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Position analysis: Infield

Oct 4, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Second baseman Danny Espinosa impressed during his rookie season.

Throughout the week, we'll be breaking down the Nationals' roster by position (catcher, infield, outfield, rotation and bullpen) and looking both where things stand at the end of the season and where things might stand moving forward. Today's position: Infield…

1B ADAM LaROCHE
Stats: 43 G, 177 PA, 3 HR, 15 RBI, .172 AVG, .288 OBP, .258 SLG
0 E, 3.8 UZR, -0.2 WAR
2011 salary: $7 million
Contract status: $8 million in 2012, $10 million mutual option in 2013
Where he fits in: After missing most of this season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, LaRoche is expected to be 100 percent healthy for spring training. If so, he'll retain his starting job at first base. Team officials love his glovework, and they believe he'll produce at the plate again once his shoulder has healed. Because he'll be a pending free agent (unless both sides want to pick up that 2013 option) he'll be a prime trade candidate come July, a move that would allow the Nationals to move Michael Morse back to first base.

2B DANNY ESPINOSA
Stats: 158 G, 658 PA, 21 HR, 66 RBI, .236 AVG, .323 OBP, .414 SLG
14 E, 1.0 UZR, 3.5 WAR
2011 salary: $415,000Read more ยป

  1. Drew8 - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    The shakeout in the middle infield will be fascinating.From Boz's Sept. 27 chat:Q. "Care to predict the Nats' infield in 2013?"A. "You mean Zimmerman, Espinosa, Rendon and Morse? I assume Desmond and LaRoche will get a chance to prove in '12 that they are really good (contender) players, rather than decent MLB every day players."From Boz's Oct. 3 chat — the question was about offseason trade possibilities.A. "The Rays need a SS who can hit, not a Lannan. If you can do a B.J. Upton for Desmond (plus somebody else) trade, I'm for it. Espinosa can move to SS. Either Lombardozzi or, probably Rendon can take 2nd someday. But the Nats love Desmond's attitude and while Z'man vouches for B.J., not many others think he gets the most out of his ability."

  2. joemktg - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    1) The leadoff/CF position continues to hang over the club's head like the Sword of Damocles. Get that resolved before ST and not go into ST just as they did last spring so that we know where Desmond lies in the lineup. Regardless, Desmond needs to step-up to the next level, especially the OBP.2) Lombardozzi was fast-tracked, and it's a bit premature to say that his performance in the bigs leads "those who watched him" to believe that he's a utility player. Can we give him a full season at Syracuse before passing judgement?3) Espinosa lived up to the hopes. Would love to see him drive the OPS to above .800 and give 30-40 more base hits. Do that, and he's an All Star candidate middle infielder.

  3. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    I would rather see Marrero and Lombardozzi play every day in Syracuse and be called up in case of an injury or be trade fodder. I think it's a waste of a developing player to sit them on the bench – basically halting their careers. Lombardozzi has not had enough developing time to be relegated to utility infielder.

  4. Anonymous8 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Drew8 said… From Boz's Oct. 3 chat — the question was about offseason trade possibilities.A. "The Rays need a SS who can hit, not a Lannan. If you can do a B.J. Upton for Desmond (plus somebody else) trade, I'm for it. Espinosa can move to SS. Either Lombardozzi or, probably Rendon can take 2nd someday. But the Nats love Desmond's attitude and while Z'man vouches for B.J., not many others think he gets the most out of his ability." October 4, 2011 7:57 AM I am glad to be watching the Playoffs especially to see this guy BJ Upton. Thrown out at 3rd stealing. Thrown out at 2nd on a pitchout not his fault. No hits w/ RISP. They do seem to pitch him carefully and he has taken the walks they give him. Just not seeing any reason to trade away Desmond for him as BJ Upton is a 1 year guy. Rendon isn't ready yet. The whole thing is ridiculous as Kemp/Bourn/BUpton are all FREE Agents in a year from now.Why give up 4 years of Desmond for 1 year of a guy who is not going to be an upgrade over Jayson Werth.Scarey thing is Boz has been much better lately on getting his head around the real issues.

  5. Gonat - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    baseballswami said… I would rather see Marrero and Lombardozzi play every day in Syracuse and be called up in case of an injury or be trade fodder. I think it's a waste of a developing player to sit them on the bench – basically halting their careers. Lombardozzi has not had enough developing time to be relegated to utility infielder. October 4, 2011 8:22 AM ____________________________One of them probably has to be on the team so you have the 1 "yo-yo" player with options to send back and forth kind of like Bernadina last year.

  6. ehay2k - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    It's nice to be able to have a discussion about what to do with our excess of talented infielders. In years past, offseason discussion would center on hoping Nick Johnson would be healthy, that FLop would show up, and that Willie Harris would buy a cup.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    It's even better to see that the system has developed to the point where it won't be necessary to rush players through like Lombardozzi who really needs another full minor league season. Guys in the system like Blake Kelso, Jason Martinson and Jeff Kobernus can get the prerequisite minor league at bats necessary to establish reasonable expectations on their future development. These guys, health permitting, can spend 2 or 3 more seasons in the system and still be only 24 or 25 if ML ready.The same problem has existed for the pitching staff. Matt Moore has progressed through the Tampa Rays system increasing his annual innings total from 54 4 seasons ago followed by 124, 144 and his current count at 170 (combined minors and ML).Find one pitcher brought through the Nats system with similar numbers. Got to see another FIL game yesterday along with fellow NI poster dj in Fla and will post later today on our observations.

  8. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Let's not leave Zach Walters out of the discussion. He had a slow start, but finished very strongly, with good power numbers for a SS. If Kobernus can cut down on his strikeouts and improve his OBP, he would be the prototype base stealer at the top of the order that the Nats are seeking. Martinson and Kelso can hit. Rizzo is looking at a number of options in the not-so-distant future, besides Lombo and Rendon. Things will shake out next year. One or two of the current crop are likely to step up and make us take notice this time next year.

  9. DFL - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Remember that Lombardozzi had a low batting average getting few at-bats. All batters have ups and down, that's why baseball plays a 162 game schedule.As an Oriole fan as well as a Nats fan, I'd love Lombardozzi in Charm City batting lead-off. But it's hard to say who on the Oriole squad I'd want of similar status with Lombardozzi. Most Orioles worth having couldn't be had for Lombardozzi. Perhaps Markakis, who is proving to be just a mediocre starting right-fielder with limited power. But the Nats are already set in right.

  10. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    I would not be surprised if they were to deal Desmond in the off season and bid high for Jose Reyes. That would fill their lead-off table-setter need. With Espinosa and Lambardozzi, they have plenty of flexibility for Reyes inevitable stay on the DL. Espinosa was a talented SS and Lambardozzi at 2b may be their infield of the future.

  11. Nats1924 - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    haha – I love the Carlos Alverez piece "25 years old playing against competition right out of high school"That was funny, but true !

  12. Nats1924 - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    please, no Reyes!Jose Reyes will be a huge disappointment

  13. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Reyes would be a great fit if this was a 120 game season. You can't risk the most premium position on the field to a guy who has missed a total of 191 games the past 3 years.Desmond has been durable and improving defensively. His brain was with his wife and baby for the 1st half of the season. His 2nd half numbers make him a TOP Shortstop.I don't know who the real Ian Desmond is and hoping the player who excelled in August/September is the guy I want to see a full consistent season.

  14. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    In my where's Waldo segment, where is SteveM. He hasn't posted since the last game a week ago. I know he doesn't post over weekends and during family time so just hoping he is on vacation.

  15. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Mark'd: Steve M, along with several other regulars, have been unable to post comments for nearly a week now due to some kind of glitch that appears to affect mostly those who use recently updated versions of Internet Explorer.To all of those still experiencing the glitch: Apologies we haven't figured this out yet. The CSN web folks are in the middle of a major project of their own — they're launching a redesigned site later this evening — so they've been consumed with that. I'm still trying to figure out what, if anything, can be done.I know people don't like to hear this, but it does appear you're far less likely to experience problems if you use Firefox or Safari or Chrome as your browser instead of IE. I know that's not always possible for a lot of you, and I'm still hoping to figure out how to get this to work again on IE. But if you do have the ability to change browsers, I'd recommend it (for many reasons beyond your ability to post comments to this site). It's pretty well-established that IE is the least-secure of the major browsers out there and leaves you more susceptible to viruses and other problems.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I downloaded Firefox on my lap top, my home tower, and my work computer and the problem went away. When I do go to Internet Explorer the "Comment as:" box is still "ghosted" so the problem still exists.

  17. FS - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Actually Chrome does not work well with this site. Any versions of firefox do perfectly fine with this. Main problem with Chrome is updating and sometimes posting comments.

  18. Wally - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    My take on the infield situation goes back to something I said a few posts back: do the Nats want to go for it in 2012, or wait until 2013? 2013 is more logical because of Stras and Harper, but I have a hunch that they will try to go for it.Which brings me to this conclusion: if we want to realistically contend in 2012, I don't see that as likely with the offense that we will get from both Desi and Espy at MI. I think that we need to pick one, play him at SS and add offense at 2B. Reyes is great, probably my most disliked opposing player, but the cost and injury history are valid concerns so I probably would pass. Could they trade for Brandon Phillips? He would fit at the top of the order, and has a good glove. Phillips is also a 1 year guy, which allows them to keep a spot for Rendon in 2013.If they aren't going to try to load up for a playoff run, then I would leave Desi and Espy as is and see how they do in 2013.

  19. jd - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Desmond – Totally changed his approach at the plate in the last month of the season for the better and I fully credit DJ for getting through to him that you can be an aggressive hitter without giving away at bats. I would love to see him start the season with us at short and batting 1st or 2nd. Espinosa – Needs to develop a better 2 strike approach. He does well early in the count but when the pitchers (especially veterans) get ahead of him he is easy prey. I think he needs to temper his aggressiveness some (ala Desmond) and I trust DJ will get through to him as well. Marrero – I don't think he'll ever hit enough to be more than a fringe major league 1st baseman; the position requires serious productivity and I don't see it with him and the defense while improved is still so so. Lombardozzi – I think another full season at AAA will crystallize his potential. Not sure if he's an everyday player or a utility player. Rendon – too soon to tell but I have a hunch that if we sign Zim long term that it has to be 2nd base for Rendon.

  20. jd - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Wally; I think you nailed it and I think 2013 with Harper and Strasburg post innings limit as well as the possibility that Rendon, Meyer and Purke may be ready is the better scenario. This also gives us a another year to see what we have with Espi and Desi. I would hate to give up on either of them and see them flourish elsewhere. I am all for going for it in 2012 as long as you don't sacrifice any of our future.

  21. Wally - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    jd said …I am all for going for it in 2012 as long as you don't sacrifice any of our future. I think that is the rub, meaning I don't think that you can 'go for it' without some kind of sacrifice of the future. It could be a prospects-for-vet trade, or even signing a FA and losing a 1st rounder.I am in your camp of waiting (meaning don't make a big move yet, although CF needs to be addressed), but I am not adamant about it. The flip side is, they are pretty close and baseball is funny that performances can vary wildly year to year. Look at Ari the last few years. Playoffs, horrible, back to playoffs. Padres had a similar stretch. I mean, if they signed Beltran and Oswalt (assuming Philly declines, which I think likely), and trade Desi for Phillips? What would you think about our chances? What if Philly loses Rollins in FA. We are probably a notch below still, but only a notch and with a little luck, who knows?I am not saying that they should do that, just that I think that we would be a pretty strong playoff contender (and likely have a horrible 2012 draft class).It is hugely fun to be in a position where we can realistically posit something like that, isn't it? Such a new feeling.

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Looks like Rendon won't be going to the Arizona Fall League after all… Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 10/04/2011Arizona Fall League: Washington Nationals pitching prospect Matt Purke will play; top draft pick Anthony Rendon will notBy Adam Kilgore

  23. TheYellowSlant - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Anyone else think these UZR numbers are way off?

  24. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    If Werth returns to past levels, how long more do you see him playing at that level. Assuming one outfield spot already belongs to Harper and one to our Cf, What if Hood/Goodwin/keys and a couple of our outfielder are absolutely killing it in AAA or AA in the next two years assuming none of them are traded for an arm now and we have great arms that we dont need to trade for anyone. Also assuming our infield is intact. What do we do. Also Werth has a no-trade clause, so how will we work around that? Do you trade prospects for younger prospects? what will we do? good problem to have though.

  25. Wally - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Disappointing news on Rendon. Hopefully NatsJack has some first hand observations to share.

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Wally, according to Kilgore's post, they want his shoulder and mechanics stronger before he plays in real games. And fwiw, the Rockmelt browser works fine (and faster than the others), too.captcha: "gatess" as in, blame bill gates (hissssssssss)?

  27. someone else - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    this is a test of the emergency broadcast system

  28. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    can we comment as anonymous, though?

  29. Commenting as anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    use chrome, no problem…

  30. jd - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Wally,I am not convinced that Desmond won't be as good as Phillips just yet. I think it's worth another year. I don't love Oswalt and Beltran because of injury concerns and I wouldn't sign either of them for more than 1 year and they won't go for that. There is a temptation to knock Espinosa because when he looks bad he looks real bad but he had such a productive 1st half and he is so great with the glove that you want to be real careful about under valuing him.

  31. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    OK, I think we've got it figured out. If you've been trying to comment but have seen your text disappear when trying to post, and if you use Internet Explorer, please do the following…1. In Internet Explorer, click on the Tools drop-down menu from the IE toolbar.2. Select Internet Options from the menu.3. In the Security Tab, click on the Trusted Sites zone (it's the green checkmark).4. Click the Sites button.5. Add the following sites: http://www.blogger.com http://www.google.com6. Uncheck the "Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone.7. Click the Close button.8. Click the OK button.9. Restart Internet Explorer.This should solve the problem. If you still can't get it to work, please email me at zuckerman12@gmail.com

  32. MicheleS - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Testing.. Testing 1-2-3

  33. MicheleS - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Fix worked on my computer!

  34. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Mark Z…. that worked perfectly. Thanks.

  35. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    I Don't think we have seen enough of Marrero to write him off. As a matter of fact – I think he handled himself quite well. Glad you are getting your glitches fixed!

  36. John - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    NatsJack, I am dying here. Can you at least tell us who won the game? Thanks. ;)

  37. Theophilus - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    I don't think the organization has ever seriously contended that Lombardozzi was going to be more than a utility guy. In that sense, he'd fit in just fine in the 2012 scheme. Except Johnson might prefer having a veteran (but not Cora) on the bench. And it is conceivable Lombardozzi would improve his hitting with another year at Syracuse — but it's hard to imagine him doing better than he did in 2011. Marrero really looks like a marginal big league prospect at 1B. And what would he do if sent back to Syracuse? Split time w/ Tyler Moore? Try to learn the outfield again? So he could be Johnson's RH hitter off the bench, but I imagine Rizzo and Johnson could find someone (not Gomes) that was better, w/ more power. Marrero, in particular, would be better used as part of a trade for a good-field, not-an-embarrassment-at-the-plate back-up catcher. (Flores is ready to be dealt, also.)Until someone actually sees Rendon in the field, he can't be counted at any of the infield positions. I wonder if he isn't the Dan Uggla-type, who would have been better served by moving him to LF early in his career and letting him concentrate on hitting.

  38. Richard - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    What no love for Matt Antonelli, he with the .293/.393/.460 slash line at Syracuse this year, 17th overall pick by Pads in '06? No call up by Nats in September, no FIL, no AFL, no love from Mark … I assume he won't be in the Nats organization next year. (P.S., had to use Foxfire to post this lament.)

  39. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    John… shades of the Big Club… they were shut out 3 – 0 on 6 hits. Alex Meyer gave up a 2 run shot to the Tigers #1 draft pick from last season, Nick Castellanos, in the first and that was pretty much it.Mike Taylor got a bunt single and a single to right and Randolph Oduber singled and doubled for 4 of the hits, Eury Perez got a hit(single) and threw out a guy at the plate while Kevin Keyes got the other hit, a single as well.I'll expand on the pitching later as I actually do have cash paying work to do.

  40. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    The WaPo is reporting that Rendon will not participate in the AFL, and that Zach Walters will take his place.

  41. John - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Thanks NatsJack.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    If Anthony Redon is working on his throwing, he's doing it where it can't be seen. One scout yesterday, told dj and I that he hasn't even seen him with a glove.The only time I saw him was 10 days ago hanging around the batting cage on a side field while the first game with the Braves was being played. And I actually never saw him IN the cage, just watching Bryce hit.

  43. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    @DFL, I can only hope the Orioles front office thinks the same of Markakis. I recently wondered what it would take to pry him away. I doubt they'd take Lombardozzi but if it were up to me I'd offer Espinosa, Marrero and Lannan.

  44. Wally - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    NatsJack – that sounds ominous. I wouldn't have figured that Purke would be ready before Rendon. Any word of mouth scuttlebutt going around about him down there?JD – I was close to as optimistic as you on Desi coming in to the year, but have lowered my view of him. Not given up, and I won't mind if he comes back, but at some point a duck is a duck.

  45. DFL - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Anon, no to Espinosa but yest to Lombardozzi, Marrero and Lannan. The Orioles could use all three. So the Nats would have an outfield of Morse, Werth and Markakis for 2012 with Harper possibly allowing a shift of MOrse to first in 2013, Morse's better position.

  46. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    DFL, interesting that you value Lombardozzi over Espinosa. I realize Danny's shortcomings but he has proven he a major leaguer. If I'm the O's I want his power to offset Marrero at first.

  47. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    I think DFL means no… the Nats keep Espinosa and send them Lombo..

  48. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    DFL is also an O's fan, he wants Lombardozzi

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    No wonder the O's are so bad.

  50. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Wally, some say its how you finish and Desi and Espi finished strong.Much more optimism on them and especially their defensive duo.

  51. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    And to DFL, skip Markakis and give me Adam Jones and you got a deal if the Nats can extend him. Jones is a FA in 2 years.

  52. Skata - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Angelos would never trade his special buddy Markakis.

  53. jd - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Mark'd, I don't think you are getting Jones for any package mentioned above. Also 2 years is not bad; you need some flexibility and you have Werth tied up forever and you need Zim signed long term as well. Like you I am bullish on Desi not because his results were good in the second half but because he changed his approach; Espi; not so much.

  54. JUST SAY NO - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    BJ Upton strikes out for the 3rd time looking. 0-4. I think he had 2 or 3 ABs with men on base and no outs and couldn't do anything.

  55. DFL - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    At this point, I would put much more value on Adam Jones than Nick Markakis. The only untouchables on the Orioles major league roster appear to be Jones and Matt Wieters unless the O's are foolish not to want to give Jones a big pay day.

  56. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    JD, the Os may not want to pay Jones in arbitration as they have done in the past with Bedard and others. If McFAIL leaves, may be some wheeling and dealing.

  57. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    DFL, looks like we agree on the O's. Still with Angelos nothing would surprise me. When he let Mike Mussina walk you knew his whole vision was to fool the fanbase. So funny the Orioles are attaching their name to Prince Fielder like they do every year with every big Free Agent to give the appearance they are trying.

  58. sunderland - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    I had a whole host of brilliant observations that I could not post, and now all I have left is the same rantings as before. Ah well. Your loss. Good news, SteveM will soon be back.Bad news, I can post again too.Missed you all.Captcha – protan, what NatsJack sports all year round.

  59. Getting to be more than a casual Nats' fan - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    info for the uninformed. (and i apologize if this is obvious or easy to find….). But, with that said, could someone point me to a good explanation of UZR that includes an example of what good, poor, and average UZR ratings. And whether its an objective or subjective evaluation. thanks

  60. DFL - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Why would Fielder come to Baltimore except to pad his stats and play in a low-stress environment? After all, the Orioles are usually out of contention by Memorial Day.

  61. Wally - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Getting to be …..Go to Fangraphs and click on the Glossary button. You'll see an 'UZR Primer'. It may not answer all your questions, but it is a good start

  62. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Welcome back, Sunderland. Can't say that I had your back as far as rantings goes, but we missed you. :-)

  63. BinM - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Mark'd: The O's have a gaping hole at 1B for the immediate future unless they think Chris Davis or Joseph Mahoney could be a solution; The pundits should be associating Prince with them, based on need alone. What I fail to understand is why his name is still being linked with the Nats when LaRoche / Morse / Marrero are available in 40-man depth, and Moore is in the wings (minors).

  64. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    DFL said… Why would Fielder come to Baltimore except to pad his stats and play in a low-stress environment? After all, the Orioles are usually out of contention by Memorial Day. October 4, 2011 5:30 PMWell said and of course he isn't. Those rumor articles are just good for laughs. It is funny to see who gets all worked up over rumors and as you saw at the trade deadline, it certainly affects the player in the rumor.

  65. Sunderland - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    BinM, I think it is as much a ploy of Boras as anything else. Boras has people plant these seeds, and lazy pundits repeat it. Plus, we have oodles of payroll flexibility.

  66. Mark'd - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Bingo Sunderland

  67. BinM - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Eureka! Mark's IE patch works – Many thanks. Back to the current question of the day – the infield. Going into Viera 2012, the projected alingment of LaRoche / Espinosa / Desmond / Zimmerman is fine; Should LaRoche still be at less than 100% entering the regular season, Morse slips back to 1B and the team loses very little, imo. I think both Marrero & Lombardozzi wouldn't be hurt by spending a little more time in Syracuse to start the year, with a couple of IF-FA's added to the WSH bench to start the year should all things remain as they are currently. For the sake of argument, I'll toss out some rough projections for 2012… Scenario #1 – If LaRoche is healthy; LaRoche (1B- 145GP, 75RS, 22HR, 85RBI, .270/.330/.420. [Gold Glove candidate]. Espinosa (2B- 150GP, 70RS, 25HR, 70RBI, .240/.325/.425, 20SB. [GG candidate]. Desmond (SS- 150GP, 95RS, 10HR, 55RBI, .270/.315/.400, 35SB. Zimmerman (3B- 145GP, 90RS, 28HR, 100RBI, .290/.350/.450. [GG candidate]. – or – Morse (1B- 150GP, 85RS, 28HR, 95RBI, .295/.355/.525. Espinosa (2B- 150GP, 70RS, 25HR, 70RBI, .240/.325/.425, 20SB. [GG candidate]. Desmond (SS- 150GP, 95RS, 10HR, 55RBI, .270/.315/.400, 35SB. Zimmerman (3B- 145GP, 90RS, 28HR, 100RBI, .290/.350/.450. [GG candidate]. Add on the catching corps (Ramos & ??) with a rough 162-game line of 60RS, 18HR, 58RBI, .250/.315/.395, and either way, It's not bad imo.

  68. BinM - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Sunderland & Mark'd: Good point. Given the recent history, Boras / Free Agent = Rizzo / Nationals, the national pundits and talking heads are just playing to a trend, but the wrong one. The Nationals have probably signed more Boras clients as Draft choices (Strasburg, Harper, Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin) than as Free Agents (Rodriguez, Werth).

  69. BinM - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Interesting that my last captcha was "chash"; A curious combination of "chase" and "trash" in a post referencing Boras clients.

  70. Anonymous - Oct 5, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    I think Lombo has a big future in the Majors. Gets on base, very nice glove. Whether that future begins next year or not, that is a tough question…NatsFanCorky

  71. Anonymous - Oct 5, 2011 at 6:04 AM

    Let's not leave Zach Walters out of the discussion.Not at all. He's already on the AFL roster having only played to the A+ advanced level (Potomac at the end) so far. The organization must be pretty impressed with him to do that! Good return on Marquis. And as good as Rendon may be he will need competition to bring the best out him. As does Harper … and perhaps Rendon will put a bit on the golden boy to boot.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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