Tamp Bay Rays Interested in Washington Nationals’ Danny Espinosa?

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long time since we have been talking about the former Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa, but he could be traded very soon. For nearly two years, the Tampa Bay Rays have had an interest in having Espinosa play shortstop and be reunited with his former Long Beach State teammate Evan Longoria. 

According to multiple sources say the Nationals are looking to move Espinosa who has been played through a fractured wrist for a month this season and batted just .158/.193/.272 in 167 plate appearances. Since his demotion, he’s hitting just .208/.271/.283 in 292 plate appearances at Syracuse. He also played through a torn rotator cuff in 2012, which could obviously still have a lingering effect on his production at the plate.

His agent Scott Boras told reporters that other teams do have interest in Espinosa, “every park that I go into will ask me about Danny. They want to know what he is doing. So the guy has real value.”

The Nationals know that he is not fit and are debating over making him a September call up, wait till the off season and re-assess him or trade him now. The most likely option is that they will wait till after the season and then try to move him and again the most likely spot seems the Rays for the 26-year-old second baseman/shortstop.

One reason that the Nationals are not as good as they were last season can be directly linked to manager Davey Johnson’s loyalty to Espinosa who the skipper felt had 20-homer power and 20-steal speed as well as his outstanding defense at both at second base and shortstop. However, those positives also come with the injury concerns and a long-standing problem with strikeouts; Espinosa has been punched out 27.1% of his career plate appearances and has a whopping 96 strikeouts at Syracuse this season after leading the NL with 189 whiffs in 2012.

It is clear that the Nationals are moving on and with Johnson retiring at the end of the season, Espinosa will be losing his biggest fan in the organization. It might be time for Washington move Espinosa to the Rays where he will have a clean slate to start over. Meanwhile, the Nationals can get another Rays prospect perhaps based on the ability of Espinosa to make the team. Now it seems like it is not a matter of if the trade will be made but when. We will see how it plays out but it likely will be done in the offseason.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter at @Wordmandc and join his Google + circles. 

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