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VIDEO: Espinosa and Rendon discuss battle at second base

Feb 22, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

RendonssNI

The Nationals have made it clear the competition for starting second baseman is open. The candidates are Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa, and the Nats plan to give both an equal shot at the job.

In Mark Zuckerman’s latest feature from Viera, he talks to both players as well as manager Matt Williams, getting their thoughts on the subject. Williams says he’s excited to see what each player brings to the position battle, saying “show us what you got.”

Watch the video right here:

  1. thecynicin408 - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    In theory, one cannot criticize the concept of competition. That being said, I remain skeptical of Espinosa’s plate discipline and attitude and cynical (but hey, that’s me) about his commitment to team, rather than individual, accomplishments. If Anthony brought Danny’s attitude, he would be asking “what did I not do last year to cause you to doubt me?” And frankly, the list of shortcomings would be less extensive, detailed, and persistent that the faults with Espinosa.

    I will quickly put those doubts on the shelf if he contributes. But it’s probably good for Danny that Matt W., and not yours truly, is making the evaluation.

  2. natsfan reduxit - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    … Espy is undoubtedly a major league second baseman. that said, I’d be happy if I heard Rizz made a deal for him, giving him a chance to play everyday somewhere, and getting something in return – another utility infielder who could back up Rendon, or take 2B when rendon goes to 3B.

    … I don’t know the business of the game enough to know how such a deal would impact salaries etc. but Danny should be given a chance to play somewhere, just not in DC.

    • natsjackinfl - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      He is the ONLY viable option at shortstop should something happen to Desmond.

      He’ s not going anywhere.

      • natinalsgo - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        Agreed. Matt Williams isn’t going to have Walters as a defensive backup.

        Walters needs a position change of his own.

      • Sonny G 10 - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        Yes. What if Desmond decides to bolt in two years? Isn’t he only locked up for two more years unless he gets an extension? It might be nice to have Espinosa if that were the case.

  3. Candide - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    “Espinosa and Rendon discuss battle at second base”

    Dang, I was looking to see the two of them punching each other’s lights out. Guess I’ll have to tune in to the NHL for that…

  4. Sonny G 10 - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I’m really liking having a fair competition at second base. That way, if Danny loses the competition, he can’t say he wasn’t given a fair chance….well, maybe he would say that anyway. I trust Mike and Matt to do whats best for the team.

  5. Jb - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Sonny vs Billy it ain’t.

    • nats128 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Thats for sure. It still benefits this team to showcase Espi and hope he does well.

  6. Doc - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    It’s early in camp, so all we have are players fielding and throwing balls

    But the battle will be won in the batter’s box, not the field—and ARen will win that skirmish.

    Hitters like Rendon don’t come along that often.

    • natinalsgo - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      I agree. You can see Rendon can be a future .300 hitter. Danny should learn that it’s hard line drives thats the goal not swinging for the fences.

      There’s a distinct difference in their approach. Danny needs discipline and I discount much of his 2011 numbers due to it took 45 games for the league to adjust to him and since that time he couldn’t adjust back.

      • senators5 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        I totally agree with you guys and my concern continues to be not just the Ks but the number of backward Ks E stacks up. SB by the very nature of the position (quick and agile) requires contact hitters. E is not, AR is. Now, if your no. 1 priority is defense, then we have another discussion…and isn’t that the direction MW has been spouting since his first day? What I have heard say from day 1 is “We will run more and we WILL play better defense. As much as I dislike E’s past attitude and his blaming everyone from his little league coach on for his poor hitting, he is an excellent infielder, which brings me back to MW’s commitment to a better defense for 2014. Go Nats!!

      • nats128 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Senator5, took me a while to figure out what SB was since I think of that as stolen base. If you use UZR as a comparison between Rendon and Espi, Rendon was much better in Range 4.7 vs 1.7 and Rendon’s only deficiency is in errors. Espinosa has over 2 1/2 years of 2B time vs Rendon with a little more than 1/2 a season.

        I think Rendon won me over as a very good defensive 2nd baseman.

  7. sjm308 - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Nats128 – if you are telling me that this UZR has Rendon with more range than Espinosa then this immediately tells me that its a flawed evaluation tool. Espinosa is without a doubt the BEST defensive infielder in camp at the moment including Desmond. Like others have mentioned, I am not sold that he can return to where he was in 2011 and even if he did, I love Rendon and what he brings. I agree with others that he will soon be an elite hitter in the league and I see him leading the league in doubles before long.

    I have said it many times and natsjack said it again above, Espinosa is the only option for SS if Desmond is out. I want Rendon starting at 2nd, I want Espinosa with a good attitude to be ready to fill in and if he plays well, I have no problem with him getting even more innings but Rendon is a special hitter.

    One last thing, I appreciated reading criticism of Espinosa (rightly deserved) but done in an intelligent and non-threatening manner. He has burned a lot of bridges here with both his play and his attitude but I still believe that if he can turn it around, he is a huge plus for this team on our bench.

    Go Nats!!!

    • thecynicin408 - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      sjm,

      agree with you about Espinosa’s defense. Even his most outspoken critics (I raise my hand, slowly) and Lombo’s staunchest promoters (my son, for one) had to think a few times last year that “Espinosa would have made that play.”

      However, he hurt the team badly at the plate and his stubborn refusal to acknowledge that he was hurt, compounded by the now retired skipper’s seemingly unlimited patience, hurt the team even more. It’s not just the outs, but the non-productive, rally killing, momentum stifling, disheartening, opponent-lifting, shaken-pitcher-saving k’s and backward k’s that occurred so often and so predictably. Leading the league in k % is not a desirable attribute for a 2B, even if you have nice power and a dandy glove.

      Ok, enough of that. I hope we’re not bending over backwards to keep him happy because of his representation. But Mike Rizzo is a big boy and can deal with that.

      • nats128 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=2b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=10&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=24&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

        Why all the Danny apologists. Sheesh get off it. Well I certainly dont make this stuff up. Here it is. 4.7 vs 1.7 Range rating. The explanation I recall from a poster was that Espi was not getting to some balls becuz he wouldnt dive for balls becuz of his shoulder. He was not on his game in 2013 and still posted a 1.7 Range and 3.2 UZR in limited games (44).

        My only point was Rendon happens to be good himself and here was what I said
        ” I think Rendon won me over as a very good defensive 2nd baseman.” Rendon can hold is own and is one of the better 2nd baseman in the NL and thats as a Rookie. Give him time.

    • JayB - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      I assume you caught Danny’s comment that he tried to change….they owe me not that he has earned a chance to compete…….tell you know….cancer in the true sense of the word……the sooner he is traded for a bag of balls the better.

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