Nats perplex with Bruney deal

It doesn't seem to be official yet, but Marc Carig knows who -- or rather, what -- the Nationals traded to the Yankees:

    A source confirmed on Monday night that the player to be named later in the Brian Bruney trade will be the Nationals' top choice in Thursday's Rule 5 draft. The Yankees will direct the Nationals on the selection. The trade saves the Yankees from paying the arbitration-eligible Bruney next season, a savings of approximately $2 million.

Really, Washington Nationals? Really?

Brian Bruney's a useful pitcher, and he'll be useful to the Nationals particularly if they can flip him to a contender for prospects in June or July. But if there's one team that can afford to carry a Rule 5 draft pick in 2010, it's the Nationals. Granted, there aren't a lot of great prospects eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but then again Bruney is not a great pitcher. He does have an impressive arm, but he's also walked 6.2 batters per nine innings in his career. While he's done perfectly well for the Yankees, he's perfectly capable of throwing up a 5-plus ERA, especially with a lousy team.

I don't know ... Maybe Nats GM Mike Rizzo is trying to corner the market on relievers who don't know where the ball is going; their incumbent closer is Mike MacDougal.

Update: And now the Nats have given up another draft pick. The road to respectability just got a little longer.