In the offseason prior to the 2013 season, the Washington Nationals acquired three players: Denard Span, Dan Haren and Rafael Soriano. Over the next couple of days, we’ll take a look back to see how those acquisitions panned out. We’ll start with Span.
Span had quite a quietly good season for the Nationals. For GM Mike Rizzo, this signing ended up killing two birds with one stone. Not only did Span fill the gap in center field, but he also ended up being the team’s best leadoff hitter.
In the outfield, Span finished with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. He didn’t commit an error in 384 chances and had five assists and one double play. It was the first time in his career that he didn’t commit an error throughout an entire season. If you’re looking for a Gold Glove Award dark horse, Span’s your guy.
At the plate, Span was a diamond in the rough. He didn’t start off the season hot, but he finished it on a tear. He finished with a batting average of .279 and an on-base percentage of .327. While his OBP doesn’t scream “leadoff hitter,” the number is skewed by his slow start. In fact, Span improved from a .263 batting average and .320 on-base percentage in the first half to a .302 batting average and .337 on-base percentage in the second half.
Span also provided for some of the most memorable moments for the Nationals this season. His 29-game hitting streak was the longest of any player in MLB this season and he nearly broke Ryan Zimmerman’s franchise record. You also can’t forget his game-winning catch against the San Francisco Giants back in mid-August.
Simply put, the move to sign Span paid off in spades. Of the big three signings that Rizzo made before the season, Span likely turned out to be the best one. Span is signed through the 2014 season and there is a team option on his contract for 2015. If he plays anything like he did this season in 2014, you can bet he’ll be back with the Nats in 2015.