This is something I've thought of before, and in fact researched a bit last season. How many guys who have played for (and subsequently been released/traded/demoted) by the Nats never returned to the majors again?
The list is staggering. By my count, 61 people played their final major-league game with the Nats between 2005-08. Obviously, there could be more off the 2009 roster, but we can't really include them until they have a chance to play again in 2010.
The full list (and you may want to hide the women and children before reading this, cause it ain't pretty) ...
Paul Lo Duca (currently attempting comeback with Rockies)
Chad Cordero (currently attempting comeback with Mariners)
Wily Mo Pena
Are there some doozies on that list or what? Wow. There are a couple of names in there I had completely erased from my memory bank, and probably for good reason. Really, was it worth wasting valuable brain space remembering Brett Campbell's four relief appearances in 2006?
So what does all this mean? Is there any conclusion that can be drawn from this data? I would say yes, there is: The Nats' roster has been littered with players who 1) were well past their prime but got one last shot with this club, and 2) were marginal prospects who probably wouldn't have reached the majors with most other organizations.
Until they're able to develop more legitimate major-league talent from their system and sign more free agents still in the prime of their careers, it's hard to believe the Nats will become a real contender. I do think they're making strides in that department, and I expect there will be fewer of these types of players on the 2010 roster than there have been in the past. But they've still got a ways to go. ...
One public service announcement to share from the ballclub, which wants to get this message out: They'll be testing their fireworks system in the neighborhood around Nationals Park at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday). The test is not open to the public, but if you live in the area and are wondering why the sky is suddenly getting peppered with explosives, you'll know there's no reason to panic.