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Wily Mo Doesn't Want to Go

Wily Mo doesn't want to become a National:

Despite his troubles, the Washington Nationals continue to pester the Reds about trading Pena for Cincinnati-born pitcher Zach Day.

"I haven't heard anything about that, and I don't want it to happen," Pena said. "I want to spend my whole life with Cincinnati."

Washington special advisor Jose Cardenal, a former Reds coach, watched three straight Reds games last week. After Pena struck out three straight times in the third game, Cardenal talked to Pena in the players parking lot.
When Day met Washington General Manager Jim Bowden for the first time this spring, Bowden's first words were, "I've heard from four or five teams who want you." One is the Reds.

I said earlier that I'd jump at a Mike Hinckley and Zach Day deal, but the important thing to recognize with such a trade is that Hinckley, not Day, is the centerpiece.

Day is really a fairly mediocre major league pitcher, who's somehow managed above average results. His K/BB ratio has been atrocious the past three seasons:

  1.  4.18 K/9 / 4.04 BB/9
  2.  4.71 K/9 / 3.47 BB/9
Zach does a great job of keeping the ball in the park (.55 HR/9 in 2003, 1.0 HR/9 in 2004), which would certainly help him in Cincinnati, but he's not worth giving up a player with so much promise.

That's where Hinckley comes in.

If acquired, Mike Hinckley would probably immediately become the Reds best pitching prospect, or close to it.  He's 6'3 and lefthanded, and he's put up terrific numbers in the minors.  Last year he was only 21 years old and yet he dominated at the AA level, posting a 2.87 ERA while striking out 7.7 batters every nine innings and walking just 2.2.  He's exactly the kind of pitcher the Reds should be trying to acquire for Pena.  

However, it's looking like Day for Pena straight up is an impossible deal from the Nationals perspective:

Still, Bowden has interest in Cincinnati outfielder Wily Mo Peña, not to mention fellow Red Austin Kearns. But sources said the Reds' asking price of Day for Peña is too high. Two club sources said the Nationals won't part with lefty Mike Hinckley, the organization's top prospect who'll likely begin the season at Class AA Harrisburg.

One big thing jumps out at me from the above, and it's how all of the info is from "club sources".  The Post clearly hasn't learned yet that Bowden does whatever the hell he wants, usually without informing too many people in the organization.  So I think any "club sources" for the Nationals are useless.

Not to mention the fact that Bowden saying a player wasn't tradeable generally meant he'd be gone within a week or two.  Consistently.

The X factor in all of this is Zach Day's heritage.  He's Cincinnati born and bred, and we do love our own.  It's altogether possible that O'Brien will overvalue Day because of that and do the deal straight up.  I hope he doesn't, because Bowden is fleeceable, especially when it comes to players like Pena. The key is to frame the deal in a way where Bowden thinks he's getting by far the best of it.  I'm not sure how O'Brien could do that, but tossing in someone with Pena wouldn't be the end of the world.  I love Wily Mo to death, but DanO should be working hard to make a Day/Hinckley deal reality.