5 Free Agent Second Base Options for Washington Nationals
5 Free Agent Second Baseman
2013 has been a year of eye-opening performances for the Washington Nationals, both in a negative and positive light. We have seen Danny Espinosa, once coined as a future Gold Glover and potential All-Star be demoted to Triple-A due to injury and ineffectiveness that has occurred essentially since the second half of his rookie season. Defensively, we have seen Ryan Zimmerman's career-long shoulder issues become much of a burden, as well as seeing Washington rank eighth in the Major Leagues in errors after a 2012 season that saw them rank 23rd in errors with 94. Needless to say, Washington could eclipse that in 2013, and eclipse it handily.
Washington does have a lot of faith in its own players, which is both a blessing and a curse, because being so entrenched in one's own system can lead to shortsightedness when it comes to making deals and signing players that could help the team, or trading those players away to make the team better. Of course, it is a blessing because that team does not have to make impulsive moves at certain positions that could compromise them for years to come.
With Rendon hitting a rookie wall and Zimmerman having all the throwing issues, along with Adam LaRoche's down offensive year, Washington could see some major changes to the team's infield. There have been rumblings claiming Washington could try and deal away LaRoche, freeing up first for Zimmerman and putting Rendon back to third, his natural position. Of course, that leaves second base wide open, and Washington could bring Espinosa back and plug him in, making the lineup that much deeper. However, Washington could look to free agency, and here are five names they could pursue.
5. Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles: .231/.277/.333, 2 HR, 16 RBI
Now, Roberts could be a solid bargain basement option, but should by no means be Washington's top target. Roberts, when or if he is healthy, is a solid veteran who could hit anywhere in a lineup. He plays solid defense and could replace LaRoche's veteran presence if he is dealt.
4. Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers: .309/.340/.447, 6 HR, 27 RBI
Infante has spent a lot of time in NL East with the Marlins, and has shown he can hit anywhere. He profiles most likely as a top-of-the-order hitter, and could be a nice compliment in front of or behind Denard Span. If Infante hits the market, he could be a nice signing.
3. Kelly Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays: .253/.319/.464, 16 HR, 49 RBI
Johnson is much more of an offensive second baseman compared to the first two names on this list, but still could be a solid option. He has been with the Braves, so he knows the NL East. Money and years could be the lynch pin here, as Johnson would presumably be looking for some stability.
2. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays: .278/.361/.401, 7 HR, 54 RBI
Zobrist has an option for 2014 with Tampa Bay, and may never hit the market. However, Zobrist's versatility could be a major compliment to Washington, who could in theory, give a player a day off every day. Zobrist has shown he is good defensively and could be an everyday utility guy for Washington, if he becomes available and is priced right.
1. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees: .287/.372/.491, 22 HR, 73 RBI
If the Yankees are serious about going under that $189 million luxury-tax threshold, letting Cano walk could be a realistic possibility. Cano would be looking for some major money and years, and his playing style, which is very nonchalant, could be what scares away certain teams. Cano in this lineup would be downright scary, but could be more of a pipe dream than a possibility. Regardless, Washington should take a flyer on Cano.