 29 years old and has been stuck at AAA since 2004. Twenty-eight year olds like Eldred, who strike out five times as often as they walk in AAA are not prospects. Worst of all, Eldred is primarily a first baseman who occasionally takes his glove to the outfield. Thats right- the Nats have still another power-hitting firstbaseman/outfielder with problems making contact. Eldred's walk off homer will be a moment to remember - even in spring training, but if the Nats end up giving many regular season plate appearances to Eldred, you will know that something has gone terribly wrong with their season.”
Eldred is currently batting .279/.350/.498 with 14 homers and 23 doubles in 86 games for Syracuse.