Trades are part of big-league life, but playing for three teams in the span of a week last month was a whirlwind situation for me. I was playing with the Atlanta Braves, the organization that drafted me, then over a four-day period, I was traded first to Oakland and then to Washington.
The first trade was the most hectic because I had to get my stuff together to move from Atlanta to Oakland. I was also stressed about going to a new situation. I didn't really know a whole lot of guys with the A's. But I almost had to laugh when I got traded again after only two days.
Assistant general manager David Forst and manager Bob Geren called me in and I thought, "This has got to be a joke." They both told me, "This never happens." But I guess they both wanted to make the deal and traded me for Chris Snelling, another outfielder.
I just had to chuckle. All of the guys on the A's got a kick out if it, too. They were saying stuff like, "It was nice knowing you for two days." But I'm happy to be in Washington now that the dust has settled.
Leaving the Braves was tough, because those were the guys I played with in the Minor Leagues. It was also difficult at first for my wife, Sheri. She was on the trip with us in Colorado and she was pretty flustered. But she's started to get settled now. She has some friends in the D.C. area, so the transition has been easier for her than if we had stayed in Oakland. Overall, she's handled it pretty well -- she just hated leaving the people she had befriended in Atlanta. But she's a social person, so I know she'll get to know people here in D.C. pretty quick. Going from Atlanta to Washington has been an adjustment for me, too.
The attitude in Atlanta was that everybody expected to win. But the veterans kept you from getting the idea that teams were going to lay down because we're the Braves. We knew we had to go out and earn every win. I'm sure a lot of organizations look to the Braves as a model for success.
But I like the way the Nationals are going about the business of building a contender. Every single guy in this clubhouse is a good guy, and they've all made me feel welcome. Everybody's just got to pull together. There is a lot of room to grow.
I remember when I was with Atlanta in 2005. The Nationals were in the playoff race down to the end and competed really well. That team was tough and they were a thorn in our side at times. Manny Acta, who came over from New York to manage, knows what it takes to win. He's hoping to bring an identity over here. He wants us to play hard and play the game the right way.
One thing I learned being with the Braves is that pitching is going to win at any level, but especially this level. It takes good starting pitching, a strong bullpen and good defense to win games, and that's what we're trying to do here. It seems like the pieces are starting to fall into place. We just need consistency.
Ryan Langerhans, 27, was traded from Atlanta to Oakland on April 29, and then traded again on May 2 to Washington. He went 0-for-4 in two games with the Athletics and is batting .218 with a home run and seven RBIs as a reserve outfielder with the Nationals.
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