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Updated: Nats acquire Span for Meyer

Nov 29, 2012, 9:43 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Denard Span owns a career .357 on-base percentage in five seasons with the Twins.

Updated at 6:27 p.m.

The Nationals addressed their longstanding need for a leadoff hitter and center fielder this afternoon, acquiring Denard Span from the Twins in exchange for top pitching prospect Alex Meyer in a move that will have all sorts of domino effects on the roster.

Span, 28, is a classic leadoff-hitting center fielder who owns a .284 batting average and .357 on-base percentage in five seasons with Minnesota. He'll immediately jump into the Nationals' starting lineup, bumping Bryce Harper to one of the corner outfield positions.

"I think he's going to bring a dimension to the club that we haven't had before," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "A fast-moving, exciting guy that makes contact and moves the ball around and can fly around the field."

The trade, though, means the Nationals will have only one available spot in their 2013 lineup for Adam LaRoche or Michael Morse. LaRoche is currently a free agent and is seeking at least a three-year contract. Morse remains under contract for one more season andRead more »

123 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Water23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Wow, Rizzo is fearless!!!

  2. Timothy Folk - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    I like Span.. but will miss Meyer. Glad there is some everyday color on the team now.

  3. Michael S - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Well so much for sitting quietly by the side. I wonder whether we keep La Roche or Morse. I cannot imagine we would have both although I can see us holding them until the right offer comes along. It's kinda neat not being desperate. Bowden woulda been so bored

  4. Section 222 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Add Tyler Moore to the group of guys who could be packaged with Morse for a top or middle of the rotation starter (Bernadina, Lombo, Clip, Storen, Espi). With Tracy signed for next year, and Skole perhaps looking like our 1B of the future, we don't really need him as a backup. Rizzo has lots of options depending on the needs of the club that has the pitcher he wants. Good on him.

  5. Water23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Michael S -Cannot hold what you do not have – ALR is a FA.

  6. MikeinDC - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Love the move and really like it ahead of the Winter Meetings. Riz can now go knowing his biggest 2 issues are solved. He is in a much stronger spot today than he was yesterday.

  7. Doc - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Alex Meyer couldn't have been as good a prospect as he was touted to be, if all the Nats can get in excahange is a used-up OF guy.Looks like the Twins wanted to get even for handing over Willy Ramos!Time will tell, I guess.

  8. Don - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Nice move for both clubs. We need Span. Meyer's a stud, but a year or so away. The Twins have Ben Revere who can certainly play CF and they need more power from a corner OF spot anyway, I think Doumit will be there next season.

  9. Drew - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Wow. Span is an exciting addition. I hope he's fully recovered from the concussion.But I'm really surprised that they have now blocked Goodwin. With Werth, Span and Harper, Goodwin has nowhere to go. Unless he and Michael Morse are heading to Tampa in a deal for you know who.

  10. ImageWorks Studio - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    i love Tmoore….i think hes a 30/100 guy. We better keep him!

  11. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    I like this move. Mr. Span is a better fit than Mr. Upton or Mr. Bourn (no long-term, multi-million dollar commitment). Now, the Nats can pursue a free agent pitcher with more dollars in their pockets to make an offer. Depending on how that plays out, they can either pursue Mr. LaRoche (from a stronger negotiating position) or trade Mr. Morse for a starter (if the free agent pitcher doesn't materialize). I like this move.

  12. Don - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Get even for handing over Ramos? The Twins got Capps in that deal and he helped them make the playoffs. And the Twins have a pretty decent guy at C already. The Twins did not get fleeced in the Ramos for Capps deal, they got what they needed and dealt away something they had a surplus of — pretty much what they did in today's deal.

  13. natsfan1a - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Didn't see that one coming. I'm no armchair GM, but I kinda like it.

  14. Water23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Sec 222,First, you have to sign ALR. Or maybe let him know you will match his best offer. How about going after RA Dickey? Morse & Lannan?This also makes it a strong possibility the Bourn returns to the Phils(Drat).

  15. Dave - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    And so the Nats off-season truly begins. Waiting to see what happens with ALR.By the way, Water23, I imagine Michael S knows that ALR is a FA. I think the big looming question is whether the Nats will agree on FA contract terms with him, as (for example) the commentators on MLB Network predicted.In other words, "hold on to him."

  16. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    From Amanda:@acomak: #Nats GM Mike Rizzo said they have had some inquiries about Michael Morse & several players on roster So Beast could be on the move as well.

  17. howl31 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Denard Span lifetime OBP .357Michael Bourn lifetime OBP .339One is younger and cheaper… one is older and probably asking for a 80-100 million dollar deal…Just saying, pretty smart deal… Alex Meyer is a good prospect, but he wouldn't help the team significantly until at least 2014 and potentially projects as a power reliever, although he has done nothing thus far to discourage a removal from a starting role…

  18. NatsLady - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    I LIKE IT. Have liked Span since I saw him play in 2011 when he was getting past the concussion. Agree on the color, too.

  19. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Drew. Denard has 2 years left on his contract. 3rd year is a club option, I don't think that is blocking anyone yet.

  20. Positively Half St. - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    This certainly ends the pursuit of Michael Bourne. If you look at Baseball Reference, Span was worth 4.8 WAR last year, just about the same as Bryce Harper. I know I read too much into that one measure, but it is impressive, and bodes well for Span's potential.Here is something unexpected- Denard's actual first name is Keiunta.+1/2St.

  21. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Amanda Comak‏@acomak A word of caution against immediately saying this is it for LaRoche in D.C. Morse is a valuable trade piece & is a free agent after 2013.

  22. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. PFB Balls of Fire - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    This is fun. Bryce won't be hitting second now I suspect. I wonder if Werth moves to the 2 hole.

  24. JZimm's only fan... - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Not sure if I love this move, I like span a lot but really liked alex meyer. I don't think you trade a guy who has "ace potential" for an underappreciated cf. Especially not with the prospects and other options available to the team.In Rizzo we trust

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Adam Dunn=Denard Span+Brian Goodwin

  26. feelanau - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Ken Rosenthal is a lousy "insider." Just this morning he reported that the Braves were about to sign Span so that Upton could play left and Heyward right.

  27. ImageWorks Studio - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    How bout this lineup: C- SuzukiFB-T MOore2nd – Espi or Trade here? SS- Dez3rd ZimRF WerthCF SpanLF Harper? Now i am a Tmoore guy so i know some of yu wil lquestion that…but look at his at bats 11HR in less than a 3rd at bats as he will get full time. He's also pretty good with the glove at first and is young. Trade Moore and ALR and Lan for a pitcher. good to go!

  28. ImageWorks Studio - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    *err Trade Morse not Moore

  29. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Water23 @ 5:02 p.m.,Better the Phillies get stuck with Mr. Bourn's projected 5-year/$75m (or more) contract than the Nats. I like that Mr. Span is signed for two more years (at $4.75m and $6.5m) with a team option for a third (at $9m, with a $500k buyout, according to Baseball-Reference.com). That's a much, much better contract for a slightly younger player with roughly the same skill set. Let the Phillies sign either Mr. Bourn or Mr. Hamilton; either of those contracts will fit in nicely with others the Phillies already have on the books.

  30. Feel Wood - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    MicheleS said… Amanda Comak‏@acomak A word of caution against immediately saying this is it for LaRoche in D.C. Morse is a valuable trade piece & is a free agent after 2013.Dominoes have to fall in order. Morse will not be traded unless and until ALR is signed. They won't go into 2013 with Tyler Moore as the only option at first base.

  31. pdowdy83 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Jzimm, Meyer is a nice piece but he has mechanical issues and could just as easily end up in the bullpen and not in the rotation. The team also is in win now mode and Meyer is probably 2 years away. Also they control Strasburg, Gio, JZimm and Detwiler for several more years and it wouldn't be shocking if they sign a starter long term this offseason so there isn't exactly going to be an open slot in 2 season for Meyer even if he pans out. A winning organization uses its assets to make the current team better. Never bet on prospects to pan out when you can get a proven major leaguer with a reasonable contract.

  32. phil dunton - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    ALR is as good as gone now and Morse will be the first baseman next season while Tyler Moore continues to be groomed. I like the Span trade and he comes a lot cheaper than Bourn.

  33. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Ghost. I wonder if Beast's criptic comments about not being hear next year on twitter has more meaning now.

  34. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I see the lineup as follows: 1) Span (CF) 2) Werth (LF) 3) RZimm (3B) 4) Harper (RF) 5) Morse (1B) 6) Desi (SS) 7) Espi (2b) 8) Suzuki/Ramos (C) or: 1) Span (CF) 2) Werth (LF) 3) Harper (RF) 4) RZimm (3B) 5) ALR (1B) 6) Desi (SS) 7) Espi (2B) 8) Suzuki/Ramos (C)

  35. Manassas Nats' Fan - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    ALR could be-signed and Morse could be packaged for a strong starter

  36. LoveDaNats - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    Looks like a great fit for the Nats. I would look for Rizzo to try and move Morse. Because he didn't spend the big bucks on a Bourn, he can make that three year deal with ALR. Which he should. That defense would be hard to beat.

  37. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    LoveDa, it also free's up money for a SP and we all know that Rizzo lusts after Greinke.

  38. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    I agree that this also increases the likelyhood that we obtain a pitcher for more than 1 year. With Meyer gone the next project able big time pitchers are probably: Giolito and maybe Purke and both of these guys have major health question marks associated with them.

  39. SonnyG10 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Wow, sounds like a good deal. Now all of a sudden I want to know everything about Denard Span. Does he have a good arm and how good is he defensively? His lifetime batting average and on base average looks pretty good. The best part about this is we got some good action early on in the off season. GYFNG!!!

  40. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    MichelleS, The problem with Greinke is that the Dodgers want him and they have a limitless budget. I think the 5th starter may also come in a trade with players such as Morse or Moore going the other way.

  41. LoveDaNats - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Michele S – I would LOVE, not like, LOVE to get Greinke!

  42. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    JD agree, I am having a hard time with the thought of a trade, but if we keep Adam only. There are some pitchers that we could get for a couple of years until one of the Baby Nats is ready.

  43. SCNatsFan - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    The only thing I hate is weeing Milone, Peacock, Cole and now Meyer leaving. Lets hope Solis and Giolito come back 100%.

  44. Section 222 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    I feel like it's even money whether our 1B next year is ALR or Morse. The difference is that we might be able to get something to help us win the World Series for Morse, while ALR just gets us a compensation draft pick. (Nothing against compensation picks — they got us Jordan Zimmerman and Denard Span — but they don't pay off right away.) So I'm coming around to the sign ALR and trade Morse camp. This is a big move for me since I've been on the Beast's bandwagon since Jim Riggleman thought he was better used coming off the bench. But a 1-6 of Span (L), Werth (R), Harper (L), Zim (R), ALR (L) and Desi (R), is pretty darn fearsome and will drive opposing managers nuts in the late innings.

  45. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    This is the best lineupSpan – cfHarper – RF (His arm and speed a match in RF)Zimm – 3bMorse – 1BDesi – ssWorth – Lf (his arm, speed, range a match in Lf)Suzuki/Ramos – c Espinosa- 2b (hopefully, we'll get an upgrade here)Pitcher

  46. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Sonny, Here is a real good synopsis:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/nationals-steal-denard-span-from-twins/

  47. PFB Balls of Fire - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    He is outstanding defensively. Our entire outfield just got better. I wonder if Werth moves to LF.

  48. Section 222 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, if we keep ALR both our infield and outfield defense will be second to none in MLB.

  49. Kiterp - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Deal may have solved another problem … filling a vacant open spot at 1B. ALR writing may already be on the wall and this is just the cart pushing the horse

  50. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    To all those lamenting trading young pitching, you must not be aware of the old Baseball GM Axiom to build a great team.DRAFT PITCHING – TRADE FOR POSITION PLAYERS.And this is precisely what Rizzo had planned all along.Beautiful. Good Job, Riz: you are awesome!!

  51. NatsLady - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    I think Morse goes for prospects. Farm system is getting thin, and we don't have high draft picks.

  52. rogieshan - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Curious that this trade is consummated just a day after Upton signed with the Braves. Could very well put the pressure on the Phillies to go after Josh Hamilton.If LaRoche is serious about wanting to return, then he just lost considerable leverage in negotiation with the club. Rizzo is smart to act before the Winter's Meeting. But, boy, really hate seeing a young stud like Meyer go.

  53. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    For all those not considering Morse at 1b remember this:Morse 2011 fielding avg. at 1B just a smidge less than ALR — and he showed great range as well.Moore is a stiff at 1B while Morse has already achieved the 30/.300 mountain top. Woulda had 100 rbi's if he was a regular the entire season.

  54. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    SCNatsFan, That's exactly what winning teams do. When the core is a strong and as young as ours is you use the prospects to obtain pieces which bring you closer to the promised land. The fact is that we have 3 and maybe 4 young studs in the rotation already so it's not critical to have immediate help for the rotation from the farm. Giolito, Solis and Purke all need to have full healthy seasons before they can be considered serious MLB prospects again.

  55. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    A day doesnt go by that NatsLady talks trade for Morse. She was wrong in 2010, wrong in 2011 and wrong in 2012and will be wrong in 2013 — a regular Morse hater.

  56. Water23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Eugene,I agree with you on letting the Phils overpay for Bourn. I kinda see as it as a Crawford lite deal. Looks good but will be bad in the end. In doing the Span deal and then moving Morse, the Nats give up power for defense and some speed. The salaries are similar this year but the saving kicks in the next two years as Morse was destined for a decent payday next year. Now if they keep the Beast and do not resign ALR they still are ahead as I do not think Morse will get the same 3 yr $40 Million that ALR is seeking.As to Grienke, not sure he will not take $120 from the Nats and enjoy the ride.

  57. PFB Balls of Fire - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Haven't any of you heard that There is No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect? I think Meyer for a high OBP plus CF defender is a no brainer.

  58. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Hey Folks — wake up and smell the RosinRizzo will not pursue ALR seriously — he will be gone — just an opinion, but a strong one.This was a peak year for the 32 yr. old ALR — why spend the huge money for downside? makes no sense

  59. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    I actually think that ALR gives us a more balanced and better lineup than Morse and better 1st base defense but at the same time I wouldn't jump at signing a 33 year old for too many years.

  60. Laddie Blah Blah - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Rizzo does it, again. Span is orders of magnitude a better option than Bourne. Rizzo has added more chips to his pile of trade possibilities, and has hedged his options if ALR decides to walk. He can use either Morse or TyMo in trade for a 5th starter (or better), and send the remaining guy to 1b, all without creating a hole in the OF. Barring injury, it's Werth, Span and Harper as the Nats starting OF, with Span filling the role of leadoff hitter.If history is any barometer, he has a hard and fast limit on what he is willing to pay ALR to stay, and for how long. Chances are ALR will find more money and a longer-term deal elsewhere, and will walk. Rizzo's got it all covered, at the price of one pitching prospect and relatively little money, and no long-term commitment.He is betting, apparently, that Giolito, Solis, Purke, Garcia, or some other young arm will fill the organizational void left by Meyer's departure. And if ALR walks, he gets an extra draft pick, in the bargain, which he could use to backfill behind Meyer.I am, like most here, a much better GM than Mike in hindsight (in hindsight, for example, I would have picked Mike Trout and passed on Storen – hindsight genius!). But I much prefer Mike to do the job in real time.Good deal for both clubs. The Twins could use Meyer as a starter or as a much needed arm for their pathetic bullpen.Span puts a lefty at leadoff, with both Harp and Werth moving down in the lineup. I can see Harp hitting 3rd behind Werth, with Zim moving to cleanup. ALR, if he stays, moves to the 5 hole with Werth 6th, followed by Desi. Of course, Rizzo is not done. I really do not see him paying obscene money for a top-of-rotation starter. Just not his history or style. A trade is more likely, especially if he manages to hang onto ALR.Well, I finally got one right. I never thought that Rizzo would pay big bucks for either Upton or Bourne. He did even better, IMO, at much less cost. I expect him to find a 5th starter, as well, without either breaking the bank or limiting his flexibility going forward.He has the drill perfected, down to the last detail. Now, if he was only as good in real time as I am in hindsight, Trout would have been there, all along.

  61. JZimm's only fan... - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Meyer did some impressive things in the minors and I think he will stick as a starter for the long term.I am hoping that we see a greatly improved Span bringing him back to DC and placing him on a better team than he ever played on before.Think of Gio's improvements from being on the A's, could we see something similar in Span?

  62. PFB Balls of Fire - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Blah Blah, I think you cloned Werth in your lineup.

  63. JD - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    JZimm's, Span was a 3.9 WAR player for the Twins last year. I'll take that in a heart beat. Meyer was a high A ball last year. He was mostly facing players who won't make it to the big leagues. AA is where the rubber hits the road and until he competes and wins at that level he is merely a prospect; not a sure thing. I really think the Twins got fleeced here especially given the fact they traded a 28 year old player with such a team friendly contract.

  64. Water23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    How about letting the Beast return from whence he came? King Felix – Two years away from FA with $40 Million owed may be available. Cost – Morse, Lannan, Moore, Espy and a minor leaguer?Would Rizzo do the deal? Would you?

  65. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Morse at 1B: 2011: FA: .992 Chances 9.3 per gameLaRoche 1B: 2012 FA: .995 Chances 8.7 per gamenegligible difference. Morse hits .300 – Laroche hits .270Morse is youngerMorse is cheaperWho do you think Riz will keep?

  66. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    I'm really suprised Rizzo hasn't made an official statement that includes " and JayB, this one's for you".

  67. NatsFanSinceStart - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Water 23: I wouldnt do that deal if you threatened my life.Rizzo would giggle at the idea of that deal.

  68. sm13 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Rizzo finally got his man – and at a lower price than Drew. Span is locked up for two years, which gives us time to see if Goodwin is the real deal. I will miss Adam or Morse, but one of them is not going to be here in '13. If we don't sign Adam, the money could/should be used to extend JZimm and Ian. The other side point is that moving Bryce out of cf will help extend his career. Our outfield defense is going to be second to none.

  69. Chevy Chase Bob - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    he is a Washington-born player…good move in many ways.

  70. SonnyG10 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    JD said…Sonny,Here is a real good synopsis:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/nationals-steal-denard-span-from-twins/Thanks for the link, JD. Now I'm really excited, although I was looking forward to seeing how Meyer would do at the major league level. One in hand is better than two in the bush, as they say.

  71. Water23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    sm13,Just my thought about extending JZim and Ian.NatsFanSinceStart,Laugh Really, If Rizzo resigns ALR then Morse is spare part and Lanna is already a spare. Adding in Moore and Espy (not my favorite move but you have to add some more value) to get a CY candidate seems reasonable. I am not sure it would take that much but not that crazy.

  72. Joe Seamhead - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    My gut feeling is that though Span's LH bat is important, and his defense is important, but Morse weakens the IF and Span's bat is not a replacement for ALR"s bat. I also feel that with Span in CF, Werth moves to LF,where he will be better then Morse, and Harper goes to right, where he maybe won't initially get as good of a read as Werth did, but he learns fast.I have been a big Morse fan from very early on, but he is not on the same level as Adam LaRoche at first base. If the Nats go into 2013 with Michael Morse as their first baseman,I doubt seriously that they will repeat as NL East champions. I think this trade today means that ALR will be back, Morse will get packaged in a trade for a starting pitcher.Nats Fan Since Start, the fielding percentages you quote do not tell the whole story. Morse filled in admirably in 2011, but to say that he is as good as ALR at first is a very big stretch.

  73. NatsLady - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Span being a lefty means that you will not be overly RH if Morse stays and ALR goes. So, hard to predict–but fun to watch!

  74. MicheleS - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Jayson Stark‏@jaysonstGood point! RT @Buster_ESPN: @jaysonst And if Red Sox signed LaRoche, they would lose their 2nd-round pick. That's a big deal to this group.

  75. rmoore446 - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    I love this move! I prefer packaging Morse out and keeping Adam but can live with Morse at first. Would prefer Adam because of his defense and durability but he may price himself (and length himself) to the AL. But boy, this is very promising!

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Rizzo is so friggin cool. I wonder what John Heyman will wtire about now that his Boras/Nats connection (Bourne) ain't happening?And in the words of that poet laureate from North Carolina and the man who figured CF was his to take, "that's dope".

  77. Candide - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Just saw this tweet:Mark Zuckerman ‏@ZuckermanCSNSpan, of course, has been on #Nats radar for some time. Rizzo nearly traded Storen (and others) to #Twins for him at July '11 deadline. Okay, even I can tell which deal was better.

  78. sometimesitrains - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    assuming we re-sign ALR and Morse gets traded for prospects (which i think is a reasonable possibility), the trade effectively becomes Morse for Span. i think that's a net win for us, insofar as Span is a big upgrade over Morse defensively, gives us the true leadoff hitter we've been seeking (and another lefty at that), and is under team control for longer than Morse, all for about the same salary. Span for Morse a downgrade in terms of power, but i think we can expect to get more power from Harper batting in a 3 or 4 spot — or even from Werth not batting leadoff.

  79. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    "Giolito, Solis and Purke all need to have full healthy seasons before they can be considered serious MLB prospects again."Indeed, Giolito, Solis and Purke (and Karns) need to smell the coffee and start burning their way to the ML. At least one of them will be needed by 2015 if not earlier.

  80. baseballswami - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    We gave up two young pitchers last year, now another one. Is this as far as we can go? Seems like we still have depth at catcher and in the outfield, especially if they are committed to converting TyMo permanently. If they want him at 1b in 2014, they will have to play him there a bit more. We talk endlessly about what Rizzo will do and then he always catches us by surprise. Does he play poker? Now the tender deadline tomorrow. Things heated up in a hurry, didn't they???

  81. hiramhover - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Great move for the Nats. It does seem like a sign that ALR isn't returning. And it doesn't change the chances of the Nats signing Greinke, which were pretty much 0 to start and remain there now.

  82. JZimm's only fan... - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Just clarifying my stance welcome to the Nats DENARD SPAN!!!!!I was happy to see Meyer in person, and glad we drafted him is all I was trying to put out there.

  83. Unknown - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I agree with those who say that the team is better with LaRoche at first instead of Morse.That said ….Rizzo is saving almost $20 million if he lets LaRoche walk and puts Morse at first (Edwin Jackson + LaRoche's salaries).That's roughly what Greinke would cost. I'm thinking the team with Morse at first and Greinke in the rotation is much better than LaRoche at first and a Kyle Lohse type in the rotation. In a year, the team will need to find a place for Anthony Rendon. Let Morse walk, move Ryan Zimmerman to first and *voila* all is well.In Morse's four years with Washington, he's averaged–over 162 games–.296/.345/.861 with 30 HR and 93 RBI. So there is no question he'd easily replace LaRoche offensively.And if they can add Greinke, that rotation could easily survive a few more errors at first.Farid @ Idaho

  84. Donald - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Personally, I'd let LaRoche go and move Morse to 1B. I'd keep Moore for the bench and buy a decent FA pitcher, but I will follow Rizzo's lead. I think this is a pretty good deal. I like LaRoche, so if they keep him and trade Morse, I'd be okay too. Mostly I'd miss singing along to 'Take on me' when Morse comes to the plate, though.

  85. sm13 - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    I think we would be fine with Morse at first. He's not ALR, but he definitely isn't Adam Dunn. He'll be an average or above average first baseman with above average pop in his bat. I also like the fact that Span doesn't strike out very often – that is something we need.

  86. Feel Wood - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Rizzo is so friggin cool. Exhibit A: Mere hours before the Span trade is announced (meaning it was probably already consummated) Rizzo goes on 106.7. Asked his offseason priority, he says leadoff hitter/CF. Talks Upton/Bourne. Never mentions trade possibilities, never mentions LaRoche.Of course this is also Exhibit A that the 106.7 interviewers are idiots, because all their questions were about Strasburg and Harper.

  87. Unknown - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    The other thing I like about Span ….I absolutely dislike lefties who can't hit lefties. It's tough watching an automatic out every time a guy steps up to home plate.Span's career numbers against lefties: .293/.374/.398Farid @ Idaho

  88. JamesFan - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    The number one need is a solid, 200 inning pitcher with an era below .4000 and lefties in the pen.The talk about resigning ALR reminds me of the talk about Dunn in the winter a couple of years ago. Morse is going to first. His defense will not be a serious drop from ALR. Just hope he stays healthy.

  89. Feel Wood - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    The real winner in this trade is Roger Bernadina. How much will Span have to pay him to get his number 2?

  90. baseballswami - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    If they wanted Bryce to play left field then why didn't they use him there more? Or will Werth move to left? Hate to see Bryce learn right and center then move to left. He is a fast learner but enough already.

  91. UnkyD - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    MicheleS said…Jayson Stark‏@jaysonstGood point! RT @Buster_ESPN: @jaysonst And if Red Sox signed LaRoche, they would lose their 2nd-round pick. That's a big deal to this group.November 29, 2012 6:07 PM——————-Did I misunderstand the new compensatory pick rule? I though nobody loses picks, but the comp is a "sandwich" pick, after the 1st round…LOVE the Span deal! Mind is brimming with possibilities, but would love to see ALR stay for 2(+1), and another deal for a handful of prospects, (or King Felix!)

  92. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    WOW, time to say goodbye to Morse. Look at the kind of guys Rizzo is putting together. I doubt he is going to let Morse take over 1st and all the progress our IF defense made over last season go to waste.On the other hand, having Span tells me that Rizzo can tell ALR to sign on his terms or he can move Morse to 1st and be content.I just hope Meyer does not turn out to be right-handed Randy Johnson.

  93. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Letting LaRoche and Morse "walk" in successive years, in exchange for nothing more than a couple of draft choices, seems spendthrift. Better to sign LaRoche if possible and trade Morse for prospects which, per natsprospects.com this a.m., are badly needed.

  94. baseballswami - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Hey- tommy Milone ended up going to the post- season!

  95. Feel Wood - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    OTOH, the real loser in this trade is Roger Bernadina. He is now the #4 guy in an outfield that has absolutely no need for late inning defensive replacements.

  96. sjm308 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    I, along with others really like this move!28 years old, under control for at least two more years with team control in a 3rdPlus defender and gives us another left handed batSpeed is a plus and takes care of the lead-off position as wellSeems like a character guy.I honestly think if you had the choice of Bourn, Upton or Span you might take Span no matter what the salaries are but to get him for under 6 million is just icing on the cake.Not as concerned now with LaRoche signing – to me we are in a win/win with either Morse or LaRoche. I think I now lean toward Morse since in one year you might have both Rendon and Goodwin both ready.Now, on to the starting pitcher and we do indeed have the money to go big if that is what Rizzo wants. As far as I am concerned, whatever Rizzo does will be the right move.Go Nats!!

  97. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    http://bit.ly/U5oBwvCameron's take. I bet he would be even more happy the day Morse is traded to a Japanese team.

  98. SCNatsFan - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    One thing for sure, for Rizzo to get him he has his next move in sight like the chess player he is. Can't wait to see what is is.

  99. Candide - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    JamesFan said…The number one need is a solid, 200 inning pitcher with an era below .4000Yeah – someone who gives up less than half an earned run per nine innings would be nice… :-)

  100. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    There are many things to like about this guy but the best one I like is his BB/K ratio and low K%. And look at that contact%, inside and outside strikezone. I am excited!!

  101. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    I love Davey:Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_Rosenthal Davey Johnson still wants LaRoche for #Nationals, says he was texting him all day, telling him to bring a pen to Davey's golf tournament this weekend and "sign your contract." If LaRoche leaves, Johnson plans for Harper to bat fourth. Span-Werth-Zimmerman-Harper.

  102. Constant Reader - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Bourn, Upton, Span. That, to me, is a no brainer. Span costs less. He's a bridge to Goodwin. Provides us flexibility for moves with either Morse or LaRoche. Provides us resources to extend contracts for our current players. Means our LF will be a natural outfielder next year. I like this move.Now we wait for the NEXT move.

  103. sjm308 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Swami – Harper will be 20, if the only thing you are worried about is how quickly he will pick up another outfield position you are really nit picking. We have 3, actually 4 outfielders with terrific range and speed. Bernadina is still a solid #4 although Feel is correct that you really don't need to replace any of our starters for defensive purposes. I put Harper in right because I think that will ultimately be his best position. Werth will slow with age and we can play the same outfield lineup for the next 3 years if needed.Someone way up in the comments suggested a trade for Felix Hernandez and was giving away a bunch of players. Surprisingly, I did not object to that trade, although I would not make the deal if I was Seattle.

  104. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Michele, that makes sense. I don't think he would have gone into the season with all righty 3-5.

  105. Candide - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Can I throw a little cold water on the unanimous rejoicing here?A year and a half ago, if Mark's tweet is accurate, Rizzo was offering Storen and someone/something in addition for Span. And the deal didn't go through. Today he gets Span for a prospect. It sounds almost too good to be true.And you know what they say when someone offers you something that's too good to be true. Is there something we don't know about here?

  106. hiramhover - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    UnkydIt used to be that if you signed a FA who walked from my team, you gave up your draft pick and I got it. Now, you still lose the draft pick (if I made a qualifying offer), and I still get a compensatory pick, but I don't get YOUR draft pick. Yours disappears, and I get one in the sandwich round.

  107. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    I really love Davey, I konw I have said this before, but still:Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_RosenthalMorse indeed would become trade candidate if #Nationals re-sign LaRoche. Rizzo has created options. "He's no dummy," Davey said of his GM

  108. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Candide, I think last season's performance shows that he is beyond any ill effects or so I like to think.

  109. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Candide…..this is baseball. Those rules don't apply.

  110. sm13 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Candide – I think the differences from 2011 are the development of Ben Revere and the down slide of the Twins. Minnesota now has a replacement for Span who is equal in skills and locked up for longer. Given their sad state, they have gone into full rebuilding mode and can wait two years for Meyer to develop – they are betting on his upside. This trade could turn out well for both sides.

  111. 995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    If they don't sign LaRoche, they basically got worse as a team with this trade. Period. Just replaces LaRoche in the lineup with Span…and you get rid of Alex Meyer. SIGN LAROCHE!!! You can trade him after 2 years if need be!!!

  112. UnkyD - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Hiramhover: aaaahhhhhh….. I knew it was different, and I didn't figger I knew better than Buster… Tanx!I'm thinking Peric will be a big fan of this deal… Left handed bat, and all…

  113. Joe Seamhead - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  114. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    JoeS.. you might want to edit your post.

  115. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    And mark has a new post up with the transcripts of the Rizzo/Span call

  116. Joe Seamhead - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Anyway, I'm a huge defense oriented guy, and we now have arguably the best defensive outfield in baseball. Re-sign LaRoche and we are pretty far up there defensively in the IF too, as long as Zimmerman's surgery is a success as to solving his throwing issues. Unlike peric, I see Zimmerman being entrenched at third for a pretty long time. Rendon? Oh, Danny Boy the pipes are calling…[thanks, MicheleS!]

  117. Candide - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. Feel Wood - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    A year and a half ago, if Mark's tweet is accurate, Rizzo was offering Storen and someone/something in addition for Span. And the deal didn't go through. Today he gets Span for a prospect. It sounds almost too good to be true.No, a year and a half ago the Twins were asking for Storen plus others in return for giving up Span. Rizzo thought that price was too high and didn't do the deal. Now the Twins gave up Span for less. What's the difference between then and now? Two years of team control on Span, that's all. Four years of Span should cost more than two years of Span.

  119. Tom in AR - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    One of the sad things about actually having a good team is that at some point soon we are going to say goodbye to a player I really like. LaRoche and Morse have both been some of my favorites and I hate to see either leaving. I think Morse was more than adequate at 1st base year before last, but he wasn't a gold glover like LaRoche. They are about equal with the bat, but LaRoche really balances the lineup enabling us to go LRLRLRSR. Times like this I wish we were in the AL and could use Morse as a DH, but then we couldn't watch Silver Slugger Stephen Strasburg hit. My prediction – ALR signs somewhere for 4 years and we decline to match. Morse plays 1st this season and splits time with TyMo. Next year he walks and the big debate is whether Zim stays at 3rd or we shift him to first for Rendon.

  120. Krapegelloc - Nov 30, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    Resign ALR. Then trade Morse, young power hitter, young middle infielder, and young pitcher for David Price. We know how well power AL lefty does moving to NL.

  121. 3on2out - Nov 30, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Another plus: no more talk about Bourn. I didn't want his 5-year contract and all those strikeouts. Welcome, Denard. A Twin becomes a National. A much less painful notion than when the Senators became the Twins.

  122. Nats In Athens - Nov 30, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Good move to sign Span. The way I figure it we have now saved the 10 Million Min we would have paid for Bourne and the 12 Million we would have paid for Ejax. If you add the money we would need to pay ALR and the needs of the team as we go forward, I believe that there is one great path from here: give up on ALR and spend some of the money saved to sign Greinke. The Nats would have by far the best rotation in baseball.

  123. tangobuddha - Dec 1, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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