Well, that was a pleasant night for Nationals fans, wasn't it? First, Redding pitches an absolute gem, with strong 'pen help from Ayala and Cordero. Then, late last night, the Nationals FO pulls a coup on the world, and sign a player who was thought to be unsignable.
What does this mean for the Nationals? In the sense of talent immediately, not a whole lot. Remember, Mcgreary is a high school senior pitcher. The Nats are paying for him to attend Stanford, so he has time get stronger and bigger. My belief is he'll either stink in the summer leagues and stay all 4 years, and then be plugged in AA, or he'll be lights out in summer ball, and leave early to start his ascension to the big show. Either way, organizational depth is paramount for a winning club.
From an organizational philosophy standpoint, this signing was absolutely huge. The "Plan" had its supporters and detractors immediately after it was announced that the Nats were playing for the future, and would cut the salary in meantime. I was in the camp that believed it was easy to play that card as an owner, and never come through. There are numerous examples throughout all levels of sport. The beginning of the season had our team looking like a mockery, and increased disdain for the Plan. But then, the 2007 draft happened. The Nationals had chosen Sean Black last year, another hard sign, who ended up going to Seton Hall, being a few hundred thousand dollars apart in the negotiations. After the Nats chose Mcgreary, I read he was a hard sign, but a 1st round talent. I immediatly worried we had replayed last year's strategy, of picking by name, and not thinking about whether something will come of it.
But Lerner, Bowden and Kasten weren't about to let that happen. The Nationals have already showed that they are going to establish their pitching with young arms developed in the system (as is the only cost effective way of doing do...Gil Meche...), and this pick furthers this organizational strength.
Does this mean all these pitchers will be wearing Nats uniforms? No. The smart money is against that happening. To win, you need to have a system overflowing with prospects to use in deals to acquire proven major league talent. Bowden said after the trade deadline that the Braves were the "Winners", not only because of who they acquired, but that they were able to deal from strength, with Saltalamachia's path blocked by all star McCann, two low level prospects who weren't going to play over Renteria or which ever FA will replace him in the future. Bowden wants to be able to do the same thing in a few years, and if we continue to have these kinds of drafts, we'll be in running for big names at the deadline in the future.
The future is bright for this team. The present is overcast, with brief breakthroughs, but I don't mind. We have the actual possibility of not being in last, as well as spoiling things for other teams (namely, the Mutts). I'd be content with that.