5 Second Base Options for Washington Nationals
5 Second Base Options for Washington Nationals
Danny Espinosa's struggles have been well documented. Those struggles have only snowballed, with Espinosa sitting at .158/.193/.272 with three home runs, 12 RBIs and 47 strikeouts to just four walks.
What else has been well documented is Espinosa's torn up shoulder, which he claims he is able to play through. A more recent injury is a broken right wrist Espinosa suffered when he was hit by Braves Pitcher Paul Maholm and, unsurprisingly, continued to play with it. There's nothing wrong with a player who plays hurt, if anything, it brings them even more respect from both players and fans alike. The problem, however, is when the player is not productive, which, for Espinosa, is an understatement, as I think most would used expressions like "automatic out" and "terrible" along with some other words not safe for younger readers to describe him.
Espinosa is, without a doubt, past this point and whether it's Manager Davey Johnson's faith or Mike Rizzo's reluctance to push for Steve Lombardozzi to get a chance starting, something needs to be done. The problem is, if Espinosa goes down and has surgery, he may never get his starting job back, because Washington has some players in the pipeline who may be every day players if given the chance.
With that said, the focus should be on what Mike Rizzo can do to help the 2013 Nationals. Jayson Werth is supposed to return tomorrow, and with the team already starving for offense, they simply can not afford to keep Espinosa in the lineup.
Here are some possible replacements for Espinosa, whether for the long haul or simply until Espinosa can return healthy.
#5: Chase Utley- Philadelphia Phillies (34): .272/.339/.475 7 HR 25 RBI
Utley will only become available if the Phillies fall out of contention for both the Wild Card and Division, and at their current pace, at 8.0 games back in both, there is a pretty high chance they will. With Dominic Brown performing the way he is, however, Ruben Amaro may want to try to keep the current core together for another year or two because of that production. Of course, with Utley's injury history and age, there's a very small probability many teams will want him. Utley is a long shot to say the least.
#4: Ian Kinsler- Texas Rangers (30): .302/.369/.500 7 HR 20 RBI
With Jurickson Profar seemingly ready to step in at any point at second, Kinsler's days (or Profar's) in a Rangers uniform seem numbered. The idea has been floated around that calls for Kinsler to move to outfield with Profar taking over at second, since Texas has recently locked up Elvis Andrus. Kinsler, at 30, with his lineup versatility, does seem like a fit, but with his age and contract status (signed through 2017 with option for 2018), bringing him doesn't seem like a good idea, unless Rizzo plans to flip Espinosa for prospects.
#3: Jeff Kobernus- Washington Nationals (24): .333/.378/.420 1 HR 20 RBI in Triple-A
Kobernus profiles a lot like the No. 2 guy on this list: a top-of-the-order bat that will slap the ball around the field and help manufacture runs. Kobernus would have to jump two or maybe three other players, so he makes the list simply for being in the Nationals system.
#2 Steve Lombardozzi- Washington Nationals (24): .231/.246/.298 12 RBI
Lombardozzi would be the most logical solution to immediately step in for Espinosa, but would probably have to bat eighth or second, and second will soon (hopefully) be filled by Jayson Werth. If the Nationals had not traded for Denard Span, Lombardozzi would profile as a solid leadoff hitter, or even a great nine hitter if the NL had the DH, but alas, it does not. Of course, Lombardozzi would be leapfrogged by....
#1: Anthony Rendon- Washington Nationals (22): .320/.466/.598 6 HR 24 RBI in Double-A/Triple-A
Yes, Anthony Rendon. I have said I do not believe they should not bring Rendon up to play second if the Nationals still believe in having him take third from Ryan Zimmerman, but for all intents and purposes, Rendon's bat and patience at the plate, right now, completely trumps Espinosa in every category. With Espinosa healthy, he may not, but the Nationals need offense, and adding him to a lineup with a returning Werth may be just what Washington needs. Rendon, much to my chagrin, does make the most sense at second, but only for his bat.
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