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[July 24th] -- Well well, look who's actually posting on his blog. I know, it's been two months or more since I last had something of consequence to say.
First, to all those who have continued to ask about my health, I am beginning to == finally! == feel better, and am quite certain that I'll soon feel well enough to begin blogging on a regular basis again. No question, much has changed since I last posted - a lot of good and some bad - and too much change is in the offing for me to remain on the sidelines for much longer.
My top 10 surprises of the 2007 season thus far (in no particular order)
1. Chris Marrero: His value dropped after a not-so-stellar senior year in high school. It seems now that Marrero's junior year was more indicative of his ability and maybe - just maybe - the Nationals got a top five pick in the middle of the first round. If he keeps this up, he just may be getting his first cup-of-coffee with the Nats next September. And wouldn't that be great!
2. John Lannan: I pride myself on knowing everything about everyone in the Nats' minor league system, but I first heard about him this year when he started the season 6-0 for the Potomac Nationals. Now, two promotions and 12 wins later, he seems poised to join the rotation (at least temporarily) almost any day. Could he really be as good as he's seemed this year?
3. Ryan Zimmerman: I thought 2007 would be his breakout year, but he's returned to flailing at those outside pitches again. Perhaps he's trying to do too much, trying to be "the man" in the lineup when there are no other men in it. Or perhaps he's just touching the periphery of the sophomore jinx. No question he'll rebound, though. If he's going to have a flat season, this is one where it doesn't make a lick of difference.
4. Jesus Flores: I know, he's not ripping the cover off the ball, but he is doing exceptionally well for a kid six months out of 'A' ball who gets to play once or twice a week. Remember, he would likely be playing for the Mets' 'AA' affiliate right now had he not been drafted by the Nationals. No questions he's the team's catcher of the future. Also, no question that Brian Schneider is playing as well as he can; there is no more upside to the guy. Is the upside enough for now? I think the question really is, "When will Flores be ready to take over?"
The Ronnie Belliard signing caught me by surprise, and it suggests something very interesting. There is little question in my mind that Jim Bowden would have pulled the trigger and traded Belliard had he received something of value in return. Not seeing any hope of trading for a "real" prospect," he elected to keep Belliard. Might this happen over and over again as the trade deadline nears? Rather than accept sub-standard prospects (something we had all to many of when the team moved here in 2005), Bowden seems happy to keep/sign some of these guys who are currently on the market. Either way, we'll know soon.
The word out of Arizona is that Livan Hernandez is available. How cool would it be to re-sign Livan during the off-season and let him pitch - and teach the kiddies - for a couple of years until more of the team's young arms mature. No question that we could afford him, and maybe, just maybe, he still wants to be the starting pitcher for the first game at the new park. Hmmm???
Have you noticed that no one is talking about Kory Casto anymore? After an embarrassingly bad stint in D.C. earlier this season (.130-0-3, 9 k's in 29 at-bats), it seems that "the gem of the farm system" is suddenly persona-non-grata. Why? Countless hall-of-famers absolutely sucked in their first call-up in the big leagues. I still think that Could hit .270-20-70 as a platoon player in the outfield (he just doesn't hit lefties very well). Casto, and Alex Escobar (or someone like him) could provide an inexpensive yet reasonable answer to the team's outfield woes in 2008. I say bring him up in September and let him play in the outfield for the rest of the year. What would it hurt, after all?
All for now. I wish all my readers well, and keep checking back. I'll return for good soon.

Its great to see you back. I was just about to give up hope, but this is truly great news. Glad to hear your feeling much better.
finally!!! I was pumped to read a new post by you. Glad your feeling better keep it coming
Like the last 2 said, great to have you back. Had all but stopped checking back here and then saw you post on Nationals Journal.... Had to come and see! Very glad that you're doing better.
Welcome back, Farid! I'm another one whose visits to the Beltway Boys had petered off to once every three or four weeks, til I just saw your comment on NatsJournal. Great to hear you're feeling better and coming back soon to stay.
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