Washington Nationals: 5 Players Matt Williams Will Rest
Who Could Matt Williams Rest?
One thing new Washington Nationals manager has mentioned a lot is how he wants to use all 25 players on his roster. This concept probably is what caused the acquisition of Nate McLouth, someone who has experience playing almost every day the past few seasons. The McLouth signing, combined with Scott Hairston being on the bench gives Washington two bench outfielders who are capable of playing every day in the event of an injury, rather than plugging players where they do not fit, a la Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore, infielders by trade who were given time on the major league roster in the outfield.
This idea is markedly different from Williams' predecessor, Davey Johnson, who believed in using his bench for a big bat that could come up in a big spot and put a ball in the seats and put Washington ahead or tie the game or stretch the lead. The issue with Johnson's strategy is that it sacrifices defense and some of the players utilized don't really have any other use aside from their bat, which does not work well in a National League setting. Of course, Johnson is a bit more old school than Williams seems to be, who is much more new age in his prospective managing style, bringing a defensive coach with him from Arizona and alluding to daily defensive meetings.
Another side effect of Williams' want to utilize all 25 players on his roster is that he will have to sit or rest certain players. With that in mind, here are five players Williams could seriously keep his eye on.
After a down season where LaRoche lost a significant amount of weight, it would be safe to assume LaRoche, who is a streaky hitter and notorious slow starter, could be rested every so often. It could help to clear his head during a slump or counteract a nagging injury.
Zimmerman's shoulder seemed to be 100 percent by the end of 2013, and he is going through a normal offseason after one filled with rehab. Nonetheless, Zimmerman could benefit from some days off, and with the idea that Danny Espinosa is going to be a backup infielder with the trading away of Lombardozzi, it would make some sense to see Zimmerman sitting more often than in the past.
Ramos spent time on the DL twice with the same hamstring issues, and by the end of the season was not running out groundouts in fear of re-aggravating the injury. Regardless of whether or not the Nationals sign a backup catcher, it would make a lot of sense to see Ramos sitting periodically.
Werth is coming off one of his best seasons, but will also be 35 during the 2014 season. At this point in his career, proper rest at certain points could be the key to Werth's success. Besides, leadership cannot be benched.
Williams may not want to suppress Harper's super aggressive style, but one way to assist it is to sit Harper at certain points during the year. Harper is a guy you need to let play, but you also need to know when to sit him, and Williams gets that.