The Washington Nationals have very few holes in their lineup right now.
One of the only trade rumors to come out of DC has been talk of parting with Denard Span. It’s doubtful though that the Nationals will let go of the center fielder. Span’s hitting has been accused of being streaky at times, but he is hitting .281 over the last month. His overall season average is up to .268 and he leads the team with 13 stolen bases on the year.
The Nationals outfield will consist of Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Span once Harper returns from injury. Long term, the Nationals have their eyes on minor league standout center fielder Michael Taylor. The team is waiting for Taylor to be at the major league level and he’s not too far away. The 23-year-old was named to the All-Star futures team and is expected to take over at center for the Nationals in the next year or two.
Span should stay on as the Nationals’ center fielder until Taylor is ready to make the jump to MLB.
It isn’t worth going to the open market to find another leadoff man to fill the role before Taylor joins the team. Span has been able to provide the Nationals a spark in the number one spot. His impending replacement has a similar style of play, except he brings a bit more power to the batting order. On the year, Taylor has 17 home runs to go with 22 stolen bases and a .331 average.
Span’s contract has an option to buy him out in 2015 and that would be the best time to give Taylor a chance at center. Until then, there’s no need to move Span or shop around for offers. The Nationals’ lineup works with him at the top. He’s been fortunate to have the support of Anthony Rendon, Werth and Adam LaRoche who typically follow him in the lineup.
There isn’t much to fix in Washington right now and the team would be wise to not rock the boat.