From the Associated Press :

Third baseman Vinny Castilla was traded by the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres for right-hander Brian Lawrence and cash Thursday night.

The move paves the way for Ryan Zimmerman, (above) the No. 4 overall pick in June’s amateur draft, to start at third for the Nationals next season.

General manager Jim Bowden thanked Castilla “for his many contributions during our inaugural season,” then added: “This trade, however, clears a path for Ryan Zimmerman, who we believe will be a fixture at the hot corner in Washington for years to come.”

“In the 10 years I’ve been a general manager, I was tired of Vinny hitting home runs against us, either in Colorado or Washington,” San Diego GM Kevin Towers said. “He’s always been a Padres nemesis, not only from the offensive standpoint, but from a defensive standpoint. This guy, I think, is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.”

That getting Castilla off the payroll was a priority for the Nationals, regardless of whether or not Bowden survives past April, isn’t surprising. That Kevin Towers has time for such public statements while scoping out real estate in the Boston area, however, is pretty impressive.