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Position analysis: Infield

Oct 15, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche could leave via free agency, creating a hole at first base.

As we transition into offseason mode, we'll start by breaking down the Nationals' roster by position (infield, outfield, catcher, rotation and bullpen) this week and examine where things stand at season's end and where things might stand moving forward. Today's position: Infield…

1B ADAM LaROCHE
Stats: 154 G, 647 PA, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .271 AVG, .343 OBP, .510 SLG
7 E, 6.1 UZR, 3.8 WAR
2012 salary: $9 million
Contract status: $10 million mutual option in 2013, if declined becomes free agent
Where he fits in: Perhaps the Nationals' team MVP, LaRoche's contributions this season were immeasurable. He was the club's most consistent offensive player, setting a career-high in homers and matching his career-high in RBI. He played Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base, saving his teammates from being charged with countless errors. And he was a calming and popular presence in the clubhouse. For all of those reasons, the Nationals want to bring LaRoche back for 2013. The problem? He's likely to decline the one-year, mutual option, wanting a longer-term deal. The Nationals are open to that, and the two sides have begun preliminary talks. They'd ideally like to get something done before LaRoche is allowed to become a free agent (five days after conclusion of the World Series) so these next couple of weeks could be significant.

2B DANNY ESPINOSA
Stats: 160 G, 658 PA, 17 HR, 56 RBI, .247 AVG, .315 OBP, .402 SLG
13 E, 7.1 UZR at 2B, 3.8 WAR
2012 salary: $506,000Read more ยป

290 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Dave - Oct 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Swami @3:06, thanks for that encouragement. I also was able to watch some of both games last night. The narrative I've been hearing about last Friday is one about the greatest come-from-behind-ever by the Cardinals–NOT about a massive collapse by the Nationals.I do not hear any kind of sneering or put-downs about the Nats' effort. Admittedly, I tend to change the channel about as fast as a lightning bolt if I hear the name "Strasburg" uttered, but so far I just haven't heard that plot mentioned very much.In the meantime, the vaunted Yankee stadium has been 80% full (i.e., 20% empty) for the entire post-season. That's one of the big stories of the week, in my opinion. The argument that "tickets are expensive there" falls apart when you notice that StubHub has tickets for as cheap as $30 to the Yankees games.Meanwhile, Nationals Park was absolutely rocking all three days last week. Nationals Park was sold to an average of 109% ofcapacity for the week. In the school where I teach, the students were buzzing about what happened in Southeast DC last week.I know which fan base I'd rather be a part of.As I mentioned earlier, I expect the Cardinals to be dominant in these next two weeks. I think they're a very good, experienced team that got hot at a very bad time for the Nats. I don't think the Nats have much to be ashamed about.

  2. Feel Wood - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    NatsLady said… BTW, I felt plenty devastated. It was so THERE, I could taste it, was already planning emails.NatsLady, party animal.

  3. Drew - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    I don't assume that LaRoche would be willing to sign a two-year deal. I've said that I would understand if he found a better deal on the open market.I also think you need to be careful about a multi-year deal for a first baseman who will be 33 next month. While there are exceptions, such as Paul Konerko, manyfirst basemen don't age well.If the Nats can get Adam back for two years and a mutual option, I'm all for it. If he wants four years, I'd wish this good man Godspeed.

  4. Steady Eddie - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Joe @ 4:43 re HRod — exactly. Feel Wood @ 3:30 — definitive post about why we should and will keep Lombo even as a bench guy. Because that's what consistently winning teams look like, and do. Did the Yanks feel they had to trade Elston Howard because they had Berra? (I know, totally different time in terms of team control and no FA, but that was not unique to that period.)

  5. baseballswami - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    So this is the Washington Nationals version of " always leave them wanting more"???? Have to share this story — 10 year old piano student comes in the door after school today. I am wearing one my my Nats shirts and he asks me if I know my team lost. I assure him that, yes, I was aware of that.( Thank you captain obvious). He asks me if I am sad about that because he is really sad when his team loses. Then he proceeds to tell me that Detroit is probably going to lose because a lot of their players are overweight!!! I laughed out loud – probably first time since Friday. One of my biggest take aways from September/ October is the emergence of the Nationals as an everyday topic of conversation EVERYWHERE and the passion and emotion ( both ways) that they have inspired,even from people who never really followed baseball. This team is totally and completely part of the fabric of the community now. They are our guys, we have been bonded by the daily ups and downs and goods and bads. I hope they all have a good, healthy off season. 7 getting married, the Lannans having a baby. Our lads are all growing up. I think we will see a new maturity next year and a new way that they carry themselves. Can't wait!!!

  6. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Hopefully Danny will mature like Ian

  7. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    Hey, Swami, Great story! I feel slightly better already. That kid is partially right. The Tigers are overweight!!Unfortunately for the Yankees, however, Verlander is not.

  8. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Re: Bad Henry. He pitched at the beginning of this season much as he ended last season, except he still continued to amass the WPs. Then he reverted to the form shown at the beginning of the previous season, i.e., clueless as to the location of the strike zone — plus the WPs. The reversion to form suggests to me he just lost any focus on what he was supposed to be doing and how he was supposed to go about it. The elbow junk was an ex post facto excuse — after they told him to slam a finger in a door to get put on the DL.I'm glad they surgered his elbow, hope he's fine — just don't want him on the roster no matter how much "upside" somebody thinks he has — Steve Dalkowski had "upside," too.

  10. baseballswami - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Watching some mlb — you should see the looks on the faces of the Giants. They have that same glazed, run over by a bulldozer look that I recognize. So I want to be truly terrifying this Halloween. Should my costume be a Freese Jersey? Descalso, Kozma? Which is scarier?

  11. baseballswami - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Some of you may also enjoy watching the Great Yankee Whining Festival. It's been playing all day. It looks like it's going to be a marathon.

  12. natsfan1a - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    I'd been thinking more along the lines about putting a Cardinal effigy in the front yard – perhaps with a stake through its heart. :-Dbaseballswami said… Watching some mlb — you should see the looks on the faces of the Giants. They have that same glazed, run over by a bulldozer look that I recognize. So I want to be truly terrifying this Halloween. Should my costume be a Freese Jersey? Descalso, Kozma? Which is scarier? October 15, 2012 6:11 PM

  13. SCNatsFan - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    I can't see after the season he put up ALR signing for less then three years. The question is do we want him for three. I still don't see this roster big enough to carry Morse, ALR and Moore.

  14. Gonat - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    If you want to feel better, just think of the Braves whining about the "infield fly rule" and their handling of Medlen. Their season ended over a week ago, one and done.Savor Game 4 of Werth's walkoff and innings 1 to 8.5 of Game 5 which looked so great.Every team goes through 2nd guessing and the blame game. The Braves are pointing the finger at the umps and MLB for most of their anger but even if they got their way, would they have beaten the Cardinals?Fate and the baseball gods have their own outcome.I still feel great about the season, even the way it ended becaue the post-season experience albeit brief is so much better than what we had the previous 7 years.To bigger and better in 2013!

  15. MicheleS - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Let's see the. I have watched a Good Eats Marathon, House Hunters International marathon. Now i am on a Diners, Drive Ins & Dives marathon. I also tweeted the AFL to see where i can watch those games. Also cracked open a nice people Pinot Noir. Spring training cannot get here fast enough!

  16. Gonat - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    MicheleS, how crazy is it that I watch HGTV and Triple D all winter! Not much into regular network TV.

  17. Gonat - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    MicheleS, Pinot Noir? I guess wining is better than whining, eh?

  18. NatsFanSinceStart - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Tired of hearing Morse can't play 1B. One female poster who is a Morse Hater says Morse is a 'marginal" first baseman.Reminder: Last year Morse played 85 games at 1b.Fielding Avg.: .992 LaRoche? .994When healthy Morse hit .303 and 33 homersWhen healthy ALR hit .273 and 32 homersReally, can we keep it real and finally stop calling Morse a lousy or marginal First Baseman? That couldnt be farther from the truth.Tyler Moore at First? Kidding right? Moore is a heavy hitting country boy with Zero Glove — that's Zero.

  19. Jimmy DeMoney - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Danny was a real "K-Machine" and could not even hit sac flies with a man on 3rd. He needs to learn how to hit like a professional maybe even abandon the switch hitting. Also, when is Davey going to preach the sac bunt? I watched too many games where we had runners in scoring positions and no outs and DID NOT SCORE because of Ks and pops to catcher, 1B or 3B. We really need to focus on perfecting the small ball now that we've shown we've got the power for big ball.

  20. NatsFanSinceStart - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Espinosa: For those who don't mind the K's, you also dont understand the damage a high strikeout guy does for you. 189 times, Espinosa did not advance a base runner, put pressure on the defense, let alone get a hit. This is why strikeouts are tolerated by producing sluggers who can hit 30+ homers and drive in 100 + rbi. They are producing. Espi is not producing. with an uber-anemic ops and .245 BA, Danny is just not worth it.13 errors at 2b, does not necessarily make you a gold glover — good? oh yes. Golden? Nah. But I'll give him the defense — still, not worth LEADING the League in K's.Trade him — he's not smart enought to solve his hitting problems — which he's tried for over 2 years. Lombo is a far superior player to Espi.

  21. MicheleS - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Gonat. Yup wining is much better!

  22. NatsFanSinceStart - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    NatsFan1a: you give the name 'Fan' it's true meaning.Are we really discussing Halloween outfits as Cardinals? Not obsessive, are we?Why don't you just go in your Birthday Suit and trick or treat at all the Nationals' houses? If the suit still holds up, that is.

  23. MicheleS - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    NatsFansince start, if you really are that. Back off how the rest of us deal with this.

  24. natsfan1a - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Stay classy, NFSS.

  25. natsfan1a - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    And the gender of the poster is relevant how? Eh, never mind.NatsFanSinceStart said…Tired of hearing Morse can't play 1B. One female poster who is a Morse Hater says Morse is a 'marginal" first baseman.

  26. natsfan1a - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Yeah, my bad on the feeding. Won't happen again.

  27. MicheleS - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Actually i think we have determined that trolls like NFss are really just biitter Phoolie fans disguised as Trolls. Tick Tock NFSS.

  28. Gonat - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    I'm also wondering whose Fruit Loops that Michael Morse p-ssed in.He had a MVP type season in 2011 and unfortunately was injured most of 2012. He is a weak left-fielder and probably the weak link in the team's defense and so what, if he is healthy in 2013, he will be a beast again. If not, he's on a 1 year deal remaining and will be gone.I'd much rather have Michael Morse than any LF the Nats have had in the past.

  29. MicheleS - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Gonat. You spotted right away. Weak link in OF. i still think he has lingering issues with his injury. Plus davey sat him after the pantomime in the OF. That is the only issue anyone has with MM. Love his bat and presence in the lineup. Just needs to work on fielding. Kind of the opposite of Espi.

  30. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    NatsFanSinceStart said… Trade him — he's not smart enought to solve his hitting problems — which he's tried for over 2 years. Lombo is a far superior player to Espi. October 15, 2012 7:17 PM __________________________________There was a previous poster here who questioned whether Espinosa was 'smart enough'.Could that be you and you changed your name?

  31. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    MicheleS said… Gonat. You spotted right away. Weak link in OF. i still think he has lingering issues with his injury. Plus davey sat him after the pantomime in the OF. That is the only issue anyone has with MM. Love his bat and presence in the lineup. Just needs to work on fielding. Kind of the opposite of Espi. October 15, 2012 8:06 PM _________________________________I think you are correct that he isn't close to 100% health-wise.We can only hope that the off-season and honeymoon get him back to 2011 form.

  32. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… There's a reason this team won 100 games and lost 67. They are good, actually very good. This team really doesn't have to do a think.By the way, Kilgore says the Nats should pursue an older pitcher who would take less year in a FA deal, and he named Lohse and Peavy and said not Greinke with a fallback of keeping Lannan.I have to agree with him and I would be fully on Lohse as I have said for a while. Then the Nats need to find 1 more pitcher who is AAA ready as you always need a 6th pitcher.If the Nats do absolutely nothing except re-sign LaRoche and get back a healthy Ramos, then Rizzo has 2 pieces to trade: Flores and Lannan.The Nats go into next year with:1. Werth RF2. Harper CF3. Zim 3B4. LaRoche 1B5. Morse LF6. Desi SS7. Lombo/Espi 2B8. Ramos/Suzuki C1. Stras2. Gio3. JZim4. Det5. Lohse/Peavy/?1. Suzuki/Ramos2. Tracy3. Bernadina4. Espi/Lombo5. T. Moore1. Stammen2. Gorzo3. Garcia4. Mattheus5. Michael Gonzalez6. Clippard7. StorenI have highlighted some of the question marks. Burnett has said he will decline his option at $3.5 million. Not sure what you do with the lefties but the RH should be set for the bullpen if Garcia comes back as a reliever. October 15, 2012 11:30 AM _______________________________________I noticed you didn't have MPHrod in your projected roster or as a trade.Christian Garcia could come back as a starter but I just don't know if the conversion is worth losing a player who proved be so valuable especially if you kick Henry to the curb.

  33. MicheleS - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Tonight we are all Giants fans! Go Pagan!

  34. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=461829&game=gid_2012_10_12_slnmlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=0&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif_____________________________________For anyone wondering how Gio did Friday night, look at all the 1st ball 'Balls'.I believe Gio has to add another pitch to his repertoire/arsenal. He is a fastball/curveball guy and features the 2 seam and 4 seam. When Gio's curveball isn't working, it seems game over.I think he has to add a slider or maybe a changeup to his arsenal of pitches.

  35. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    NatsLady said… The great Earl Weaver, Davey's idol, said a run saved is as good as a run scored. Danny isn't going anywhere except to a good, professional hitting coach. Having two GG-level shortstops is an unbelievable asset. _____________________________________I wasn't alive when Earl Weaver was managing but I still believe that was an era pre-Cal where you put up with Earl's light hitting shortstop Mark Belanger (?) except he had a good hitting 2nd baseman named Davey Johnson.Now team's expect their Gold Glovers to be productive with their bats and Danny isn't winning a Gold Glove any time soon as there are probably 2 to 3 2nd baseman in front of him.Danny is less productive than Strasburg and we all know it. Its a compliment to Strasburg and an embarrassment to Danny. He is better than that. Why won't he embrace what Davey has taught him and stick to it?

  36. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Guccione has a Cardinals strike zone tonight. Hate to see the Cardinals getting any breaks. Happy to see DeScalso K'd.By the way, Drew Storen grew up a Cardinals fan. I wonder how he likes them now. His High School teammate was yesterday's starter Lance Lynn. I wonder if they have talked.

  37. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Something is wrong with the counter. It only went down by one day in last 24 hours.

  38. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Speaking of pitchers, Chris Carpenter has 3 hits this post-season and another RBI. He outdid Espinosa's post-season in less than 1/2 the ABs.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Didn't the Giants have scouts at the Nats game to watch Carpenter bat.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Gonat @ 8:20 correct, I omitted Henry as I don't see him making the team and dont see him as a trade chip.

  41. rogieshan - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    From what I can gather here, these are the ten biggest questions heading into the offseason:1) 2nd base – Espinosa or Lombardozzi?2) 1st base – LaRoche or Morse/Moore?3) Left field – Morse or Moore or FA (Upton, Bourn, Hamilton, Swisher, Ludwick, Hunter, Pagan)? 4) 5th starter – Garcia/Lannan/Jackson or FA? – Greinke/Dempster/Haren/Lohse/Marcum/A. Sanchez5) 3rd-base coach – replacing Bo Porter6) Bullpen – (Burnett & Gonzales – FAs)- retain or replace? 7) Henry Rodriguez – a keeper or goner?8) Suzuki or Ramos – who is no.1?9) Is Werth the permanent lead-off hitter?10) Extension for Davey Johnson – but for how long?

  42. MicheleS - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Matt holliday is a jerk

  43. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    rogieshan said… From what I can gather here, these are the ten biggest questions heading into the offseason:1) 2nd base – Espinosa or Lombardozzi?2) 1st base – LaRoche or Morse/Moore?3) Left field – Morse or Moore or FA (Upton, Bourn, Hamilton, Swisher, Ludwick, Hunter, Pagan)? 4) 5th starter – Garcia/Lannan/Jackson or FA? – Greinke/Dempster/Haren/Lohse/Marcum/A. Sanchez5) 3rd-base coach – replacing Bo Porter6) Bullpen – (Burnett & Gonzales – FAs)- retain or replace? 7) Henry Rodriguez – a keeper or goner?8) Suzuki or Ramos – who is no.1?9) Is Werth the permanent lead-off hitter?10) Extension for Davey Johnson – but for how long?October 15, 2012 8:49 PM ________________________________All great questions.#8 – I don't know if it matters. 1A and 1B is a great situation#9 – Dependent on whether you get a Michael Bourn#4 – Isn't it great to dream. Is Anibel Sanchez a FA? Add him on the list then! No to EJax. Seen it done it and not worth the money.

  44. MicheleS - Oct 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Gonat, mel antonen has sanchez as a FA that the Nats are interested in. Not sure if mel is legit or not.

  45. MicheleS - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    OMG! nats classic s just showed Clipp with a crew cut!

  46. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Actually, there are not 2 or 3 2nd basemen ahead of Danny defensively. There is only one who is close, the Cubs 2B and according to fangraphs, it's a tie.

  47. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    MicheleS said… Gonat, mel antonen has sanchez as a FA that the Nats are interested in. Not sure if mel is legit or not. October 15, 2012 8:58 PM _______________________________Anibal is still a #4 pitcher over an entire season except he is a #1 against the Nats and has been good in the post-season.He's young in this crop of pitchers named.Lohse and Greinke are the 2 names that I see as upgrades and both have risks. Lohse will be 34 so you have age risk and Greinke the outrageous price tag and his Home/Road splits are troubling and his 3.48 ERA just isn't top of the rotation or near it.

  48. rogieshan - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    A. Sanchez is a FA. And yes, Gonat, optimism reigns supreme and we should all dream big! Imagine boasting the Four Horsemen (Stras, JZimm, Gio and insert-name-here) to rival the Phillies' Big Three? Roy Halladay might wish he was still a Blue Jay.

  49. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    NatsLady said… Actually, there are not 2 or 3 2nd basemen ahead of Danny defensively. There is only one who is close, the Cubs 2B and according to fangraphs, it's a tie. October 15, 2012 9:03 PM _________________________________Tell that to Brandon Phillips, Darwin Barney, and Mark Ellis who all have better UZR and Infante did also until he was traded to the AL>

  50. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Rogie, if Detwiler comes back with a Horsemen's posterior, add him to that list. He's not there yet but he was the best post-season pitcher for the Nats.

  51. UnkyD - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    "baseballswami said… What in the world are we going to do with Lombo? He can't possibly go back to AAA, he is too good to sit the bench. For his sake, I hope he gets traded. I love that kid.You need to start thinking like a fan of a winning team. Winning teams that have players like Lombo – good enough to start elsewhere but blocked here, versatile and able to contribute in many areas, under team control – don't just trade them for the good of the player. They keep them, and trade them only if absolutely necessary to fill a need. That's how winning teams maintain the depth that keeps them as winning teams.Losing teams OTOH always trade such players, because they have so many holes to fill. That's why losing teams take so long to become winners, because if any one piece of their fragile puzzle goes missing, they have no depth to backfill with.This may not be fair to such players, but it's baseball."—————-Exactly.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    I would take Anibal Sanchez over Edwin Jackson and he has the same agent as JZim.Lohse is a Boras client and will be over-sold. He had put together great back to back seasons but he has a long career of mediocrity.

  53. rogieshan - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    You know, I was thinking after Jeter went down the other night, Danny Espinosa would look really good in a Yankees uniform playing shortstop. Espinosa for Brett Gardner, maybe? Just saying.

  54. baseballswami - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Giants take the lead. And we obviously just disagree about Lombo. Doesn't mean one of us is wrong or ill- informed,we just don't agree. If Danny could just get a grip with his hitting. It pains me to see a good hitter, who isn't exactly a defensive liability, sit while Danny is an automatic out- and not even an out that moves a runner.maybe will improve, but how long can they wait? Gisnts bases loaded, 2 outs.

  55. baseballswami - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Giants 5-1. Broke it open.

  56. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    HRod needs a good sports psychologist to work on 100% docus. He has a great arn we need to tap into.Danny needs to have apersonal batting coach 195 Ks with less than 40 homers is out of line. He swings too hard and too many out of the strike zone. I am being serious, I wonder when is the last time had a full eye exam inwcluding his cornea.

  57. mick - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    rogieshan and gonat… interesting and great posts let me add my own tweaks…If BJ Upton was a Nat and Morse was traded, outfield would be Harper in LF, Upton in CF and Werth in RF Catchers: Suzuki and ramos1b LaRoche (I believe we will sign him $40 mil over 3 years)2B OK, this is where it gets tricky…. I say Espi and Lombo are both needed and it it is simple, verse a lefty it is Espi verse a righty it is Lombo to start the game3b Zimss DesiWerth should lead off as Upton KO's a lot

  58. Drew - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    Speaking of future first basemen, Matt Skole is tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League. He went 3 for 4 today. In his first four games he's 7 for 12 for a league-leading .583 clip against top prospects. He's got 5 RBIs.Brian Goodwin is hitting .353 with two doubles and two homers. Anthony Rendon had an ohfer today and is hitting .286.Cole Kimball retired all four batters he faced today.More young talent is on the fast track.

  59. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    Drew, thanks for the update!

  60. Gonat - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    mick said… 2B OK, this is where it gets tricky…. I say Espi and Lombo are both needed and it it is simple, verse a lefty it is Espi verse a righty it is Lombo to start the game_________________________________That makes some sense however I think Davey will give Danny an opportunity to come into Spring Training as a changed young man.

  61. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Here are the fielding ratings of second basemen (NL) per fangraphs:13.0 Danny Espinosa, Darwin Barney8.1 Brandon Phillips4.6 Aaron Hill2.0 Dan Uggla 1.4 Neil Walker-5.3 Marco Scutaro-9.5 Daniel Murphy-15.8 Jose Altuve-16.0 Rickie Weeks.As I said. Danny tied with the Cubs 2B, no one else is close.

  62. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Adam LaRoche is the top fielding 1B in the NL, next is Goldschmidt.Morse didn't play 1B enough this year to "qualify."In 2011 he was the WORST fielding 1B, per fangraphs at -13.0. Next worst was Freddie Freeman at -12.6. Also, my eyes told me he was pretty poor. All you had to do was see the difference when Marrero came up–as Marrero had been taught the position and knew how to come in on bunts, etc. Morse never had the opportunity to learn the position, as he was just shoved in there and did the best he could. That didn't make him a good first baseman, that just made him a player who tried hard.

  63. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Lombardozzi didn't play enough to qualify, but he was at 1.7 fielding on fangraphs. Above average but not close to Danny.

  64. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    When I make an assessment of a player's D, I combine the stats put up by professionals with my own–female–eyes.

  65. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Morse was also the worst LF in the league, although there were some others that were close, so it's not as apparent. Davey is not the only manager who shoves his big bats into LF.LF with 300+ PAshttp://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=lf&stats=bat&lg=nl&qual=300&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=18,d

  66. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Morse never had the opportunity to learn the position, as he was just shoved in there and did the best he could. That didn't make him a good first baseman, that just made him a player who tried hard.But certainly better than Prince Fielder who is the playoffs with Detroit or Adam Dunn in spit of what your eyes told you. In the end Tyler Moore might have been slightly better but Morse would have the advantage in terms of range … You need to let go of this Natslady. Teams who are in the hunt for the world series are playing offensive specialists instead of fielders like Rick Ankiel. It is happening right now. Morse is an offensive presence who must be taken seriously, his bat produced 18 homers and a decent number of doubles in spite of the persistent injuries.And to claim that Morse could end up injured again? What about LaRoche who lost almost an entire season to an injury while on the Nats watch. That doesn't count?C'mon. And they claim I sound like a broken record?Tyler Moore could conceivably replace Morse … he has the talent but like Morse he is very, very slow afoot and not very agile. At any position. Yet he does come with a potent bat.Because of his youth Moore could be a far more attractive trade option to a team like Tampa Bay. And the Nats would still have Michael Morse.Baseball is about hitting first … its what I learned first when I started playing hardball at age 5. That's what you start with because offense is the more important aspect of the game. And when you can hit, unless its really egregious, fielding / defensive issues are often permitted.

  67. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    Again, Natslady, your eyes don't aren't worth a fiddler's damn if you aren't looking at the offensive production.

  68. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    A side note the base umps in both series have missed easy calls.Infante was an easy out yesterday and Blanco was just as out tonight. These umps were suppose to have earned their way there and they are missing easy calls.

  69. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    peric, I can live with Morse in LF if he is healthy and productive. Harper can swing over and help him out, as can any other competent CF. That is not the case at 1B. I don't care about Fielder–Detroit made the decision to go for offense over defense and it has cost them plenty of games. They barely made it into the playoffs in the WORST division of MLB. They may go to the WS but that is only because they have great pitching (otherwise known as "run-prevention") and the Yanks are slumping big-time. If you can have a big bat AND great D, why wouldn't you go for it? Big bat and great D, thy name is Adam LaRoche.

  70. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Speaking of future first basemen, Matt Skole is tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League. He went 3 for 4 today. In his first four games he's 7 for 12 for a league-leading .583 clip against top prospects. He's got 5 RBIs.And Natsjack was right when he said the Matt Skole, like Tyler Moore and Chris Marerro before will have to work on his fielding skills at first base and perhaps third to bring them up to major league levels. That's going to take at least a year or more just as it did with them. Marerro was horrific at first base in Potomac as was Moore. Both had improved dramatically by the time they reached Syracuse and continued to improve there. Not something Natslady was aware of I bet.However, again, Skole as has a big left-handed bat. He and Goodwin are the two left-handed offensive players closest to the majors. Goodwin would be the superior defensive player.

  71. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    If you can have a big bat AND great D, why wouldn't you go for it? Big bat and great D, thy name is Adam LaRoche.33 years old next season with an entire injury lost to a shoulder injury just around a year and a half previously. That's why. Morse, Moore, Zimmerman, Marerro, and Skole are younger. You can't give Adam LaRoche a 4 year contract. And that is what I suspect he will be trying to get just like Dunn did.

  72. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    peric, I can live with Morse in LF if he is healthy and productive. And it wasn't just Morse … there was Lombardozzi and Bernadina. The three combined put up some decent offense out of the left field position. And in Bernadina's case close to gold glove defense.You see every position and one owner … it typically doesn't work that way across a 162 game season. Did your fav fielder Werth play the entire season in right field? Neither did Morse right? Just Harper and Bernadina came out of the season reasonably unscathed. Harper is just 19 that's to be expected and that is the major advantage to having a talent like his at so young an age. Injuries are less likely.

  73. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Yes, I was aware of Marrero's improvement. That is exactly why I said Morse did not have the opportunity to learn the position of 1B, whereas Marrero did have that opportunity. I suspect Moore could improve, but I don't know. Morse could improve also, but no one is going to send him to AAA for six months or a year to get that type of coaching because his bat is too valuable.

  74. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Look in LaRoche's case the Nats are going to try to do with him as they did with EJax. They are going to attempt to overpay him on a 2 year contract. In two years Rendon, Goodwin, Skole, Moore … and someone will likely rise to the fore next season. And LaRoche could get injured again … at his and Werth's age it happens with greater frequency. This season was a career year for LaRoche he likely won't repeat it if his history is any indicator.

  75. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Lombardozzi learned LF, and he did pretty well at it. I have no idea what point you are making, peric.

  76. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    I suspect Moore could improve, but I don't know. He has significantly at first base. He will never be an outfielder. He's just way too slow … he's not as bad as Marerro who is still a total disaster in the outfield. Yes, they did try him there first. In Moore's case he is a good enough athlete to handle left-field competently perhaps … but his range will always be extremely limited.Believe it not, in spite of "your eyes" Morse has the greater range. He's a bit too heavy right now and that weight has made him less agile. The bulk likely helps his offense though. If Morse lost 15 – 20 he would be a pretty decent outfielder I suspect.

  77. rmoore446 - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    One sure thing about NatsLady, she loves her some fangraphs. For myself, I don't completely worship at the shrine of modern metrics. I pay some mind to it but leave just a wee bit of room for my own observations and judgements.

  78. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    Lombardozzi learned LF, and he did pretty well at it. I have no idea what point you are making, peric.The point is that last year due to all the injuries the outfield was an ensemble NOT a solo act. It worked. Morse WAS VERY productive as a part time player AGAIN. As was Lombo out of that position. And this year so was Roger Bernadina! Why are you complaining?

  79. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    It's also possible that Morse is injured and tired at the end of the season. But Lombo got better reads and jumps on balls despite his inexperience in the outfield (still a weak arm, though). Morse may have better range, but he doesn't seem to have better instincts in LF. Strangely (to me), he did OK in the few times he was in RF.

  80. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    One sure thing about NatsLady, she loves her some fangraphs. For myself, I don't completely worship at the shrine of modern metrics.As my very smart stat / math professors liked to opine, folks like to use stats to make their points. She is using them to make hers without looking at the whole picture. When I looked at the stats with an objective eye I found John Lannan severely wanting as a top of the rotation starter. My use of objective stats to demonstrate that went against a popular player in many eyes. But the facts were the facts and the stats used from stats corner were very neutral and unbiased. And that is what you want. Its true in Espinosa's case. He is such a great athlete that he does produce some very good stats even when he is struggling! But no one seems to notice that. or his sublime fielding in the middle of the infield.

  81. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    rmoore, didn't I say I use my own eyes? I use fangraphs, yes, because they have professionals looking at every play in every game, which I can't do. Sheesh, peric complains I use my eyes too much and you complain I use them not enough. Good night, folks.

  82. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    But Lombo got better reads and jumps on balls despite his inexperience in the outfield (still a weak arm, though)He's also a lot smaller than Morse who is at least 6 foot five Natslady. It does make a difference in terms of agility in case your eyes haven't observed that yet.Its why they feel Harper may not always fit in CF. He may still be growing! If he reaches 6'6 like his brother, given his stature and Morse like build he may not be able to handle the position!Stop!

  83. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Huh? Espinosa is great as a fielder! When did I not notice that??????????????????????? I didn't need fangraphs to know Danny was a great fielder, I just wanted to see how outsiders ranked him compared to other great fielders. People here have been complaining about his offense. You, peric, as a person who values hitting above everything–why aren't you hating on Danny?

  84. peric - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Huh? Espinosa is great as a fielder! When did I not notice that??????????????????????? In that case I wasn't referring to you … the general Nats world population appears to like to ignore that. I know for certain you appreciate that … in spades. Perhaps too much to the exclusion of offense!However, Danny produces … just not what every one (and Danny) thinks he should.

  85. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Um, no. Werth is 6'5 or 6'6 and agile and a good base-runner/stealer. Plenty of basketball players are tall, fast and agile. Not buying the height thing. That's not to say Harper may be a CF forever, just saying I don't buy Morse's height as an excuse. As people are fond of reminding us, Morse started as a SS. Desi is tall also, doesn't stop him from being fast and agile.

  86. rmoore446 - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    NatsLady, I'm sorry but sometimes folks seem to quote these things like the evangelists of my youth used to quote Bible verses as their trump cards.I know Danny shines bright in all those metrics. He has great range and day in and day out is an excellent fielder. But all that doesn't mean I can ignore that in the most important game of his career, he couldn't get a ball out of his glove to turn a much needed double play. He's young and maybe this trip to the pressure cooker of the playoffs will be something to build on.

  87. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    But you are right about one thing, I am not looking at the whole picture, I'm looking at defense. There are stats for the "whole" picture. This started with a poster (not you, peric) attacking me for saying Morse was a "marginal" first baseman. Not on offense, but on defense–he IS a poor first baseman. However, if Rizzo doesn't re-sign LaRoche and they decide to play Morse at 1B, then the infield will adjust to him just as they did last time around. It won't be as good an infield–not nearly–but it might be good enough.

  88. NatsLady - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    rmoore, that wasn't the only time Danny's infield wasn't great in the playoffs, and Desi could have (not should have, but certainly could have) gloved the Descalso hit. Like you, I'm hoping for perfection next year!

  89. baseballswami - Oct 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Ok, we haves covered this to death. What positions are next? About seven am maybe?

  90. NatsForever - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Need to re-sign LaRoche. Then watch Desi and Danny grow and with Zim 100%, it is one of the best infields in baseball.

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